Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 4. 1969.
"Our argument with the socialists is that they believe that a change in the government will cause people to change their natures.'"
Mr T. P. Shand said this when summing up the different philosophies of political parlies in New Zealand, in an address at Victoria recently.
Mr Shand took a linear model for his description of the New Zealand political scene, with Communists and Fascists occupying the extreme ends, and all other opinions—Socialist, Liberal Left, and Conservative arranged between.
In the centre there was a large group about which the experts knew very little, how many there were, or how they reacted.
If any party in New Zealand wanted to gain power it must attract this large uncommitted group in the centre.
Mr Shand illustrated his theory with examples from the history of the major parties.
In the early years the concern in Parliament had been to build an alliance to obtain particular parochial demands.
The Labour party had grown as the political weapon of the Trade Union movement in the early days of this century.
"The actions of the leaders of the Party are still coloured by a strong sense of the class struggle." he remarked.
The National Party had been formed in 1936, a coalition of those remnants opposed to socialist policies.
This was part of the constitution, but it had never been well thought out and had been dropped.
Pragmatic views, based on certain principles were now accepted.
Each party thus had a central core of volunteer workers with strongly committed views.
The leaders of each were drawn from this and therefore were sharply opposed.
These leaders quickly become conscious that to win they need the support of the large group in the centre.
Each parly is much nearer the centre than its own organisers.