Is the anti-establishment movement coming to NZ?

Donald Trump (Reuters)
Donald Trump (Reuters)

Donald Trump likes to describe his followers as a movement rather than a political party - a movement that just like Brexit, the polls didn't predict.

So how long until this wave of political discontent arrives in New Zealand? And could we be the next stopover for a Trump-like figure?

In Tangiteroria, the local petrol station has closed and the local watering hole shut up shop too.

It's not dissimilar from the plight of towns in the isolated rustbelt of the US, which helped Mr Trump across the line.

Prime Minister John Key doubts the anti-establishment drivers of Brexit and Mr Trump's victory will plague next year's election.

But Otago University's Bryce Edwards says there may well be an appetite for Mr Trump's populist style.

"I would say New Zealand is ripe for some kind of revolt, some kind of populist politician coming in and invigorating people with a new message against elites."

So who could that be? One option is Gareth Morgan, who launched The Opportunities Party last week on the platform of being anti-establishment.

But he denied he was the "Donald Trump" of New Zealand.

"The only thing I have in common with Donald is we are outside the establishment," he said.

Then there's Winston Peters - anti-immigration, anti-free trade, anti-establishment, despite being a career politician.

But he wouldn't talk to media on Wednesday.

Predicting whether this wave of political discontent hits New Zealand is near on impossible. It eluded the polls in both Brexit and the US election.

"All politicians are going to have to watch out for what's coming," Mr Edwards says.