Axver (axver) wrote,
Axver
axver

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A rant on New Zealand politics and National's inadequacy

So, it's now the wee hours of the eighth of November. Election day in New Zealand. I cast my vote yesterday, and I am disappointed that my last permanent address in New Zealand falls three properties within the Mana electorate. Mana is safe Labour, while Otaki, the electorate on the other side of the Wharemauku Stream, is the most marginal seat in the country, and I wish I could have done my part to help Labour retain it. I live in dread and expectation of a National victory. The polling doesn't look good, and Labour will be astonishingly lucky if they can form government - it will be a minority government and is dependent on enough friendly minor parties getting into parliament that they can counteract the Nationals, ACT, and likely United Future. Unfortunately, if some of the more disturbing polls prove true, National could in fact form government in their own right, without even needing the neoliberal ACT morons.

The outcome of this election will essentially determine my future. Indeed, every Kiwi election held while I live in Australia determines what options I have open to me. While I am not petty enough to leave a country just because an election result goes against me, I am also not stupid enough to move to a country with a government that I think is useless. Therefore, if National form government, it closes the option of moving back to New Zealand for at least three years. If Labour are in power, I have the option of moving back, but I will never return home if a National government is in power.

Why? Because National governments are consistently a fucking disaster. Plain and simple. National, and to a lesser extent their Reform and United predecessors, have been terrible for New Zealand and held it back in just about every regard. Political hyperbole, you say? Hardly. The first National government, that of Sidney Holland, got things off to a brilliant start by attempting to roll back some measures of the welfare state crafted by Michael Savage and Peter Fraser. Furthermore, to deal with the 1951 waterfront strike, Holland suspended the freedom of the press. Then there is Keith Holyoake, whose wonderfully astute government made its first act the cancellation of the Blenheim to Nelson railway that Walter Nash's Labour government had just begun, because what country needs infrastructure in the long term? Then, oh dear, we get to Robert Muldoon. Think Big? Think Bankruptcy! We come to the governments of Jim Bolger and Jenny Shipley in the nineties, and this is where it gets personal; one of the main reasons I no longer live in New Zealand is because the mid-nineties National policies simply made it impossible for a single mother like my own to rise above the poverty line, no matter how intelligent, educated, or qualified she was or how many jobs she took on. And now New Zealand looks set to elect Key? With a pedigree like this, who the hell would vote for a National government? It's madness.

Lest I look like a partisan hack, I also think the Labour government of David Lange (and subsequently Geoffrey Palmer and Mike Moore) was utterly catastrophic. Now, I quite respect Lange, but in economic terms, his government was hijacked by Roger Douglas and his "Rogernomics", a programme of neoliberalisation and privatisation that did very little good and its negative ramifications echo to the present day. I have disdain for the Bolger government privatising the railways, for instance, but that ball was seriously helped on its way during the Lange era. Economically, the Lange/Douglas government was much more a National government than a Labour government - I see a complete disconnect with the party of Michael Savage.

I'm not particularly taken by Helen Clark either, really, but I'd much rather her over a National government, a government that I wouldn't dare trust even half as far as I could throw it. I am sick of Labour governments tending towards a wishy-washy mediocre centrist stance and losing touch with their social democrat, leftist roots. I am sick of politics being an uninspiring mess. At the end of the day, I want to see some fucking change, and most importantly, some social progress. I want to see some social liberalisation, something to put the bigots and the sluggish stuck-in-the-past conservatives in their place. I want to see some economic systems that DON'T marginalise the poor, the minorities, the single mothers, etc. I want to see a redefinition of relations between Pakeha and Maori so that Maori space is not made subservient to Pakeha space or forced to function and conform to Pakeha norms. I want to see massive investment in education and healthcare; an intelligent and healthy society is worth higher taxes and even a small budget deficit. I want to see the road lobby and its millions of dollars told to fuck off and ruin another planet, because we should have some policies that protect the environment and promote sustainable public transport.

And I don't want to wait until it's too goddamn fucking late.
Tags: history, kiwi politics, new zealand, politics, social democracy
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