November 10th, 2008

New Zealand

Partisan hackery in response to the New Zealand election

God, New Zealand. What a mistake on Saturday. Not only did you fools (FOOLS!) vote in John Key and a National government by a considerable margin, but you also gave the right wing neoliberal nutjobs in ACT enough of the vote that they get five seats in parliament and, since they hold the balance of power, allow National to govern. So, great, not only do we get a National government, but one that has a high likelihood of being pulled further right by ACT, no matter what Peter Dunne's stated ambition of holding National closer to the centre may be (and come on, it's United bloody Future anyway).

What has made me laugh - in between bouts of nausea - is this ad from ACT. Now, due to legal issues, there is no video, but the audio is still up, and that's the part that matters. In amongst the factual distortion and "oh noez teh nanny state" paranoia that really doesn't hold up to analysis is a claim that it is leftist Greens (and, it's implied, Labour) policies that contribute to the "brain drain" of young, well educated New Zealanders, and that ACT's neoliberal economic policies and small government initiatives will make people more likely to stay in New Zealand.

Well, Rodney Hide, Roger Douglas, and the rest of ACT, I have a bit of a message for you. I'm one of these young, well educated New Zealanders who lives overseas. Indeed, I'm a very well educated student, and not just any student, but one of New Zealand's socio-political history. And you want to know why I am not in New Zealand? Because of politicians like you. Not because of Labour or the Greens or anybody on the left. Let's very quickly hit the three primary reasons why you twunts hold considerable responsibility. Firstly, education funding. I'm very well educated precisely because I didn't stay in New Zealand. The choice isn't hard. I could choose between a Kiwi university struggling to even break into the top 100 worldwide, or an Aussie university in the top 20 worldwide and at the top of the list for the Southern Hemisphere. Not a tough decision. Of course, you could considerably improve the quality of New Zealand's universities, but you are the free market fundamentalists who foolishly lower education funding. Maybe if you gave some dollars to education, people like myself seeking a good education would be more inclined to study in New Zealand.

Secondly, your economic policies consistently hurt the marginalised and disadvantaged in society. Your obsession with the free market blinds you to the obvious; that your policies simply widen the gap between rich and poor, and do nothing to help the least fortunate citizens who most urgently need governmental assistance. If somebody like my mother could have made a decent living in mid-ninties New Zealand, my life may have been completely different. But who cares about single mothers, about socio-economically disadvantaged minorities, or about those on minimum wage who have to perform the dodgiest jobs for no thanks? Not you, that's for sure. And this leads me to my third point, which is that, as a Kiwi socio-political historian, I think I have something approaching half a clue about how New Zealand's political history has unfolded, and one thunderous conclusion I can draw from that is: you and your mates have been a complete disaster for the country. Why the hell should I even entertain moving back to New Zealand, given your historical lineage and patterns of behaviour? I may not be so petty as to leave a country over an electoral result not going my way, but I am also not stupid enough to move to a country governed by people who have a shocking record and have made no indication whatsoever that they plan to do anything but pursue the same idiotic ideology.

That's why I take this so personally. As long as National, ACT, and the rest of the right wing nincompoops are in power, I cannot see myself permanently returning to the country I love. I have never seen Australia as my permanent place of residence, but it will be my home for the foreseeable future.