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Another Three Years

September 21, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

Well the latest New Zealand general election is over and we did not get the result I really wanted. On the other hand, if you read my post from 2014-09-09 (“Pretty Relaxed, Except…”) you will see that I am not completely stressed about the outcome either.

I didn’t realistically expect that Labour could form a new government but I did hope that National would be weaker and require a more moderate party to limit some of its more extreme ideas. Instead National will probably team up with the ultimate extremists (Act) even though that might not even be necessary to gain a majority.

So what happened? Basically it seems that marketing has beaten substance. The right was far more professional, organised, and consistent than the left in this election campaign and that seems to have been enough to persuade people to return them to power with an even bigger majority.

In fact, talking to people I really couldn’t find many – especially National supporters – who could name any actual policies that they liked. I did hear a few mangled attempts at criticising Labour policies, such as the capital gains tax, but even that was more propaganda than fact.

So it really does seem that we have entered an age where spin beats everything else in forming public opinion. I should say at this point that, as I said in the post mentioned above, the National Party isn’t as bad as it has been in the past and has moved to a more moderate position (possibly aiding in its popularity) so I’m certainly not saying that a National government is total evil entirely relying on propaganda to survive.

But probably the most annoying thing about this election was (yes, you guessed it) Act. The party got less than one percent of the vote, barely more than the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, yet because of a dirty deal done with John Key, they will be part of the next government, no doubt attempting to inflict their totally discredited economic ideology onto us. They have no mandate for this and deserve no ability to influence policy.

But as I have said in the past, Act provide National with a good excuse to push some more extreme policies onto the country without being blamed directly. They can just say that it is part of the coalition agreement and escape the blame that way. One of the most ill-informed and dysfunctional policies from this government’s last term (charter schools) started that way.

So it has been a wild ride, a bizarre election campaign, and great entertainment. But now it’s over and we have to settle in for another 3 years with John Key in charge. I saw in a news item today that he wants to take a fairly centrist approach and not do anything too radical. I hope so. That way he probably won’t solve any of our big problems but at least he won’t create any new ones, and that’s all we can really hope for!

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