Following all the fantastic spending and rank nonsense of the US presidential election (and considering it’s only been people from the same party battling each other up until this point, that’s pretty good really) the New Zealand electoral process is beginning to get underway. Oh god, what a difference. Where the United States of America has (somewhere or other) a well respected document called a constitution and a few hundred years of history backing up their political process, New Zealand looks more like several oldies at a parish council squabbling over who was responsible for bringing the wrong kind of biscuits (cookies if you are following this from the States).
Like the US, New Zealand has reached the end of its current electoral cycle and despite a sustained period of economic growth, the punters are wanting something different, so the current government is gone. That’s if you believe the polls of course. What this means is that by the end of the year little old New Zealand will be back in the grips of a conservative government. I feel there’s always a sense of impending doom with any group of conservatives once they gain power. There’s always the feeling that at some point around the corner they will take drastic action and millions will lose their jobs.
Track record probably has something to do with it. Maggie Thatcher was in power for years in the UK and is one of the most hated political figures in history because of what she closed down and/or destroyed. The National Party (New Zealand’s Republicans or Tories) sold shitloads of state assets to their dodgy and shady friends in the 1990s. George W. Bush – well, we all know about his politics. You’re either with us or against us. Does that mean I’m on the axis of evil because I protested against the invasion of Iraq??
There always seems to be a hidden agenda with conservatives. It is so often that they will say something, but believe or do another. Hypocrisy is never very far away. Take, for example, the mad right in the US. There is a long history of American God lovers who say they are doing His work, yet manage to spend money destined for African famine relief on private jets, hookers, booze, cocaine or snorting cocaine of booze-soaked hookers on their private jets. Of course, I am exaggerating here… or am I? The current leader of the free world, according to his own admission, has probably engaged in an affair with a stripper, did loads of drugs and booze when younger, and was extremely rich, so he could probably afford trips in a private jet. I must add in allegedly here, because nothing was ever proved – mainly because the Bush family is a hugely powerful family with a long tradition of sweeping such things under the carpet. Now Dubya says he’s reformed and found God back in the 80’s, so it’s all ok. We must ask this question: when did God get lost?
Check out this link to read a bit more about other US conservatives and their sex scandals. Or this link to get regular updates of current scandals involving Republican senators and other such leaders.
And so we come to the conservatives of New Zealand… christ what a sorry bunch. I suppose by American standards, they are all pretty normal really, except for their inextricable belief that money and success should be the driving goal of any modern individual. The only scandal of any note in recent times involved former National Party leader Don Brash who, despite having the charisma of a dead fish, managed to score a hot portion outside his marriage thanks to the willingness of a Business Round-Table sitter (to those uninitiated in the world of New Zealand lobby groups, the Business Round-Table lobbies parliament on behalf of businesses). This did eventually lead to his downfall and replacement by current leader John Key.
Key is quite likely to win the election. New Zealanders can stand any government for around a decade and then they vote them out. Key and National have offered little to brand themselves differently to Labour and Helen Clark the current Prime Minister. They generally agree on most key policies. So why are New Zealanders tuning out from a government that has delivered nearly 10 years of solid economic growth and the lowest unemployment levels for decades? It’s time for a change… Obama is saying it, why can’t National (technically in the US a president can only stand for 2 terms before they have to stand down, so the ‘time for a change’ call may be fairly redundant).
Electioneering has already started here. All the main parties have begun slagging each other off. It’s only a matter of time before one party says something like, “a vote for such-and-such is a vote to kill your child” or words to that effect. Recently Key himself (or should that be Himself?) complained about an on-line video in which he was portrayed as a bumbling idiot. He blamed it on Labour and/or their left wing supporters. The only problem with this is the fact that until he mentioned the video, nobody in New Zealand knew it existed. Now, thanks to his whinging and complaining, thousands have viewed the video. A video, incidentally, which does make Key look as stupid as he thinks it does (click here to view this video).
Watch this space… There will be more and more and more of this type of thing – videos of the party leaders, and their entourages, making fools of themselves, and then being forced into embarrassing backdowns or having to comment on something they thought was lost in the ether of the TVNZ archive room.
And I might even join in for a bit of fun….