Tag Archives: Greens

Political maturity in New Zealand – at least compared to the US

A moment of clarity in the NZ election negotiations. Credit: NZ Herald.

Maybe it is the social media silo effect but I think a lot of New Zealanders feel proud about the way our recent elections went.

Once again we are a world leader. A new impressive young female Prime Minister. An atmosphere of cooperation – or at least respect all around from (and towards) the winners and losers. And a feeling that our new Prime Minister may have the unifying skills necessary for the job at this time.

But what has impressed me is the beginning of some clarity about the nature and causes of our problems. We are talking about housing and child poverty as indicators of a failed economy and not low inflation, the balance of payments, etc., as indicators of a “successful economy.” No matter how good the “accepted” economic indicators appear to be an economy is not successful if it fails to protect its children and has the degree of homelessness we are seeing.

Winston Peters’ honesty about the causes of our problems being inherent in an economic system oriented towards the interests of dead money and not towards people is refreshing. It’s a long time since we have heard such economic honesty from a politician in our parliament. Also refreshing is the fact that our media (not known for admitting such basic problems) has repeated his statement.

And isn’t it heartening to have a Prime Minister flagging an interest in ministerial jobs aimed at helping children rather than something like finance?


Like many, I am cynical of the concept of “capitalism with a human face” but New Zealand at the moment should be seen as a glowing example of how democracy should work. Yet we have the US promoting itself as exceptional, a leader of the free world” and the best example of “democracy.” A self-belief so strong it wishes to impose their example on “less fortunate” countries. And, too often, even New Zealander commentators and journalists get captured by such silliness.

But come on!

Just imagine if Bill English threw his toys out of the cot because his “natural” assumption of power has been denied by the electoral system. Just imagine if he attempted to “explain” his failure by promoting the fiction that the “Russians did it,” or blamed President Putin for his problems. Just imagine if all sorts of attempts were now being made to produce “evidence” of collusion between our new leaders and those horrible Russians. I am sure we could, if we were that childish, find examples of meetings with diplomats, maybe even professional or financial links with someone indirectly connected to a firm which may exist in St Petersburg.

And what about all those pro-Labour and pro-Green”trolls” on social media? Hell, they were all over Facebook and Twitter! Surely that is evidence of manipulation by Russian “troll farms.” And what about the “fact” that the pro-Russian media heavily promoted Jacinda Adern and is glorying in her victory?

OK, perhaps not even Hillary Clinton would accuse the NZ Herald of being “pro-Russian” – but here is the “undeniable evidence” – this story run by Sputnik which, for this purpose, we could describe as being a propaganda arm of the Kremlin!

Oh dear. The “evidence is mounting up.” It’s becoming “undeniable!”

I am glad we live in a country with more political maturity but isn’t it sad that the most powerful (militarily) country in the world is so politically immature. And, also sad when even commentators in New Zealand buy into that immaturity.

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A tale of two elections

Well, that’s one election down. I found Wednesday exciting and emotional. We have known all year that history could be made in the US with the possibility of either a woman or Afro-American president being elected. Here in New Zealand everyone seemed to be hoping for an Obama victory and were openly delighted with the result.

Now we can shift attention to our own election – which occurs in Saturday!

There are big differences between these two elections – quite apart from their historic and international significance.  One feature I see as an advantage is the MMP system – the mixed member proportional representation we have in our Parliament. This means that we can elect a more representative parliament than under the old first past the post system where we sometimes found a party could be elected with less votes than the defeated party.

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Appealing to spirits

In last Monday’s New Zealand Herald John Armstrong ridiculed the “jiggery-pokery” which started the Greens conference on Saturday (Hello spirits … woops, goodbye National). He said: “Any party which begins its conference by lighting a candle so it can be guided by the “symbolic gesture of a flame” while “calling in the spirits” of Rod Donald, the Treaty, the sun, and just about everything else bar the kitchen sink would seem to be in fruitcake territory, as in nutty as.”

He suggests that such behaviour should send potential coalition partners into a rapid retreat: “..observing them invoke “the eternal golden thread” which apparently links past and present would have been enough to have National running in the opposite direction.”

I agree. While symbolic ceremonies are important that can appear ridiculous and nutty when they descend to empty appeals to the supernatural.

But why pick on the Greens? To me their ceremony appears to have much more meaning than the Christian prayer used to open New Zealand parliamentary sessions, and probably also used to open New Zealand National Party Conferences.

The Christian prayer is surely just an empty appeal to the supernatural. To many of us it appears “nutty.” And having appeal to only part of the community (possible a minority of the community) it is also divisive.

Franky, I would prefer the Green’s candle.

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