Writing as a grindstone. Finished writing, unfinished writing, writing ideas, things that I'll never get round to writing, other things. Grinding it out, grinding away. Writing some more.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Election 2011: I don't get it

Okay, against my better judgment, I’m going to write a short post about the election.

The one thing I really don’t get about politics is the politics, or maybe it’s the voters—maybe I just don’t understand people. Two things about the current election exemplify this: I do not understand the cult of John Key’s personality, and I do not understand why the Māori Party pushed Hone Harawira to leave and build another party.

I am completely at a loss as to why National is doing so well in all polls so far. Their policies are spiteful (hating on those most in need) and incomprehensible (I know it’s just that the ideology doesn’t make sense to me, but I can’t get my head around the idea of choosing to sell even parts of your cash cows/life support systems). Either most New Zealanders agree with this shit (if the polls are representative), or they support National because of John Key. And this is even more bizarre to me. Here is an incredibly rich businessman playing the affable every-guy blokie-bloke, waving away the hideousness of their policies with a smile and a trust-me-I’m-a good-guy speel. And it seems to be working. I can only compare this to US voters electing George W Bush.

If anyone is in any doubt as to Key’s post-election desires, they only need to look to the support he is giving ACT (and I assume this support is the reason New Zealand First has rejoined the living). I remember John Banks as my local MP; he was hateful. He is consistently on the wrong side of any social justice issue. I don’t need a transcript of the cuppa kōrero—it was a conversation with John Banks, of course it was ugly. The fact that John Key wants to work with Banks and Brash tells me all I need to know about his politics. So yep, I don’t get why he’s so popular.

And then there’s my confusion about how it came to be that we have two Māori parties competing for the few Māori seats (I put the blame entirely on the Māori Party’s shoulders, as I explain in this post). The Māori Party have untethered themselves from National for the purpose of campaigning—and all of a sudden, they sound like they used to. In fact, their policies sound just like Mana’s policies. Effectively identical. So why did they make it so hard for Hone to push these policies when he was part of the Māori Party? The Māori Party is so focused on keeping their seat at the table, they fall silent as soon as they sit down. This campaign makes it clear (to me at least) just how badly the Māori Party needed people like Hone—instead of making it impossible for him to stay, they should have promoted him. He kept them true to their kaupapa. It’s ridiculous that they are now competing against each other with their identical policies.

Based on polling, I expect New Zealand will elect a government that I will hate even more than usual. I don't understand why people will do this. There are many other things that bewilder me about elections—like why we keep voting at all when every government is a disappointment, when it always seems to work out the same way (as many people have said: whichever way you vote, the white guy always wins). Which brings me back to my main point—I don't get it.


  1. Shruti5:39 pm

    I doubt if this is any way useful for you, but I don't get it either. And can I just add, trying to follow NZ politics while outside the country elevates the stupidity to the level of surrealism.

  2. A big chunk of NZ recognises John Key: goofy, nervy, uncertain around old school wealth, envious of true class, bit clumsy, not that clever. He reassures voters that its alright to be a little racist, a little homophobic, greedy...

    But people will turn on him, and history will charge him a poor leader.