Sunday 16 November 2008

New government in NZ

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So National won the election and today Prime Minister Elect, John Key, announced his new Cabinet. It's not the way I wanted the election to go, but the voice of the people has spoken and this is reality for the next three years so I guess I will have to put up with it.

On the "voice of the people" - I have to just make one comment. Voting for a party based purely on the fact that you fancy a change and you're bored with the current government who has done nothing drastically wrong in the last nine years or because you don't like Helen Clark for purely superficial or personal reasons is NOT a good enough reason to vote her out of office. But ah the joys of democracy when even the least well thought out and impulsive voice is heard alongside the others at equal volume.

Perhaps we were swept up in the excitement and calls for change in the American election which was only three days before our election. Perhaps the calls for change spilled over into our psyche and "change" for change's sake seemed like a good idea? Who knows - it would be interesting to see if you could quantify the effect that had on our election outcome. It's hardly the same though is it - changing from Bush to Obama is barely comparable to our situation. Helen Clark was a thoroughly competent and intelligent leader. One who kept us out of Iraq, one whose party has improved the welfare state, abolished interest on student loans, set up KiwiSaver and KiwiBank. I take my hat off to her.

I have no problem really with the direction of people's vote - so long as they make and intelligent and well-informed vote. Not one that goes something along the lines of "I think Helen Clark looks like a man so I'm voting National". In a world where not everyone gets to have their voice heard, it's important, I think, that we take this kind of thing seriously. Especially when electing a bad government can have such a devastating and lasting effect on the country.

I wish John Key and his new government all the best and hope that he can keep up the good work and build on the solid foundations that Labour has put in place. I also wish that some people would be a touch more thoughtful and mature with their vote, but like I said earlier - such are the pitfalls of democracy - there's no accounting for the 'idiot vote'.

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