Tuesday, November 11, 2008

That Other Election

Yes, the one in New Zealand - not as newsworthy or exciting as the one in the US, but every twelve years they coincide.

Here is an Australian doing what the Australians do best - mocking New Zealand.

That's OK, we give as good as we get. It was a former New Zealand Prime Minister who once made a famous comment that New Zealanders leaving for Australia raised the average IQ of both countries...

We have a complicated electoral system here, though not as complicated as some, which means that we get two votes - one for the candidate to represent our electorate, and one for the party which is to govern the country. So, of course, in the twelve years since MMP began, we have never had a majority government, they always have to form a coalition with one or more smaller parties. There are a long list of these contesting each election, but most fall under one of the three r's: the radical, the reactionary, or the ridiculous.

In the latter category is the Bill and Ben party, to whom we owe the best quote of the election night coverage:
"We can't be voted off, we found the hidden immunity idol".

New Zealanders thought otherwise. The minor parties that did make it into Parliament were the Green Party, the Maori Party, the right wing ACT, centrist United Future, and left wing Progressive Party (one seat each for the last two). So now we are waiting to see how our rather centrist new right wing Prime Minister will hold off the more right wings demand from the ACT party, possibly by playing them off against the Maori Party.

One thing about outgoing Prime Minister Helen Clark is that she was superb at holding together unlikely coalitions.

John Key on the other hand promised in his victory speech to make New Zealand safer, more prosperous, reward (or was that encourage?) ambition, and help those who can't help themselves. He didn't quite promise to do it in six days...

Another newspaper article suggested that New Zealanders are quite realistic and that what they expected of Helen Clark is more of the same, and what they expect of John Key is more of the same, with tax cuts. He could well be right.


Kay said...

I have just spent a pleasant evening out with Catherine ... And I told her that the link in this post didn't appear - she is away from a computer for a few days, so said to pass on the message for readers to Google 'doped slug'(of all things!)and you may be able to locate the article she was referring to (after scrolling down a little.)

Catherine said...

Thanks Kay, our backpackers where we are staying tonight has free internet so I have fixed the link - report on our travels when I get back