Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thanks Dotcom -- Not! Election 2014

Dotcom, dirty politics and the mainstream media wrecked the election campaign and can be thanked for the comprehensive National victory in last night’s election. With the help of the Media that focussed intently on the claims, Dotcom and Hagar’s supposed revelations meant that the real issues and policies NZ should have been considering were simply not given a decent chance.

Then, when it came to vote, fear of the alternative drove many NZers including many of those in the centre-left (like me) who might have considered voting left to vote for National again – ‘better the devil you know.’ A cynic might postulate that the government granted Dotcom permission to come to NZ to help them win the election.

When you come at the government arguing that they are misusing the Internet with an argument based on emails stolen or hacked and using people considered criminals and spies by many around the world – unless you really prove that the PM and government are liars – you lose. They didn’t, and they lost. Seriously, do these guys think the average NZer is so dumb as not to see through their duplicity! It is one of the greatest ironies in recent NZ history that Dotcom in his zeal to bring down National and Key, inadvertently helped them win. He drove many into the arms of his enemy!

When you find that the government has been economical with the truth about security matters, which are by definition secretive, the standard of proof required is high. They didn’t pull it off – the moment of truth was the moment of defeat.

Dotcom and his mates lost the election for the left. He also took with him Hone and Mana. Yet they reaped what they sowed (a biblical principal of course). They paid  the price for doing what NZers find very distasteful, allowing themselves to be bought. They fell into his mammon-baited trap. It was especially distasteful to seeing figures NZers thought had integrity bought out – Laila Harre, John Minto, and of course, Hone. It backfired, epically. They reaped what they sowed. Mana need to cut themselves loose from Dotcom asap, and get together with the Maori Party and work out a way ahead. One strong united Maori party would be a real force. I predicted their decline in a Challenge Article sometime ago – they need to get it together and stay as far away from Dotcom as possible.

Labour is in a deep hole. Their leader may be popular within the party, but he is not at all popular in the wider nation. This incongruity shows that the party is out of kilter with the nation. They need a leader who can connect, who can relate. Someone with personal warmth and a bit of kiwi humour -- full of self-deprecation and with eyes that smile. Then there was the Capital Gains Tax. This key note item was poorly conceived and simply not the right thing at the moment for NZ – not without very clear development so that its flaws are sorted out. Cunliffe on this was crudely exposed. Even if they had got their policy and leadership right, however, I am not sure that with Dotcom’s games that it would have helped that much. The mess that is the left and Dotcom consigned them to defeat.

The Greens need to get out of things that are not core business, like abortion and pot smoking – that put a lot of left leaning Christians and off them. To be promoting handing out flax baskets for newborns to stop cot death while advocating policies that will lead to more abortions is the sort of contradiction that turns many of us off big time! Come on Greens, you can do better that this! Think! You are clever people. The Greens should focus on ecological issues – that is their thing. They also need to stop mucking about with who they will work with – their sudden jump to saying they will support National last week was a disaster. Further, they made the fatal mistake of talking about being (joint, pardon the pun) deputy prime ministers in the press. Seriously! That simply makes them look like they are power-hungry and that stuff puts off those who are all about justice. Humility should be their governing attribute. I mean, at least get into power first!

The problem with the left is that they are fragmented and are trying to form a government with a whole range of extreme policies which they have to cobble together. Now that Greens have illusions of becoming the main opposition, it means that there appears to be no stability for the voter on the left. The voter looks in and sees a whole range of taxation and other policies and simply has no idea what it will look like in the end. Who would vote for that? I am surprised that they did as well as they did! On the right you see this solid set of policies that their coalition partners will not really affect. You have a choice of a stable ‘what you see is what you get’ right, or a left whose policies will have to be hammered out for a month or three after the election. Even if ‘what you get’ is not quite what you want, at least you know what it is you will get. It is not a choice really. It is a joke that the average NZers would vote for a thrown together team of Cunliffe, Turia, Norman, Winston Peters, Hone Hariwera, John Minto, and Laila Harre. They have all demonstrated that they have massive egos – how on earth will they work together? What a mess!

The left is in a shambles and they have to come together and work out how together they can present a united front, albeit with differing nuances. They need to decide who is the party with the whole manifesto of policies who will be the leading mainstream opposition/or government party. That is clearly Labour. The Greens need to back off trying to be the leading left party, and do their ecological thing. Labour need the full range of policies leaving room for Green to be the left’s spokes-party on these ecological and a few other issues.

The Conservatives will never get there without a deal. I can’t see how a candidate will beat out National and Labour unless National gives them space to win an electorate. To make that happen they need a leader who stops saying stupid things in public, like whether people really landed on the moon etc. Next time Colin, stick to the big issues. There is space for Conservative, but they need to be given a hand. National can make this happen and likely they will next time around in Napier perhaps.

From a Christian point of view, through the machinations of our democracy, God has given National another chance. They need to tidy up the integrity issues that blighted the campaign. They need to address the security concerns people have, and at least be open about what is going on to give confidence to the ordinary person in our e-world that they are taking care to protect the privacy of the normal good citizen, while going after the ‘bad guys.’ They must work harder to address income disparity. They need to show greater concern for the environment. They need to avoid the arrogance that comes from being in power for a long time – they are showing some of that already. They need to refresh the party and prepare Key’s successor. That time is coming.

Again, from a Christian point of view, we desperately need leaders who are governed by humility and integrity. What is clear is that the ethics of those in power is very questionable. We don’t need a government change as much as an attitudinal change in those who aspire to lead in our nation. May that come to be. Somehow, I am not optimistic. Still, it is great we are in a nation where we can vote and have a say. We get to do it in three more years, I can wait.

In the meantime, let's sing, 'E Ihowa Atua... God of Nations at Thy feet...'


Steve Tollestrup said...

Hi Mark, While we don't always agree, I think your comments about the Greens are close to the truth. I was just echoing almost exactly the same thoughts in conversation this morning. We do need to stick to our clear environmental kaupapa and policies. My experience of Russell and Metiria is that they are modest and intelligent politicians. I would say too that the Greens seriously want to see the abortion rate down but saw a different mechanism and cluster of strategies which were never clearly explained. As a Christian I would never support a policy that explicitly or even implicitly sought to increase abortions. I have worked very hard in my Auckland Council role for the restriction of synthetic cannabis and agree the Greens should rewrite their policy here. Sue Bradford read KDC well. I always thought he would as in his own words 'poison' the left. However, he is rapidly and conveniently becoming the scapegoat and vilified, something as Christians we should be wary of. The disintegration of the left is far more complex. One balancing comment here is that the number of non-voters in NZ was roughly equal to party vote National - something worth thinking about. But thanks for your thoughts and generosity towards the Greens whose core policies I believe align very well with Christian values.

Luke Pilkinton-Ching said...

Good on you Steve!

Anonymous said...

National are no longer to the 'right' of the spectrum, they are actually pretty close to the centre. It just looks that way because the so called 'left' have lurched so far that they have conceded middle NZ. Some are not in left field, eg Internet-Mana have actually left the building.

In reality I don't think that terms such as left and right have any real relevance these days except as a throwback to bygone days that no longer exist. National have worked that out, Act and the Conservatives have not, and Labour have no idea what they are or even want to be anymore. The Greens suffer from a perception generated by their name that no longer is relevant in mainstream politics where people just want to make ends meet and have a bit left over.


lisa humphrey said...

Love your blog posts Mark...even tho I don't agree lol its healthy to read and mull over other views. It widens the spectrum of thought and sheds light to cultivate ones own opinions more clearly.

Politics is just like a House of Cards full of the same tactics as the school yard.

I like Dot Com...yes we know he puffed himself up and stole the spotlight. And as Steve Tollestrup mentioned Dot Com has become the scapegoat and vilified. Every good story has to have a Villain no? I see him more as a Warrior ahead of his time. So sick of the masses harping on about his ability to fund a political party with his own money with no mention of the millions National spent on their enormous funding campaign of TV ads and other campaign outgoings funded by the tax payer? The Internet party is looking to the future which threatened the Establishment in the left and the right. Is Dot Com really a criminal? One example.... to challenge the old men in Hollywood who are feathering their large nests with copyright royalties and blocking the airways? Piracy laws are a joke and basically robbing the artists. They need to be challenged. Opening the airways serves the people. Its a win win for the artists the smaller movie theaters etc etc who get a minimal fee under the current laws. Its the Warner Brothers shareholders who slice the lions share... are they the real criminals? The Internet party proposed some amazing policies...looking after the poor, free tertiary education to name a few. The tired passionless unimaginative vision less and clannish NZ political scene is very welcome to lock themselves into the building, the building with no windows. The Internet Party and other visionary thinking people would much rather be outside in the sun exploring new adventures.