Sunday, September 14, 2008

Two elections

So 8 November is the day, 4 days after the US Presidential election. If it weren't for work I'd contemplate flying over and absorbing the debates for both elections. As it stands I'll be sticking it out in the UK, where I can access plenty of US coverage, but NZ will all be online.

As a result, I'll be blogging more heavily. This will be the first NZ election I'll be blogging and it will be remote, so pardon me for what I miss. To do this, I'll be listening to Mourning Report via the net in the evenings (the Revo Blik is the coolest radio, combining DAB and internet radio).

8 November will be a chance to look at the record of the current government, noting that it exists because of four parties, not just Labour, and decide what direction you want it to go. If you're pretty happy with the role of the government growing, happy with how the state spends your money (or happy with how much of other people's money you get), you'll probably vote Labour. If you are reasonably happy but have a particular thing for Transmission Gully or a bureaucracy for families, you might tick United Future. Those of you who are fans of Jim Anderton or Winston Peters, for unfathomable reasons, might tick their parties.

Have no bones about it - a vote for Labour, NZ First, United Future or the Jim Anderton/Progressive Party is a vote for no change.

If you think there should be more tax, more government, more regulation, more money taken from taxpayers and given to others, if you are suspicious of science, economics and those who advance reason, but think those on welfare will improve their lot if only they got more money for doing nothing (and you can't be arsed giving more of your own). If you think that trees, birds and fish are more important, inherently, than human lives, and if you believe that government can only be a force for good if it gets bigger, stronger and more intrusive, you'll vote Green. You'd be better voting Alliance though :)

If you think that Western civilisation and British colonialism has been bad for New Zealand, and the future lies in a Maori dominated government, that splits the country into two groups - Maori and everyone else, and dishes out rights and taxes on that basis, you'll vote for the Maori Party.

If you don't particularly like Helen Clark, Michael Cullen or the rest of the Labour Cabinet, and want to see some new faces, but pretty much the same policies - you'll vote National.

If you think the reforms of the 1980s and early 1990s were the best thing that happened to NZ since the UK promised to buy all NZ's exports, and that the country badly needs more, you'll vote ACT.

If you think that Christianity should drive government, and those who don't believe should just follow the rules and get out of the way, you'll vote for the Family Party or the Kiwi Party.

If you believe that there should unabashedly be less government, lower taxes and that adults should always interact on a voluntary basis, you'll vote Libertarianz.

Meanwhile, the US Presidential election will be profoundly important. Both men are not strikingly compelling, one is to the left of the Democratic Party (and hiding that oh so well), another is to the liberal end of the Republican Party (and indeed doing the same). Both have fired up their base in different ways. Obama is the dream of the Democrats, McCain had to bring Sarah Palin in to fire up his base.

Now both face the challenge of the fight for the remaining 20%. Those voters who are convinced by neither, who are suspicious of more government, but also are not religious conservatives. They are the swing voters - the ones that need to be convinced as to who they are more confident about being elected to the White House. I remain moderately convinced that McCain is best for the world, New Zealand and the USA, but it is more because he offers a chance for some positive change on the domestic front - and Obama's change is about more government.

1 comment:

OECD rank 22 kiwi said...

November is going to be the grand slam of political events.

McCain is going to win in a close but convincing fashion. Four days later the dejected left have to vote in New Zealand and then watch their beloved Labour party swept away on electoral change. Hels career will be finished and not before time.

It's too bad we have to wait 18 months here in the UK for a conservative landslide. That will be a sight to see and celebrate.