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Policies,Personalities or Perception?
The Jacinda Jeneration
Winners and Losers
Protecting Our Lifestyle
Sophisticate or Snob?

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Politics

Policies,Personalities or Perception?

Every political party invests considerable resources defining its position on the political spectrum. Much like any business the manifesto of policies is the product that they have to sell.
However like businesses, that product generally remains a mystery to the average member of the public. It is the window dressing - the brand, the advertising, the endorsements - that determines whether that product succeeds or fails.
In this year's elections a number of events transpired to change the public perception as to what product was being offered for sale.

The Jacinda Jeneration

The excitement of the past weeks upheavals in New Zealands political landscape feels much like 1984 when the baby boomers of Lange, Douglas and Prebble took over the reins from the old guard of Muldoon and Talboys.
In all instances the incumbents have not had any previous ministerial experience and question marks over their abilities to lead were, and have been, raised.
Some might argue that the crash of 1987 was exascerbated by the rapid transition from interventionist to market lead economic theories, that New Zealand was underprepared for the consequences of change, and use this as reasons not to repeat the experience in a move to "Jacindamania".

Protecting Our Lifestyle

In a recent TED Talk Simon Anholt argued that the traditional left/right divide was no longer the relevant spectrum to gauge the political divide. With a world shrunk by communication technologies and air travel he argued that the new political debate was between those who wished to promote global citizenship and those who preferred xenophobic nationalism.

He therefore argued that the only relevaant questions to ask those seeking political office was to clarify which of these two views of the world they were promoting.

Resolving ISIS

I recently caught up with a few old golfing buddies and expected our conversation to be about the Rugby World Cup, or the retirement of Richie MacCaw or the untimely death of Jonah Lomu.
I was somewhat surprised then when I was asked as to how "we" were to "resolve ISIS".
Without the recent atrocities in Paris I couldn't imagine that question being asked by a few non political geriatrics in the peaceful New Zealand countryside.
The ISIS marketing team would be delighted about the success of their global publicity strategies!

Privilege

Jamie Whyte is showing incredible political naievity raising issues of legal privileges for Maori. Had he raised objections about privilege in general he could have retained some degree of credibility.
Whyte ignores the fact that privilege is endemic across all forms of society.
Try telling a child brought up in Raetihi that they have equal privileges to those children brought up in the leafy suburbs of our major cities.
It would be insulting.
All political parties pander for support. The trick is to find the key to 51% of the electorate.

On What Basis Do You Choose to Vote?

With the election now only a few months away the New Zealand electorate is increasingly bombarded with appeals from all the politicians as to why their views ought to be supported.
The annual Budget is a catalyst for all of them to get on their grandstands.
The incumbent ruling party were gloating over their presentation of a surplus whilst the main opposition parties tried to discredit that result with suggestions of having manipulated the numbers to suit.
Throughout the ensuing debates in Parliament the rhetoric inevitably reverted to the core policy platforms on which the parties have previously been elected.

Ukrainian Hypocrisy

Whilst Russian interference in a foreign country should rightfully be condemned by all peoples that respect the sovereignty of nations, it is significant to note that the loudest condemnation of the present situation in the Ukraine has come from those countries whose track records are the most blood stained.
The US and British positions smack of flagrant hypocrisy in light of recent incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan.
On a larger time scale New Zealanders have not forgotten the US's attempt to isolate their country for pursuing a nuclear free policy and the French disregard for sovereignty over the Rainbow Warrior sinking in Auckland harbour.

The Reality Gap

The public have grown used to the "Gaps" in our lives - the Gender, Generation, Wealth, Educational and Opportunity - are well documented and continually referenced by the media. The issues underlying each are well understood and are played to by each of the political parties as they seek to persuade the voting public that they have found the silver bullet to narrow or eliminate the voids that have beset our lives for generations.
The revelations and the responses from the parties concerned in the recent mayoral elections in Auckland and Montreal however give lie to another gap that politicians conveniently wish to ignore and which I choose to refer as the "Reality Gap" - the distance between an elected officials private and public behaviour.

No Monorailroading!

Proposals have been made to the New Zealand Government to allow a 40 km monorail system to be built in one of our most treasured wilderness areas.
A quiet, electrified and single tracked facility with the opportunity to generate a substantial increase in tourist spending is a seductive idea for our cash hungry politicians to adopt.
It conveniently overlooks the fact that there is already a huge influx of visitorss who visit our wilderness areas essentially because they have retained their remoteness.

Fairness and Justice - Who Decides

David Cunliffe has launched his leadership of the Labour Party with a call for fairness and justice for all. They are words that resonate well in a country that has been a world leader in the introduction of legislation for the welfare state, the emancipation of women and the recognition of the gay community.
In support of his latest version of the familiar catch cry Cunliffe has sought to raise the minimum wage by nearly five dollars to $18/hour.
In essence it is a policy that redistributes rather than creates wealth.
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