You’d be forgiven for not knowing that New Zealand is preparing for a National Election in the next few days. Even the coverage here is more excited by the Obama win than its own election preparations. Personally I’m more than a little skeptical of Obama (let alone democracy in the USA).. I haven’t even heard him say anything of substance yet, and it surely wasn’t possible for the repugnance to get in again! I suppose Obama’s win is significant in other ways.
Back home in New Zealand the main politics is much more dry. While it is easy to miss, we actually have a lot more than 2 parties running the election. Unforgivably the NZ media mainly runs the stories of 2, trying desperately to cash in on a US style, hyped up, revenue drawing, simpleton election. Those 2 basics are Labour under Helen Clark (presently in power) and Nationals under John Key. Helen Clark is campaigning on a platform of a strong public sector ensuring jobs, infrastructure and stability. John Key is campaigning on a platform of privatisation, stimulating economic growth, and rationalising the public sector. While my sympathies are with Helen, both campaigns are age old and down right dull.
The Greens on the other hand, they have run a very interesting campaign and have a long track record of principled and visionary policy making. Just their poster campaign itself is significant enough, representing a party that can think outside the square and be innovative. Brent Simpson compared the parties a while back. Given that the Greens have had next to no prime time media coverage, I think it is fair to say that they have done an excellent job maintaining a presence in this election, not to mention by far the strongest and most authentic online presence long before the election campaigns started.
If a change is what we need, I sure hope it doesn’t go the old ho hum and long over due for retirement, public vs private direction. That time passed 20 years ago! I hope to see a real shake down and a new generation of politics enter New Zealand government. One that reinforces NZs international reputation for progressive politics and continues to attract migration of progressive people.