Election Day

“People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people.  Of course, that is not true.
Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote – a very different thing.”
Walter H. Judd
, American Politician, 1898-1994,

The Beehive, NZ

The Beehive is the common name for the Executive Wing of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings

Election Day 2011.  But where is all the usual hype that attends an election?  Perhaps New Zealanders have had all the excitement they can bear for a year with the Rugby World Cup.  Or are they apathetic and don’t care who runs the country?  We are told that the National Party (the right) has an unassailable lead against Labour (the left) and all the minnow small parties that want a seat and a say.

We have a system of MMP ie Mixed Member Proportional voting whereby each person has two votes.  One for the candidate of their choice in their electorate and one for the party of their choice.  The party vote determines the number of seats a party holds in addition to those won in electorates.  This means that we have a lively mix of parties in parliament; some having only one or two seats.  Very different from the days of first past the post when only two parties ruled.

In the run up to the election we have had the leaders’ debates between leaders of National and Labour; we have had leaders debates of all the smaller parties who are likely to gain a seat in the next parliament.  But these debates have all been lack lustre and no one party or politician has come up with any good responses to the major questions bothering New Zealanders ie

  • What is to be done about the horrific statistics relating to  child abuse in New Zealand.
  • What is to be done about literacy and the numbers of New Zealand teens leaving school barely able to read or write
  • What is to be done about finding employment for these young people leaving school and also for the numbers people of all ages who cannot find a job.
  • What is to be done about the surging cost of living that leaves the ‘the man in the street’ way behind.

We have had lots of rhetoric but no real answers and of course, who really can come up with policies that are going to make a real difference to those of us on middle and lower incomes, not to say the poor.

So tonight while we are attending election day parties with friends, those people brave enough, or foolish enough, to want to step into the political ring, will wait to see whether the next three years will see them involved in governing this country.

Bottle of Champagne

Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”
George Jean Nathan
, American drama critic 1882-1958

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13 responses to “Election Day

  1. Same problem USA plus foreclosures, 45 million no health insurance and the expanding rat hole drug infested areas of major cities.

  2. seems that around the world, the problems are the same. And if your kids to go to college or university, they graduate with huge loans on their backs. I don’t know what the answer is but I do know that the so called middle class can no longer carry the burden that has been placed on them.

  3. Your last quote sums it up quite well, Judith. Good post that gets me thinking……

  4. Thanks for this informative post, Judith, and for sharing your thoughts about elections. Gives me to think about it a bit more. Here in Australia it is compulsary to vote. I don’t know whether this helps or not.

    • I wonder what happens if one doesn’t vote in Australia. Here fewer than 60% actually cast their vote in this General Election – that’s just not good enough.

  5. Same situation here in the USA. If people don’t vote, change doesn’t happen. 😉

  6. Pingback: A Post A Day | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

  7. We have larger turnouts for presidential elections, but very few for the off-year and local elections. It would be interesting to see if a difference would be made if more got involved. A lot of uninformed voters probably wouldn’t help much.

    • It seems that many of those who complain and object to what is being done by government are the very people who don’t vote. Hence the Nathan quote.

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