Category Archives: Elections

A Post A Day

“Losers make promises they often break.
Winners make commitments they always keep.”  
Dennis Waitley, motivational speaker and writer, 1933 –March calendar

Go back to March 1 2011.  What was I thinking when I made a commitment to myself to write a blog post each day for a year? That’s 365 posts.  Where did I think I was going to get enough ideas to write every day?

There are days when inspiration or just an idea for a post pops into my head – often when I am in the shower.  But other days…  And today is one of those other days.

MMP Voting paper

via Wikipedia

OK it’s the day after Election Day and the outcome was fairly much as the polls showed.  John Key and the National Party (right) gained 60 seats out of the 120 seats in the House.  This enough seats to govern on its own and with the help of a couple of small parties, to have a clear majority.  However, the pundits were very wrong in some of their other predictions.

Most guessed predicted that NZ First and its founder and mainstay Winston Peters would stay out in the cold where they had languished for the past three years.  But against all the odds, and all the polls, NZ First led by a jubilant Peters has stormed back and will have a say in parliament with 8 or 9 seats depending on the final count.

The Green Party gained 15 seats and will have a strong voice in the next parliament. This is the largest number of votes transcribing into seats they have ever gained.

Labour (the left) gained only 34 seats a sad outcome for this party that under the leadership of Helen Clark held office for three consecutive terms.  The party appears to be in disarray.  It is commonly supposed that the current leader of the party, Phil Goff, will resign following this major defeat. Several names have been  mentioned today as likely candidates for the job but with no obvious choice.

Under MMP (Mixed Member Proportional) we have parties represented with only one or two members in the house.  While this caused consternation and mayhem during the first term of this new (to us) electoral system in 1996, most New Zealanders appear to be happy with this form of electoral voting.

So while John Key and his party received an overwhelming a resounding vote to continue its policy making it must be noted that fewer than 60% of voters actually went to the polls to record their vote.  In Australia it is mandatory to vote but here in New Zealand it is mandatory only to register to vote.

I wonder if the number who voted actually reflects the fact that the pundits all had National way out ahead of Labour in all the opinion polls or are 40% plus, simply apathetic.

Anyway, congratulations to John Key and his team.

fireworks

Phew!~ Another post on the way to 365.  Number 266 only 99 to go!  Thanks for reading and taking this journey with me.

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