Home > A Little Blue Marble Called Earth, The Body Politic > Guest Author: Why I Won’t Be Voting National

Guest Author: Why I Won’t Be Voting National

Tim Jones




I won’t be voting National at this year’s General Election.

Now, this won’t come as a great surprise to those who know me. My opposition to the National Party started in the Muldoon years and hasn’t wavered since – so a government which is Muldoon 2.0, but with a friendlier smile, isn’t likely to appeal to me. I live in Wellington Central, and for the record, I will be giving the Green Party my party vote and Labour MP Grant Robertson my electorate vote.

But I think I have got some particularly good reasons for not voting National this time – and ironically, perhaps, they date from before the 2008 General Election. At that time, I was the Convenor (and I’m still a member) of the Sustainable Energy Forum, and, much to my surprise, I was invited to a lunch with National Energy spokesperson Gerry Brownlee and a whole lot of energy company heads.

I felt like a fish out of water, but more to the point, Gerry felt he was among friends, and he told those energy company heads, in no uncertain terms, that when National came to power the shackles would be off. They could forget any concerns the Labour Government might have had about climate change or the environment. You dig it or drill it or mine it, Gerry said, and we’ll back you up.

You could say many things about Gerry Brownlee, and I’d be happy to join you, but you couldn’t say that he hasn’t been true to his word. From the moment National came to power, they have shown a complete disregard for New Zealand’s and the world’s environment. While cynically promenading a “clean and green New Zealand” brand in international tourism markets, they have thrown the doors open at home to:


  • Mining in National Parks – yes, they lost the first round on that issue, but they haven’t given up
  • Offshore oil drilling in waters even deeper and riskier than the Gulf of Mexico
  • The mining of massive quantities of lignite in Southland which would release billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere
  • Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) to extract more oil and gas – a dangerous technique which has already been shown to lead to both groundwater contamination and localised earthquakes when used overseas, and which has been banned by France, a country not known for its environmental credentials
  • A massive and vastly expensive programme of motorway building to serve the interests of the trucking industry, which is also being served by National’s downgrading of our rail system.


In other words, National are taking our economy back to the 1950s and massively increasing our dependence on fossil fuels.

And how do National propose to reconcile all this with New Zealand’s international commitments to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions? They don’t, perhaps because the Cabinet is full of climate change sceptics – as recently as 2005, John Key professed himself among them. They simply hope that the international audiences to whom they promise action on climate change won’t notice what the Government is doing at home.

Now, there are lots of other excellent reasons not to vote for National. But New Zealand’s environment is the foundation of New Zealand’s wealth, and in turn, the liveability of New Zealand depends on the world having a liveable climate. John Key’s Government has shown utter disregard for any meaningful action on climate change, either with New Zealand or internationally, and complete contempt for the New Zealand environment. That’s why I won’t be voting National.


(Tim Jones writes novels, short stories and poetry. He was awarded the NZSA Janet Frame Memorial Award for Literature in 2010. You can contact Tim at senjmito@gmail.com. On Twitter: http://twitter.com/timjonesbooks.)



  1. 18 November 2011 at 9:20 am

    Thanks, Frank!

  2. 18 November 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Good post.. My interest also started with Muldoon – and while I’m no longer a prolific published letter writer to the editors columns, I probably had well over a thousand published. the merger between The Dominion and The Evening Post, to create The Dominion Post certainly cut down on opportunities to get published.

    For the first time in three years, there is now a distinct possibility of a left of centre government being elected tomorrow week.

  3. Aaron Nicholson
    19 November 2011 at 9:27 am

    We Must have right wing Governments come in and wreck the place up now and again so we appreciate Rational Government and give people work putting things back together.

    Yes it is insane but insane people have to have their say too you know or they get tetchy.

    I think considering what a crap year the sane community has had we need a hoilday from the Political lunacy Cycle and John Key’s teapots and smiling mugshots.

    • 19 November 2011 at 9:37 am

      Aaron, as crazy as it sounds… you’re right.

      Case in point; nine years of Bolger/Shipley government in the 1990s. And when NZ could no longer tolerate all the cuts to healthcare and other social services; the growing gap between rich and poor – voters finally had enough and voted Labour back in. It took another nine years before this country’s sovereign debt was paid down; wages rose; surpluses were posted; a savings plan put into action; and other effective policies enacted.

      Then, in 2008, we went a little crazy again…

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