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Posts Tagged ‘Muldoon’

Guest Author: Why I Won’t Be Voting National

Tim Jones

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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:

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  • 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.

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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.

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(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.)

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Lessons from the past – a critique of Labour.

– ‘Kimbo

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The following is a critique of the Labour Party from “Kimbo”, originally published on Brian Edward’s Blog, Brian Edward’s Media. Whilst highly critical of Labour,  and whilst I do not necessarily accept all of his/his premises, I believe the arguments are well constructed, and ‘Kimbo’ has presented some coherent ideas for Labour (and other leftwing) supporters, to consider.

The following is a slighly edited version of Kimbo’s original post.

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For years Labour struggled in vain to defeat Muldoon. They had tried confronting him directly, and got mauled. They tried ignoring him, but that didn’t work either, because he dominated the landscape in the same way Helen Clark did from 1999 to 2008, and Key does now. Instead, they killed the old tusker with kindness. Defining moment and point of the 1984 campaign: Muldoon’s sarcastic response to Lange, after being told there was still a place for him in the new post-election NZ – “I love you too, Mr Lange”.

Lessons from the past: Don’t attack a political opponent at the point that is their direct source of public popularity, because when you do, you are directly implying to the majority who decide elections that they are wrong. And people, especially when they are being wooed for their vote, don’t like to be told they are wrong!

How Labour and the Greens may be able to dent John Key’s popularity (because criticising him for “shallow smile and wave” is not working!):

Embrace the man’s “successful” image, career, and self-made millions. It sends two messages: We are not nasty or playing the “politics of envy” – we are bigger and better than that. Instead, John Key is an advertisement of what the welfare state, which Labour will protect, can do for anyone. John Key’s success is a product of Labour policy.

“We acknowledge John Key’s expertise in the field of currency trading. It is the high stakes end of the unrestrained deregulation roller-coaster of changing fortunes that we’ve tried to ride as a country from 1984 onwards. Ultimately, John Key is banking on an economic recovery taking place elsewhere in the world, and then, in line with the skills he used to make his millions, he is expecting to position us to exploit that. That’s what he knows, and that’s what he’s good at. Which is why he’s been trying to keep up public morale and confidence with his “good news” approach. Just like Muldoon tried to keeps all those balls in the air with what he knew until it all came unstuck…

The problem with Key’s plan is that since 2008 the world financial situation has changed. The nature of capitalism that drives economic growth has been forever altered. We now actually need to be proactive with job creation, with up-skilling, by directing the resources available to government alone. This is another depression in the making, and Labour knows how to solve those! We need the knowledge of how to generate economic recovery, rather than waiting and hoping for it to happen elsewhere and then maybe wash up on our shores. Things are getting worse overseas, not better. It is time for people with Labour’s expertise in the management of political and economic detail.

John Key has tried his best with the “hands-off” approach. We are grateful that an incoming Labour-Green government inherits a country that is relatively united and in good morale despite the GFC and the Christchurch earthquakes, courtesy of Key’s ability to be a good figurehead in a time of crisis. But we now need more than a figurehead with obsolete speculation trading skills. We need practical action.

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Acknowledgement

Thankyou to Brian Edwards, Judy Callingham, and Kimbo, for permission to re-publish.

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