A couple of posts about the New Zealand election coming up on September 23rd I posted on Stuff.co.nz and getting my Silence Dogood on.
Policy aside and the grinding-push-pull of the two party NZ system, it’s naive to think that charismatic leadership doesn’t matter, or that it shouldn’t be given any weight in an election; treated glibly as some kind of symptom of the social media age or trait of a vacuous and ill-informed youth. Groups following charismatic leaders is as old as humanity itself. Politics is a personality cult and always has.
John Key, Norman Kirk, Robert Muldoon and David Lange all had an abundance of personal charisma, and political positions aside, NZ’ers enjoyed them as leaders, statesman, and politicians regardless of their views and history has venerated them as such. Andrew Little lacked charisma and appeared fearful and confrontational on screen and although he was an excellent union man, he was no leader, so it was obvious the party would flounder. The sudden change in leadership by Labour has energized an apathetic voting public to get behind a person we actually want to represent us at home and abroad.
Bill English was handed the National juggernaut that was running at almost top speed by the very talented John Key, but within a year it’s wilting through an ineffective style of leadership, leaning mostly on status-quo rhetoric. Jacinda Ardern proves that idealism, honesty and a clear unwavering belief in her own ability to lead the NZ people will influence people and quickly. As Helen Clarke’s heir apparent, I see her as the mouth piece of a generation locked out of free tertiary education and the housing market left in the fallout and fighting against the business round table ethos of the National ranks. Austerity measures, neoliberalism, and ‘accountants as politicians’ have delivered society huge inequality everywhere in the world and these elements should only be part of NZ’s political makeup, not all of it.
You are only as strong as your weakest citizens, and the Randian, trickle-down policies of free market-only governance will never truly work in such an isolated and socially complex place as NZ. Ardern has the idealism to challenge National’s ‘cash-nexus only’ political policy and restore a universal approach for all NZ’ers. Bill English presided over the largest loss by the National party in 2002 and it is very likely that a Labour leader with four weeks experience will do the same to him again in 2017. This all comes down to the essential element of charisma, which Ardern was clearly born with.
Brand-Key, the corporate word used to sell a product; was held in high regard by the country and media.
The Jacinda-Effect is dismissed and framed in a quasi-tall poppy sense or like a ‘side-effect’ or irrational and delusional ‘mania’. (Bernie Sanders NYT coverage used the words ‘militant’ and ‘fringe’ to diminish followers). The news headline reads “Young woman rises above station too quickly for agenda setters to adequately control”.
Sounds like Labour got itself a lady star when it needed it most and threw up the 4th quarter Hail Mary. Like National getting their smiling, uber-accountant in 2008, it’s no different, except Key championed money and Ardern champions society. NZ tried the money man out for a while, but there’s too much traffic, too much tourist poo and nowhere to live. Even Key abandoned ship when the tide turned (a CEO’s acute sense of self-preservation and market awareness in action here). Arise Sir Key, while Letterman says “What is he doing here, Paul?”.
The pendulum swings in democracies, and even though agendas are firmly set, no amount of spaghetti pizzas or jogging on the ‘internets’ can stop the real body-politic. It isn’t socialism anymore, it’s lifting up the bottom rungs of society with the money that’s already there (regardless of Finance Minister scare-mongering and blatant lies).
If words like Trump, Stalin, and Lenin are being thrown around to describe individuals who want to elevate the lower ranks in society, then perhaps we are truly lost. Care for the children, back the families and champion education and society will flourish. Tax revenue is for the people to be spent on the people, not shareholders, the preternaturally talented or people gaming the system.
Politics needs iconoclasts and iron fists in velvet gloves. Two ticks for the maniacs *side-effects may include a loss of apathy, but an increase in direction, empathy & pride in yourself and country.
#3 Neoliberalism & Housing
Globalization is essentially the free-movement of money and labour to satisfy the needs of the factory owners and their elected governments. Austerity, a market-led society (which is a complete fallacy), and a destabilized workforce are all parts of Giddens and his Third Way, which is failing everywhere in stupefying ways at the expense of regular people and poor countries.
This cannot just be blamed on one NZ political party, as all were involved, but this terrible condition of post-capitalism is the last nail in the coffin of the proletariat worker (home-owner), as the factory owner/land owner with govt collusion has squeezed the last juice out of its human capital. Following these pseudo-scientific economic theories has resulted in New Zealanders losing their land and position, while the wealthy have profited and played with our money and lives like toys. The idea of financialization is disastrous in such a small and isolated country and any undergraduate commerce student can see that the negative effects, on the whole, would outweigh any superficial personal gains.
Putting the NZ wage earners into direct competition with foreign workers and home buyers will destroy the country, or may have already. Why do we crave to be like the USA/UK so much? For its riches and wealth. The myopic following of our democratic seniors without correctly auditing their size and nature and the clear destructive elements in play in all these countries has resulted in New Zealanders being thrown to the wolves. The cruel irony is that colonial New Zealand will most likely develop more empathy for the New Zealand Maori, post treaty and how they lost their land in a deal which only benefitted its architects.
New Zealand, for far too long has been treated as some kind of living incubator to be poked and prodded by Frankensteinesque economic villains, who use its people for their own hopeless fiscal ideas cooked up during their commerce degree or some shady deal or perceived success they had in the private sector. New Zealand should be treated like its wildlife, very carefully and with great precision. But, I think it’s too late.
If Jacinda Ardern has the guts to say this publically then she has the mettle to take it on. Sign me up.
You’re really voting for status quo or for change and the incoming party cannot really assess the financial situation completely until they come in and find out where the bodies are buried, as Key did with Clark as TheDeadTruth mentioned below.
A lot of comments are parroting facts and figures from the TV man as gospel which is disappointing and using them to attack the other. The underlying factor is that the National team have tapped into the financial PTSD that collective New Zealanders suffer from, after years of aggressive and radical economic policies, which have made their heads spin and lives suffer. So when Joyce chummed the waters, everyone took the bait. If this deception is enough to get them over the line, then people deserve to be governed by them.
Bill English’s failure to even hear the word Neoliberalism with Espiner on RNZ and dance around Bolger’s comment is someone who clearly runs a Neoliberalist ship and will not change course at all. This was his “Please explain” moment as far as I am concerned. Financial dogma becomes as locked as bad personality traits and changing it takes years of psychotherapy. Joyce could use a tune-up I think.