Getting what you voted for

datePosted on 14:55, August 30th, 2009 by Anita

It’s nearly 10 months since the election and the parties have just about found their feet. Bloggers on the left are delighting in saying to National, Act and Māori Party voters “look at what they’re doing, you didn’t vote for that!” which makes me curious, how many of us got what we voted for?

ACT

If you voted for hard-on-crime you’re probably feeling ok right now, it might not be as hard or as fast as you like, but the art of vengeance is definitely on its way back. If you voted for Rodney Hide, hurrah you have Rodney Hide. If you’re a small business owner frustrated with regulation, again you’re probably feeling pretty good at the signs of what’s coming. The neoliberals might not think things are happening fast enough, but they’re sure happening. It’s only the old ACT libertarian core who must be feeling cheated by the concessions to the crime-and-punishment lobby, and who else could you have voted for anyway?

Greens

I voted Green looking for a genuinely left wing party, and I’m feeling a bit let down: the MOU and the lack of visibility over the pain National’s policies are causing the poor and the vulnerable. That said, I also know that the Greens don’t have any parliamentary power so I expect some compromise. If you voted for the environment it’s probably feeling pretty good, while we lost the election the Greens are being effective at raising the issues and progressing a handful of them – about as good as you could hope for in the current political climate.

Labour

You lost, that’s all bad, but how’re you feeling about this incarnation of Labour-in-opposition? Labour’s actually doing ok I reckon for the centrist middle class left voters, and for the co-opted unions – they’re making the right noises about National policy, they’re sounding union and struggling middle-class friendly. People on the left of the party, however, are perhaps less happy: the current strategy appears to be a fight for the centre rather than a return to Labour’s working class roots.

Māori Party

Possibly it’s enough to be part of government, but at some point doesn’t the lack of policy wins start to hurt?

National

Well… if you voted for that nice John Key you’re probably happy with the smiley vacuous man who gets to go on Letterman. If you voted against Labour you were once happy with the lack of Helen Clark, but National’s starting to look a bit nanny state-ish. If you voted for the agriculture sector you’re probably adequately pleased by the reversals on the ETS and RMA, big business should be similarly happy. So the ideological backers are probably happy, but the soft centre?

Progressives & United Future

You got Jim Anderton and Peter Dunne, you must be rapt! :)

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14 Responses to “Getting what you voted for”

  1. gingercrush on August 30th, 2009 at 17:59

    I think you miss the mark in places.

    The neo-liberals might not think things are happening fast enough, but they’re sure happening.

    You’re making a judgement. The neo-liberals if you ask them would not see this government doing anything about setting an agenda for neo-liberal reform. Of course most of that is directed at National and not the Act party. But undoubtedly those neo-liberal Act voters want to see far more policy in this area.

    In regards to your piece of National. It’d help if you didn’t begin with calling him vacuous. The party has ideas. Whether they clarify those ideas enough is questionable and is a situation I suggest will become more problematic. Also I doubt many of the ideologues that vote National are happy at all. They think this National party is way too centrist and doesn’t go anywhere near setting in place a neo-liberal agenda. So as far as they’re concerned National needs to move much more to the right.

    I also find it naive to think the soft centre somehow aren’t happy. Its a line that always seems to be in use by the left on the blogosphere. They seem to think eventually these people will wake up. I think they’re wrong. National has done well to build largely around a centrist platform and that is reflected in the polls. Not with the party vote which, one expects to be high but in approval ratings for Key and the government. The left may believe this government is setting in place some extreme policies and focuses but I don’t think the centre is seeing it. I also think that soft centre as such are quite comfortable with some of the more right-wing policies.

    In regards to Labour. I’m not left-wing and would never contemplate voting Labour so I can’t speak for them. But how long can they be comfortable with an opposition that isn’t getting traction? What happens if they continue to get no traction. I don’t think the issue is with the Labour Party. The issue is a rather uninspiring leadership that just looks like a rewind of National in 2002.

    A good post though Anita. I always enjoy your posts and posts by others here.

    —-

    Is there a way to turn off blockquote? I find it rather frustrating.

  2. Phil Sage (sagenz) on August 30th, 2009 at 23:00

    Anita – Keep on misunderestimating John Key. That is just fine as it means the politically active left dont understand. The rest of New Zealand think he is following a good path. National poll ratings have gone up since the election.

    If you think Labour can be “actually doing ok” I would suspect you are a centre right plant in disguise.

    Labour is busy self destructing. It is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Labour had a strong leader who was more concerned about maintaining her own power and career path than developing her successors and a lasting legacy. If she had handed over during her third term to a leader who had developed through consensus she would have left a stronger legacy.

    This will certainly be a two term government, probably 3 and possibly more depending on how arrogant the government will be perceived to become.

  3. SeaJay on August 31st, 2009 at 08:11

    sagenz: already arrogant – what do you see? Melissa Lee?
    And misunderestimigating the smiling assassin who texas? Nope – not even.
    2-3 terms – your job must depend upon it…

  4. Homepaddock on August 31st, 2009 at 08:43

    “If you voted for the agriculture sector you’re probably adequately pleased by the reversals on the ETS . . . ”

    Definitely not – an ETS is a tax which is great for lawyers, consultants and bureaucrats but does nothing for the environment.

  5. frog on August 31st, 2009 at 09:26

    Anita – In what way did the Greens lose the election? An increase in seats of 50%, while all others on our side of the faux divide got slaughtered. I call that a significant victory. I agree that our influence is limited in the current circumstances, but I would hardly call the last election a failure for the Greens.

  6. StephenR on August 31st, 2009 at 09:30

    “If you voted for the agriculture sector you’re probably adequately pleased by the reversals on the ETS . . . ”

    Well one would’ve voted for ACT then, not National?

  7. George D on August 31st, 2009 at 12:17

    frog, you’re being too sensitive. Anita’s meaning (at least as far as I could tell) was that the Greens were in no position to form a Government with anybody.

    I do agree that the Greens haven’t managed to get the kind of exposure for their social justice side that they need. The new MPs need to be out their expanding the presence. Whether that is their fault, or they’ve just been left aside by the media and powers that be, I don’t know. I suspect at least partly both – but the odds have always been against you so nothing new there.

  8. lyndon on August 31st, 2009 at 15:15

    You’ll probably find that, drugs aside, plenty of libertarians are actually quite keen to lock criminals up for as long as possible.

  9. Ari on August 31st, 2009 at 23:21

    You’ll probably find that, drugs aside, plenty of libertarians are actually quite keen to lock criminals up for as long as possible.

    They don’t make particularly good libertarians then.* There’s no reason to incarcerate someone unless they’re going to commit more crimes if you release them under libertarian philosophy- libertarians cannot claim idealogical backing for vengeance-based justice, only prevention of re-offending can justify loss of liberty under a libertarian system to my understanding.

    *Not that many “libertarians” make good libertarians anyway. The word’s been hijacked by social conservatives who worship corporate anarchy**.

    **As in “free market” without the protections, laws, and pricing of externalities that make it a free market rather than just letting corporations do what they like all the time.

  10. Anita on September 1st, 2009 at 09:31

    Homepaddock,

    Are you saying that the agriculture sector is not pleased with the reversals on the ETS? I’m surprised, although I have been listening more to the dairy industry than the wider agriculture sector.

    Anyhow, as a national voter from the agriculture sector, how are you feeling about the way things are? Which issues are signficant in influencing how you feel about the National ACT government.

  11. Anita on September 1st, 2009 at 09:36

    frog writes,

    Anita – In what way did the Greens lose the election? An increase in seats of 50%, while all others on our side of the faux divide got slaughtered. I call that a significant victory. I agree that our influence is limited in the current circumstances, but I would hardly call the last election a failure for the Greens.

    We have a government which is even worse on environmental and social justice issues than the last one, isn’t that a loss?

    Yes the Greens increased their vote share and the new MPs are doing pretty well, but looking at NZ as a whole rather than just the health of the Green Party I think we lost.

  12. Homepaddock on September 1st, 2009 at 18:54

    The general feeling I’ve got from people in agriculture is that an ETS is mad in general because it will harm the economy without helping the environment and it’s especially stupid to apply it to agriculture when there’s not yet anything we can do to reduce emissions.

    “Anyhow, as a national voter from the agriculture sector, how are you feeling about the way things are? Which issues are signficant in influencing how you feel about the National ACT governmen.”

    You don’t get miracles in politics but the general change in priorities – productivity and growth rather than social engineering is welcome. In particular the high country plan released last week is a welcome change of attitude which recognises that farming and conservation aren’t mutually exclusive; efforts to reduce government spending are welcomed;the appointment of a science advisor is a good sign. . .

  13. jcuknz on September 1st, 2009 at 22:12

    Anita … I think you might be interested in a plea from an American doctor which I have copied to my blog today.
    Please forgive me for putting this here but only way of passing it on to you that I can think of. She was my daughter-in-law awhile back.

  14. lyndon on September 2nd, 2009 at 13:07

    only prevention of re-offending can justify loss of liberty

    Surely, deciding to keep or release people based on what they might do would count as punishing them for something they hadn’t done?

    The only actual libertarian philosophy took the right to retribution for rights vilations as a given, then farmer it out to the state out of pragmatism.

    Anyway, I meant the “old ACT libertarian core” Anita referred to. Though I was probably thinking of the Libz that I’m aware of.

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