If you haven't caught up on Forbes' blog about the election, it may help you understand the background of the 'situation'. I say it's a situation because I feel things have gone too far in some areas of the topic. We'll get to that shortly. In the meantime, if you feel you need to be briefly schooled in New Zealand politics before continuing, listen to Jon Stewart's comments on "The Daily Show"...
First and foremost, I am not a politically-minded person. Never have been, never will be. I feel as apathetic as a lot of people in this country (and around the world) about the selection of leaders (spare a few), but I do have an opinion on who is better than the low-lives who have been running the show for the past 2 terms (which is 3 years in NZ as opposed to 4 in the US). Never really understood most of the policies involved until recent years, especially after joining one of the workers unions. I've paid more attention to the news in the last few years than I've watched my "Transformers" DVD collection, and if you know me well enough, that's a bit of a shock.
Upon turning 18, I had the dreary task of being eligable to vote. The few news stories I did see in the 90's regarding politics worldwide gave off the impression that middle-aged presidents from overseas like to get down and dirty with their interns, while female prime ministers in this country sound more manly than the actual men in parliament. So, I had very little knowledge to go on when I got started. To put the icing on the cake, I just went along with whoever my mother was voting for at the time, which is obviously a very blind approach on my part. I would've studied the policies and went from there, but coming from a guy whose personal record for absences in a single class during high school is 106, I don't see much in the ways of paying attention.
I voted a couple times after turning 18, but there came a time where I became one of those infamous non-voters. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, I used to be one of those people. But as I said, I started paying more attention in recent years. I have seen the light. Unfortunately though, that light is currently in a room at the back of the house with no windows, as the very thing I was aiming to vote against somehow ended up winning this year's election regardless of my contribution.
As Forbes mentioned in his blog on this topic, I do tend to sway towards the left. I'm all for looking after the little guy that often gets trampled on by greedy, wallet-sucking vultures who have more on their plate than they're supposed to. Speaking as one of these little guys, I know who I'm supporting. That might sound selfish to some of you, but that's not my intention. Not only do I struggle at times, but many others like me as well. I'm certain that they voted for the same party as I did, or one of the other lefties.
In the past month or 2, there was a book by the name of "Dirty Politics" released by Nicky Hager, a New Zealand investigative journalist. The book reveals a lot that was said behind closed doors and via e-mail correspondence between John Key (and/or other National Party members) and a blogger named Cameron Slater. Let's just say that what was said has been compared to the likes of the Watergate Scandal... I haven't read the book personally, but what I've seen of it so far is enough for me to be even more of a leftie than I already was. If you can track down a copy, by all means give it a go. Take it from someone that's barely read more than a paragraph or 2 and yet still recommends it. You're in for a bumpy ride/read.
The book was released some time after the scenario behind John Key's vendetta against Kim Dotcom (which kinda lead to a retaliating vendetta in the end), and the raid on his mansion here in New Zealand. I don't remember much happening immediately after the raid, but it all built up to Hager's book. It all started getting interesting from there. Enough for even a law-abiding anarchist like myself to pay attention.
Then came Kim Dotcom's "Moment of Truth" at the Auckland Town Hall a mere 5 days before Election Day. He was joined on stage with the head of the Internet Mana party (well, the Internet Party side of it), Laila Harré, Glenn Greenwald (an American lawyer, journalist and author), plus online live video appearances from WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden himself. Sorry, I didn't get the name of the other guy on the panel. The evidence that came up about such topics as the TPPA, GCSB, etc, were both surprising and not surprising at the same time. In other words, I knew what was going on in the background was bad, but not to the level that it is.
However, the "Moment of Truth" somehow got brushed to the side after all of that. Despite the evidence revealed, the entire event was viewed (by right-wingers and their media puppets, no doubt) as focusing on Kim Dotcom's 'agenda' against the National Party. A lot of people did (and still do) have concerns over what the likes of Snowden and Assange brought to the table, but I feel that it has also been largely overlooked. And I feel that the end results of the election 5 days later are an example of this.
I still don't fully understand why it swayed in the opposite direction to how it was looking up to that point. Maybe it was rigged? I don't know that, but it wouldn't surprise me. As you would imagine, watching the numbers creep up in National's favour that night disappointed me greatly. For the first time, I actually thought the words, "What is wrong with this country?" I don't mean that to offend anyone. Needless to say, I was having a bad night. Spending 9 hours on my feet before the event didn't help either.
Oh, by the way, despite the results of the election, people are already complaining about some of the policies that have come up. The topic of the New Zealand flag changing being one of them. This has come up a few times before the election campaigns even started, and even then the majority of the public have said no to it. But now that National is still in power, they're bringing back that old dead goat? It hasn't even been a week yet... I don't want to sound like one of those people, but if you were one of the eligable voters that kept them in parliament, then you brought this upon yourself. You knew who you were dealing with. It's a shame, really.
Speaking of voters, I would also like to mention the quantity of non-voters this time around. There were many 3 years ago, leading to National winning its second consecutive term. This year wasn't much different, I think. The numbers may have been different (or indifferent, in their case), but I don't do statistics on this topic. Either way, there was close to about a million non-voters out of a population of around 4 or 5 times more than that. If you're a non-voter and you're reading this, we have you to thank for this year's results. Remember, if you don't like what's going on in this country lately, you could have (and should have) made a difference. If we head down the highway to hell, you'll most likely be dragged along for the ride with us, John Key at the steering wheel, while you bang your head on the many potholes we have to offer in my local area.
Sorry to sound like a whining old fart. I've been wanting to get this off my chest for 5 days now. I feel better getting it out (I hope I don't have a power cut or Internet failure before posting this...).
So, that's basically it. Another 3 years of the same old crap from the same old people...and I do mean old. That's another thing - there's not many younger generations in politics at the moment. Maybe there should be some new faces...literally... Don't get me wrong, there are certain 'older' politicians that aren't too bad, but I think a lot of the reasons why some people are indifferent towards politics is because there are a lot of young people in this country, and they want to look up to someone they can relate to on a personal level. I totally get that, even though I'm in my 30's.
That'll do for now, I think. This topic has been done to death these past few months. I was sick of it building up to the election. I'm sick of it now. May the next election be a more fruitful one in the end.
In the words of the late and great Freddie Mercury in the Queen song, "I Want it All"...
"Here's to the future, for the dreams of youth."
Over and out.