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Entry 1076, on 2009-08-20 at 22:05:48 (Rating 4, Politics)

I have already predicted that the National government's very incompatible partners, Act and the Maori Party, would never peacefully coexist for long. Now there seems to be a major point of difference emerging where the leader of Act, Rodney Hide, has threatened to resign as local government minister if the new Auckland "super" city arrangement has Maori seats built in.

Its an interesting issue and one I'm not totally sure about. Its great to see that the so-called "honeymoon" period the new government was enjoying is well and truly over. There is also a protest and major poster campaign happening here in Dunedin over the fact that the government will spend $40 million sending the SAS (or what the campaign describes as "trained killers") to Afghanistan while cutting $30 million from the education budget. I guess that's the sort of priorities we should expect from a right oriented government.

Its not so much that I dislike this government (although I disagree with a lot of what they are doing I think they have been reasonably fair up until now) its more about not having a strong government which feels that it can get away with anything it wants because its so popular.

So what about the Maori seats issue itself?

First of all, I'm sure many people would be really relieved if Hide was no longer Minister of Local Government. When someone like him is in charge you can be sure the same old unimaginative Act money-saving cuts won't be far away. So the threat of his resignation would be celebrated by many.

Many people have rightly pointed out that one person from a party which received such a small proportion of the vote shouldn't be trying to control a process which the majority might want to see happen. If he's going to be part of the government he should accept compromise and not start making wild treats just because he can't get his own way.

An alternative view is that he's keeping to his principles. Hide doesn't believe that some groups in our society should get special privileges and I must say that I think most people would agree. Many people I discuss this with are sick of Maori being given privileges other people don't have, being given hand-outs, and generally being treated as if they are more important than the rest of us. The junk the Maori Party usually come up with some nonsense about being a special partner through the Treaty is just pathetic. If that's what the Treaty really says (I'm sure it doesn't) then its time we eliminated it.

So there is a certain appeal in Act's message and, while I think they are dangerous and I would never consider voting for them, I do admire their principles even if they are misguided.

There's also the way this affects the debate on MMP. One of the major objections to MMP is that small parties can have too great an influence on bigger ones. This is a possible example of that happening although there is no real threat to the stability of the government because of it.

So I think its an interesting issue with no clear right and wrong sides. It will be interesting to see how it proceeds but its sure to cause a bit of strife for the government (which they need) so even that is a positive thing.


Comment 21 (2470) by OJB on 2009-08-29 at 20:59:45: (view earlier comments)

There is some overlap of course, but there's a long way off before I term them 'heroes'. That term just doesn't fit in the same bookcase as 'politician'.

Why do people have such low regard for politicians? Should it really be impossible for a politician to be a hero? I can't understand why people don't realise that they do a difficult job for relatively little reward.


Comment 22 (2471) by SBFL on 2009-08-29 at 22:14:05:

Serious? I would say one of the main reasons would be the way they talk and act: avoid answering questions, trading off a principle to get something else - usually for themselves, troughing as you raised yourself recently, doing favours for dodgy reasons. Actually I can sum all that up in two words: "Winston Peters".


Comment 23 (2476) by OJB on 2009-08-30 at 09:42:56:

Sorry, is this top business people or politicians we're talking about here? I'm just not sure based on your first sentence. Ah, Winston, I see. He's typical of all politicians, right?


Comment 24 (2478) by SBFL on 2009-08-30 at 10:21:19:

Cheeky. Since you are interested in politics and work in a university I would say that my sentence referred to politicians for your benefit. Their actions are well publicised. If you worked amongst the higher echelons of the business world, you might have more stance to criticise top business people, but you don't, and the media offers only tidbits.

Of course Winston isn't typical of all politicians, but it was an easy term to summarise an answer to your question: Why do people have such low regard for politicians?. See it as an adjective, not a noun. Oh, and don't take it too seriously.


Comment 25 (2482) by OJB on 2009-08-30 at 21:42:50:

I think I can criticise both politicians and business people without actually working with them. If that was a criterion for criticism then there wouldn't be much of it happening. Winston is a real character and its sad not having him in parliament any more. Also, looking through a checklist of his parties policies I find I actually agree with quite a lot of them!

I have worked in the private sector in previous jobs and with senior staff in the university now and I would say I wouldn't trust hem any more or less than a politician. Power always corrupts no matter what form that power takes!


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