All politi­cians boast a sur­plus – of prom­ises

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION/NEWS -

Don’t know about you, but at this time of the elec­toral cy­cle I find my­self get­ting rather cyn­i­cal.

Politi­cians of all hues say what they think we want to hear and gen­er­ally don’t let the facts get in the way. Tai­lor­ing your mes­sage to your au­di­ence is what you do, of course, if you want to be elected.

Hav­ing lis­tened to speak­ers from most of the par­ties, I am left won­der­ing who on earth to vote for. Let’s have a look at the mes­sages we are get­ting.

Na­tional, nat­u­rally, are pat­ting them­selves on the back for get­ting the books back into sur­plus, how­ever neb­u­lous that con­cept may be. Fig­ures on pa­per don’t re­ally seem to me to be a mea­sure of what our peo­ple are ac­tu­ally ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in their daily lives.

Labour is trumpeting the fact that dur­ing their pre­vi­ous nine years in gov­ern­ment, said books were al­ways in sur­plus (the in­con­ve­nient facts about a global fi­nan­cial re­ces­sion, the Christchurch earth­quakes and Pike River are rarely men­tioned), and promis­ing to rem­edy ev­ery­thing that Na­tional got wrong.

The Greens are of­fer­ing us a utopia- like vi­sion of clean wa­ter­ways, no pol­lu­tion, and chil­dren all flour­ish­ing with no signs of poverty, etc – though where the money to carry out th­ese dreams will come from is un­cer­tain.

NZ First prom­ises, among other things which will ap­peal to the older vot­ers, to keep the Gov­ern- ment hon­est – which hasn’t hap­pened this time round, if all the shenani­gans about dirty pol­i­tics are any­thing to go by.

United Fu­ture plugs along qui­etly in Ohariu and pro­motes a Flexi- Plan for su­per­an­nu­a­tion and fee-less ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion.

ACT? Well, that stands for Aus­tralian Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory, doesn’t it?

The Con­ser­va­tives are look­ing to re­in­state ba­sic moral val­ues in a so­ci­ety which, to be fair, does seem to have lost them th­ese days.

Both the Maori and Mana par­ties are, nat­u­rally, promis­ing bet­ter deals and out­comes for Maori in terms of ed­u­ca­tion, fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity, hous­ing and the like.

The In­ter­net Party seems to have a sin­gle vi­sion – to oust John Key.

As Nikita Khrushchev re­marked in 1960, ‘‘Politi­cians are the same all over. They prom­ise to build a bridge even where there is no river.’’

So where does that leave the vot­ers? For many of us, in limbo, I sus­pect. How­ever, it re­mains im­por­tant we ex­er­cise the vote we have and do it thought­fully.

Even the party we may have sup­ported all our vot­ing life needs to be looked at care­fully through other lenses, such as ethics, re­al­ity, prac­ti­cal­ity, the ben­e­fit to the majority, etc.

The can­di­date vote is the eas­ier of the two we have in many ways. We have a chance to size up the per­son we want to rep­re­sent us and de­cide how well or badly he/ she may per­form if elected. The in­cum­bent ob­vi­ously has a head start in that re­spect, but is also eas­ier to judge in terms of past per­for­mance.

But the party vote is where the power lies, and for that rea­son needs to be taken very se­ri­ously. Mi­nor par­ties which reach the re­quired support level can wield huge in­flu­ence in Par­lia­ment as both the main par­ties vie to keep the trea­sury benches. Is there some truth in the 1887 state­ment of John Ar­buth­not: ‘‘All po­lit­i­cal par­ties die at last of swal­low­ing their own lies’’?

Last month, our lo­cal Na­tional can­di­date, Hekia Parata, of­fered her thoughts on what Na­tional would do for us after all the good things they had done dur­ing the last six years. This month, Win­ston Peters will ad­dress us. Come early if you want a front seat!

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