NZ Elections Leaders 2017
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/nz-elections-leaders-2017/thumbs/thumbs_james_shaw_2014.jpg]10James Shaw
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/nz-elections-leaders-2017/thumbs/thumbs_1106.jpg]10Winston Peters
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/nz-elections-leaders-2017/thumbs/thumbs_images.jpg]00Bill English
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/nz-elections-leaders-2017/thumbs/thumbs_te-ururoa-flavell.jpg]00Te Ururoa Flavell
Although politics fascinate me on many levels, the one country I’ve taken very little interest in politically, is my place of birth, Aotearoa – The Land of the Long White Cloud – New Zealand. However the reported rise of the new Labour leader, Jacinda Ardern in just a few short few weeks, coupled with my ongoing despair of Australian politics – the choice of that sad fop Malcolm Turnbull, or the bland, poll – driven turn-off of Bill Shorten, not to mention the relatively new West Australian Labor Government starting to look uninspired, uninspiring and as completely lacking in vision as the previous Liberal Government, has created a desire for vision and spark.
So knowing very little of the current state of play in New Zealand politically – I haven’t lived there since the early 1970s, indeed I’ve lived far longer in Oz than I ever lived in New Zealand – I sat and watched the New Zealand election unfold on ABC TV this evening. Which in itself is interesting – hell, apart from Dr Who, I don’t watch, or listen to the ABC any longer. I’ve learnt from bitter experience in the last two state elections that the ABC operates on a two party plus Pauline Hanson agenda politically, the so-called right wing station, 6PR, is far more inclusive. My TV station of choice has become SBS and my radio stations, 6PR and Curtin Radio. Having spoken for me for years, the ABC is no longer of very much interest. Then again, I long ago cancelled my Australian and West Australian newspaper subscriptions. But I digress – as always!
It was fascinating watching the various Kiwi politicians front the media. Apart from Winston Peters, I had absolutely no knowledge of any of the other contestants, including somebody called Bill English, who has apparently been the New Zealand conservative (National) Prime Minister.
As Leonard Cohen once wrote – you knew I was going to quote him – the judgements are severe – well, maybe not, perhaps more instant impressions.
Jacinda Ardern: No doubt the Elephant in the Room is the teeth. I couldn’t take my eyes off them and they certainly play a major role in everything she does – she constantly rolls her tongue over them and sort of swallows and purses her lips over them. It was utterly disconcerting watching her being interviewed, or giving speeches.
I liked her. She struck me as a decent human being, however, her post-election speech was piss-poor. No fight, very little graciousness and little on display in terms of understanding the politics of the moment. Whatever she was thinking, it wasn’t motivational. Possibly she has her mind set on the next election, but to not mention Winston Peters – she cannot form a government without him, was either naïve, or a deliberate ploy. I concluded she was good, shows a lot of promise, but needs a few more years in the sparring ring.
James Shaw: The Greens leader struck me as affable and likeable, but a bit lost in the wilderness. Earnest, but probably irrelevant.
Winston Peters: Let me be honest, I like a maverick and this smooth son of a bitch is a maverick. I liked his campaign headquarters in Russell – obviously the party’s not short of a quid! His speech was fascinating – no message to either the Nationals, or Labour, rather he chose to tell his own party members to shut the fuck up whilst he conducts negotiations with the highest bidder and he gave a Trump-like serve to the media! You have to be confident / mad, or not give a flying fuck to take that approach. But he knows neither party can form government without him, fascinating. I must confess I was taken aback to discover that his relationship with Maori people is not the best. Peters struck me as the only professional politician of the bunch – hard as nails, been there, done that. Sort of like a German Shephard – wonderful, but you’d never quite take your eyes off him.
Bill English: Mr Nice Guy. I liked him too. He struck me as honest, if somewhat plodding – I’d pick him as Deputy Headmaster, not the sucker in charge, but hey, sometimes nice guys do come first. There was a shifty looking bloke standing behind him when he made his election night speech, which subliminally screamed out, “This is what we’re really like, Bill’s just a front.” Then again, there was a similar, more thuggish bloke standing behind Jacinda Ardern – I think he was the Labour Deputy – which also screamed out what was really going on behind the scenes. It did occur to me that Kiwi Labour had adopted the long term Aussie Labor policy of when the party’s stuffed, put a woman in charge and let her cop the flack.
But back to Bill – his was the good speech of the night – not great, not remotely inspiring, just good ‘don’t scare the horses’ stuff. He sure as hell remembered to congratulate Winston Peters! Thing is, you felt comfortable with Bill – he’s the sort of bloke who steadfastly looks after the books at the local bowling club and passes the plate at church – Anglican no doubt. Conservative Kiwis would feel comfortable with him – no boat rocking.
Te Ururoa Flavell: The leader of the Maori Party lost in this election, it was decimation. This man stood beaten and rejected by voters, yet, for me, he was the man / person of the night. There was something about this guy that I crave in politicians. I knew instantly this was a bloke you’d be proud to say you knew. Fabulous speech from the heart. No thug behind him, just a lovely caring wife.
By voting him out, I think New Zealand is the loser. If old mate Bill had been totally on the game, he would have mentioned Flavell and offered him a place of some sort in the future government. Jacinda was possibly caught up in the fact that Maori people appear to have returned to the Labour fold, she too missed an opportunity.
Flavell was the only one who gave any sort of vision, the rest? Mere platitudes, but hey, perhaps that’s what the voters want. Vision can be confronting, let’s go with the Sunday school teacher.
I think New Zealand voters have missed a golden opportunity, with Te Ururoa Flavell. I think they’re right about Jacinda Ardern – she’s not ready yet. Winston Peters is an interesting card to play and the voters have placed the Joker right on top of the pack. As for Bill English, as long as he does what he’s told, it will probably work out … for the Nationals … certainly not in favour of the ordinary Kiwi, who exists on ludicrously low wages, while having to pay Australian prices for everything and with little hope of paying the rent, let alone a mortgage on properties pumped way over value by overseas investors.
But hey, you get what you voted for.