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Ed Said - Political games continue



dadFrom a slow start in August, what a political month it’s been, from the Todd Barclay affair where he should have been ousted a year ago, to Andrew Little falling on his sword, Metiria Turei’s inevitable resignation (then being nominated for the New Zealander of the Year award, words fail me), the rise and who knows what of Jacinda Ardern, and finally Peter Dunne, correctly reading the writing on the wall and retiring also.

I was surprised at some of the criticism directed towards Peter Dunne showing what short memories some people have. From ‘84-‘94 he was a part of the Labour Government. He then formed his one-man-band United Future, negotiated a spot with Labour from ‘05-‘08 and has been part of the National Government since 2008 to his retirement a week ago. Thus he was labelled a ‘flip-flop’, a fence-sitter and a party-hopper.

To be fair those terms are an exact fit for our own representative Winston Peters. From a coalition with National he hopped to the Opposition benches in 1999, joined Labour in Government in 2005 but was then stood down in 2008. Since then he has been wallowing in the back benches. For all the criticism one has to say Dunne has worked the system extremely well and much better than Peters.

Ardern is obviously enjoying the euphoria that goes with a change of leadership, gaining several points in the polls while National dipped slightly but the Greens and NZ First have both suffered notable drops as a result. Will things stabilise? Is any party particularly showing out to be more preferable than any other at this stage? From a dull campaign this one has suddenly come to life.

Since the Government opened the books last week showing a healthy $2 billion bank balance the fervour has grown to a major money scramble. We will now pay just $18 for doctor visits says National. Nope, says Labour, only $8 and only $2 for teens. Mega-millions are being thrown at housing and education. NZ First leader Winston Peters has indicated he wants to drop the corporate

tax rate to 25 percent, yet he predictably labelled the surplus as ‘an illusion’. Amazing what one can promise with the possibility of inheriting a bundle of cash.

Some political pundits show little interest in the early pre-election brouhaha preferring to wait for official ‘policy’ announcements. All parties have a policy on housing, health, education, homelessness, sport, agriculture, climate change ad infinitum.

What exactly is a ‘policy’? A policy is no more than an idea, a theory or a blueprint which is simply an idea that has been written down. It can be called a strategy but despite what any party holds as policy, they can put nothing into action until they actually become the Government when they will invariably find that they can only put a few of their ‘policies’ into action because they have to prioritise. Said policies have to be re-worked to fit budgets and abilities and an MP with strong policy on, say, education, may well be given the sport portfolio.

All the more reason to take anything ‘promised’ with a grain of salt because any more than a grain of salt might seriously contravene the laws of healthy eating.

There is a saying: A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation. I doubt we have any of the latter.

Just my thoughts.


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