we are nearing an election in new zealand so the level of political theatre is rising.
the national party (more conservative) led by john key is currently ahead in the polls and on track to beat the labour party (more liberal) led by prime minister helen clark.
(helen clark official photo, helen clark untouched photo with not uncommon kiwi teeth, john key)
labour has been leading government for 9 years and there seems to be strong sentiment for change. there is underlying concern though that national intends to make changes that are quite unpopular including selling off assets (railways, kiwibank) and funding tax cuts with increased debt (nz currently runs a surplus) – but they have been very reluctant to disclose any details of their platform. so there was a huge media storm when two secret recordings of senior national leaders were released saying that they if elected would do what everyone suspected. the leaders were quick to say that they “had not chosen their word carefully”, but the general sentiment was captured well by the the wellington paper that said they were “caught telling the truth”.
the fallout has been national leader john key being obsessed with finding out who made the recordings – and accusing the labour party of being behind it. the source of the recording has insisted that he has no party loyalty, but national is still pressing hard. this week they released a photo that they said was of trash strewn outside john key’s office – clearly the work of a labour party dirty trick campaign.
the great thing about a parliamentary system is that all members of parliament – including the prime minister – met 3 days a week in the house to conduct business. the most interesting part is question time where members can ask other members questions. this holds the party in power accountable and provides great entertainment. can you image if george w and members of his cabinet had to face direct questions on the floor of congress 3 times a week?
this week when john key asked a question to labour if they would investigate the alleged dirty tricks campaign including rooting through his trash, labour party was ready with a response. they announced that after a thorough investigation that they found the perpetrator, and offered a photo.
they said the hoodie (popular with kiwi thugs) made it clear that this suspect was of dubious character.
great political theatre.