So we've been soaking up a lot of political news lately and trying to educate ourselves about the candidates and the issues. As the Flight of the Conchords said, "We're talkin about the issues, but we're keepin it funky ...."
Basically, there are two main parties: National (right-leaning) and Labour (left-leaning). John Key is the head of the National party and, as his party has the most seats in parliament, he's the current prime minister.
Incidentally, how's this for the "Only in New Zealand" file? I met the prime minister a few weeks ago at an outdoor mall. Thank goodness we had our camera with us!
|me and John|
I've never met a prime minister before so I was a little flustered and couldn't manage anything clever to say. So all I said was, "I'm a new kiwi" and "this is Quinn" (he was on my back). John replied, "that's nice." I didn't tell him that I don't plan to vote for him.
The other major party, Labour, is led by Phil Goff, who we both find pretty irritating. He lost my vote when he appeared on a current affairs/comedy show called "7 Days". Although dressed casually in jeans and meant to be joking around with the panelists, he seemed totally stiff and insincere and not funny. Our local MP is a member of the Labour party, but we've not heard anything from her or seen any sign that she's done anything for us in the nearly two years we've lived in her electorate. So while I'm definitely a left-leaning person, Labour leaves me with an empty, unsatisfied feeling.
The third most popular party is the Green party, who are currently polling at about 10% of the vote. This seems amazing to me. Compare the American Green Party, whose candidate for the 2008 presidential election didn't even get to be on half the states' ballots, and who managed to win only about 160,000 votes (according to her Wikipedia page, anyway. Honestly I'd never heard of the woman until I just Googled this).
I like that the Greens call their website "the frog blog".
Although not an official act of the party, I also like this billboard stunt one of their members pulled. This was all over the news just today. Someone (or, more likely, many someones) defaced hundreds of National party election posters by putting stickers on them. The stickers said "The Rich Deserve More" or "Drill it, Mine it, Sell it." It was done to look like part of the poster. Of course I don't condone vandalism, but I thought this was cleverly done.
Then there is a buffet of other, smaller parties. None are polling at more than 5% of the vote right now. That means the only way a smaller party can be represented in Parliament is if one of their members wins an electorate seat.
One of those little parties is New Zealand First. I understand they're pretty far-right-leaning. They've got a guy running in our electorate. His name is Dennis O'Rourke. He recently parked a van outside our house and started talking through a a megaphone. Two of our neighbours stood nearby, listening politely.
We were out back doing some gardening when suddenly we heard a loud voice delaring, "I'm for educating our children!" But who isn't for that, really?