NZ election fallout – I’m not off to Australia

Social media is a buzz with people whingeing that last night’s election result has screwed the country for another 3 years. That’s fine, this is politics and everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, their reasoning seems rather strange.

Many people, jokingly or not, have said they are off to Aussie. I find this rather amusing. The reason I assume people would contemplate going to live in Australia is because economic conditions over there are much better. But then do they think a Labour-led government would do a better job improving our economy than a National one??

People voted National in droves last night, which seems to be a vote of confidence for a party that can solve economic problems. More significantly, it looks to be a vote of no confidence levelled at Labour in the economic department.

What people fail to realise is that the welfare state in New Zealand is not as “uncaring” as many begrudged Labour voters seem to think. A trip to Australia would confirm that fairly quickly. National will not ignore social problems because it is not the “Boogeyman” from the political right.

The fact is that the Australian economy is stronger than ours in New Zealand. However, a key reason why is that they have a mining industry – the very thing most left leaning supporters have opposed here in New Zealand.

If we are to have thriving social programmes, education and healthcare, more jobs, then we can’t do it without moola. None of things are going to come free.

If we want a pie that is big enough to fund the kind of social programmes that Labour and the left want it is going to require looking after the pie, expanding it and not giving so much of it away in loan and interest repayments.

National are not a party so far to the right that they resemble the US Republican party. If they were like the Republican party then I would agree that National are an uncaring party who disenfranchise the “99%”.

The claim that National will benefit only the “super-rich” is also without merit. The rich in this country, a demographic never really defined by those who demonise them, are not a majority.

Most working New Zealanders and small business owners (read: employers/job creators) realise the economic realities we live in. While we could do much more in the areas of welfare, health and education, we will need a sound economy to do anything worthwhile. This is why Labour governments do good work during our economic “up” years.

On that note, I think the Greens doing so well is a good thing. They will bring some valuable perspectives to the table, particularly around energy and the issues surrounding pollution.

It is true that our primary industries are valuable money spinners for the country but it seems to be unsustainable long-term to allow farmers a free pass in the water pollution area. Greenhouse gas policy will continue to be a hot topic. An alternative to straight market-first answers is needed on such topics.

At the end of the day politics is about values, but as a skeptic, I hope to see policies (an opposition to policies) grounded in the best data and sound logic.

Heading to Australia is great, but I wouldn’t be doing so on the basis that our country is screwed while Australia is some golden land of paradise. If you want a better standard of living here, it seems fixing the economy and balancing the books is a top priority. National is who the people chose to do this and their logic is sound given the opposition.


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