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Roll On (and Over) the 20th!

At the risk of fallling into the all too familiar trap of becoming a 'repeater', can I say that after all the unpleasantness of the last few weeks, Karl du Fresne has contibuted a column that is once again well worth following. This is an exert with which I wholeheartedly agree:

"It’s surely significant that even after all the furore of the past few weeks, public support for Key and his government, as measured by the opinion polls, appears to have barely moved.

That suggests the public, after weighing everything up, has largely discounted Hager’s claims. They will have noted the strategic timing of the book launch and possibly regard Dirty Politics as itself a bit dirty, notwithstanding all the claims about the purity of the author’s motives.

That’s one of the great things about an informed, open democracy. It has a remarkable way of enabling people to see past the smoke, flames and noise and eventually find their way to the right conclusion.

I always remember Mike Moore’s philosophical response when the Labour government of which he was briefly the leader was thrown out of office in 1990. “The people are always right,” he said.

He was saying that in a democracy, you can’t argue with the result of a free and fair election. But what he said was also correct in a broader sense: an informed electorate is capable of making wise decisions. That’s one of the reasons I remain hopeful. But there’s another factor too.

It’s agreed by everyone that this has been an unusually vicious election campaign. But the important thing is that the worst of the nastiness is on the fringes of politics, among noisy and highly partisan activists on either side.

In the middle, where most New Zealanders dwell, life goes on. Politics isn’t everything. They tune out most of the unpleasantness.

Another thing that gives me heart is that when the firestorm over Dirty Politics was at its height, I watched rival politicians debating on television. On one programme, Education Minister Hekia Parata was in the studio with Labour’s Chris Hipkins. On another, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett was up against her Labour counterpart, Jacinda Ardern.

The striking thing about both these exchanges was that they were intelligent, respectful and civilised. It was good to be reminded that where it counts most, New Zealand politics isn’t so dire and soiled after all.

May the 20th roll over even faster than has been the case to date!




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Reader Comments (4)

Having read the book Dirty Politics it is difficult to understand how a summary of the e-mails between a number of people associated with the right can be considered anything but factual. The general propositon in the book that sucess in politics can be achieved by smearing your oppostion. is proved by the current level of support for the right.
Nicky Hager has provided the answer to the question, how can such an inept and dishonest govenrment be so popular, for the answer read the book its all there
Nothing more needs to be said except that borrwing a billion dollars a year to fund tax cuts, as has been done in the last term, would to any logical thinking person not be sound fiscal policy.

September 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAircooledguy

as would imposing Capital Gains Tax---- to a logical thinking person -would not be sound fiscal policy

September 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterToots

Where has a CGT shown to be an unsound fiscal policy in the many jurisdictions that have such a tax?

September 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

Could not agree more Peter - if National do not deal with this, and water over the next three years, then I suspect they are history, I keep hearing and seeing hubris. I just hope that Key gets some new life on his back-benches that will agitate for a new and defendable agenda.

September 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBill

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