Monday, 9 June 2008

New Zealand needs an open democracy

During my recent visit to Bangkok, I watched a whole lot more TV, for one reason or another this is a sad fact but I wont go into that here!

While watching various news product from around the world, most of it politics, I was struck by how open and free the United States primaries and the US electoral system were. Where else in the world would two sides of the same political party, the Democrats, would go hammer and tongs for 16 months against each other, throw every filthy piece of dirt, tens of millions of dollars and say the most outrageous things that would be the end of the most stable of friendships in the real world, in the hope that one or other individual would be able to challenge John McCain come November 2008 for the US presidency, in the most powerful open democracy in the world.

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McCain himself was left open to similar scrutiny, his private life stripped bare for all to see, the very marrow at the centre of his soul was open to question.

No matter the politics that one follows or ones own "world view" one cannot deny that politics in America is in a very healthy state, as defined by the process of selection of candidates,not necessarily the quality of the candidates-you only have to look at the poor political and personal records of Hillary and Barry Obama to see the genesis of truth there.

While watching the box I also saw reported other forms of democracy. The brutal, murderous and secretive dictatorship of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, where politics is decided at the point of a gun and more recently through threat of starvation, Thailand's "benevolent dictatorship" or democracy with a bomb strapped to it in the Hamas led Palestine.

Lying somewhere in between those extremes lies the New Zealand democratic system. Sick from the dog wagging the tail, extremist lunatics like the global warming fanatics in the Green Party, the racist propaganda from the Maori Party, the complete nonsense from Winston Peter's and his New Zealand First Party and the evil Socialist intent of the ruling Labour Party Junta.

We have individuals like Margaret Wilson, Winston Peters, Sue Kedgly and Jeanette Fitzsimmons who were not voted into power by New Zealanders, but by their own party members and they have made life and death decisions based on their own ill conceived form of personal agenda politics on behalf of all0p New Zealanders.

The epitome of how closed our political landscape was the imposition of the Electoral Finance Act by Labour government politicians last year. Unlike the openness and strident debate that has been seen in America for the last 16 months the EFA has led to a fearfulness of opposition to speak out against the incumbent Labour government, by New Zealanders, the media and opposition politicians alike. The threat to an open democracy where debate can be had without fear or favour just doesn't exist in this country anymore.

While Mugabe and Hamas use extreme forms of control to influence political and personal behavior to sniffle debate and the freedoms of their respective political systems and retain political control, the New Zealand Labour Party have used legislation to achieve similar results.

For the future of a good democracy in New Zealand we must reform our nations political structure in a way more closely aligned to America, where free and open debate reign supreme, if not our future lies closer to Mugabe's Zimbabwe rather than the open democracy that we once had.

Removal of the MMP voting system and repeal of the Electoral Finance Act will allow such a democracy to flourish once again and give the nation the hope that it deserves.

c Political Animal 2008

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