Friday, September 16, 2005

Party Vote: Left

The newpapers are full of opinion columns in which people put their cards on the table and urge their readers to vote one way or another, so I thought I'd join them. But unlike other commentators I will not be urging people to vote for a particular party. Instead, I'd like to encourage people to take the broad view and cast their party vote for a left-wing government. There are a number of parties which would contribute to such a government, and under MMP, it does not really matter which particular one you cast your vote for. I will be voting Green, because I seem to share their general ethos, because a left-wing government will not be possible if they fail to make it over the threshold, and because IMHO Labour's failure to defend human rights (particularly with regards to Ahmed Zaoui) means that they are not worthy of my support - but it is not necessary that we agree in order to work together. As Span said,

Let us fight in our way, and you will fight in yours, and hopefully one day we will all win together.

While there are complicating factors which provide Labour supporters with a strong incentive to vote Green and help them into Parliament by a comfortable margin, the blunt fact is that unlike the right, we don't need to worry so much about tactical voting, because we're all going to get into Parliament. Any vote for Labour, the Greens, or the Progressives advances our mutual cause; none of them is a "wasted vote".

So, if you like Labour, vote Labour. If you like the Greens, vote Green. If you like Jim and Matt, vote Progressive. The only tactical consideration is whether you want to try and pull Labour to the left by voting for one of its coalition partners, but that is ultimately a matter of individual taste. A vote for any of these parties will contribute to a New Zealand where the government works for the many rather than the few, where the partnership symbolised by the Treaty is upheld, and where everyone can participate regardless of race, gender, faith, or sexual identity - and that, ultimately, is what we're all working for.


I admire your hopefulness, I/S, but the fact is, that the Right is going to take this one out.

Sure I *want* the left to win, but sadly, its not going to happen, Don Brash has got the traction..

Posted by Anonymous : 9/15/2005 06:25:00 PM

I think there could be a problem with national voters voting for ACT in that the existance of act scares middle of the road voters - similarly the existance of the greens scares middle of the road voters.
The reason why we might still vote labour is that we are very confident labour can neuter the greens - and that we dont take it particularly serious that the greens will get significantly more influence.

Posted by Genius : 9/15/2005 07:16:00 PM

"A vote for any of these parties will contribute to a New Zealand where the government works for the many rather than the few"

as will the vote for any other party except possibly the maori party.

"where the partnership symbolised by the Treaty is upheld"

i.e., where a judicially invented notion of "partnership" which logically implies two very different standards of citizenship (one unconditional - rangatira-hood/hosts/owners - and one conditional on someone elses's consent - mere kawanatangan-hood/guests/renters) is allowed to fester on eventually shredding the body politic (and where the defenders and enablers of this disaster will when pressed insist that they're just defending a platitude like "motherhood" or "brotherly love", and who could be against that?)

"and where everyone can participate regardless of race, gender, faith, or sexual identity"

I don't see much differences between the parties on this front. By erasing the distinction between de jure and de facto couples, however, Labour (with Green and I/S's enthusiastic support) has ended marriage except in name for all NZ-ers, which is a completely amazing world-first, horror legal achievement. No same sex couples, for example, can have anything marriage-like in NZ because Labour preemptively destroyed the whole logical category of substantially legally exclusive relationships. Bastards. See my web site for the gory details. (100 page version available on request.)

Posted by Anonymous : 9/15/2005 09:35:00 PM

I just saw the TV3 debate between Clark and Brash.
What a creep Brash is, very keen on labelling people and sticking them into the proper holes.
Interesting that he said that of the non-mainstream New Zealanders "most of them are in the Labour party" and "they don't share Kiwi values".
Sadly I think that most of the people will be dazzled by the shiny tax cuts (that we will have to borrow to afford).
Well, we get the government we deserve.

Posted by Anonymous : 9/15/2005 09:40:00 PM

Stephen - I checked out your site - lets just that that before I read it, I didnt have any problem with civil unions, now I'm not so sure....

Posted by Anonymous : 9/15/2005 10:07:00 PM

NRT, as a former Green voter, I wonder what would be the case now if a voter voted Green to get them into Government ( as opposed to Parliament)

The Greens are the parliamentary party most unlikely to be in Government.

If Labour/Greens wanted to form a Government - who will offer confidence and supply? The Maori party? UFNZ wont, and neither will NZ First.

Posted by Swimming : 9/15/2005 10:37:00 PM

I think the odds are reasonably good for a confidence and supply deal with the Maori Party if that is what is required for an LPG government.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 9/15/2005 11:27:00 PM

Will have that Herald digipoll up in about an hour. I think it was the most accurate last time (?).

Posted by Bomber : 9/16/2005 12:46:00 AM

If you look long and hard at National's actual policy, look past the tax cut (which is a promise NOT to do something), past the usual right wing slogans, then you find very little of actual substance, other than an expressed intention to do a "review".

Many commentators have repeatedly made reference to this lack of depth and definition. If NZ votes in a Brash govt, it will effectively be giving him a blank policy check on many, many details.

This lack of specifics means one of two things; either the Nats really don't have much idea or vision or what they what they will do, other than just "govern" in their classic "do nothing" mode, or more ominously it signals a carefully hidden intention to pull NZ to the far right once again.

Several pieces of evidence point to this.

Don Brash himself is saying quite different things to the electorate now, than he has in the recent past. I'm not talking the kind of things he may have said as a younger less mature man, but firm statements of position he has made in the last decade. It seems to me that what he is saying now to get elected, is at variance with his true personal beliefs.

A similar clue is found by looking at his front bench, almost exclusively middle aged wealthy white males. Note the especially odious Tony Ryall (who has been carefully hidden from the public), and the marginalisation of Bill English. This points to a potentially very compliant Cabinet all willing to sing with the same retro-hivemind.

And finally note the collapse of ACT funding and the buckets of dosh the Nats have had to spend. This carefully guarded secret has yet to come home to roost. I can only assume that this far-right influence has backed the Nats, ousted the moderate Bill English and funded a seriously sophisticated marketing campaign. (Which just has to have exceeded in total the spending limits, although they will never be caught.)

In my mind this creates the very real possibility that the far-right has staged another covert takeoever, this time of the National Party, rather than the Labour Party as they did in the 80's. The clues are there and the door is wide open.

Posted by Anonymous : 9/16/2005 08:08:00 AM

The right wins! Ha ha ha.

Posted by Anonymous : 9/16/2005 08:33:00 AM

I'd just like to point out that you'd need to be really, really idealistic to give the Alliance your party vote tomorrow - good luck to Span, Joe and the rest of you, but just think about ticking Green or Labour could you? Electorate votes should be enough to make a point?

Posted by Rich : 9/16/2005 09:54:00 AM

I don't really expect anything useful from a third term Labour government but it's more important to keep a right-wing fundamentialist National Party away from the levers of power. Hopefully, another defeat will force the Nats to clean house and remake themselves as a democratic political party.
If there was a decent alternative to Labour out there, I'd certainly vote for it.

Posted by Anonymous : 9/16/2005 10:41:00 AM

I am hoping that the Labour vote will not be too low and the Greens party vote is high enough to bring the Centre-Left into the position of forming the government. I am also praying that Winston lose Tauranga. The prospects of a National-led government are too terrible to contemplate

Posted by Anonymous : 9/16/2005 11:45:00 AM

If you need any motivation to vote, read this:

The print edition contains several pages of this type of diatribe.

Posted by Anonymous : 9/16/2005 04:29:00 PM

stephen glaister: you bemoan NZ permanent residents their right to vote? Are you against the principle of no taxation without representation - i.e. either permanent residents should be able to vote or get their PAYE back? It's a scandal that in many other countries permanent residents can't vote but are happily "invited" to pay for their host societies. I've been in NZ 4 years on a work permit only before I was granted permanent residency, so in effect it was a form of slavery: no tax rebate on my wage, no voting rights, no dole, no welfare state provision.
By your own logic shouldn't you deny NZ expats ther right to vote too? I don't have a problem with that since they are not taxpayers here, but wait for the rightwing squeals if you'd propose any change in this and cut off their votes.

Posted by Hans Versluys : 9/16/2005 04:58:00 PM

Rich - I have no Alliance candidate in my electorate, so that isn't an option. I'm actually wishing I had run in the seat now, so I would have had someone to vote for (plus I doubt I could get less than I did in a blue-ribbon seat in 2002)!

I will be giving my party vote to the Alliance, after a lot of thinking, as outlined here,

but I respect the decisions (and reasons) of other Alliance supporters not to vote as I am. you can call me idealistic until the cows come home (and i know you don't mean it in a nasty way), but someone has to dream or the world will never change for the better (and no i'm not a young student and yes i have had a real job, several in fact).

Maybe it runs in the blood - my father invalidated his ballot for many elections, as he didn't believe in any of them, and I suspect he may do so again tomorrow (or vote Act, he is that way inclined). You can't expect me to fight my genes now can you? ;-)

Posted by Span : 9/16/2005 06:46:00 PM

Uroskin: I think it's fine to pay tax without being represented (think of all the sales and excise taxes you pay when you visit other jurisdictions). And there are a variety of less-than-citizen workers who inevitably end up paying income tax. That's appropriate - they should bear their share of the cost of government and of generally keeping the society running of which they are a part. (So I don't feel the force of some of your worries.) Should they also get a formal say in how that society is run, and even be able to be part of the government itself, be representatives? I say "no". A democratic structure has to have a kind of integrity and make as much sense as possible "from within" as it were (i.e., to its citizens): that means accepting "Lincoln's Law" and the rest of my argument follows.
As for ex-pats - NZ is fairly strict about this from memory, i.e., you have to have been back in NZ in the last 3 years if I remember rightly (unless you're working for the govt). Many countries are far more liberal. But ex-pats pose no in principle problem for me - electorship principlly tracks citizenship, certainly nothing as ephemeral as tax-payer-ship (or property owner-ship or....).

Millsy: I have no serious issues with civil unions. The de facto vs. de jure partner point is the distinction I say you can't erase without catastrophe.

Thanks for the comments!

Posted by Anonymous : 9/16/2005 07:00:00 PM

Winnies philosophy is good - you just cant trust him to stand up for it.

Posted by Genius : 9/16/2005 08:28:00 PM