Friday, September 16, 2005

Reasons for support

In the spirit of inclusiveness promoted above, here's some positive reasons to vote for each of the different components of the left.

Five reasons to vote Labour

  • Employment issues: Labour's achievements here are excellent (lowest unemployment in the OECD, anyone?), but I think two really stand out: they've restored the power of unions, so workers can actually fight for and win wage gains (see the success of the fair share campaign), and they've raised the minimum wage substantially, from $7/hour to $9.50 /hour. Both of these have delivered real gains, and helped ensure that the fruits of growth are distributed more widely than they were under previous governments.
  • The Civil Union Act: It's not full gay marriage, but it is still a progressive step. And while there were traitors in the ranks, Labour stood by its ideals and pushed it through at no small political cost to itself.
  • KiwiSaver: not implemented yet, but stands to enable people to pursue the kiwi dream of owning their own home. A solid, social democratic policy.
  • Zero-interest student loans: a seisachtheia for students and graduates, which makes those "loans" actually repayable.
  • To boost their chances of being the largest party on the night, and thus of getting Winston's support (for whatever that's worth).

Five reasons to vote Green

  • Human rights: the Green party have been Parliament's most consistent and eloquent defenders of human rights. They stood up for Ahmed Zaoui and the right of everyone to a fair trial. They've opposed government legislation such as the Identities Bill, and the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill, which erodes the rule of law by allowing the government to criminalise behaviour ex post facto. They took a firm stand for a secular and liberal society over civil unions. And they've been a conscience on foreign policy, speaking out where the government has remained silent.
  • Energy policy: they've been wonking away for years in this area, and the result is a reasonable and sensible path to a sustainable future - so much so that Labour have flogged most of their ideas.
  • The environment: does it really need to be said? We have an image of being "clean and green", but this is due to not having very many people, and not really borne out by the reality. Just look at our lakes and rivers, for example. Air quality in our cities isn't that hot either. Then there's our forests and our native birds. While most of our political parties have some tinge of Green, it is the Greens' core value.
  • Social justice: on social policy, employment law, housing, the Greens stand for a society where everyone is taken care of, where no-one goes hungry, and where everyone has equal access to opportunities. And they stand for using the power of the state to fight inequality and discrimination. This accord well with the left's core values of substantive freedom and equality.
  • Because a left-wing government will not be possible if the Greens just miss the threshold.

Two reasons to vote Progressive (because they're small)

  • Matt Robson: he has been a consistent critic of the government on human rights issues, and a conscientious defender of liberal values. He's stood up for Ahmed Zaoui and the Iraqi immigrants Winston smeared; he's opposed the Prisoners' and Victims' Claims Bill, the Identities Bill, and numerous other pieces of legislation that eroded fundamental human rights. It's such a shame he had to ruin it by trying to raise the drinking age.
  • Economic development: the Progressives are all about building a higher-wage economy through innovation and improving productivity. Again, this will ensure that the fruits of growth are more evenly distributed. But more importantly, it also represents a distinctive response to globalisation. Rather than opposing free trade, they're trying to mollify its effects and work out how we can live with it, in the same way that Labour is working out how we can live with a market economy. If you're an internationalist with some qualms about free trade, this is an interesting project, and one that seems worth pursuing.

Which party you find most compelling will obviously depend on your particular values, but IMHO there are good reasons to vote for all of them.


Five Reasons to vote Alliance (at least with your electorate vote, where applicable)

* Labour isn't Left: without the Alliance, it's far to easy for the media to pass a thoroughly centrist party off as left wing, and shift the goalposts further to the right. Labour is largely the party of maintaining the status quo between between shifts to the right.
* Progressive taxation: instead of tax cuts, we should be making the wealthy pay a bigger share to fund public services. The right talk about their income being hard-earned, but some of the hardest working kiwis are on very low incomes.
* Healthcare: free for everyone and adequately funded.
* Education: free for everyone and adequately funded.
* Worker's Rights: $9.50 an hour is still a pittance. The right to strike is still severely curtailed, and casual and part time workers need more protection.

Posted by Commie Mutant Traitor : 9/16/2005 02:48:00 PM

While I think a vote for the Alliance is a wasted vote and won't help us advance our goal this time, I'm glad somebody posted that.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 9/16/2005 03:06:00 PM

Pretty much all electorate votes are automatically wasted, so voting for Alliance electorate candidates sends a message of support for Alliance policies without harming the prospects of a Labour/Green government. Wigram is an exception, but Jim is pretty safe and wouldn't be that great a loss anyway, and Matt is unlikely to get back in even if Jim does.

Posted by Commie Mutant Traitor : 9/16/2005 03:39:00 PM

Weighing up why I should bother vote for National, the balance sheet looks like this.
1/For: Tax cut.
2/Against: Exclusive Brethren cult, and borrowing for 1/

Posted by Anonymous : 9/16/2005 03:46:00 PM

A couple more reasons to vote Progressives.

Kiwibank - a goodish idea and one which seems to be working. Not only that but a clear reversal of the (partially) flawed privatisation mania of the previous decades.

Regional Development - believe it or not, in many rural towns you can still see the adverse effects of the neo-liberal 90s (and 80s) lingering. And it’s safe to say that, if these towns haven't rebounded now the economic models, which suggested that they would are totally flawed. Hence the need for active intervention to try and get them back on their feet, And I think that Anderton has done some pretty good work on this.

Nevertheless, I'll still vote for the Greens as they seem to be going from strength to strength at present.

By the way, Idiot/Savant, do you think that you need to turn off your comments before tomorrow to comply with the Electoral Act???

Posted by Anonymous : 9/16/2005 05:43:00 PM

The alliance has VERY weak policy that doesnt even seem to make sense when read together. It is a shame compared to the greens and progressives who have strong policies that display some considerable thought and of course Labour (speaking to leftist voters).

Posted by Genius : 9/16/2005 08:34:00 PM