Let’s vote for policies, not parties


Overpromising and under delivering seems to be the name of the political game. When the under delivering comes to fruition, get yourself another messenger once you’ve fired the last, and blame it on fake news for good measure.

Why do we reward it?

Here in New Zealand the most obvious insult thrower to the messenger is Winston Peters. He’s managed to stretch the insult throwing for a distinguished 40 years.

Despite being a foundation pupil to the political scene in New Zealand for as long as I’ve been alive, he still washes his hands of it all every three years, ready to start anew.

“These shiny bums in Wellington and latte sippers in Auckland think the people in the regions are thick. They think their BA in social sciences means their opinion is better than that of a tradesman or woman,” he said at last week’s NZ First party conference.

Which leaves me all kinds of contradicted.

As an Auckland boy with a BA in social science who has lived in this region for half my life and who tells his kids they should become tradesmen and women, Winston’s insults have me confused.

I prefer my coffee black and the only shiny Wellington bums I see come from politicians polished backsides when they spend too long in the Beehive for their own good.

Winston continually distances himself from all that has happened during his time sitting in some of the most powerful political chairs in our country: “Everybody that is voting for NZ First knows this, that the present economic system and social system is going to change and is going to change dramatically?And were not going to go along with this 33 year experiment, economically, that has seen us plummeting down the OECD.”

I’d vote for that. What’s Winston been doing the last 33 years?

Truth is, each political party seems to have at least one idea or approach I’d vote for at the moment. Which despite my cynicism, has to be good news. Is there finally an understanding that fundamentals have to change if we are to survive and thrive over the next generation?

So how about the next government giving every political party their own pet projects? How about they give each party just enough rope to go and hang themselves, figuratively?

Gareth Morgan’s TOP seems to have some very interesting ideas for young people and a UBI. Why not give that a go and measure the heck out of it for the next three years.

The ACT Party, New Zealand’s flagship neo-liberalism party, seem all hot and bothered about crime and punishment. Let them run prisons and judge them on that in three years time. What could possibly go wrong?

On second Cerco thoughts, perhaps we should just give ACT charter schools to play with instead. Oh, done that one too?

The Greens can run DOC. The funding is already set.

The Maori Party can run the foreshore and seabed.

Peter Dunne can run the department of bow ties.

Winston can run immigration.

National can run the department of brighter 2040 futures and Labour can run the department of political interns.

If every political party had a department to run, they could all be judged. Each cycle there would be something to assess them by other than their rhetoric.

There is actually some merit to the idea.

What if we voted for policies instead of parties?

Could we make it work?


Russel Harding, Stuff