Over the last few weeks a revival has happened in New Zealand politics – but not a good revival. On both the left and the right of the political spectrum we have seen a return to the 80s in both politics and politicians.
Let’s start with the Act Party. Strange things happen in politics sometimes. But you can’t get much stranger than Don Brash, former leader of the National Party who is no longer an MP and not a member of the Act Party demanding that Rodney Hide, current Parliamentary leader of the Act Party resign and give the leadership to him or else he will ‘destroy them‘. Out of this coup we have seen the undead zombies of Rogernomics arise with cries of “sell it, sell it, sell it all”.
Meanwhile in the land of the loony left we have the rise of the Mana Party. Rebel former Maori Party MP, Hone Harawira has broken every promise he has made to start this party which features such great minds as Sue Bradford, Matt McCarten and John Minto. The key policy planks of Mana seems to revolve “buy it, buy it, buy it all”. They want to nationalise all monopolies and duopolies and tax and tax and tax everyone into equal poverty.
The co-current leader of the Greens, Russel Norman, sums up the current situation pretty well: “…who wants to relive the battles of the 1980s and 1990s? We’re in 2011 for God’s sake. We need a progressive force that actually deals with where we are now, not tries to refight the 1980s and 1990s.”
That is exactly how I feel. At the moment the NZ National Party wants to step back in time and see MMP removed and replaced with essentially FPP on steroids. Both the extreme left and right parties want to return to the past as well… as for Labour… well where have they been for the last three years? Let alone now… who knows that they stand for or want?
Personally I wonder if the success in the revival of 80s politics is actually a result of the failure of my generation to stand for what they believe in. Political apathy amongst my peers is high. No one cares about politics because ultimately many of them feel that no matter what they do, nothing will change. We see National governments and we see Labour governments and essentially they do the same thing… talk, talk, talk, build a white elephant here and hey presto throw in a big sports tournament and we have another three years gone.
Wasted money on white elephants and sports tournaments are enough to get old people angry enough to go to the extremes to try and make a difference. But for many young people making a difference is a turn off. The world won’t change in the typing of a status message on Facebook so therefore it isn’t worthwhile doing.
As a result, we find ourselves where we are today, a generation of young people who are being neglected because politicians know we don’t care and therefore they don’t need to cater to our needs. They know they can simply hold a sports event every three years which will get us drunk enough to forget about our real needs. And unfortunately by the time we wake up from this hangover we will be bearing the consequences of this neglect for many years to come.