Election aftermath

I wasn’t surprised by the election results, but I think the exceptionally low voter turnout is cause for concern. It initially looked as though only 65% of registered voters bothered to participate, although this may rise to 72-73% through special votes. Only 90% of the country bothered to enroll in the first place.

Many countries who have experienced rather harder times than New Zealand respect the act of participating in democracy, but turnout seems to have been affected by voter apathy and the foregone conclusion of hundreds of polls.

I’d also like to hazard the opinion that in trying to capture the middle ground, parties ignored thousands of alienated citizens who saw nothing they liked in any of the candidates or their policies. National have made it very clear that they are the party of winners and the powerful, and the past 25 years have taught us to utterly despise the poor and vulnerable, hence their emphasis on punitive benefit reform at the expense of… well, pretty much every other issue. Foreign policy, anyone? Job creation? Why on earth would National be interested in creating jobs? That’s the role of the free market. Give those businesses more power!

We seem to be adopting the aspirational model of the US, where people will vote against their own interests for government geared towards the rich, because one day they expect to join their ranks.

Whatever happens from now on, it’s what a majority of us voted for*. We only have ourselves to blame for any nasty surprises.

*Well, 48% of 73 % of 90%, so about 32%.

One Response to “Election aftermath”

  1. Rhinocrates Says:

    As I said under another pseudonym on another forum, people now

    engage with politics through single issues, or mosaic alliances. With no authority or reputation whatsoever as a political analyst, I’ll recall that The Economist voiced befuddlement and scepticism at the anti-globalisation movements because the groups represented in the mass protests would oppose each other against other issues. 9/11 put a dampener on that movement, but the Occupy movement seems to represent is resurrection, and once again, it’s being attacked as vague, incoherent and temporary, but all of these criticisms miss the point, I think. People seem to have started seeing government as a ulitity, like the power and water supply. They’re happy with technocrats, providing that they’re responsive, and hate ideologues (consider the popularity of the US Congress now). Popular participation in politics is not through consistent devotion to a specific party, but around a specific given issue. Alliances will form, act and then dissolve, and then reform in new configurations with new issues.

    Whether that is viable, sustainable in the long term, or a distant last on the list, better, I have no idea, but that seems to be the way things are drifting and reflects the nature of society now.

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