Without a doubt, the election is on a knife-edge. Thursday’s Colmar Brunton poll foreshadowed that the country’s new government is likely to be a coalition between Labour, the Greens, and the Maori Party - a ‘progressive’ combination that would deliver the most radical government in New Zealand’s history.
A variation on the conventional socialist mantra of tax and spend has surfaced in the run up to the forthcoming election it is: cheat and tax. What it involves is to deny that a Labour/Greens/ Maori Party government if elected has any plan to raise taxes but will devolve the whole question to a panel of experts. They will then make the decisions on behalf of the government.
Last week we looked at the economic policies of the Parliamentary parties. This week we dig deeper into the party manifestos. While Labour has changed its cheer leader, its policies and loyalties remain the same.
Election promises have been coming so thick and fast it feels like Christmas. National kicked off their pledges with the announcement that if re-elected, $10.5 billion over ten years will be invested in roading infrastructure to open up the economic potential of the regions .
The New Zealand First Party has promised that if it is invited into a coalition government following the general election on the 23 September one of it's not negotiable policies will be to require the prospective coalition partner to agree to two binding referenda: One asking whether to retain the Maori seats, the other whether the number of Members of Parliament should be reduced to 100.
Fresh water is an election issue. The export of bottled water has become the focus of an emotional debate that is being relentlessly politicised and propagandised.
Calls to make freshwater rights an election issue have intensified. Critical to the discussion are whose rights are meant, how such rights are defined and what costs and benefits arise.
They say a week is a long time in politics. So, it turns out, is an hour and a half. At 8.30 on Tuesday morning, Labour leader Andrew Little told reporters that he was not going to resign - “I’m going to fight”. 90 minutes later he was fronting a press conference announcing his resignation.
Democracy has been described as a ‘fragile flower’. Indeed it is, and it's something we take for granted because our relatively young society has not yet experienced its collapse.