The campaign is supposedly under way for the 2011 General Election. But so far it seems this election is going to need some agriva or garvia or whatever other anagram they are using this week because it has had a dreadfully limp start.
I see Granny Herald is referring to the debate on TV1 on Monday night in far more glowing terms than it deserves. Leaders' debate's fiery exchange was the breathless headline on the Herald website on Tuesday morning. I’ve seen more fire in a dead matchstick.
Yes there were some tetchy exchanges, but overall the show was an enormous waste of time. Almost no policy was laid out aside from the short sound-bite type stuff they have been trotting out for the last couple of days anyway. There wasn’t a shred of solid policy from either of the two wastes of space who were extraordinarily given this platform to themselves.
TVNZ needs a thrashing for putting up such a pathetic excuse for an election debate. Guyon Espiner tried his best, under what I believe were circumstances beyond his control. Whoever decided in their ‘wisdom’ we needed a debate between these two no-hopers on their own needs shooting. Where have these idiots been since 1996? We have had MMP for 15 years now and the whole idea of the system is that we recognise the existence of and the need for more than two parties. It may also have escaped their notice, but every single government since that first MMP election has needed to be formed from a coalition of the biggest polling party plus one or more other smaller ones. Given that scenario I would have thought the views of those minor parties are every bit as important as those of the two largest ones because elements of them will have to be agreed to by the Government of the day in order to secure a working majority in Parliament.
Like many Kiwis, I hadn’t thought too much about the general elimption over the last couple of months (while the really serious business was going on). As a result I had no advance warning of the mighty election campaign coverage planned by TV1. So you can imagine my surprise when after picking myself up off the floor from realising TV1’s opener was a debate between Jiangqi and Phil Goshisthatthetime, I began to find out what other treats they had in store.
Well maybe like me, you haven’t got around to checking yet. But I can save you the time, because there appears to be nothing. At least nothing further this week. So the entire TVNZ contribution to the first week of the election campaign is one pathetic debate between the two twits who think they should be Prime Minister, neither of whom will be able to govern without the support of one or more other parties?
I’ve actually found the coverage on maori TV much better, but then they are only covering the Maori electorates, so it is a little limited in that way. You will notice I am not mentioning any election type programmes that might crop up on TV7 because there is still a sizeable number of people who can’t get that and an even larger number who won’t for much longer if Jiangqi and his motley crew have their way.
So what about the thing billed as a debate? Well the only worthwhile thing to come out of it was that Phil Goshisthatthetime (quite rightly) called Jiangqi a liar. I see that as worthwhile because the incumbent PM's response was worth seeing. “I am not a liar,” he squeaked, tears welling up in his little piggy eyes. “I don’t call you a liar and that’s actually because I respect the office of the leader of the opposition,” he blubbed. From which I can conclude it is all about respecting offices rather than the truth. As PG pointed out, Little Johnny told the nation before the last election he would not raise GST and then he did. Jianqi of course tried to be semantically pedantic insisting that he had said in 2008 he would not raise GST to try and balance the books. He then argued he had not done this because with the tax cuts his GST rise had been ‘fiscally neutral’. This of course immediately raises the question of why one would do it if it was to be of no effect. Labour has raised this before with him, but I don’t ever remember hearing an answer that made any sense.
I notice the fallout from the ‘debate’ (it was more like a mass one if you ask me), is all about little Johnny blubbing about Goshisthatthetime calling him a liar. And this from the man who lied to Parliament about Standard & Poors’ plans only a couple of weeks ago and got caught out in a fabulous press conference which you can view at http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DjHJb1DB42rg%26feature%3Dshare&h=-AQFveKizAQEZB0BufjtIvqO3cYiVXJ1poTBAu7oOtMAafQ
It should be shared with as many people as possible because they need to see the body language and enjoy the thrashing about of a man caught out big time in a big lie. A lie – lest we forget, that was designed to win votes from frightened voters who might have been tempted to believe him.
Meanwhile the other six or more parties who actually have a chance of being part of the next government are left to have to make programmes of their own on the Internet as the Greens did. And worthy attempt though that one was; it doesn’t really do a lot when it is simply a platform for the leaders of the party to get some policy out there via some sympathetic questioning from Finlay McDonald. They needed to be having a debate with the other party leaders to do much of a service to the NZ voter.
I think it is time we had some major reforms in our parliamentary system. Too much is left to the whims of those in power to decide. Election dates should be set in stone. Big stones that are too heavy for politicians to turn over (or crawl out from under). Likewise at least one leaders’ debate per week should be should be mandatory for the last three or four weeks of the campaign. Participation in these should be mandatory for every leader of a party that has an MP or who polled close to the threshold at the last election. Any wimps, prima donnas, or pussies who don’t want to debate with the other leaders get no other airtime at all. It’s time to make these bastards accountable. Who do they think they are to tell US who they will and won’t debate with? WE pay their over-inflated wages, even if we don’t have any control over how over-inflated they are.
Now if we were to move the election forward three weeks................we’d certainly have a good choice of ‘Guys’.