Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mad media pressure... Labour Party please dream again.

Readers will be pleased to know that the NZ elections are over and my political diatribes will cease. I am deeply disappointed with the result, the Labour party were soundly defeated by their worst defeat since 1922... although that is unfair because we have a different system now.  I semi expected a defeat of the left (the polls predicted it - though not the size of the defeat) but I was surprised at the impact it had on me. Depression hit for a few days. Three more political things I want to say.
A million Non-voters
Apparently something like one million eligible people did not vote on the day. That is one million out of 3,140,417 eligible voters. Virtually a third of New Zealanders were not motivated enough to vote! That is pathetic! Having wandered around parts of the UK enjoying the history lessons, I know that the right to vote, our democracy, was not something easily won. People gave their lives, argued and faced all sorts of opposition over the centuries to enable us to vote. What is wrong that we don't vote? Is it understandable cynicism about the whole process and system? Didn't the Parties engender enough interest? Is life too easy? Are the issues not understood? Are we too individualistic to feel any responsibility to the whole?  It is a sad reflection on our understanding of citizenship. 
Please dream again Labour party...
The Labour party needs to look again at its reason for existing. In my career as a minister I have often been frustrated by Churches who feel they have a right to exist, even though they have no real purpose. Organisations can just drift on without knowing who they are. Labour needs to regroup and think about who they want to be and what they want to offer to New Zealand. It is not just a matter of trying to think of how to survive, but asking what right do we have in surviving? What purpose is there for our existence? I think the National Party has more purpose about it, though I disagree with its purpose and direction. I share a quote - "Thomas Jefferson once hoped aloud that America would have a revolution every twenty years. Jefferson wasn't advocating overthrow of the government. He envisioned no battles, no new flags, or any prisoners of war. Jefferson wanted a redefining of America for every new generation. No church (or organisation) is healthy without a defined ... dream. Congregations (organisations) either redefine their basic purpose every generation or they die. The road to health is to dream again." ("To Dream Again" Robert Dale) Please Labour Party, take the next month or so, or even longer, to dream again. Otherwise you deserve to die.
Media pressure..
I have become increasingly annoyed with the media. They blatantly put their slant on things. They put words into peoples' mouths - somebody hesitates in an answer, because (duh) they are thinking carefully, and the media reads all sorts of things into that hesitation. They also put pressure to make things happen.  I am annoyed that the media are forcing the Labour party into a hasty leadership battle. Back off! The Party needs to do solid thinking, and then choose a leader to suit their purpose. Let them think! Leave them alone. The media has too much power amongst us! Treat them with caution and a good deal of cynicism. Do not let them set the agenda! (Mind you, I was disappointed that David Cunliffe, the party leader seemed to want to pressure the Party into a quick leadership battle. I suppose in an attempt to save his skin... that, in my view, showed bad leadership.) 

I promise my next post will not be political! 

1 comment:

Keith Harris said...

The electorate has progressively been "dumbed down" (over time, but particularly as a result of government action, e.g. removal of funding for community education and informative television). Unfortunately, as the people become less well informed, there will be increasing opportunity for populist media to influence public opinion. There is plenty of evidence to suggest this is already happening, and as has Hager has revealed, people in high (government) places are all to ready to pull their strings.