NZ politics is driven by personality, not policy
The past few weeks have revealed much about New Zealand politics. Andrew Little stepped down, for no reason other than low polling, and Metiria Turei stepped down for (partially) the same reason.
But what bothers me is that while the faces of these parties have changed, none of the apparatus behind them has. The policies are the same. The MPs are basically the same. The attitude and the structure? None of it has undergone any kind of change.
So then why have the polls changed so drastically? Does New Zealand care so little for policy? What about track record and experience?
We've seen Jacinda Ardern take the Labour Party up hugely in polling. I think that it has little to do with their transport policy, irrespective of its merits or otherwise.
Somehow New Zealand looked at Little, wrote off the entire Labour Party as doomed, but jumped back on when they shuffled the deck chairs.
Only somehow, it caused the Titanic to right itself. This isn't to take away from Ardern, who is genuine, charismatic and I'm sure works incredibly hard. I don't want to take away from the Labour Party either.
Likewise with the Green Party. Nothing has changed with the party, but merely because of Turei's revelations, a third of them have jumped ship. They looked at Turei's confessions and this caused a third of the Green supporters to write off the entire party, policy and all.
Obviously these polls shouldn't be taken in isolation, Labour's upswing caused the Green's downswing and vice versa. But it bothers me that the future of our country can rest entirely on who's the best figurehead and that policy seems to come second.
This also applies to voters and media outlets, who seem to be failing to compare policy much of the time.
It would be nice if we, as a country, could return to talking about policy as the first priority. Otherwise we dilute our individual power to truly influence government.
But then again, that's not what interests us, is it?
- Stuff Nation