READER REPORT:

Don't be dumb, New Zealand

SUSAN JAMES
Last updated 05:30 03/02/2014
John Key
Fairfax NZ
FIRST SHOT: Lifting standards in education is set to be a key plank of National’s election campaign.

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The beginning of 2014 sees New Zealand entering yet another election year. It's come around fast.

You can always tell an election year by the way our politicians begin their trails of bribery.

We are not even through January yet and we have already been offered millions of dollars to finally pay our best teachers what they are worth as well as an offer of a tax-payer funded baby-bonus for needy families earning up to $150,000 per year (and can someone please explain to me how that level of income could possibly be considered needy?).

So the theory goes that we would only get these things as long as we vote for their parties come election day.

But the National-led Government has had plenty of time whilst in power to come up with their plan to pay good teachers more. The question to ask is why the political parties wait until election year to put these offers on the table.

I believe I know why.

It's because they think the New Zealand voting public is dumb. They think we need incentives to vote for them and that money talks when it comes to putting a tick in the box.

They believe we will forget all the mistakes and errors of judgement they've collectively made over the last three years; the mis-management of their MPs, the bad ideas that have had to be back-tracked, and the bad ideas that should've been back-tracked but weren't.

Is it their hope that we are all going to walk into the polling booth on voting day with our eyes only on what the new Government says they will give us if they win rather than an opinion based on past performance? Of course they hope it.

And what worries me?

Is that they are right.

It is imperative that the New Zealand voting public takes a critical look at the past history of the party they are voting for. How did they vote on things that mattered most to us individually? Does your local MP listen when you speak? Or do they just show up at local events if there is a publicity camera there?

I want to urge New Zealand not to prove the politicians right. Don't be swayed by the faulty offerings of electioneering. Any psychologist will tell you a child will take the biggest pile of lollies offered to it even if it knows those lollies are bad for them. It's the same principle here.

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Anyone who says they'll give you something in return for your vote is a bully. If a political party was worth voting for they wouldn't have to offer us bribes. Whatever happened to showing people how good you are rather than telling them how good you are?

So come polling day, vote on performance and history, not empty and unsustainable promises. Don't let the politicians buy your vote. That's not democracy.

Don't be dumb, New Zealand.


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