Pinch of Politics

-with Natasha Tziakis

Amongst the controversies and resignations surrounding politics over the last months, one thing has stayed completely the same during this election — and that’s the National Party’s silence.

After John Key’s resignation, National came under the leadership of Bill English. English is a man who has had a good period of time in Government, both as a minister and now as the Prime Minister. However, it is fair to say he lacks the charisma of his predecessor.

Politics and leading a party is as much about having the core leadership as it is about hooking the people with the one-liners and flashy policies that won’t be delivered on. All parties have done this. It doesn’t matter if they are right-leaning, left-leaning or quite centre; Governments have constantly neglected to follow through on some of the policies that garnered them their winning votes.

National’s enduring silence has helped eradicate one of the biggest criticisms it could potentially face if the party gets back into government. Its policies are very much like the party’s 2014 election policies which gives them the opportunity to rectify the mistakes they made with that election, meaning they could possibly prioritise and establish policies they hadn’t done before.

One thing that could combat National’s tactical silence is Jacinda Ardern. Ardern is pushing herself and Labour’s campaign harder than I’ve ever seen before. Because of this, National could potentially become forgotten in the background as Labour continues to thrust itself into the forefront, with news coverage, advertising and even ‘clickbait’ through social media sites such as Facebook.

The ‘Jacinda’ effect is sweeping New Zealand. From her speeches to public meetings, she’s appearing to be more vivacious and dynamic than Andrew Little ever was.

Something that has to be commended on both sides is that Ardern and English are both holding strong to their morals, and their parties. They have been the rocks that have held their parties together while all the controversy and drama played out. So, the trust being placed in them to lead their parties has not been misguided as they have both risen to the challenge.

This election has seen the Green Party become a strong contender for the Kiwi Throne, but it’s also seen their downfall. Often, in our national elections, it’s just a National versus Labour standoff with the Greens grasping at the sides for a scrap of attention. But when Shaw and Turei joined forces, they managed to make a big dent in the political scene and this saw them establish themselves as real trailblazers for forgotten kiwis. Unfortunately, due to the mishandling of Turei’s past history with government funding and fraud, Green came toppling down.

Although this in itself was horrible to watch, Shaw climbed out of the wreckage and is still going strong. I believe that in our next election Green will put up a bigger fight than ever before and we could potentially see a Green government.

In the meantime, the official leaders debate between Ardern and English has come and gone — it is now up to the polling booths to see what strategy has won out this election — silence or exposure.

Labour announces new policy for tertiary students

Labour has recently announced it intends to fast forward its tertiary education policy, making it a priority to introduce three free years of university or polytechnic teaching and to bump up student allowances by $50 a week. National President for The New Zealand Union of Students’ Association (NZUSA), Jonathan Gee says he looks forward to engaging with the next government, of whatever shape, to work towards a barrier-free education for all.

Gareth Morgan Twitter troll

In late August, Gareth Morgan, leader of The Opportunities Party, took to Twitter to cause beef with Jacinda Ardern. He did this by saying that she needed substance in her policies as well as her personality. He then replied to a tweet from the public, saying, “Jacinda should be required to show she’s more than lipstick on a pig.” Lipstick on a pig is a term used to say that to make cosmetic or superficial changes cannot change the true existence of whatever problem is at hand. Yes, this is probably what Morgan meant, to say that having a new Labour leader cannot change their policies that seem to be more fluid than stable. But it came across as a sexist attack, questioning the integrity of Ardern herself.

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