Q+A: disengagement from politics

NZ Q+A this morning interviews  Max Harris about the state of New Zealand politics, including looking at how to re-engage voters.

How do we re-engage voters who are turned off NZ politics? Is it time for a new kind of politics to tackle the challenges NZ faces? Max Harris, a NZ Rhodes scholar, looks at these questions in his new book, The New Zealand Project.

Also, Whena Owen hits Wellington’s popular Cuba Mall to ask those disengaged from NZ politics – why?

Maybe most people never were very engaged in politics.

Interview:  Is it time for a new kind of politics? (10:08)

“Our reporter Whena Owen went to Wellington’s Cuba Street to talk with disengaged voters”:  Re-engaging disengaged voters (2:16)

 

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49 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  2nd April 2017

    If you have a free market you don’t need politics. If you don’t have a free market politics has made you powerless.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  2nd April 2017

      the so called ‘free market’ is an ideological ….fantasy.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  2nd April 2017

        The Left are dedicated to making it so.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  2nd April 2017

          aided and abetted by…the right.Both understand it is not…feasible.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  2nd April 2017

            You mean the Left want to subvert it to reward their followers and the Right want to subvert it to cream it themselves? I’d generally agree with that. That’s why I’m a classic liberal.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  2nd April 2017

              thats a very ‘generous’ description….Al.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  2nd April 2017

      In the same vein, Rodney Hide is on the button when he said you don’t need Trade Agreements to have free trade, you just need freedom.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  2nd April 2017

      Too sweeping Al. The free market inevitably leads to the accumulation of great wealth by a few which leads to the accumulation of great power by a few which leads to evil which leads to politics.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  2nd April 2017

        No it doesn’t, G. That was indeed far too sweeping. Yes, free markets can provide a few with great wealth but only when they provide very many others with great value. Monopolies are not free markets but I think any examples you can come up with will be in that category.

        The computer industry is a classic example where the dominant companies successively yield to competitors: IBM -> Microsoft -> Apple -> Google -> Facebook -> ?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  2nd April 2017

          If it wasn’t for politics there’d still be open slave markets Al.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  2nd April 2017

            Open slave markets co-existed with politics for millennia, G.

            Reply
            • Gezza, I wonder if you really meant what you said in this thread thus far. Do you dismiss freedom as a valuable aspiration? Also, it is not viable to refer to something that is both illegal and obscene, like slavery. I mean the old definition that you used incidentally, not the trafficking in people of the modern times that many misinterpret as slavery.

            • Gezza

               /  2nd April 2017

              Don’t be silly Bj. Of course I don’t dismiss freedom as a valuable aspiration. Go back to the top comment on this thread and tell me what is wrong with it.

            • Gezza

               /  2nd April 2017

              Right at the top of the page, I mean. Alan’s comment.

  2. David

     /  2nd April 2017

    The simple truth is that for most people politics simply has little impact on their lives.

    Reply
  3. Currently I am spending much time with US liberals. The “not my President” crew. They are all previously unknown to each other, but are emotionally united by a common thread. – their absolute hatred of the POTUS. How does this relate to subject thread? Collective hate is a powerful force as history shows us. It’s certainly a more powerful force for change and political movements than collective love (Beatles hysteria) and while NZ’s passionless people sit firmly in the middl on most issues, it would indicate to me there’s no mood for change.

    Political engagement/change/movements require emotional catalysts, although people claim pragmatism their influence. I used to think that all we needed to engage students was a decent Civics education. However, most people just can’t get overly exercised if things are ticking along. Catalysts for change can be external events but mostly they need to be created by political parties. Nice bloke Johhny Key and ‘steady as she goes, firm hand on the finances’ Bill English have the luxury of a globally regarded super economy to frame their throne claim. It’ll require a good deal more than activists like Nicky Hager and a fawning and breathless press to alter the path to victory for the Nats. If Peters is offered enough baubles it’s all over for Labour. I’m picking Bill English has that scenario well-covered. Ultimately though, it may be that any arrangement with Winnie will cause the Nats moral support to erode as voters respond to that alliance.

    Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  2nd April 2017

      Perhaps Trav, but Bill’s sleepwalk to victory might be slowed a little by the ruination he is about to inflict on the country through Nick Smith’s RMA “reforms”…

      “These new mechanisms that Nick Smith has included in the RMA will enable race-based vested interests to take over resource consenting from democratically-elected councils.

      That means hapless property owners will not only be forced to consult with councils, but with multiple iwi as well. Instead of streamlining and simplifying the RMA, Nick Smith is about to make it much worse.

      The time has now come for the Prime Minister to exercise some leadership and either put Nick Smith’s Bill on hold, or take up New Zealand First’s offer for comprehensive RMA reform”

      http://m.nzherald.co.nz/northland-age/rural/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503397&objectid=11756937

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  2nd April 2017

        Agreed, C. Smith is a hapless fool as he has proved multiple times. The Productivity Commission has made an overwhelming case for scrapping the RMA and starting again. English should can Smith’s abomination and start work on doing a proper job.

        Reply
  4. Blazer

     /  2nd April 2017

    agree with most of what you say,except this…’ globally regarded super economy ‘….this is regurgitated nonsense.Objective analysis reveals NZ’s economic performance these days is predicated on housing and immigration.Actual real productivity and development of sustainable growth is masked by this smoke and mirrors.

    Reply
    • I tempered that statement by saying “globally regarded”. Whatever one feels domestically and however it may affects individuals, internationally our economy is regarded as outstanding.

      Reply
  5. Oliver

     /  2nd April 2017

    We need a Donald Trump. We need someone to drain the swap in Wellington. This person will not be a career politician. He will be a man not a woman. He would have been successful financially. That narrows it done to Gareth Morgan. He is the messiah who can lead the people to the promised land. I predicted brexit and Trump. Now I predict The opportunity party 2017.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  2nd April 2017

      Lotsa people predicted Trump & Brexit. As for predicting TOP for 2017, do you own your house, and if so – would you bet your house on it?

      Reply
    • Nelly Smickers

       /  2nd April 2017

      I went to a *Tarot Reader* once in Lower Hutt. She predicted I’d marry someone *tall, dark and handsome*. That came true…NOT ❗

      Reply
  6. David

     /  2nd April 2017

    The problem is that National have done such a brilliant job of running the place we have nothing really to complain about. The economy is humming along, the figures are world leading and they seem to have a really well thought through approach to starting to tackle our endemic social issues. Not a lot to get excited about unlike in the US or the UK.

    Reply
    • Oliver

       /  2nd April 2017

      Housing crisis
      Stagnant wages
      Rising cost of living
      Immigration tension
      Enormous debt
      Inequality
      Clean green image being lost to farming
      Looming farming/ dairy crisis

      Don’t worry David there is still plenty to complain about.

      The rising number of suicides suggests there’s plenty to be unhappy about.

      Reply
      • David

         /  2nd April 2017

        Auckland inept council has a housing crisis the rest of the country is pretty good. Wages are rising at the highest rate in decades, inflation is near zero and has been for 5 years, agree with immigration particularly the dodgy student market, debt to GDP is incredibly good considering our earthquakes and English has us back in surplus (sub 30% of GDP is great), the loss of clean green image is a media myth as NZ is still one of the highest ranked destinations on earth, the dairy crisis appears to be over with the huge rise in whole milk powder prices and our many free trade deals.
        Lefties are just far to depressed about living in the best country on earth.

        Reply
  7. John Schmidt

     /  2nd April 2017

    Disengagement can also mean contentment. If you are having a great time with life where is the need to make change where change means risking great for worse.
    There is a huge difference between this and last century, expecting voters today to engage like they did last century seems unrealistic. Maybe a term with the left will trigger a change as the impact of this political change impacts upon their lives, Venezuela as an example.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  2nd April 2017

      what is Venezuela an example of …John?

      Reply
      • Griff

         /  2nd April 2017

        Venezuela is the rwnj touch stone for failed socialism .
        They ignore that democratic socialism is the most successful form of government by cherry picking one crap example.
        http://blog.peerform.com/top-ten-most-socialist-countries-in-the-world/

        Somalia is the ultimate example of a truly free market .
        No pesky government interference there .

        Reply
        • David

           /  2nd April 2017

          Good god “democratic socialism the most successful” where, when ? its never worked anywhere for any length of time.

          Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  2nd April 2017

          Somalia is not a free market because there is no rule of law to support either freely entered contracts or life, liberty and property.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  2nd April 2017

            I’m sure everyone knows the rules in Somalia AL.Mogadishu could be the perfect home for a self described…’classic liberal…anarchist’…God speed.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  2nd April 2017

              The US Constitution was drawn up by classic liberals, B. But I don’t expect you to want to learn anything.

            • Blazer

               /  2nd April 2017

              ‘Classical liberalism is a political ideology that values the freedom of individuals — including the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and markets — as well as limited government. It developed in 18th-century Europe and drew on the economic writings of Adam Smith and the growing notion of social progress.’…oh no…the ‘invisible hand’…..man!

        • Blazer

           /  2nd April 2017

          Schmidt [Deleted. PG]

          Reply
      • John Schmidt

         /  2nd April 2017

        Blazer.
        Venezuela is an example of massive change that is impacting everyone in Venezuela, my point being it will take a massive political change, like what has occurred in Venezuela, before the me generation will engage or vote. The message I was hearing this morning on Q&A was unless they are impacted or there is something in it for them, they choose not to engage or vote.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  2nd April 2017

          fair enough John.I thought you were implying socialism in Venezuela was a self destruct mechanism,which it is..not.

          Reply
    • I agree. Engagement should be encouraged and made as attractive and as easy as possible, as should voting, but if for whatever reason people don’t want to be engaged and don’t want to vote that’s their choice and they shouldn’t be hassled or guilted.

      We are better off having fewer better informed voters rather than more voters who tend to take uninformed guesses.

      Reply
  8. patupaiarehe

     /  2nd April 2017

    I suspect that rather than being disengaged, a lot of people are just disillusioned with the political scene in NZ. It’s hardly surprising, given the choices they have…

    Reply
    • patupaiarehe

       /  2nd April 2017

      To elaborate a little, how many current MPs are tradesmen? The ‘older folk’ (I am one of them there, even though I’m not here) in my smoko room, ‘talk politics’ every day, and the consensus is, (to quote one of my workmates), that “They are all just a pack of self serving c-nts, who have no f–king idea, about how the real world works!”. I’ll be the first to admit, that I only get the perspective of a ‘certain sector of society’. But that ‘sector of society’ all work, and all vote. And there are a lot of them. Traditionally, the people I share a smoko room with, would all vote Labour. But none of them will this year, or will admit to it… It would be like ‘coming out’…. 😀
      As for National, well, the consensus is that they are corrupt. And that they are letting too many foreigners in, which is keeping wages down.
      And the ‘Greens’? The idea sounds good in theory, but when they put the rights of some snails, above the rights of some humans to earn an honest living in a mine, they lost any credibility that they once had amongst the working classes.
      Then there is NZFirst. The only real alternative….
      I’ve said it before, & I’ll say it again. NZF will be at over 20% in the polls by August.

      Reply
      • Nelly Smickers

         /  2nd April 2017

        *Yep – and let me tell you Patu*….that i know of at least 60 odd residents in the *Remuera Retirement Village* that will be reading this and nodding in agreement with you ❗

        (Hi guys…see you all Tuesday XD )

        Reply

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