The mad rush of policies/bribes

It’s hard enough keeping up with all the controversial political stories, including the stepping down of three party leaders, leading up to the election.

But even for those interested in following politics the mad rush by parties to attract media attention every day, the bombardment of election and spending promises is just about impossible to keep up with.

National announced new education policy in the weekend, following DOC great walk charge increases, and god knows what else, it’s all becoming a blur. National intermingle new policies with re-announcing already announced policies so it’s hard to know what’s new.

Jacinda Ardern has been busy going around the country announcing targeted carrots. In the weekend it was $300 million promised to Canterbury rebuilding, before that Dunedin was promised a $1-1.5 billion, another MP announced an Auckland bridge walkway/cycleway, Ardern promised light rail to Auckland airport and also promised not to raise some taxes while not saying what taxes Labour might raise.

Winston Peters has been drip feeding policies targeting various voting demographics.

Greens are trying to get  their campaign back on track by saying what they will do when they are in government – but they seem to be at real risk of not even getting back into Parliament. At best their influence on policies next term is likely to be not large.

And this cacophony of confusion makes it very difficult for people to know what they are voting on.

Advance voting opens in two weeks, and we have policies still being announced. This is a hopeless situation for voters.

I follow politics and have no idea who to vote for, and have no clear way of evaluating whose policies sound the best mix and the most credible.

I wouldn’t be surprised if most people, who normally have little interest in politics, are simply confused by the mess of attention seeking.

Wise words from Winston 0n Waitangi

Some wise words from Winston Peters on the Waitangi mess:

Winston Peters: The reality is that it’s very sad that regardless of who the Prime Minister is we are not as a country treating them with the dignity of their office on a national occasion like this, and it’s seriously disappointing from both a Maori perspective and also a New Zealand wide perspective.

Guyon Espiner: You think it has been handled in a way that’s disrespectful already?

Winston Peters: Well the reality is that Ngāpuhi is there as hosts on behalf of the whole nation in a sense that this is where the setting is established.

And you know you’ve got three hundred sixty four other days a year to argue these things on your national day to turn it into a major complaint, maybe rightfully so but not on that occasion, with the Government, is disappointing in terms of our international perspective, our image internationally, and also the growing of a culture where we actually treat similar things that have resulted from the unity of people over a long period of time.

Guyon Espiner: What’s the solution because you’ll remember well Helen Clark as Prime Minister, she stayed away didn’t she from Te Tii Marae for exactly this reason. I guess she was concerned that the Ngāpuhi elders who were organising it couldn’t get their act together was her view on it so she stayed away. Do you think that is the approach that should be taken?

Winston Peters: Well it’s actually worse than that. Before she became the Prime Minister there was the disgraceful incidence inside the meeting house at the lower marae where Titiwhai Harawira attacked her right to speak on behalf of the Labour Party. And you know things just descended from there.

So frankly, how shall I put it, I would have thought that this from a Ngāpuhi point of view is most unacceptable.

You will not see this happening down in Ngai Tahu in the South Island.  You will not see it happening in Ngāti Porou in Gisborne. You won’t see it happening in Rotorua.

So why on earth is Ngāpuhi putting up with this in Northland?

That’s the real issue and sooner or later they are going to have to address that question.

Guyon Espiner: It’s a little confusing isn’t it because they’re saying “look we’re inviting the Prime Minister to Te Tii Marae but we’ll try to block him from getting there and we’re in doubt about whether to let him speak and if he does speak we don’t want him to speak about politics”. It’s a bit of a mess.

Winston Peters: Well I don’t know how I could add anything more to it. It is a total utter mess and it’s been a mess for a long time. Sometimes it’s gone more smoothly than others but for over thirty five years that’s what we’ve put up with up north

And one of these days Ngāpuhi leaders are going to have to come to their senses and say this is not the image we want, we’re the biggest iwi in the country, this is not good for either Maoridom or any economic or social advancements or opportunities we might have, and it’s not good for our country.

But that day sadly in 2016 may not have arrived.

I, and I think a lot of Maori and Pakeha, will agree with Peters what Peters says here, and are as saddened as he sounds about the mess that Waitangi too often becomes.

And today it got even messier with John Key eventually pulling out of any visit to Waitangi this year.

Transcript from Radio NZ Winston Peters backs Key’s decision to attend Waitangi.

I wonder if Peters now backs Key’s decision to withdraw from a Waitangi visit.