Wednesday 23 November 2011
A New Zealand election is coming up and I'm struggling to figure out who to vote for.
I live in the Epsom electorate, where National is trying to leverage our MMP system by encouraging people to vote for the righter-wing ACT candidate instead of their own. (Someone put up a billboard for the National candidate and his own team took it down!) If the ACT candidate is elected, ACT will get Parliamentary representation proportional to their party vote even if their party vote is under the normal 5% threshold. Those ACT MPs will have to ally with National, boosting National's chances of forming a government. Although I like the MMP system in general, I dislike this kind of gamesmanship so I'll try to make it fail by tactically voting for the National candidate. Current polls suggest this is going to work.
Having become politically aware during the Muldoon years under the first-past-the-post system, in elections where National got the majority of seats with a smaller popular vote than Labour, I have no desire to return to that system. I also think that the influence of third parties has mostly been beneficial under MMP. The alternative proportional systems on offer are not clearly better than MMP IMHO. So I'll vote to keep MMP.
My difficulty is in assigning my party vote, which is what really matters. Generally I think private enterprise works better than central planning, incentives work better than handouts, and it's better for people to take responsibility for themselves than look to governments to solve their problems. So I'd veer right, but right-wing politics tends to attract people who for selfish reasons promote --- or at least do not resist --- social injustice and unbridled corporate power. So ... hmm.
I tend to think that when policy differences are relatively small, as they tend to be in New Zealand, efficiency and sensible decision-making trump policy details. So give me capable, results-oriented government that's willing to choose the approach that works best regardless of whether it fits some preconceived ideology.
In this particular election I like some policies from both major parties, and dislike others. I particularly dislike Labour's promise to repeal the 90-day trial period for new employees --- that helps Mozilla to hire people we otherwise couldn't. On the other hand, I like Labour's plans to raise the retirement age and introduce a capital gains tax. What do do...
Unfortunately this post hasn't helped me make up my mind. It was worth a try!