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Thread: Political Climate in NZ?

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    selchie's Avatar
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    Default Political Climate in NZ?

    When reading the NZ papers online, we get the impression that NZ is a bit more politically balanced & sensible, and the people more politically savvy than in the US. I suppose some of this is because the NZ population is so small that politics has a more local feel. Is this generally true, or are we full of hooey? The political climate in the US is one reason we want to leave, but don?t want to make the jump if NZ is poised to become a neocon nation of zombie voters. Do the political parties try to reach compromises, or do they work to destroy the others? Do the people really think about the issues and vote accordingly, or do they let their favorite authority figure tell them what to think? I realize that there is a wide array of political leanings and opinions in NZ, but are they generally well-considered opinions?
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    NZ Politics is quite interesting on times! I think it works better here because the people wont stand for nonsense, and as the population is so small, the government usually has to take notice of what the people say.

    Obviously I don't know about the US, but coming from the UK I would 'almost' say that the politics here is a breath of fresh air! I say almost, because it's still politics!

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    Thanks. It sounds like our impressons were on track.
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    Politics always tie me up in knots by the time I fight my way through all the lying, cheating and skulduggery that goes on. I really can't be bothered to immerse myself in it.

    However, as you will know from my posts on the forum, I do follow what's being said in the media. The feeling I get is that, if the kiwi public shouts long enough and loud enough, the government will listen. What happens after that is anyone's guess and depends on which way the wind is blowing at the time. Nevertheless, a government that listens is a step in the right direction compared to other countries where your voice counts for nothing.

    Look at The Smacking Bill. There's been so much in the press about the kiwis being against it. Several times it looked like it was going to sail through, but it has been staggering all along the way because of strong public opposition. Now they are talking about a compromise, so having a voice does seem to count for something in NZ.

    That's not to say they don't still make enormous blunders now and then.
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    The impression I have, and bear in mind that this is only from what I've read, is that while people in NZ are either Labour (left-center) or National (right-center), that divide doesn't define people in the way it has come to define us here in the US.

    Have you read Alexander Elder's book, Straying from the Flock? He makes some observations about the political climate in NZ.

    Of course, I doubt any place could be as divided as the US is. Last summer I spent a week in Quebec, in Montreal and Quebec City, and was struck by the fact that I did not see a single Canadian car with any political bumper stickers.

    While we were in Montreal, there was a large pro-Palestinian/pro-Lebanon rally about two blocks from our hotel--I had no idea that it was going on until we watched the news that night! I said to my wife, "Oh, that's why there were all those Lebanese flags around!" And it suddenly made sense why we had seen more Muslim families in the nearby park that afternoon when we took the kids for a walk and a romp around the playground!

    I guess that is what I'm hoping NZ will be like. I want people to be passionate about issues, but I am absolutely sick and tired of all of this 'treason' talk being thrown around and the illogical 'support our troops' by lengthening their tours of duty.

    /rant off
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    Well, politics in the UK is nothing to get excited about. All parties say the same thing in different words, there is no opposition to speak of. Everything's become bogged down in the 'War on Terror'. I don't feel there's any solid leadership, I can't think of one politician I feel inspired or motivated by, nobody moves me in any which way. I would love there to be someone who makes me listen, someone so passionate about their beliefs that they grab my attention and have me hungrily hanging on their every word. If there are any politicians like this they're not allowed to come forward. I wonder whether people like this, because there has to be someone somewhere, are deliberately kept under wraps because speaking passionately and emotively is undesirable. It might actually wake a few people up into action and Lord knows they don't want anyone doing that! We have become lazy in our political thinking in the UK and I think that suits the powers that be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiHopeful View Post
    Last summer I spent a week in Quebec, in Montreal and Quebec City, and was struck by the fact that I did not see a single Canadian car with any political bumper stickers.

    Last summer we spent a week in Quebec also. We stayed in old town and then 2 nights on the Ile D'orleans a small island just north of Quebec city. LOVED it. The truth is, we were sniffing around to see if maybe it wouldn't be an alternative to NZ if the ITA doesn't work out, or just because it would be a lot closer and easier to move to Canada.

    I didn't notice the (lack of) political bumper stickers, but you are probably quite right. OTOH I think Canada is somewhat dominated by the politics of the US due to proximity and interdependence, so I'm not sure it would be as much of an "escape." I was disappointed to see many of the same chains of food and retail just continue right across the border. Home Depot, McDonald's, KFC etc. Less so in Quebec but we entered at Niagara and Ontario seemed like an extension of the US in many respects.

    Selchie I came across this blog and they talk about the politics of particularly a US expat in NZ: New Zealand: Some Not-So Important Answers To Some Important Questions! ~ by Rick Adams

    There's also a nice account of getting healthcare and their thoughts on GST to add some feet-on-the-ground perspective to an (ahem) contentious thread going on elsewhere.

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    Thanks for the link, Duane. I'll check it out after the cider has worn off.

    Funny, we were also attracted to Quebec (Montreal), though my French is at the toddler level. Haven't seen it without snow, though.
    If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
    - Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, mid-1800s

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    Quote Originally Posted by duane1x View Post
    The truth is, we were sniffing around to see if maybe it wouldn't be an alternative to NZ if the ITA doesn't work out, or just because it would be a lot closer and easier to move to Canada.
    We, too, considered Canada, but we're looking for a warmer climate! And though Montreal is one of my favorite cities, if Paris is the City of Lights, Montreal is the City of Slush (at least in December).

    It was that trip, however, that made me seriously think about leaving the US. There was this vibe I'd never really felt any place in the US--it was as though people were actually HAPPY! I was shocked.

    I'm kinda bummed that if everything goes as planned, I won't be able to make another trip up to Montreal before we leave for NZ. (Another one of those 'lasts.')
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    Quote Originally Posted by selchie View Post
    Haven't seen it without snow, though.
    That's too bad. Their botanical gardens is a treasure! And believe me, walking around Vieux-Montreal (Old Montreal) is much, much, much more pleasurable in August than December or February or even April (the other times of the year I've been there).

    Dawn will probably appreciate this shot:
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