Wednesday, September 14, 2005

New Zealand hears the Dog Whistles calling 

General Election in New Zealand on Sept 17 th....

Looks like it will be a cliffhanger in NZ - polls split on whether National or Labour are in the lead. BBC today has report and TVNZ has roundup.

Major issue seems to be national's promise to downgrade special status of Maori population, which is attracting support for national (compare this to the poll tracker issued on 7th Sept) but also causing alarm. Some constructive contercampaigning caought out the Nats at least once...

US-style 'lifestyle'politics seems to have hit the Kiwis by the backdoor with the Exclusive Bretheren church funding leaflets attacking Labour and the Greens. Labour accusing National of being aware in advance of these leaflets and of indulging in Australian-style dogwhistle politics.

If National is returned they will try to 'mend fences' with the USA it seems... (and there's no beating about the Bush really about what that implies though the Nats appear to be trying to avoid mentioning Foreign Policy as far as possible before polling day). But Labour is stressing the continuation of the 'no Nuclear ships in NZ waters' policy.

How are the minor parties faring under proportional represenation then? Interestingly, not well. Voters seem to be congregating around the big two of National and Labour.

The Exclusive Bretheren issue continues to resonate with this warning that this could be part of a worldwide trend. In part it says:

In the United States elections, the Exclusive Brethren spent more
than $US500,000 ($NZ720,670) on newspaper advertisements supporting George
Bush and the Florida Republican Senate candidate, Mel Martinez, known for
opposing gay marriage and hate crimes legislation, and linked to the
Republican strategy for turning Terri Schiavo's 15-year coma into a "great
political issue". Dr Maddox, the author of God Under Howard: the Rise of the
Religious Right in Australia, said with so much money and power at their disposal, it was "no wonder even moderately religious politicians such as Howard and avowed agnostics such as (NZ National Party leader) Brash, are hitching their stars to the conservative Christian comet".

I suppose we are lucky that our Faithful Prime Minister does not do The God Thing.

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