Nov 9, 2008

farewell helen - post election reflections

I will miss you, Helen Clark, farewell and enjoy your retirement.

The NZ election results came in on Saturday night, with a clear government able to be formed by National and Act.

(for anyone not familiar with New Zealand's voting system, we have multiple parties, elected based on their overall percentage of the votes, who then get to negotiate with each other to try and form a majority group who can be the 'government' - it's actually more complicated than that, but that's close enough - for more info, see the MMP wiki)

So. A swing to the Right.

Which is not the way I voted :) I did reconsider my vote for the Greens in the end - I ended up ticking the Progressive's box, whom I decided actually more closely aligned with my ideals.

I totally support the Greens' environmental policies, and I love their insulation scheme for poor peoples' homes, but I was uncomfortable with some of their other private member's bills that were passed in the last few years. A little too much of the government legislating how you behave in the privacy of your own home/private premises etc (like the anti-smacking bill, and the anti-smoking legislation - both of which I agreed with the aims of - but felt that the legislation was sloppy and rushed, and consequently had unlooked for consequences - like what a CYFs caseworker might now do when a neighbour reports a smack, or Returned Servicemen not being able to smoke in their own RSA clubs).

So. To the future. Some of my friends have said that they would plan to leave the country if Helen were re-elected (to which I always replied "and go where??"), and today my bro said that some of his friends were now planning to leave the country. Go figure. I still reply "and go where??" The whole world is having an economic meltdown. OK, sure, the last time New Zealand had a Right Wing government in power during a recession, they retrenched (causing massive job losses - the government and its infrastructure projects being a major source of employment), set a target of 10% unemployment (i.e. always to have at least 10% of people unemployed), slashed welfare to 'make people want to get a job' (while actively planning not to have jobs for everyone), got rid of state-housing, sold off or deregulated state assets like the railways and power companies (so the railway system was sucked dry and left a wasted worthless husk, while we now have power companies raising consumer fees by 10% 'because of the hard times' while giving their execs 100% pay raises).

But they wouldn't be stupid enough to do that all over again. Would they??

Despite the fact that many of those very same people are likely to have cabinet positions.

And Roger Douglas, of Rogernomics fame, likely to return to cabinet.


But even so, NZ is still an awesome place to live. I can't think of a place I would rather be.

My hope is that people will come together to help each other out during the coming hard times, just as they did last time. That the church will respond with compassion and grace and practical help to those who are desperate - as it did with the Hikoi of Hope in 1998. And we will remember that no government, no political system, no leader with a charismatic smile can ever rescue us.

Neither can the church - a bunch of people mostly doing their best to follow Christ each day, some days better than others, mostly fairly averagely.

Only Christ himself.

And even then, to be honest, sometimes the divine 'rescue' initially looks like a worse option than staying with what you have. I'm sure the thought crossed Jesus' mind on his way to his execution. In fact, scripture says it did (Luke 32:39-44).

It's late and I'm rambling (and making lots of typos which I'm having to go back and correct), but I guess what I'm saying is that even though I am less than stoked about our election result, I am confident in God's sovereignty, confident in his goodness, and hopeful to see what good he will create from the situation. There is always goodness - and every good and perfect thing is from God (even if our vew of God is too small to make the connection obvious).

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