They're having an election this year, in case you hadn't noticed. God what a dismal set of options we have before us.
Labour? They seem desperate to stay in power, and willing to do just about anything to do so. But so tired, so arrogant, (witness their indignant howls when the Auditor General demonstrated they'd broken the law) and so out of touch. Plus I don't recall seeing the EFA on the list of promised policies before the last election, when I did vote for them. If they'd had that on the list I wouldn't have. Their constant spiteful attacks on John Key for being successful just don't do it for me either. I know whoever was in power would have cosied up to China, but I find that country as morally bankrupt as apartheid era South Africa. But Labour won't mention a word on those issues.
National? Moving so fast to the centre they're nearly indistinguishable from Labour on social policies. Economically neo-liberal still (no thanks!) and not really sure how far they can be trusted to do what they say. And look at their front bench - Night of the Living Dead! Lockwood Smith! Maurice Williamson! Toni Ryall! Ugh...
Greens? Lovely people, I admit, and honest and reliable, which are attributes not to be dismissed lightly in politics. But I don't sign up to cults these days, and the Greens' perpetual battered spouse role to Labour (witness their handwringing angst every time Labour does the dirty on them, yet they keep coming back for more, because they know, deep down, that really, one day Labour will show how much they love them and let them sit at the big table). I suspect I wouldn't really want to live in the world the Greens want to bring about: I've tried the hippy communal thing and it just isn't me.
Maori Party? Too homophobic for me - Tariana didn't support Civil Unions, and again, I don't sign up for cults. I also don't go along with the trend that says "Indigenous culture = automatically wonderful". Indigenous culture is just indigenous culture: it has its pluses and minuses like anything. And I'm not Maori.
NZ First? You're joking, right?
I know, it's easy to be cynical, to be dismissive of hardworking good people. And I know people in a number of the parties who are all those things. Sometimes I think if we could get rid of the parties and just vote for the best people... but no, that wouldn't work either.
Voting often involves going for the least bad option, it certainly does this time round.
I have moved away from my radical Marxist/anarchist ( I was indecisive - sue me) youth where I wanted a revolution that would change the world. More experience of the world, travel, study, and education has taught me that revolutions are nasty, do not achieve what they set out to, and end up fucking up a huge range of people. Except for the few who stay in power at the top.
In some ways it is naive of me to hope for anything really good to come out of any political system. Politics is about the excercise of power, and this always involves making some better off and others worse off. I know I don't want to be in the worse off group. Who does? But if I am anything I suppose I am a Human Rights hawk, a proud supporter of the best parts of the Western Enlightenment Tradition.
What about the economy? I'd say the global economy is a dog and New Zealand is flea on its back - we go where it goes, and as everything has become more and more globalised, our Government has less and less power to really affect any changes in it. And if we fall off the dog won't even notice.
It's all very uninspiring - the parties are all next to hopeless, but I'll still vote. Because if I don't I can't complain. And whoever gets in, you can be sure, I'll complain.