Newman Online: Vote for what you believe in
Weekly commentary by Dr Muriel Newman MP
Vote for what you believe in
This week Newman Online takes a closer look at at what the smaller parties are offering voters during what promises to be one of the tightest election contests in New Zealand's political history.
This election is certainly a very close race. While today's poll puts the two main parties neck and neck, the reality is that the only poll that really matters is the one on election day.
There have been many famous examples throughout history of polls that got it totally wrong. While people are happy to tell pollsters who they think they will cast their vote for, many find on election day that they can't bring themselves to vote pragmatically after all, but instead have to vote for the principles that they believe in, even though that may seem to be an unpopular choice.
Harry S. Truman's 1938 presidential election springs to mind as one of the greatest election surprises of all times: every poll, commentator and reporter said he would lose. But on election day he won, and he won because in the end people couldn't bring themselves to vote for the front-runner - just because everyone said his opponent, Thomas Dewey,was going to win. Instead, they voted for the man they believed in.
In this election, all of the small parties have struggled. It's as if MMP doesn't exist. The media have been obsessed with the battle between Labour and National that without the media highlighting what they stand for, polling support for the smaller parties has dwindled.
As the two goliaths engage in a massive bidding war, the crucial issue of whether or not they will be able to find political support to carry out their election pledges, while having been addressed by Labour, appears to have been largely overlooked by National.
In the case of Labour, they have stated that their preferred party of support is the Green Party. The Greens are the most left-wing party in Parliament. Their plan is clearly to have us all abandon our cars, to bring in a universal allowance to ensure that everyone gets a weekly wage whether or not they work, to introduce a capital gains tax on houses, and to enshrine Maori sovereignty.
As far as National is concerned, by failing to embrace ACT as their natural ally, their situation is very precarious. Their bizarre move of cuddling up to United Future has already caused them to do a U-turn on the Families Commission: National has long claimed that the commission is bureaucracy gone mad and a $28 million waste of taxpayers' money. Yet over a five-minute cup of coffee with United Future, they have now compromised their position and agreed that it should remain.
This situation is not new. National supporters remain concerned about their party's tendency to drift and compromise. During their last nine years in government National failed to break the grip of the unions on the education system, they introduced Labour's dreadful Resource Management Act, and the equally dreadful Child Support Act. In addition, National ratified the Kyoto Protocol and introduced the so- called 'Treaty clauses' to create Maori privilege into dozens of our laws (including the one in the New Zealand Geographic Board Act that residents of Whangarei have now found - to their cost - allows Maori to ignore official evidence and re-write history!) I could go on!
But there is a further problem. Those New Zealanders who believe that it is not the role of the state to promote political correctness, racial privilege or laws that undermine the family should think twice before voting for United Future. While they has been quite outspoken about these issues during this campaign, they have said they are very happy to support a Labour-led government. Yet it is Labour that will be progressing their feminist social engineering agenda, a ban on free speech, and more legislation to further interfere in family life. A vote for United Future could be a vote for all of these.
National has also indicated that they are prepared to work with NZ First. But, because NZ First has also said that they may support Labour, a vote for NZ First is not a vote for a change in government, either.
NZ First has put in place a complicated plan whereby they will demand that a major party must satisfy their substantial election pledges otherwise they will not provide support. On that basis, while Labour has effectively ruled out working with them, National hasn't.
But if National is forced to satisfy NZ First's $700 million plus promises to the elderly - along with numerous other expensive election pledges - as a condition of their support, tax cuts will effectively be ruled out.
As it stands, if the country ends up with a National-led government, supported by United and NZ First, they will not be able to carry through on their election pledges of lower taxes, significant reductions in regulation, effective welfare reform, and the abolition of the Maori seats. It puts National in the disingenuous position, whereby they will not now - nor ever - be able to keep these election promises, without ACT back in parliament to provide some vital support.
ACT is the only small party in Parliament that wants a change in government. We have stated quite categorically that we cannot support Labour. Yet, the National Party hierarchy appears to have shied away from ACT, even though most National Party supporters would prefer to see ACT there to give National the strength and support it will need.
ACT is a party of principle that champions freedom, choice and personal responsibility. We believe that this country should be the best in the world to live, work, and raise a family. That is why creating prosperity and encouraging self-reliance is at the heart of our aspirations for New Zealand.
If you would like to see ACT's experienced team returned to Parliament - as a stable partner for National to support them and keep them on track, and as a strong opposition to Labour - then please vote for your principles and what you believe in, and give ACT your Party Vote on 17 September!
PS. Thanks so much for your messages of support and encouragement. This column goes out to over 20,000 people who have the power to help to ensure that ACT is returned to Parliament. If each of you sends a message to all of your email contacts endorsing ACT and suggesting that they support us as well, you could make a huge difference to the outcome of this election - and to the future of New Zealand!