"Politics Is Not A Spectator Sport"
8 October 1999
Chamber of Commerce
"POLITICS IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT"
As the election campaign develops, the challenge facing the political parties, and especially leaders, is to break through the complacency that many New Zealanders are showing:
280,000 potential voters not enrolled;
- 25% undecided who to vote for
These statistics demonstrate the need for the political parties to lift their performance in the weeks of campaigning ahead, said Mr Barnett, Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive.
"Neither major party has come up with a compelling vision of New Zealand's future. And no leader has said in plain, attractive language what kind of society they want New Zealand to be, or what they would want their leadership to be remembered for."
Yet the opinion polls indicate that many New Zealanders want change and are seeking assertive, positive political leadership that compels the bureaucracy to perform better, and encourages New Zealanders of whatever background and standing to fulfill their potential and achieve a high standard of living.
Whether it is younger voters deeply concerned about the cost and quality of their education in coming years, or businesses worried they can't compete because of excessive taxes and regulations, they share a common desire to be part of a winning New Zealand team.
This election is about winning the future; "a future that depends on how well we organise ourselves as a nation and what role we allow governments to play."
Said Mr Barnett. "Like the emotion involved in every New Zealander wanting the All Blacks to win the World Rugby Cup, we all want to be part of a winning team, and we all want to end up with a nation that has the best political team available and which is passionately committed to winning New Zealand's future in the three years ahead," said Mr Barnett. "But to make it happen we all must get involved, otherwise we will never achieve our potential."