Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath: Democracy would be better if there was less of it

Democracy can be a massive waste of time and money.

Especially in the greatest democracy in the world the USA.

It's out of control. Eighteen months of polls and outrage and rallies. Massive panels of partisan pundits punishing the people with pointless pontifications. Endless fact-checking with no consequences.

The two candidates spent US$1.3 billion on the latest White House run. Surely they could have said all they needed to say in a month for a hundredth of that.

So much cash and time spent making voters scared for their futures.

At the end of it all the candidates got about the same amount of votes.

Donald Trump won even though a large proportion of the people who voted for him don't think he is qualified for the job.

After 18 months of vicious hate and abuse, Trump met Obama for the first time and they were best mates. Trump called Barack a "Very good man", said "I very much look forward to dealing with the President in the future, including counsel".

Which is great; you want a peaceful transition of power. But you've got to say the last 18 months were a roundabout way to get to this point.

It's almost as if they say stuff they don't really mean just to get elected.

Sure the election was fun to watch. Just not sure it was good honest fun. Twists, turns, shocks. Highs and lows for both sides. It was up there with Westworld in the futuristic drama stakes.

I'm already missing the hourly Herald, Politico and Real Clear politics app notifications.

But now it's over it feels like it could have been a lot shorter for the same result.

At least US politicians get four years for their money. New Zealand's three years is ridiculously short.

Here, a new government gets in, spends a year working out how to govern, does some good stuff for a year in the middle, then starts campaigning again. Democracy would be so much better if there was less of it.

How about we run a six-year term with a maximum of one month campaigning? That way a government could try long-term plans, for the good of the nation not just short-term popularity.

Dictators must laugh at the expensive time-waster that democracy has become.

Very rarely do New Zealand governments stay in power for only one term anyway. Give them six years so they don't spend two of them campaigning.

Personally I'm looking forward to next year's election. I love my country and care passionately about its future but more importantly, as a broadcaster it gives me something to talk about on air every day.

Hugely significant events will pop up on a biweekly basis. Life-changing moments that have one side or the other spitting blood. Events we won't even remember or care about two days after the polls close.

Democracy is a weird thing. Currently half the population of America is getting dictated to by the other half. If your candidate doesn't win arguably you didn't really have a say.

The dictators of the world must laugh at the destructive, expensive time-waster that democracy has become.

Unfortunately despots generally do horrible things to their populations.

A super smart benevolent dictator would be cheap and really efficient.

Of course it never works out like that. They all end up directing death squads atop gold toilet seats while their subjects starve. Eventually the people rise up and skin their leader alive. At least democracy gives us a generally bloodless outcome.

But US elections are out of control. They're too flashy, expensive and long. Style over substance. Campaigns find the best campaigner rather than the best leader.

It's all too angry, long and partisan. I vote for shorter campaigns and longer terms.

A little less democracy. Who's with me?

- NZ Herald

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Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath is a breakfast radio host on Radio Hauraki, and a television producer, writer and director. He made a name for himself with Back of The Y Masterpiece Television, Balls of Steel UK and the feature film The Devil Dared Me To. Matt was guitarist and singer for the band Deja Voodoo which released two top twenty albums. He is currently a producer on Best Bits, a cricket commentator for The Alternative Commentary Collective, and the director of Vinewood Motion Graphics. Matt is a father of two living in Auckland City.

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