Why some voted for National
Key reasons for National's poor polling that seemed to be missed by TV1's political commentators on election night were these:
Many thought Labour had done a good job of managing the Covid-19 crisis; and should be given the chance to finish the job;
And that a change of government at this stage could be unhelpful and potentially endanger the country's recovery.
These were certainly the sentiments expressed by the majority of my friends who traditionally vote National and decided to give their vote to Jacinda and her team.
Yes. We. Will.
Come on, let's go! We have a mandate for transformation now with a landslide victory to Labour. We are a small, nimble country that can.
We did it with universal suffrage in the 1890s, we did it with Michael Joseph Savage's "Cradle to the Grave" social welfare reform in the 1930s, both the envy of the world at the time.
We still have the eyes of the world on us right now for defeating the Covid 19 threat here. We can bring back all the equalities of opportunities and accessibilities. We can do it within social and environmental safety guidelines.
It will take transformative, fearless and above all competent action, but with the overwhelming mandate the answer surely is: Yes. We. Will.
Christine Keller Smith
Thanks to Jacinda Ardern
Prior to Jacinda Ardern's elevation to the leader of the Labour Party this paper
printed a letter of mine suggesting that if Labour wanted to rise in the polls they should bring Jacinda through. At that time she seemed the only light at the end of a dark tunnel for that party. The last three years have shown us just how accomplished she is not only as a communicator but someone who has commonsense and the ability to build a very formidable team. Jacinda has introduced a new style of leadership that doesn't rely on
the negative portions of life but more on the positive.
Being kind has resonated throughout the country and it makes one stop and think before taking the wrong action in some situations. New Zealand has spoken very strongly that they want this new approach but they also expect Labour to deliver. One can be assured Jacinda will not rest on her laurels and we can expect that transformation that this Government has promised will happen. The win is historic and Labour have Ardern to thank for that.
Not a landslide
I am not a National supporter but I do take exception to headlines trumpeting a landslide for Jacinda, let's face it she won the election: 49.1 per cent of the total vote does not mean a landslide victory. The reality is 50.9 per cent - a majority didn't support Jacinda.
At least with an absolute majority in Parliament Jacinda will not have to pander to the minor parties - especially the Greens with some of their way out ideas and she won't have to give $3 billion to NZ First to fritter away.
Pension funding crisis
Pre-election, little debate arose regarding the urgent need to confront the looming crisis that is retirement funding, politicians across the spectrum conveniently abdicating that responsibility to future administrators.
For the next 40 years, 30,000 additional
New Zealanders will year-on-year qualify for retirement income, the ratio of taxpayers supporting them diminishing to an unsustainable 1.66 workers to a single retiree. Norman Kirk's inspired superannuation scheme of the 60s was so pillaged that the current NZ Super Fund now proves inadequate, instead current taxpayers must finance ever increasing shortfalls. The solution of course, increased savings, long recognised by Australia whose per capita retirement savings pool by comparison is to be envied. Do we possess the political will to meet this challenge?
Who is she? Chloe Swarbrick is the new Ardern - just better. She galvanised the party vote and took a seat from the Nats and against the swing to Labour.
Her debating skills are a mix of rapid smooth delivery, diamond hard, cut-throat logic, a quick wit and a confidence and belief in herself that belies her age.
The Greens need new dynamic leadership: Shaw and Davidson were piggybacked into Parliament by Swarbrick and they know it.
Although Labour is blessed with a brilliant Minister of Finance who will continue to manage the economy very well, this is not an election that is "about the economy, stupid". Nor is it just about our Covid response, much envied by the world.
It is about the integrity and the goodness of our superstar leader (a role model for the next generation). This is what international politics needs hugely more of: politicians we can respect, admire and love. Thank you Jacinda, and congratulations to us voters. Now we can push ahead with transformative change, I hope.
I suggest that you make the article on Jacinda by foreign editor, Greg Sheridan, in The Australian newspaper of October 14, compulsory reading for your political journalists.
They might like to reflect on his comment that "..then came the virus and she could do her high priestess of woke religious stuff, day after day. Validated by a swooning international media, unchallenged by a tepid and under-resourced local media, she sold her narrative that her Government saved NZ." She certainly sold that successfully.
Dangers of cyclone season
I guess this one has been done to death - but what a complete oxymoron we have here.
Firstly, we are happy to allow a flood of "citizens" back into the country to be safe (because that is the only reason they are back) and
fork out mega bucks for their room and board.
Secondly, we welcome a significant number of very wealthy sports people and hangers on provided they spend $50,000.
And thirdly, we fail to offer safe passage and compassion to a relatively small flotilla of almost certainly Covid-free yachties.
The dangers about the cyclone season are frankly academic - world touring yachties are not especially fazed by this - but heaven forbid, they will pay 100 per cent of their food and board in isolation and as a whole, spend a lot of money in NZ before they depart.
Is this the way we show our kindness?
Matthew Hooton's opinion in Friday's NZ Herald deserves a critical reflection, not in defence of any political position, rather to highlight the flawed logic.
Mr Hooton's argument is that National's woes can be traced back to the loss in the 2017 election, and the consequential appointment of Simon Bridges as party leader. Maybe. However, since then, other internal events have arguably played a greater role in weakening National's influence. At the top of this list was Todd Muller's short leadership stint, of which Mr Hooton was a prime mover, that ended abruptly. It is disingenuous for Mr Hooton not to confess that his meddling and backroom lobbying in this event furthered the destabilising of National Party - ultimately contributing to a resounding electoral loss.
Consider this thought experiment. If Mr Muller had remained National leader and was still being advised by Mr Hooton, would Mr Hooton be exclaiming that National are now politically doomed? I seriously doubt it. So, raising the 2017 election is nothing more than a strawman argument. Mr Hooton's views should rightfully be treated as a public relations exercise, seeking to deflect attention away from his own political lobbying failure.
Early nutrition, exercise
Schools have been discouraged from adapting healthy eating policies that could do much to reduce health, mood, learning and behaviour problems in young and not so young children.
"Water only" might now be accepted in all Northland schools, but why are Porirua schools and other schools around the country begging the Government for help to establish such a simple, cost-effective policy?
All primary schools should have an on-site qualified nurse working in a dedicated health centre. The "sick bay" should be a thing of the past. It is not hard to train children to request frozen peas for a bump, but presenting parents with the urgent need to try a five day/forever additive free trial, is for the professionals and teachers are very busy. When there are serious problems with classrooms disrupted, the nutritional status of the child should be established as a priority.
The International Literacy Association for many years published and distributed a parent nutrition brochure aptly entitled "Good Nutrition leads to Better Learning". Northland school families have been given "Brain Food for Better Learning", a parent nutrition brochure that describes exactly why whole foods and water only is needed and how schools can help.
Daily quality PE has also been discouraged in a country with beaches, lakes, rivers, world class rugby teams, netball teams, ski champions and so on. You can be sure that these activities have dedicated dieticians who monitor food input as well as energy output. There are excellent PE programmes such as "Ready-to -Use PE Activities" by Joanne and Maxwell Landy and many PE specialists.
Even Nigel Latta includes the need for exercise in his approach to educating children.