Joe Hendren

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Election 2008: Extreme Makeover Parliament Edition

A couple of days before Saturday the reality of the likely result started to sink in. Polls had looked poorly for some time, but in the final week I suspected the overall trend was a further swing towards National. Particularly after Mike Williams ineffective attempts to land mud on John Key.

Apparently this was Williams' personal crusade - yet just like the medieval variety it failed to find the relics and caused a great deal of collateral damage in the process.

On Friday a friend attempted to console me that the late polls may be going the other way, but my head was telling me otherwise.

The scale of the National party win is still a shock. John Key is in a strong position in Parliamentary terms, with a clear majority for confidence and supply from Act, United Future and possibly the Maori party. That said, there is no mandate for radical change. It is good to see Key recognise this with his reassuring noises about leading a centrist government, and ruling Roger Douglas out of cabinet. I have some lingering doubts here - I will return to this and the Roger issue in a later post.

While I feared the Labour vote would be hollowed out, I did expect the Greens to do better. I will return to this issue also.

Watching the so called roof top party that formed part of TV One's coverage, I was dismayed at some of the reasons given by some people for switching their vote to National. I can respect people who take a liking to a particular policy of a party, but 'time for a change' is meaningless. It demonstrates a sense of disengagement that regards politics as a mere commodity, as merely the faces they see on the TV each night. Extreme Makeover Parliament Edition.

Yet many of these same people will act with alarm if National attempts to restart a more radical right wing agenda. They will be dismayed when their kids are dismissed from their job without reason after 90 days. How long before the reality of change sinks in?

As they say on TV, move that bus!

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