Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: A four-year parliamentary term?

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  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to James Caygill,

    ’d be interested to know your view Graeme if Parliament altered the Constitution Act with a 75% majority, which they are legally entitled to do , and inserted a four year term, but put that change in term off for a number of years in the future, thus removing any immediate self-interest (noting of course that some will always see self interest in any term lengthening move). Would you be as opposed?

    Yes.

    My opposition is not based on a belief that it is wrong for MPs to do this because of they are self-interested. My opposition is based on a belief that it should be for voters to determine how often we get the option of kicking the Government from office.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2999 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to BenWilson,

    I know several Chinese people, for instance, who will swear blind that the Chinese government is the wisest and best form of government ever invented, and they can pile up endless evidence to that effect. Since they don’t give a flying fuck about human rights, they don’t find those counterarguments compelling.

    Yet we can look at the assumptions they make, and draw entirely proper conclusions based on our different values. Of course the analogies will be imperfect, but that doesn't mean they will be entirely unhelpful.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2999 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to BenWilson,

    who will swear blind that the Chinese government is the wisest and best form of government ever invented,

    Well, the transition to every administration serving two 5-year terms then retiring (albeit a very active retirement in the case of Jiang Zemin) has been a huge improvement over the old rule for life (or rule until outmanoeuvered in the case of Hua Guofeng) of the pre-Jiang Zemin era. In the case of the Republic of China, transition from rule for life under Chiang Kai-Shek - or even Yuan Shikai's attempt to crown himself emperor in the very chaotic early years of the RoC - through liberalisation under Chiang's son Chiang Ching-Kuo to more or less full democratisation under Lee Teng Hui certainly seems to have improved things on Taiwan.

    But:

    Since they don't give a flying fuck about human rights

    Well, yes. Although I find Chinese to be either naive or cynical on that subject - naive in the case of young ones whose parents haven't told them stories of the not too distant past. Still, that is one major problem in the PRC system, a problem that seems to have been more or less ironed out in the RoC, whose historic record in that respect is also pretty horrific.

    I would argue that the major flaws in the PRC system are in local governance, and the more local (township, village) the more broken it is.

    PRC central government, however, seems to do a much better job of long term, strategic planning than the NZ government. It also seems to be doing a better job at lifting its game than the NZ parties. But, as Graeme suggested, I suspect that has a lot more to do with the political culture than term limits.

    So it seems to me that the PRC and RoC experiences suggest a reduction in term limits from life or whatever political survival instincts buy you to 2x5 years and whatever the limit is on Taiwan leads to an improvement in governance. Or was it the rise of the middle class and their pesky demands for participation.... Either way, no evidence that increased terms help much.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2050 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I think the idea that politicians don't like campaigning is a bit of a generalisation. Some really love it, some hate it. These days we're getting close to a permanent campaign, in many ways. I am unsure what difference a campaign that lasts four years as opposed to one that lasts three years will really make.

    Personally I quite like triennial elections, because I like odd numbers more than even.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1327 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Yet we can look at the assumptions they make, and draw entirely proper conclusions based on our different values. Of course the analogies will be imperfect, but that doesn’t mean they will be entirely unhelpful.

    I'm not saying it's not a debate worth having, or that the debate doesn't help. Just that it won't be purely "evidence based". It's going to have a high element of moral reckoning it in, because it pertains to the very way in which our practical morals are set, especially in this country, where the power of Parliament is so great.

    I would argue that the major flaws in the PRC system are in local governance, and the more local (township, village) the more broken it is.

    Curious, I've heard the exact opposite argument, that it's the local governance where the system is best, it's the only level that is participatory on a grand scale. The PRC government is incredibly heavy handed, making decisions for millions of people at a time with little attempting to hear their concerns and almost no interest in their rights. I guess it depends on who you are, where you are, and what happened to you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8439 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    For the question is what is the difference in political parties and politicians behaviour and results were it a four year term instead of three and what prevents them from doing so now under the current system. I don't see any.If they wanted to propose changes taking longer then three years thay can do so and if the results won't produce in the short term but will in the long, they can do that too. I don't think any governement will do other than say to vote for them because they can do more to continue their programme at the next election regardless of the 3 or 4 year length of term.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 553 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to BenWilson,

    A lot of people complain about local government, village in particular, being dominated by petty, domineering, uneducated, uncultured bullies. You'll also find that abuses of the one child policy, forced abortions and sterilisations, infanticide, etc, tend to happen in smaller towns rather than the major cities.

    with little attempting to hear their concerns and almost no interest in their rights.

    20 years ago that may have been perfectly true, but not any more, as masses of people "taking a stroll" together in, for example Xiamen in clear, if not directly stated, opposition to a planned PX plant upwind of a major residential quarter of the city, or in Shanghai in protest of a planned maglev train route to Hangzhou (fears of radiation rather than chemicals in that case, though). There are plenty more examples.

    There is a hell of a lot more public debate over issues like the economy, the environment, education, even sex and sexuality (see Li Yinhe, for example) than I suspect the overwhelming majority of people outside China (or illiterate in Chinese - the internet and smartphones have really helped, and make all this visible to people outside China literate in Chinese). January's air pollution crisis* saw pages and pages of each day's newspapers devoted to air pollution and what to do about it, including many op-ed pieces calling for a new air pollution law, or at least improvements to the current law.

    Also, it tends to be in rural areas, small towns, and poorer areas where political struggles tend to get violent - and the protests are always at local government behaviour, not central. An interesting contrast happened just in my neighbourhood in downtown Beijing. One day posters appeared on the wall of the local market announcing plans to demolish the market and build a hospital. Many people gathered around to read and discuss these posters and their content. Unfortunately, a cop car showed up just as I arrived, so being rather obviously foreign I made myself scarce. Next day the posters had some neighbours - locals in this middle class, reasonably educated area had written up protest posters appealing to Beijing and State laws and regulations as well as concerns about the impact on the local environment (no cops, so I stopped and read). A few days later all the posters were gone, and a banner was strung over the market gate asking everybody to go harmoniously about their business. The market later relocated to a new building over the road, but the land has sat empty and unused for years.

    Close by posters appeared one day in a slum announcing that it was to be demolished. The locals, being poor and less educated, didn't seem to have the wherewithal to appeal successfully, and had responded by tearing the posters and spraypainting coarsely-worded slogans next to the 拆 (chāi, demolish) characters painted on the walls of the condemned houses. Within a couple of weeks demolition work had begun - although they only demolished half the condemned houses for some reason, and in the years since all I've seen to suggest further change is a poster announcing plans to build a mosque, while the slum sits there half torn down.

    But yes, there are certainly strict limits to freedom of speech and protest, and the consequences of crossing those limits can be rather severe.

    And within central government and party circles decision making seems to be more a very long process of negotiation and consensus building rather than Mao-style diktat. And yes, public opinion is very much a part of that process, just not in the same way it is in NZ.

    Gotta run.... Nobody's chasing me, but the Mrs will be at the bus station soon.

    *possibly helped Fonterra dodge a few bullets after that DCD scare.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2050 posts Report Reply

  • fury12,

    I've been reading the 'Historical Background of Chartism'.

    'The electoral system in the early nineteenth century was radically different from the parliamentary democracy we have today. The system was not representative of the population in terms of wealth or region, and elections were open to corruption. Before 1832, just ten per cent of British adult males were eligible to vote – and this portion of the population was the richest.'

    There were many efforts to reform this outdated system by people who used methods such as corresponding societies, pamphlets and mass meetings to spread their messages. The most notorious of the mass meetings occurred at St. Peter’s Fields in August 1819. Eleven people were killed and 400 wounded when a group of soldiers on horseback charged on the crowd. This event soon became known as the Peterloo Massacre and remained in people’s memories for many years to come, intensifying support for reform.

    Reform of the electoral system finally arrived with the 1832 Reform Act, which increased the proportion of eligible voters in England and Wales to 18 per cent of the adult-male population and 12 per cent in Scotland. Although the working classes had high hopes for the Reform Act, they eventually felt betrayed as despite the new legislation, the poor ultimately remained voiceless in the way their country was run. In the years following the Reform Act, the Chartists would begin to plan their campaign to try to effect real electoral change in Britain.

    What were the aims of the Chartists?
    In 1836 Cornish cabinet-maker William Lovett formed the London Working Men’s Association, along with publisher Henry Hetherington and printers John Cleave and James Watson. Besides disseminating information for the good of the working classes, the association wanted 'To seek by every legal means to place all classes of society in possession of their equal, political, and social rights.' With the help of Francis Place, Lovett composed The People’s Charter, which demanded the following changes to the British electoral system:

    •Universal suffrage (the right to vote)
    •Abolition of property qualifications for members of parliament
    •Annual parliamentary elections
    •Equal representation
    •Payment of members of parliament
    •Vote by secret ballot

    Although The People’s Charter did not advocate any new ideas, it created a central doctrine for radicals wishing to reform the political system. Support for the Charter spread rapidly and its advocates became known as the Chartists.

    Although all Chartists believed in and campaigned for the six points of The People’s Charter, they were not an entirely unified group of people, and certain members pursued other aims to try and improve the life of working class people in Britain. One Chartist, Feargus O’Connor even tried, unsuccessfully, to relocate the working classes from the cities to his rural utopia, O’Connorville.

    Who took part in the Chartist campaign?
    Chartism was a mass movement that attracted a following of millions. Hundreds of thousands of people were sometimes reported to have attended their meetings and their three petitions amassed millions of signatures, although some were proved to be fake. Friedrich Engels wrote that '...in Chartism it is the whole working class which rises against the bourgeois', but it was more than simply a working-class movement ­ it attracted some rural support as well as more radical elements of the middle classes.

    Although the People’s Charter did not advocate votes for women, Chartism was far from a male-only movement. William Lovett, the author of the People’s Charter, wrote in his autobiography that he was in favour of female suffrage. However, it was decided that calls for female suffrage would damage the prospects for the Charter’s success. Women may not have spoken publicly like the male Chartist orators, but many did attend meetings and mass demonstrations, and formed Female Charter Associations. Others actively challenged the Chartists to campaign for female suffrage.

    How did the Chartists run their campaign?
    The Chartist movement was not a completely unified organisation and its leadership was often fragmented. All members were decided on the end purpose of Chartism, but there were radical differences in opinion over the means to achieve it.

    'Moral force' Chartists such as William Lovett believed that tactics such as holding public meetings, publishing pamphlets and newspapers, and taking petitions to government would succeed in convincing those in power of the moral right of electoral reform. However, many people believed that electoral reform would not be achieved through the use of 'moral force' alone. 'Physical force' Chartists, such as Feargus O’Connor, advocated the use of violence to demand the six points of the Charter be granted, should that not be achieved by peaceful means.

    The more radical Chartists took part in riots in Newcastle, Birmingham and elsewhere round the country, at which leading members of the movement were arrested. The most infamous episode in the history of Chartism was the disatrous Newport Rising, which took place on 4th November 1839. A group of Chartists stormed a hotel and 22 of the protestors were killed by waiting troops. For a while the energy went out of the movement, though the National Charter Association was established in 1840 to co-ordinate its work across the country.

    Eventually, the Chartists split into several factions and the movement's influence declined. The last big protest was at Kennington Common in April 1848, which was followed by a procession to Westminster to present another petition. The Chartist leaders claimed this petition had over 5 million signatures, but many were proved to be fake. There was a massive police and military presence, but the meeting was peaceful, with a crowd estimated by some at 150,000. The petition was defeated heavily.

    How successful were they?
    Although the Chartists gathered enormous support in the form of signatures for their petitions, their demands were rejected by Parliament every time they were presented. By the time Chartism ended in 1858, not a single demand from the People’s Charter had become law. Although the Chartists failed to achieve their aims directly, their influence persisted and reformers continued to campaign for the electoral reforms advocated by the People’s Charter.

    A new Reform Bill was passed in August 1867 that gave the vote to all male heads of households over 21, and all male lodgers paying £10 a year in rent. Further reform arrived with the Ballot Act in 1872, which ensured that votes could be cast in secret – a key demand of the People’s Charter. In 1884 the Third Reform Act extended the qualification of the 1867 Act to the countryside so that almost two thirds of men had the vote. Eventually, only one of the Chartists’ demands – for annual parliamentary elections – failed to become part of British law. At the time, Chartism may have been judged unsuccessful, but there is no doubt that the movement's campaign for electoral reform played an important role in the development of democracy in the UK.

    Courtesy of British Library.

    Yes I would have a preference for more frequent elections. Say 3 year term down to 2.

    As Bryce Edwards said, "If anything, we should be having a more frequent elections."

    Though Edwards would like ‘Annual Parliaments’ to be considered, I would stick with 2 years.

    He also says, "That should be the demand of true democrats – more frequent elections rather than having politicians given yet more protection from the public." On this point, I totally agree with him.

    WELLINGTON • Since Nov 2012 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • James, in reply to James Caygill,

    Interesting that most of this discussion has focussed on civil rights etc, laws that can be voted through as fast as they can be written. But this:

    the main impact is on the Executive.

    The government Budget is set only once a year. It's got huge momentum: months to set up, to haggle between departments and Ministers, sometimes years to reset (think health, education). So the first Budget is just tweaks on what went before, maybe with some coalition deals glued on top. The second Budget is the real deal. The third Budget is just some patches; no time to learn from the effects of the previous one.

    A four year cycle might give the (elected) Government and the Executive enough time to learn how to work together by year 3.

    New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • James Caygill, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Fair enough - re: people should vote for it not parliament (although that's a value judgement, not the law).

    What about the justification I put forward in favour Graeme? I think they're valid, do you?

    Christchurch • Since Oct 2007 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • James Caygill, in reply to James,

    So the first Budget is just tweaks on what went before, maybe with some coalition deals glued on top. The second Budget is the real deal. The third Budget is just some patches; no time to learn from the effects of the previous one.

    A four year cycle might give the (elected) Government and the Executive enough time to learn how to work together by year 3.

    That is certainly my experience....

    Christchurch • Since Oct 2007 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to James Caygill,

    A four year cycle might give the (elected) Government and the Executive enough time to learn how to work together by year 3.

    That is certainly my experience….

    Even if this is true - and I'll concede it may well be - it only affects the first term of a government. And it is rare that they don't get another three or even six years.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2999 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to James Caygill,

    What about the justification I put forward in favour Graeme? I think they’re valid, do you?

    A longer term means more time for a Cabinet to get policy working through the wider Executive Branch, and be able to assess whether policy is working as intended within the term.

    I certainly appreciate the theory. It is a good argument in favour of a longer term.

    So good an argument that it there must surely be oodles of evidence of precisely this happening in other countries which have longer terms.

    Which is why I am sure you, or someone else, will soon point me to an example or two from the United Kingdom, or Canada (both with five-year terms!), where a government has realised during its term that one of its policies has failed, and then repealed it. Or any other example from anywhere comparable with a longer term (which is almost everywhere) that points to something similar.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2999 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I realise this doesn't actually answer your question, Graeme, but too it's funny to not put here: every coalition U-turn.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1327 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I certainly appreciate the theory. It is a good argument in favour of a longer term.

    Longer than what, though? How long is a piece of string? There's no upper or lower bound set by such reasoning. Why not 10 years?

    As a counter, a longer term also increases the damage caused by Cabinet not getting policy working through the wider Executive Branch, if they are incompetent, or the wreckage caused if they do competently get it working, and it's bad policy (and unpopular), but serves the interests of the powermongers concerned.

    How much? How long is this piece of string? It can't be measured easily, but I offer this argument. A bad policy gets worse and worse exponentially, compounding on itself. It's far, far more catastrophic to have bad policy in for a long time, than for good policy to have to go to the polls, and possibly get voted out. That, in a nutshell, is what democracy is about - the power to get rid of bad government before it ruins us all, is far, far more important than "efficiency", something that it often competes poorly on against authoritarian systems. So shorter terms are simply safer.

    In any other kind of work, people seem to be able to organize lengthy projects whilst only having short contracts. At the end of a year, their performance is evaluated, they tell their story about what they've achieved and what they will achieve next, and get reinstated or booted accordingly. The project continues to roll on. I don't see what makes being an MP so different there. It's an incredibly sweet deal to even get a 3 year job. Brendan Horan must be stoked that he's going to get 2 more years of a mean salary to do absolutely nothing other than turn up occasionally. Politicians have the best union ever organized, especially considering that the decisions they make are amongst the most important in the whole country, to only get a performance review every 3 years.

    As Graeme notes, the population itself in this country extends frequent credit to the parties (more often to National by a factor of 2, and Labour got the only single terms) to get their act into gear. 9 years in power is the actual median since the 1930s. In other words, the people don't always boot out the party on a whim, so the argument about the need to prevent that with longer terms falls rather flat.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8439 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    If there was a referendum then give us three options being a two year, three year and four year term and then take the average outcome of that – which would more likely fall in the two to three year option.
    That's not how the reserved section is drafted. Some alternative needs the support of at least 50% of voters.

    What I am saying is that is how I would want a vote on term to work - or voters get to rate the options in order of preference.

    I can't envisage that many people other than the MPs want a longer term.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1188 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Harris,

    Another point that Graeme could have made is that New Zealand seems to have the weakest local government in the OECD, with no federal states either. If you look at the OECD dataset called "government at a glance" you will find NZ at the extreme end of a bar graph of states ranked by fiscal centralisation, at 90% central government control of all public spending. The next most centralised, in the 2009 series, are the UK, Ireland and Norway on 70%. This is often rationalised on the grounds that our population is small (though comparable to Ireland and Norway) but this ignores geography and well-established communities of interest, as indicated by the survival in popular memory of the provinces abolished on 1 Jan 1877 bar their commemorative days (Taranaki, Hawkes Bay, etc). This has real consequences, as evidenced by the central veto of Dove-Myer Robinson's rapid rail scheme in Auckland after he managed to get support for it from 22 out of 26 local government bodies in Auckland (see John T Edgar, URBAN LEGEND: SIR DOVE-MYER ROBINSON, 2012). Admittedly this happened under a three year term system, but the point is that under a four-year term system, things might be even worse. Anyhow, think about that the next time you are stuck in Auckland traffic.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Interesting. Until yesterday I thought parliament should have 5 year terms for all the usual reasons of giving a new government time to settle in and properly develop and implement policy and programmes. But I think this thread has at least started to persuade me that shorter terms are better. Graeme and Ben, thank you, you have argued most thought-provokingly.

    “efficiency", something that it often competes poorly on against authoritarian systems.

    Authoritarian systems can be efficient when they want to be, but they can be just as hopelessly inefficient as democracies. And there is the problem of not being able to vote out governments who push bad policy. For example, it took Beijing's streets to get thoroughly clogged and vehicle exhaust to become the #1 source of Beijing's air pollution before the Beijing city government realised that encouraging people to buy cars as a way to stimulate the economy was not, perhaps, the smartest idea they'd ever had. And it took several more years before they did anything to discourage car ownership. It took winning the right to host the Olympics to spur development of the subway system, and that has been just as slow as anywhere else.

    Anyways, I'm now thinking that if there is a problem with NZ's system of government, it is, as Chris Harris (welcome) points out, the concentration of power in the Beehive. For proof, see the current government and Canterbury, or the troubles Auckland is having getting a proper rail system built like any real city. I don't think NZ has the population base to revive the provinces and go federal like Canada or Australia, but I do think a lot more power needs to be devolved to the local level and tighter limits on central government's or parliament's ability to interfere in local affairs need to be imposed.

    Otherwise, I would say the real problems are not in the comparatively short term of parliament, but in the political culture. We need far more of our parties and politicians to be pushing long term policies based on the realities of the future issues we face and strategic visions of where we want our nation to be going. I don't see any of that in Act or National or Winston First, and far from enough in the others.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2050 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    And happy Snake Year, everybody.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2050 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    An actual serious example: the UK Poll Tax under Thatcher and Major. Not exactly a great argument for a five year term when you get to it either.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1327 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I missed the start of this discussion - but was trying to explain it to a Chinese friend on a car trip today ....

    Think about the US system - often they put a value on electing deadlocked governance structures - a Republican president and Democratic legislature because then they can have a government that theoretically can't do large scary things

    But we have a different system, a parliamentary system, an executive that's combined with a party that has the votes to pass law - once we can elect them they can virtually do as they like .... but to balance that we have the opportunity to replace them and undo whatever they've done every 3 years - so yes there's a tension there, the politicians are going to tend to want longer terms while the people shorter ones

    With all the politicians self interest out of sync with the people they are supposed to represent it seems obvious to me that they are in a position on this issue where they must recuse themselves from voting on it .... so yes a referendum is the only way to make a change here

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2119 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    it seems obvious to me that they are in a position on this issue where they must excuse themselves from voting on it .... so yes a referendum is the only way to make a change here

    this deafeats the position you suggest - say the Nats campaign with a policy that makes specific provision for a four year term and they win - then they will say they have a mandate and just do it - the vast majority of voters may be against it but it happens anyway vis a vis.asset sales.

    Shearer in also agreeing on a four year term - playing the reasonable man card or whatever it is he plays - seems like a such dumb arse.

    Wouldn't it be classic if the Nats campaigned highlighting their polices as endorsed by David Shearer - if I was running their campaign that's how I would kick it off.

    Quack Quack - Ka Boom - What's that silence? David Dead Duck Shearer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1188 posts Report Reply

  • James Caygill, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Even if this is true – and I’ll concede it may well be – it only affects the first term of a government. And it is rare that they don’t get another three or even six years.

    No it doesn't. As I have often found myself saying to people who say "why didn't Labour fix [insert pet peeve], they had nine years to do it?". It's more sensible to think of it as three three year terms.

    Let's look at what that means in terms of budgets (which is what we're focussed on at the moment):

    2000 - Implement election promises
    2001 - Governing Budget
    2002 - Election Year
    2003 - Implement election promises
    2004 - Governing Budget
    2005 - Election Year
    2006 - Implement election promises
    2007 - Governing Budget
    2008 - Election year and GFC.

    Christchurch • Since Oct 2007 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to James Caygill,

    Let's look at what that means in terms of budgets (which is what we're focussed on at the moment):
    2000 - Implement election promises
    2001 - Governing Budget
    2002 - Election Year
    2003 - Implement election promises
    2004 - Governing Budget
    2005 - Election Year
    2006 - Implement election promises
    2007 - Governing Budget
    2008 - Election year and GFC.

    The above is not a valid excuse for failure or the basis for a shift to a four year term - if that is what you are suggesting?

    I acknowledge that as managers of the economy the last Labour government were better.

    If you take the current National Govt then seriously do budgets (and associated Treasury forecasts) have any real relevance - the answer to this is No - with this current lot the forecasts and budgets are so out of whack they are beyond reason - perhaps best to include each of those .years from 2008 with - "making shit up".

    The role of government is to legislate and manage the economy, how effectively they are likely to or actually do this is the basis upon which a vote should be exercised.. Three years is enough to prove you can do it or if you are opposition present an alternative.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1188 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to James Caygill,

    I don't buy any of that. "Pet peeve" could be fixed in any of those 9 years. Pet peeve could be an election promise, or it could be an election year "bribe", or it could be done as part of the governing budget (by which you presumably mean the one budget where they can most deprioritize popular budgetary moves, IOW the "unpopular party agenda" budget). To blame being ineffective on 3 year terms is a really lame excuse, by the end of a decade in power, when every minister has had 9 years to work out what they're doing.

    In the case of Labour and National, with time servers spanning multiple decades, they've often had more than one go in government too. Senior politicians entering parliament after a governmental change aren't just n00bs, they've got lots of connections, lots of experience, and they should have been understudying their portfolio in Opposition. They have their grand old party with all its old hacks and mentors to fall back on for advice, not to mention the civil service that actually has to implement things, and run them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8439 posts Report Reply

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