Thursday, October 30, 2008

2008. Labour vs National, Political Siren Calls, Christchurch, NZ

2008. New PM John Key, NZ National Party Poster, Wairakei Road, Christchurch

On my drive up Papanui Road from town to buy Luke's Frescarini ricotta and roasted vegetable pasta for Luke's dinner, I got caught in a traffic jam. After crawling up Papanui Road. I parked at Northlands mall and saw four dark suited men - each with a curly-white-wire -hanging-from- his-ear and slipped beneath his collar - security clones with hard bodies, hard faces and shifty eyes, standing around two silver Holdens parked before Subway, where no one else was ever allowed to park, so I thought, "Uh oh! A politician's here. That's what caused the traffic jam!"

Inside Northlands mall, I spotted Labour PM Helen Clark wearing a dark suit and red blouse near McDonald's, surrounded by a crowd of locals, camera men, a couple more dark suited, hard bodied, hard faced, shifty eyed security clones with curly-white-wires-hanging-from-their-ears, and a smiley cop in front and some anxious mall security gents and ladies blocking my way to Pak 'n Save. I zipped around them, and while paying for Luke's pasta I told the smiley Pak 'n Save cashier, "PM Helen Clark's causing a traffic jam."

When I left Pak 'n Save with my Pak 'n Save yellow plastic bag with Luke's pasta inside, a security clone gave my Pak 'n Save yellow plastic bag a squint as if to ask, "Ya gunna make my day mate?" I zipped past PM Helen Clark and her entourage back to my car.

At Greers Road / Harewood Road traffic lights, I heard a siren call. My hearing aid enabled me to hear a siren call but not a siren's direction, so I obediently braked my car and waited with other traffic for an unmarked maroon cop car, lights flashing, siren calling, to rush the red lights in front of me, round the corner towards Bishopdale New World. Was the siren calling to allow PM Helen Clark and her two silver Holden entourage to zoom up Harewood Road to Christchurch Airport?

Over the past few weeks I'd seen on TV, PM Helen Clark and her wannabe nemesis National John Key pressing the flesh, kissing babies, chatting to geriatrics, and PM Helen Clark stumbling on TV, and opposition John Key paying a youth after the youth did a back flip for TV cameras. And tonight's TV news siren called: "9 days to go. 08 Election."

The last time I zipped past PM Helen Clark was during her last election canvassing, when I shopped at Riccarton mall Pak 'n Save. PM Helen Clark wore a red suit then and blocked the mall then too.

During the last couple of weeks, 08 election posters siren called from fences and gardens all over Christchurch, with alluring calls from National, Labour, Green, ACT, Progressive, Maori, NZ First, United Future parties. The other night on TV I watched an election debate, where smaller party leaders debated weighty matters, none of which I heard or saw as TV1 captions were crap, as usual. I smiled at the men, small men, nattily suited, either bald or greying, one even sporting a grey hairstyle teased at the back to make him look taller. Last election, he had a 60s boyish coif for the same effect. Small political parties were listening for bigger National party or bigger Labour party siren calls, to become coalition partners in the next Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) representative government. Some favoured the National siren call, some the Labour siren call, some expediently both siren calls.

Thirteen years ago we arrived in NZ, siren called by the National government. Since then Labour siren called with coalition partners. In 08, John Key's National party was trying to oust PM Helen Clark's Labour party. John Key didn't look as tough as PM Helen Clark's dark suited, hard bodied, hard faced, shifty eyed, curly-white-wire-hanging-from-ears security clones. I haven't seen John Key in person yet. After all, NZ is a small country with a total population about the same as Durban-Thekwini's. I thought I'd vote for PM Helen Clark's Labour party, as I saw her working hard for my vote.

An example of siren calls, political correctness and bureaucracy gone mad: Like all voters in NZ, Leah and I both received a letter in English from the Chief Electoral Officer, Ministry of Justice, Wellington, containing the following:

1. A note in English headed "General Election - Saturday, 8 November 2008. Information for voters in..." There followed a list of our "Electorate candidates for Ilam," then "Polling Places - Open Election Day 8 November 2008, 9am - 7pm," with a list of all Christchurch Polling Places and another list for "Advance Voting Places NOT OPEN ON ELECTION DAY."

2. A note in English advised how to vote for "Your party..." and "Your electorate..." a two vote system. Information was provided about "This proportion of party votes" equals "The same proportion of seats in parliament," with a pie diagram and a diagram of parliament seats. Further info was provided in 19 different languages, without any European languages mentioned.

3. A four page note in English provided "Party lists for the 2008 General Election," with names of 19 registered parties participating in the election and many names of all the NZ candidates.

4. A cardboard note in English with an attached "Easy Vote Card" with my name, address and other info on the card. The cardboard note had further advice from the Chief Electoral Officer with more advice in English: "Show your 'Easy Vote' card when you vote. Vote at a polling place listed in your electorate." Like point 2 above, that advice was repeated 19 times in Maori, Cook Island Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Korean, Chinese traditional, Chinese simplified, Tokelau, Niuean, Somali, Farsi, Arabic, Vietnamese, Thai, Gujarati, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Punjabi, which was at odds with NZ Immigration Service expecting immigrants to know English. Again European languages weren't mentioned, although there were many European immigrants in NZ like French, German, Polish, Russians, Greeks, Macedonians, Croats, Italians, Swiss, Belgians, Dutch, and more. Presumably their European "English" was considered adequate for NZ 08 Election.

In addition to the above notes, on TV commercial breaks, we endured an orange pencil creature morphing around, siren calling us to vote.

01.11.08. In Sandton SA, Shilowa siren called a new political party, which would be formed in the Free State on December 16, to win the next election. (IOL) The new party would be named Congress of the People (COPE).

06.11.08. Americans must've been completely mad, siren called by pro Marxist Obama as new USA president. When that madness happened in 1994 SA, with pro Marxist ANC voted into power, SA degenerated within a decade to a mad state with increased crime, corruption, black economic empowerment, black affirmative action (after apartheid white affirmative action), reverse racism against whites, genocide of white farmers, massive murder, rape, Aids rates, pathetically degraded infrastructure and huge emigration, replaced by hated refugees from Africa. It will be interesting to see how soon USA becomes like disunited, degraded, impoverished, tribal SA, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola and many other African nations.

08.11.08. NZ 08 Election: John Key's National party won with 45.5% Electorate Vote. Labour Party lost with 33.8% Electorate Vote, and PM Helen Clark stepped down as Labour leader, replaced two days later by Phil Goff. Green party got 6.4% Electorate Vote. NZ First got 4.2% Electorate Vote, but Winston Peters lost the Tauranga constituency again and retired from politics. On the fringes, hoping for a siren call from National for ministerial seats, (if the fringe party got minimum 5% Party Vote) Act, Maori and Progressive parties got 3.7%, 2.2%, 0.9% Electorate Votes respectively. (Statistics: NZTV). I reckoned if Helen Clark had given Winston Peters the boot earlier than voters did, her Labour party would've prevailed. New PM Key formed a coalition government with the Maori Party.

2008. NZ Green Party Poster, Greers Road, Christchurch

Content & Pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Eddie Cross's Website and Siren Calls of Zimbabwe

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