Four year term self-serving power grab by National & Labour
01 October 2020
by Chris Leitch, Leader
Suggestions by the two J’s on the Leader’s Debate that they both favour a four year
parliamentary term are simply a self serving attempt to further entrench the two party dominance of New Zealand’s political scene.
This is a classic example of the two old parties working together in an effort to keep other parties out of the political game.
Just as in the 1992 Tamaki by-election when Labour turned its entire canvassing data over to National when polls showed that the Alliance was likely to take the formerly safe seat off National.
At National’s election night celebration at the Tamaki Yacht Club, Labour Leader Helen Clark and Labour’s Tamaki candidate Verna Smith were welcomed as “our friends from the Labour Party”.
They also both dragged their heels on a change from the First Past the Post electoral system to MMP, to maintain their grip on power, despite promising to hold a referendum on the issue.
Labour’s own history proves that a three year term is plenty long enough to make major changes to the country’s direction if there is the commitment to do so.
Elected in 1935 Labour’s greatest Prime Minister, Michael Joseph Savage, had nationalised the Reserve Bank, commenced building thousands of state houses, introduced a 40-hour working week, instituted a large public works programme, put in place the foundations of the Welfare State, and much more in its first three years.
The Fourth Labour government, under Finance Minister Roger Douglas, floated the New Zealand dollar, removed agricultural subsidies, introduced GST, corporatised state owned enterprises, established the Department of Conservation, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Women's Affairs and turned NZ into an anti-nuclear nation.
The current government has achieved more in the last 7 months with its response to Covid-19 than in the rest of its three year term, but it has also trampled on individual rights and is moving to centralise control of education, health and local council assets.
We strongly oppose any attempt to extend the parliamentary term to four years and would work with other parties and the public to ensure further reductions in democracy are not allowed to take place.