Thursday 24 November 2011

So, who should I vote for?

Following my survey of the Biblical prophets, I scanned the websites of 12 of the 16 political parties currently registered in New Zealand.  For various reasons I decided to not even seriously consider Aotearoa Legalise Canabis, New Citizen Party, New Zealand First and The Kiwi Party.  I was looking to see what kind of policies the parties listed first on their websites.  All parties that seemed to be pitching themselves as a party that was trying to do things to improve the lot of vulnerable people went on my party shortlist for further consideration.  These are:
  • Mana
  • Labour
  • Alliance
  • Greens
  • United Future

The next question is: how to whittle that list down to a single party, using the leadership priorities I have found in the Biblical prophets?

My answer has been to try to list out actions I think a New Zealand government could take that would best improve the lot of poor and vulnerable people both here and overseas.  I will then compare those with both the parties on my shortlist (and also with the National Party, because I think I may not have been fair to them on my first pass through the websites).  Here's what I've come up with:

In order to help vulnerable people overseas, we would need to:

most importantly:
  • fight climate change - i.e. have a strong ETS.  I see the changing climate as the single biggest threat to vulnerable people the world over - if we don't get this one right, millions of people will die.
also helpful:
  • do aid and development based on greatest need (rather than based on where our benefit and a need happen to meet).  We should probably focus mostly on our own region as there aren't many rich countries here.
  • expand/strengthen the seasonal worker programme.  This seems to be making a noticeable difference to many Pacific Island countries
  • let more people in based on their need.  We should at least fill our refugee quota (we haven't for a few years) and hopefully exceed it.  I'd also like to let in some of the asylum seekers that make it Australia - the ones they want to send to Malaysia.

To help vulnerable groups here in NZ, I think we need to:

most importantly:
  • provide a good safety net - especially for those who can't get off welfare, e.g. the old and some of the disabled - but also for anyone who happens to currently be needing it.  Try to make it as 'needs based' as possible (i.e. keep means testing etc.)
  • help the poor to get ahead (e.g. try to preferentially deliver better health, better education etc. to poor/vulnerable people, plus try to ensure that working full time always results in getting a living wage)
also helpful:
  • maybe repeal the foreshore and seabed law (I can't even remember where this one is at)

I've also decided that I'm not really interested in things that help people who are at the middle or above unless doing so is actually a way to help poor people.  For example, encouraging good doctors and teachers to stay in NZ helps vulnerable Kiwis, not just the doctors or teachers themselves, as it makes us more likely to be able to meet the educational and healthcare needs of vulnerable people.

I also think I want things to be done that prevent the rich from being able to avoid paying for stuff that they can afford - for example, I'd like to means test Super and prevent people from being able to avoid paying for rest home care through family trusts etc.

So now I need to go back through my shortlist and see how the parties match up!

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