Opinion by political commentator Rupert Pye
Politics in the outdoors and environment is nothing more than “cause and effect”. It cannot be avoided. Anti-firearm laws arise from intense lobbying by anti-firearm advocates (e.g. Philip Alpers).
Anti-wild animal policies (e.g. tahr extermination) arise from intense lobbying (and infiltration) by Forest and Bird. Water pollution and depleted ever flows (e.g. Canterbury’s Selwyn Fiver) arise from intense lobbying by corporate farming. Failure to deal with fisheries management is due to corporate pressures and influence on decisions made by government (e.g. donations to political parties).
So love it or hate politics, it is involved in all threats by vested interests based on greed for money or furthering irrational ideological beliefs.
In short dear reader, you need to take an interest in politics.
So here’s a few things to ponder over the tsunami election result. You might disagree – that is fine. You may agree – fine too.
The move to US presidential style elections, due to television in homes, enabled Jacinda Adern’s personality to shine.
Carefully groomed, she was a political glamour girl, much the same as John Key was seen by many as the likeable, smiling State House kid who made monetarily good. They mobbed Key when he was Prime Minister and Adern the same. Never mind that Key’s tag around parliament was “the smiling assassin.”
The cult of the celebrity is alive and well.
It has nothing to do with policies, even the party.
People just go nutty with selfies with the celebrity.
I can understand Adern’s charisma, but sorry National die hards, Key did not do it for me. He was a salesman, slick, articulate and swift to shrug off any problem or probing question. He got away with it.
I suspect deep analysis might show National’s current woes were first conceived during the Key years. Environmentally Key and Nick Smith’s legacy is tarnished with the disgraceful state takeover of Environment Canterbury (ECAN) and the unbridled expansion of corporate dairying to the death of water quality flowing rivers plus massive 1080 drops.
In 2020 National floundered in the election campaign, the aftermath of Key’s legacy and in the last six months, with the musical leadership chairs antics and disloyalty.
On the other hand Labour’s marketing was slick and astute.
Recipe for Defeat
In contrast, National’s PR was often absymal. National’s in-fighting, leaks and attempted undermining of leader Judith Collins was a recipe for defeat. In my humble opinion Judith Collins, despite being thrown a “hospital pass” performed well.
But National in making Gerry Brownlee deputy made a major mistake. The “obesity” debate consequently put National at a disadvantage with interviewers homing in on the overweight Christchurch MP.
National needed someone new, young and invigorating as deputy.
Well think of when Jacinda Adern as a political fledgling before the 2017 election, was thrown in the deep end. She proved an adept swimmer. Labour were bold back then and National needed to be bold in 2020.
Labour also had the PR sense to keep weaknesses in the shadows.
Chris Hipkins competently took over health from the injudicious, hapless David Clark. Labour wisely kept David Clark and other under-performers Phil Twyford, and Kelvin Davis out of the spotlight.
National need to shed the old guard who had failed.
Electorate Defeat Message
Gerry Brownlee and Nick Smith are to continue – a big mistake.
Talk to Christchurch people and Brownlee has not a good image – hence his electorate defeat. Nick Smith, feisty, not infrequently ill tempered and seen as arrogant was probably the worst Environment Minister ever – hence his electorate defeat.
He derided the concerned at filing river quality and with loud evangelical sermons championed more and more 1080 drops.
Both Brownlee and Smith should have quietly left singing the Frank Sinatra standard “Softly as I leave you.”
The duo are “past their used by date”.
Perhaps National should replace deputy Brownlee with new comer, ex-Air NZ CEO Chris Luxon?
Brownlee and Smith, were rejected by their electorates and are only back in parliament by the back door via the party’s list. If they both stepped down, younger MPs and competent MPs like the West Coast’s Maureen Pugh, currently sitting on a knife edge pending special votes, would be in National’s ranks.
National’s big defeat means big, big pressure to reorganise. The party has to rebuild from the ground up if it is to have any hope of being elected government again.
First step, jettison Gerry Brownlee and Nick Smith.
Where to for Labour?
Watch to see if Jacinda Adern and the astute Grant Robertson will merge with Greens, or will she offer James Shaw the Minister (outside of cabinet) for Climate Change?
One problem during the government’s last term was enigmatical Minster of Conservation Eugenie Sage. She no doubt has a passion for the environment such as solving Canterbury’s severe water and river problem, but has irrational hatred tendencies about introduced species such as deer, tahr, chamois and trout. The tahr issue provoked demonstrations and justifiably so.
I note in this morning’s paper DOC is sill blitzing the animals. The DOC exercise has little or no credible scientific justification but it is the methodology of living carcasses to rot and leaving kids motherless to die a slow death that is appalling.
Labour should revisit its 2017 election promise to set up a credible inquiry into the corrupted sea fishing industry. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash reneged on that promise. Similarly Labour (and Adern) need to realise its panic-stricken undemocratic firearm law following the mosque massacre was a disaster. Don’t go down that track again. Instead Adern should be asking strident Police association president Chris Cahill, how did Australian Brenton Tarrant get granted a firearm licence.
Recreational sea fishing, hunting, shooting sports, trout fishing – the threats start with politics.
The rifle, rod and gun administrators and organisations need to shake up their political judgement. Fish and Game NZ ran a questionnaire to political parties but they did not ask all. Yet among minor parties the NZ Outdoors Party and New Conservatives had excellent environmental/outdoors policies.
The Council of Outdoor Recreational Associations (CORANZ) ran a questionnaire to all political parties. The top two were NZ Outdoors Party and New Conservatives. To their discredit, both National and Labour, despite given a reminder, did not reply said Andi Cockroft, CORANZ chairman.
Fish and Game NZ are not without its own internal hiccups akin to the National Party.
But FGNZ owe it to its shareholders (fish and game licence holders) and to democracy to canvass all registered parties.
What do you, dear reader, think?
Care to comment.
Or will you walk away saying you don’t like politics?
© Political Donations are Corrupting Democracy