Tim Walker’s Democracy

For almost three months Jacinda Ardern’s reign has been flowing throughout New Zealand’s parliamentary badlands, and voters are understandably anxious to witness the results of this democratic deluge.

With the incumbent New Zealand Government having since solidified its position, thereby allowing parliament to return to its efficient best, there are a number of pressing questions that Kiwi voters deserve to have answered: ‘Is Jacinda really going to do everything that she said she would do?’ ‘Has this change in leadership been as momentous, as revolutionary as promised?’ ‘Is this new Government going to be as beneficial to the people of the nation as she promised?’ ‘When are things actually going to start changing for the better?’ Or perhaps the most pointed and indeed, the most contentious query: ‘In this time of strongly practised and fiercely defended democratic rights, how the hell did New Zealand end up with a government composed of the election’s three losing parties?’

Incidentally, across today’s voting populous, statistically, National is still New Zealand’s favoured political party; curiously NZ First is polling lower than it was before the election.

New Zealand’s current (Labour) Government, before the election, was a strong advocator of the ‘build more houses’ to ‘get people into their first homes’ initiative, and only recently admitted that the so-called housing crisis was, ‘actually a lot worse than first thought’ which, although this was a revelation Ms Ardern shamelessly blamed on the former (National) Government, most level-headed Kiwis understand that it was really just another way of saying, ‘Yeah, sorry about that guys, I think what happened, you know, what with all the hype and that, I think I actually got a little over-excited by that election build-up thing and I think, yeah, the housing crisis, yeah, it looks like it’s actually not gonna be a quick fix after all’.

Much talk of ‘democracy’ has filtered across my ears of late and – whether it’s regarding the US election result, the NZ election result, or world leadership in general – more often than not I’m noticing that behind this talk of ‘no democracy’ (or sometimes ‘democracy’ is traded for ‘sovereignty’; both terms of which the user’s comprehension appears minimal) are the same variety of person (malcontent) who you just know is fresh off a ‘save the whales march’, a ‘TPP protest’, a ‘housing hikoi’, a ‘supermarket lock-in’, or some other form of organised (but misguided) uproar, and who likely, regardless of outcome, regardless of circumstance, simply, are not going to be placated.

A major talking point of the last election – an area many Kiwis felt had been neglected by New Zealand’s past Government – was education, because as sensible folk understand, if we properly educate our youth on fundamental aspects of life such as reading and writing, nutrition and food preparation, budgeting and financing, our adults will surely be equipped with that same skill-set…

Typically people who go on about ‘election results not demonstrating democracy’, are losers; these are the people who are in the minority therefore are the people who have lost. This is democracy.

…My mother is a Special Needs teacher, focused primarily on teaching the skill of reading to children with learning difficulties. Over past years the New Zealand (National) Government has progressively cut school funding in this area, seemingly deeming it to be ‘an unproductive use of taxpayer money’. Last year Mum’s allocation of Government funding was down to just three hours per day; she would usually do more, but was paid for only three. Like many I heard Jacinda in the election build-up, raving about the importance of education. Then once I’d seen her piece together her famed coalition of losers, I thought of the aforementioned education rant and mused, ‘Well, maybe there will be an upside to this after all – maybe Mum’ll get more hours now’…

Generally speaking winners celebrate democracy while losers bemoan it because, generally speaking, if your views are in the minority, simply, you are not destined to prevail in a democratic society.

…The new Labour Government has cut Mum’s funding to one hour per day.

This is New Zealand’s version of democracy.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by B Moon

Photography by D Muchra-Cee

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