Originally Posted by MrsRose
Not to start a controversial thread (no seriously, controversy and quarreling are NOT the intention of this thread) but I am curious about politics, etc in NZ.
From the perspective of those who live in New Zealand: What is your take on the government, people, political attitudes, etc in your country?
Is the government favored and respected by the people of New Zealand in general?
Is NZ more of a liberal or conservative nation? Or does this vary by city?
What are the most controversial political issues for kiwis today? (for example: in the States, things like national debt, gay marriage, abortion, health insurance, and the economy in general seem to be the big issues in our upcoming presidential election)
Just a few topics I'd like some insight on from all of you who live in NZ.
And feel free to add any other insights you might have regarding the country's politics, religions, issues, and, or course, please add some the the things you love about the nation of NZ as it pertains to these topics.
(And again....PLEASE don't turn this into a quarrelsome thread.
Haha! As you may have noticed we do have some contributors who like a good bicker! We encourage healthy debate but try and stop it getting personal. NZ isn't perfect - but where is??
So here's my call on your questions:
Generally NZ people are fairly liberal - as in most don't have extremist views. As everywhere, some do - and there are certainly some Maori who (IMHO) are the most racist people I have ever come across (I mention Hone Harawira - born John Hatfield). But at least they have the right to talk, and are taken notice of. There are many countries where this is not the case.
We have a form of proportional representation in Parliament, which means people will generally vote for the party that has policies that are closest to their own beliefs rather than tactical voting to keep the party they don't want out. So the third main party in NZ are the "Greens' with over 10% of the vote at the last election. There are also a couple of smaller parties, but mainly it's between National (right wing) and Labour (left wing). Usually the government needs to form a coalition but (IMHO) I think this works in NZ because it keeps the party that's in power honest and works OK because we don't have the extremes that sometimes make other proportional representation fail (for example in Israel).
Our current PM (John Key) is a good showman - but what politician isn't? I think he's mis-read a few situations recently (Crafer farms being sold to China, Sky City Casino deal, the sale of part of the State-owned energy companies, changes in Education policy) and I think this is affecting his popularity - which seems pretty low. But we are mid-term between elections so I think that's fairly standard too.
See New Zealand Parliament - Current MPs
for a full list of current MPs and their parties.
On your other questions -
Gay marriage - we're a pretty laid-back lot - live and let live. Some of the older population don't agree. But bear in mind that homosexuality has only been legal in NZ since 1986, so they grew up in a different society to today's generation.
One of the things that also surprised me is that prostitution is legal and that there are adverts on radio at every hour of the day for sex products and (which made me choke the first time I heard it) for girls to work in 'Gentlemens' Clubs' with 'great earning potential, free health care and flexible working hours'.
You'll also have to get used to the use of some words that would be considered offensive in the US - 'Bu&&er' is in general use, and just means 'bother'. There's even an ad got the Toyota Hilux that contains only that word! (see
Religion - if there's a religion for it, there will be a church somewhere here. We have some 'evangelist' types. The one that springs to mind is Brain Tamaki from 'Destiny Church'. These seem to be frequented by Pacific Islanders mainly, who are very religious, and probably the ones that can least afford the payments that these kinds of church 'request'.
I'm probably not the best one to ask about any religion as (IMHO) the world would have less wars without it.
And health insurance - well, what can I say? We don't have any, and don't feel a burning urge to go out and buy any. We've had to use the public health service a number of times (my husband has had a heart attack and a quadruple heart bypass on it) and we have nothing but praise. But others will have different stories.
That's my pulpit talk given