Sunday, August 20, 2006

life outside the beltway


The Prime Minister was asked why Labour's poll rating had not been damaged by the damning contents of the Ingram report on Field, given last week's One News-Colmar Brunton poll had 62 per cent of respondents agreeing Labour had not handled things very well.

She cited "Beltway" politics. The Beltway is the road which encircles Washington DC. Inside the Beltway live the politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists and media who feed on the minutiae of day-to-day politics.

Could it be that many of the 62 percent expect Labour to handle things badly - but don't actually care anymore?

Government politicians should actually start listening to those outside the beltway. List MP's included. They should listen to those who vote, pay tax, write letters to editors, sit on community boards and raise their kids . Those who are interested in the policy process and machinery of government. Those working families who are struggling to live on under $40,000, abuse their kids, are not eligible for rates rebates,cant afford to eat out anymore, can't afford to run their cars, pay school fees or go to the doctor. Those whose accomodation supplements are being eaten away by debts to WINZ. Those who think our government is corrupt. Those who consider our leader is a dictator and are comparing her to Muldoon. Those who are concerned of the money spent by the taxpayer on pledge cards, and are concerned with the Government's approach to dodgy electorate MP's such as Taito Philip Field and David Benson Pope.

It is about time politicians were accountable to the people, not the polls.Perhaps the press gallery - particularly RNZ - could start doing meaty stories on the mechanics of minority coalition government, and the unhealthy role of the self-serving "power at all costs" government. It would also assist if Brash was to lift his game, provide hope for an alternative government, and be a bit more visible outside the beltway rather than pandering to the press gallery but not having much to say.

9 comments:

Jordan said...

Dave, your post is the classic 'Beltway Insider' one which shows you don't get what is happening out in the 'real world'. Most ordinary voters who read it would wonder what planet you are on.

Dave said...

Jordan,Im in the real world - I live and work outside the beltway, I know what is going on in the real world probably a lot more htan you do and will be writing nore on that later

Anonymous said...

I suppose it depends where outside the Beltway one lives- the real New Zealand or provincial 'Little Zealand?'

Meanwhile, in the aforementioned real world, some of us would actually like to know what alternative policies National has, rather than this incessant barrage of cheap personality politics that has little to do with operational competence of Cabinet Ministers or senior departmental management?

Craig Y.

ZenTiger said...

Helen Clark is spot on with her beltway comment, except for a small detail.

It's not that those outside the beltway don't care, it's that they don't really know.

Trust Clark to decide not knowing about something is the same as not caring about it, or more fantastically, "endorsing Labour's stance."

NZ Labour are relying on man-on-the-street apathy with following the detail of the latest scandals. Labour work hard to promote the concept that there are bigger bogeys under the bed than a little bit of corruption a la Field and Benson-Pope.

Just say "policy written by America" and keep insisting all politicians will be as bad as Labour, and bingo, mandate to rule.

Great story, but the wheels are coming off. One more episode and then the plot will finally twist.

ZenTiger said...

Craig, I agree with part of your statement - I'd certainly like to know what National's policies are in more detail.

Unfortunately, whether National are capable of governing or not has nothing to do with Labour's continually "corrupt" behaviour.

It just means we can't be sure of better outcomes.

IMHO, the scandal over how Labour handles the hospital waiting lists is enough to risk a change however.

Anonymous said...

Z:
I'd feel a lot more confident in National's ability to provide
meaningful alternative health policies except for two things:
(i)the Nineties; (ii) why did they
delay so long during the election
campaign last year before releasing their health policy, when the other parties had fully elaborated ones? Particularly in areas like mental health?

Craig Y.

Anonymous said...

Labour will destroy themselves eventually. National have only to wait.

Anonymous said...

Why, are they going to gag Bob Clarkson?

Craig Y.

Dave said...

Well, the latsts poll indicates that things have resonated outside the beltway - National is way ahead