Issue 364 March 1, 2017
In the history of New Zealand polity, never has there been an election in which so many candidates of Indian origin would be seeking to run for the public office as it is likely to be in the general election due to be held on September 23, 2017.
More than 16 year ago, we created Electionlink pages to allow candidates, their supporters and political parties to have their say without reservation (within the legitimate limits of propriety and decency of course); more important for ordinary New Zealanders to voice their concerns so that they could be heard in the right places, leading to the right action.
In that sense, the launch of Electionlink pages on February 27 and February 28, 2017 respectively by Prime Minister Bill English (for National Party) and Opposition Leader Andrew Little (Labour Party), would commence the race towards the 52nd Parliament and witness a war of words and battles between the two main political parties and a number of other smaller parties.
The democratic process
The knowledge and expertise of the Diaspora in public affairs and administration will be of immense help in the democratic process, which is the essence of our general elections held every three years.
Does New Zealand face challenges to its Democracy?
“Of course, it does,” Sir Don McKinnon, former Secretary General of The Commonwealth and former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of New Zealand, said, “Democracy needs oxygen.”
Sir Don was the Guest Speaker at the Fourth Annual Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture, held on July 28, 2014 in Auckland.
He examined the problems and challenges that we as New Zealanders face because of people’s disillusionment with democracy and those who are looking seriously at other forms of government.
“The volume of discussion in recent times in international magazines suggests that we have to positively respond to this environment or lose the argument by default in favour of systems that have superficial appeal, lack a substantial foundation and have no real evidence of working,” Sir Don said.
We believe that the solution to better administration rests on ‘double devolution,’ pushing more resources and responsibility for running things from Central to Local Government and from town halls to an amorphous web of charities and voluntary associations.
This is a veritable chance that should not be lost.
New Zealanders must make a clear and decisive choice and hold those elected to account. They must be forced to perform.
This is time for action. We must exercise our franchise and ensure that only those who deserve to be in public office are elected.
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