For most voters, there’s some kind of “deal breaker” – a position or action taken by a candidate or party that would absolutely lose that person’s vote.
Here are some deal breakers that I’ve heard lately. Do any of these resonate with you?
1. Refusing, as Helen Clark has so far refused, to flatly rule out including Winston Peters in her next governing coalition, should both of them be in a position after November 8th to negotiate. Yes, Helen, for some voters there is too high a price to pay to cling to power. Winston doesn’t know ethics from cowpies, they say. No one who included him in their Government could possibly claim the moral authority to lead the nation.
2. After nine years in control and billions spent, producing a third world health care system. As they read alarming headlines almost daily, this, to some voters, is what Labour has managed to do … when it isn’t busy dismissing elected district health boards. Health care literally touches the lives of each one of us and our families. If you can botch up health care as badly as Labour has over the past decade, some ask, why should you be trusted to run anything?
3. Gutting the Resource Management Act (RMA) in the guise of “reform” – as proposed by John Key and the Nats. Change a definition here, “streamline” the process there, curb citizen participation (or funding for it) somewhere else, and pretty soon you’ve subverted the original purposes of the legislation. For many voters in Hawke’s Bay, there’s a simple test of National’s intentions … can Craig Foss and Chris Tremain look them in the eye and assure them that National’s “reforms” of the RMA will not make it easier for Andy Lowe to develop Ocean Beach?
4. Threatening to run amok with “social engineering” that interferes unreasonably or impractically with the way we live our daily lives, for the sake of an ideological agenda … as the Greens seem happy to do. For some voters, the more the Greens focus on the environment, and the less on smacking, the more inclined to vote Green they would be. They believe the Greens “get it” on the interdependence between sustaining the environment and economic well-being, but are clueless about the control people want to have over their own lives.
5. Championing abolishment of the dedicated Maori seats in Parliament. A total non-starter to many Pakeha (to say nothing of Maori), who believe that nearly exterminating the Maori once, was once too often. To them, this issue is about historical context and compensatory justice, not some theoretical or mathematical “one man, one vote.”
6. Promising tax cuts of any kind in an economic climate that promises to stress the Government budget to its limit. For Labour, tax cuts seem to be just another way of bribing the voter, like interest-free student loans (which, in fairness, National has also embraced). For National, the tax cut bribe is fancied-up with an ideological wrapping – more money in the ratepayers’ pocket is, of course, a natural check on government ambition, and additional consumer spending will become an engine of growth. Some voters despair that the day will ever come when politicians actually front up and admit that taxation is necessary for the public good. For these voters, election-year promises of tax cuts represent the ultimate political pandering.
What about you? Do any of these represent “deal breakers” for you? Unfortunately, if if too many do, it will be tough for you to vote on November 8th!
Do you have other deal breakers to offer?