Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Zealand moves to the political right - Labour-led Government loses general elections...

New Zealand moves to the political right - Labour-led Government loses general elections...

New Zealand politics moves to the right - left of centre Labour -led Government loses the general elections in New Zealand.The right wing John Key- led National Party set to govern NZ for the next three years.
Arguably one of the best ever prime ministers of New Zealand, Helen Clark came to power in 1999 and was twice re-elected. She had hoped to be the first New Zealand prime minister to be elected to four terms. This wasn't to be, an apparently bored electorate wanted change; but change to what?

Labour has been a good and effective government with some great social policies and economicly progressive policies which have greatly helped families and those lower socio-economic groups in society, working together with its coalition partners to support superannuants and the socially challenged in NZ society. It drew a lot of criticism from some sectors of society for a number of its social reform policies.

It slashed unemployment and reformed a number of employment related policies, created a new state bank - Kiwibank; became the major shareholder in Air New Zealand; later renationalised state rail - Kiwirail; instituted a compulsory savings scheme - Kiwisaver; and invested state superannuation internationally.

It received widespread support for most of its economic policies at the time, but has recently been criticised as the global economic situaion has begun to bite.

It has recently renewed its defence relationship with the US; signed a Free Trade Agreement with China; and commenced trade talks with US which could lead to a later FTA with the US as well. It is to be hoped the new National Government will continue with Labour's policies in defence, trade and in other areas as well.

As a result of Labour's election defeat, Helen Clark and her deputy, Michael Cullen both resigned their leadership of the Labour Party. Labour has subsequently selected Phil Goff and Annette King as their new leader and deputy leader.

National's John Key has formed a new government, and appointed his first cabinet with support of Act NZ's Rodney Hide; United Future's Peter Dunne and the Maori Party's co-leaders, Pita Sharples and tariana Turia. All non-National cabinet ministers are outside of Cabinet itself, something started by former labour PM Helen Clark.

As it has previously been said before - they will be back!

And so it begins!

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