Short-term gain for long-term pain: my final pre-election thoughts

This has been one hell of a roller-coaster of an election season! I’m not sure I’ve ever felt such heady highs or at other times been plunged so low. For what it’s worth, these are my final thoughts (as posted in Kapiti Independent News):

I couldn’t watch last night’s leader’s debate. As the clock rolled around towards seven p.m. I started to feel sick with nerves, knowing I would have to sit through Mike Hosking cynically manipulating the discussion in National’s favour and Bill English perpetrating lies. From what I’ve read and heard since then, that’s exactly how it panned out.

With the most recent poll shifting the balance back towards National, I’m left wondering what has happened to the people of this country? It used to be we were known for generosity and a desire to see people treated with fairness and dignity (albeit not Maori, who are yet to see their people given the support and respect they deserve.) Now it looks as if those values have been tossed out the window, replaced with a good dose of ‘what’s in it for me?’

In the past few weeks I’ve heard Bill English fudge questions about his willingness to lie to get the result he wants, go on to perpetrate a lie about Labour’s fiscal plan through bald-faced dishonesty and twisting of the facts, admit that the only thing he’d really march for is to see himself re-elected, and that he’ll do anything to win this election. This is not a man with the best interests of every New Zealander at heart. This is a man who will cling onto power to serve his own ego and the needs of those at the top of our very punishing pecking order.

What infuriates and saddens me the most is that this is my grandchildren’s future he so blithely trades for his corporate and business mates. With evidence of climate change appearing on our screens every night now, the fact that we could re-elect these road-building, fossil-fuel addicted smug white men truly depresses me. That they have sold our environment down a dirty, unswimmable river enrages me. Short-term gain for long-term pain. Where is their conscience?

That they have also purposefully cultivated a culture of victim blaming and lack of empathy for those most in need, should be enough to raise the hairs on people’s necks. But no. It seems they’ve done such an effective job we may well see them returned to govern. The toneless, selfish, greedy values they have spread will come back to bite us all, very likely when it’s too late to reverse the trends. This I find despicable and the implications moving forwards for our democracy are very worrying indeed.

I urge you, if you are still undecided, to reject such narrow self-serving thinking and vote for future generations rather than the now. Climate change means life as we know it will forever change. Already there’s no way out of this. Those who think we can trade our way out of the consequences are not only delusional, but they sentence us all to a very bleak future.

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