GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – The Power of the State

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Like many of you I’ve seen the social media posts grumbling about the power of the State . Well , “The State” is you and me and all of us and if you don’t like what’s happening then vote to change the way things are to the way you think things should be.

Voting is the way we control the power of government.

A poor person’s vote is as valuable as a rich person’s vote. It wasn’t always so. There was a time when the poor had no vote and women had no vote, but things do change when the people raise their voice.

So now we each have two votes we can excercise – a candidate vote and a party vote which we can cast strategically to have a stronger say in how our country is run.

Not voting is not a sensible protest against how things are because a decision not to vote is to give in to how things are.

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If you don’t play you don’t get to say.

Stay safe.

Kia kaha

Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Dimwit governments strike again… no wonder western governments are in decline and flailing around when they are implementing policy for no reason and against their own countries interests so that individual politicians and International businesses (that seldom pay their full amount of taxes in western countries they operate in) can profit from it.

    Global firms expected to sue UK for coronavirus losses
    Dispute settlement clauses in trade agreements open way for investors to demand compensation for lockdowns
    https://www.theguardian.com/law/2020/aug/15/global-law-firms-expected-to-sue-uk-for-coronavirus-losses

    (Remember how David Parker was so for the CPTPP, the 7 out of 10 deal that they did not have to sign, but did).

    Being incompetent is now not a problem for government contracts in the UK, OZ. NZ generally follows suit….

    Australia: New Coronavirus Lockdown Melbourne Amid Sex, Lies, Quarantine Hotel Scandal
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/tamarathiessen/2020/07/07/australia-coronavirus-melbourne-lockdown-hotel-sex-scandal/#124cb56a131d

    Serco given contact-tracing job despite asylum-seekers fine
    Exclusive: Firm fined £2.6m for accommodation failings but won further government work
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/aug/16/serco-given-contact-tracing-job-despite-asylum-seekers-fine

  2. After each General Election a Justice and Electoral Select Committee is formed and they seek submissions and recommendations from the public.

    I’m asking that as many people as possible request that section 110 of the Electoral Act which says electorial rolls must be made available to the public be repealed. Please keep an eye out for the above committee…

    Cheers.

  3. Casts my mind back to the 2005 election when the Exclusive Brethren were “campaigning” for National, which largely consisted of pulling Green and Labour leaflets out of letterboxes and substituting their own libellous notes.
    The supreme irony, of course, was that it was a case of a group of non-voters telling voters who to vote for.

  4. ..”if you don’t like what’s happening then vote to change the way things are to the way you think things should be”…
    Very good article Bryan and all true. Only problem is, votes are given against big plans and promises. We get suckered in. And once a govt is in place, if it then does not perform as promised, there is no option other than to wait 3 years. There should be a ‘performance against election promise law’ that forces any govt to act as promised…be it left or right, I don’t care! The thing I hate most about our system is that politicians are never ever accountable for their non-performance!
    eg. Instead of promising 100,000 house, we should be promised the exact amount of house built every year. If that doesn’t happen, the relevant ministers or the PM get their salary reduced.
    Watch this country move ahead at lightning speed!

    • John Key made paper millionaires out of home owners and landlords and yet we still had family’s sleeping/living in cars.

      So obviously we need to engage the brains who we should vote for… certainly not for the Nats and Act. Big fat clue right there if you have a social conscience.

  5. I still have a student loan to repay living overseas, but I am no longer clinically depressed from being poor and unemployed – no thanks to WINZ, and I have a partner. NZ voters doing the right thing and voting out the Nats took too long for me.

    Though, my big criticism would be how unlike virtually every European or North or South American country, NZ actively disenfranchises its foreign based citizens. The moment you go to Australia, Europe, or the America’s, the state declares you a second class citizen after three years.

    I have a dual citizenship since birth, and my only requirement to vote was spend a few months in the country once. Though, I think the real reason NZ govts disenfranchise is that most of those who left, did so because of poverty and low wages back in NZ, whether they were better off for the move or not. Visit Australia’s NZ expat community, and unlike the elitist high-flyer stereotype, you will find poor Maori and other Kiwis who left because NZ and specifically WINZ and NZ employers had failed them i.e. via denying them opportunities or a living wage. If those people could vote, there would likely never be another National led government. That terrifies the neo-liberal establishment in NZ that unfortunately to this day attempts to manipulate both major parties.

  6. and citizens of foreign dictatorships where they have no voting rights with residency get to vote in No Zealand with no citizenship… sounds sustainable…

  7. “The State is you and me and all of us”.
    Poor science, Bryan. The state is an institution which reflects and sustains a social and economic order. Certain classes and individuals have influence within that institution while others don’t. The state itself also comes to have interests quite separate from those of society at large.
    I am not so deluded as to imagine that my vote could change the path of the New Zealand state, and not many of our people are. If I want to change things I will have to put my body on the line. “My vote” is at worst a surrender of power to the state, at best a futile form of protest.

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