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Guy Trafford wishes any Government would trust voters with a longer term vision executed with open transparency. He suspects voters would respect such an approach, rather than them ramming through changes within their 3 year cycle

Rural News / opinion
Guy Trafford wishes any Government would trust voters with a longer term vision executed with open transparency. He suspects voters would respect such an approach, rather than them ramming through changes within their 3 year cycle
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Source: Copyright: khoblaun

The closer we get to the next elections which are set for October 2023, assuming nothing unforeseen occurs, the problems which are starting to be laid at the Government doorstep are rapidly increasing.

From a rural perspective it feels like some within the farming sectors are leading the charge. Given the number of areas farmers and those within the rural sectors are not happy, this does not seem surprising. The flip flopping (and flapping?) with the approach to carbon farming or not and it probably isn’t over yet must creating confusion within some quarters. Likewise the “3 Waters Reforms” which have been pushed through with a seemingly (again) disregard for listening to the consultation which was at best hurried, at worst tokenism, along with some of the lower profile issues such as “Winter Gazing” reforms and other water protection reforms and taxes on utes and the classification of “Significant Natural Areas” (SNA’s), have all managed to get many within farming offside with the Government.

While the regulations and reforms seemed to be able to be passed at speed there appeared to be a slow dragging of the feet when it came to things like getting extra labour available for farms.

Some, perhaps even all of these above mentioned issues needed attention however.

What appears to have occurred, and maybe still is, is the phenomenon that relates to first-passed-the-post governments and perhaps compounded by the (short) 3 year term. Governments need to try and hurry things through while they can because they may not be around in three years’ time. To me at least this is an unfortunate occurrence and likely reflects a lack of confidence in the electorate's maturity to do the right thing. I’ve seen enough election results now to have more confidence in the electorate than the current government appears to have. They are likely to have more chance of having a 3rd term (if we include the previous coalition government as the first) if they had made a greater effort to take the public with them. The old saying of “make haste slowly”, which the ‘Free Dictionary’ provides the excellent ‘translation’ to mean: To act with due diligence, focus, and attention to detail in order to avoid mistakes and finish a task more expeditiously overall, is a great piece of advice to governments.

It doesn’t mean do nothing but if the government signals the direction it wants to go and then moves in a focused way forward there is more chance of achieving the outcomes desired without a face smeared with eggs.

If it was just the rural sector that is upset the Government may get away with ramming the policies through and getting another chance to finish the work, even if it was again as a coalition. However, the discontentment that farming has is rapidly spreading through the non-rural sector. The pathetic responses from the Health Minister over the barriers put up against potential foreign nurses residency and the ability to practice in New Zealand is verging on ridiculous.

The squandering of money and disrupting the polytechnic sector over the Te Pukenga reforms to bring all polytechs under one roof is another example of Ministers seeming to be immune to advice. The determination to push through “The Oranga Tamariki Oversight bill” and the scrapping of the Children’s Commissioner and in favour of a board, against the advice seemingly of everybody except Oranga Tamariki who given the evidence coming out at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in Care seem to be part of the problem rather than the solution, provide fertile ground for discontent.

There are no doubt more examples that could raised but these alone will be enough to provide ammunition for opposition parties to lever the current government out.

So come October next year farmers will not be a lone voice when it comes to calling the Government to account.

Given the size of the win at the last election many who voted for this Government will be feeling disappointed at what they have ended up with. For those who were around in the 80’s it was just this ‘phenomenon’ that those, who made up the majority, voted for a change from the old “first past the post” system to the now MMP system which began in 1993 (and reconfirmed in 2001).

Changes are inevitable and necessary in many cases, but it was then and again now that the speed of those change and the inevitable disruptions and unforeseen outcomes that voters object too and remember. Looking online to a 2020 Labour Party Manifesto, to be fair much of what they are attempting to do (broadly) was signaled. The issue is with the speed and the once over lightly approach they seem to be taking in its implementation.

The current behaviour of government is a poignant reminder of the 80’s and the next electoral outcome is likely to also be the same. As a standalone governing party Labour tends to have a long time between drinks and seem to operate better when curtailed by a coalition ‘partner’. It remains to be seen whether or not they will get a chance next year. In the meantime they have some relationship mending to do and not just with farmers.

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After the previous several years under the current Govt, I don't think I will ever trust again.


Depends on the type of trust.  I don't trust Labour's capabilities, sayings like "I wouldn't trust Labour to run a bath" or "organise a piss up in a brewery" are fit  They mean well but are woefully inept so wouldn't trust them to run a country.  This is trust from Competency.

Meanwhile the previous National government (I voted for might I add before I'm labelled) made clear pre-election promises such as not raising GST, no to asset sales but steamrolled ahead when elected, not to mention the various scandals that plagued them (and still do).  This is trust from Integrity.  


Well put. I feel both parties lack integrity (and just about all politicians). The Nats with a whole heap of newbies may equally be less competent than their predecessors and hopefully more competent than Labour. Unfortunately they have to be voted in to find out.


"There never was a new prince who has disarmed his subjects; rather when he has found them disarmed he has always armed them, because, by arming them, those arms become yours, those men who were distrusted become faithful, and those who were faithful are kept so, and your subjects become your adherents. And whereas all subjects cannot be armed, yet when those whom you do arm are benefited, the others can be handled more freely, and this difference in their treatment, which they quite understand, makes the former your dependents, and the latter, considering it to be necessary that those who have the most danger and service should have the most reward, excuse you. But when you disarm them, you at once offend them by showing that you distrust them, either for cowardice or for want of loyalty, and either of these opinions breeds hatred against you. And because you cannot remain unarmed, it follows that you turn to mercenaries, which are of the character already shown; even if they should be good they would not be sufficient to defend you against powerful enemies and distrusted subjects. Therefore, as I have said, a new prince in a new principality has always distributed arms. Histories are full of examples" - The Prince


If memory serves, Machiavelli advised his "Prince" not to be too concerned about telling his subjects the truth, mainly because most ordinary folk don't actually want to hear the truth.

It might be a reasonable statement to say that a good number of our modern politicians could be therefore described as being..."Machiavellians".


I think they have possibly tried to do too much . Covid interruptions haven't helped . 

But these was so much to do after 9 years populist rule , based on property price rises. 





Most of the larger issues have solutions often decades or generations in the making. Obviously things can change so you need some degree of flexibility, but the nature of our current system means the focus is far more short term.

Fairly representative of the will of voters, so I guess that's democracy working.