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Glurp
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Topic # 204198 21-Sep-2016 13:46
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Should politics be a job for life? We are in the midst of local elections and this time around there is heated debate over some contentious issues in my region, especially in regard to water. Because of this, we are suddenly hearing for the first time in years from individuals who have made a career of  warming seats on various councils and other local bodies. Some have been ‘serving’ for 20 years or more, and the main result seems to be a dysfunctional Regional Council and a local district council and health board both asleep at the wheel while residents of one community have been poisoned by their drinking water, with possibly two dead as a result and two others gravely ill. In the meantime, the finger-pointing and arse covering is well under way as the roaches scurry away from the light. 

 

Because of this and other issues, and because there is an election underway, I have had a rare opportunity to see candidates scrutinised and to study their responses to various questions. As a result, I was surprised to learn how long some had been sucking at the public teat. They actually boast about this, citing their ‘experience’ as a reason to vote for them yet again. 

 

Without wanting to sound too cynical, I can’t help wondering what this much-vaunted ‘experience’ actually contributes to anything. It certainly doesn’t seem to have helped our local councils function any better, and it sure hasn’t done much for the health of the residents of Havelock North. Hence my question. Should politics be a job for life? Should there be a limit on the number of times someone can serve in public office, say three terms, for example? Does someone like Peter Dunne, who seems determined to remain a Minister forever, actually still do anything useful, assuming he ever did? The American President is only allowed to serve two terms. Why do our elected officials get to go on forever? Is this even a good idea?  

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  Reply # 1638222 21-Sep-2016 14:08
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There have been a lot asking this same question. IMO being elected onto a council or into parliament is a privilege, and is NOT a career. Although many seem to think it is and can be in for decades. Infact we don't want career politicians. Politicians are meant to have new ideas, so they do tend to have a use by date. You also get politicians hopping from national politics into locals politics, then into regional politics. Then they also get onto health boards and energy trusts etc. 

 

 

 

IMO politicians  should serve no more than 3 terms. Mayors and Prime Ministers should server no more than 2 terms. It gives other people a go and means things don't go stale. Mayors also shouldn't be allow to stand on multiple boards and trusts, as it is supposed to be a full time job.  Once a Mayor is in, they can be very difficult to vote out. I think my local mayor has server 4 or 5 terms, and the previous one was the same. They had to retire to get a new one in.

 

 When you get more than 1 person standing for mayor, against the current mayor, it just splits the vote with people who are happy with the leadership, and those who aren't happy. So it isn't a great system. The US system where you just have two candidates is far better. Also at least in the US they have a time limit on what a president can serve. 


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  Reply # 1638223 21-Sep-2016 14:08
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I always liked the example given in a SF story.

 

Any person who wants to can volunteer to be President for life. They then go through a brief and painless implantation ceremony, where a small amount of explosive is placed inside their skull, and wired up so that if more than 50% of the population disapprove, it detonates.

 

 


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  Reply # 1638255 21-Sep-2016 14:57
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That is why I am purely voting on the council stuff based on age. All the old ones have done their time and are out of touch so have to go. I don't care that they will probably be unemployable, that is not my problem.





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  Reply # 1638260 21-Sep-2016 15:08
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richms:

 

That is why I am purely voting on the council stuff based on age. All the old ones have done their time and are out of touch so have to go. I don't care that they will probably be unemployable, that is not my problem.

 

 

 

 

I am not doing it on age, because some young people have some silly ideas that will change when they get older. I think older people have far more knowledge from life, and are a invaluable resource. Also many will stand when they retire and have the time to do it. Young people potentially have a lot more financial responsibilities and may not have the time to invest. 

 

 

 

Instead I am voting on their experience, knowledge of the current issues, and what they stand for. Just voting for the youngest is almost a vote against a broken system. All the current standing councilors,  I am not voting for at all, as most have had at least 2 terms, some have been on for over a decade. They have also done a pretty poor job and voted for things that I didn't agree with.  It is interesting though because once a councilor is elected, it seems that it is expected that they will remain until they retire, as very few don't get voted back in, as their name is then well known. Unless your name is well known or you have a lot of charisma and really get out their pressing skin, you are unlikely to get in as a new councilor.  This is why you see a lot of more well known people stand for mayors in smaller regions, and often win. 


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  Reply # 1638262 21-Sep-2016 15:13
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If you feel strongly that the 'old guard' need to go then either stand yourself or help rally support to get those you believe in voted in and the others voted out. Otherwise all you are doing is whining :)






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  Reply # 1638264 21-Sep-2016 15:24
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Brumfondl:

 

If you feel strongly that the 'old guard' need to go then either stand yourself or help rally support to get those you believe in voted in and the others voted out. Otherwise all you are doing is whining :)

 

 

 

 

That is already occurring in my area at least. But it probably won't make much difference due to numbers, and nobody really cares about local politics unless they are affected by a particular issue, so the majority usually votes for status quo. It is really the local government act that needs changing so that people can only sit a maximum number of terms.


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  Reply # 1638266 21-Sep-2016 15:26
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For a year then exported




Mike
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The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

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The great divide is the lies from both sides.

 

 


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  Reply # 1638267 21-Sep-2016 15:27
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richms:

That is why I am purely voting on the council stuff based on age. All the old ones have done their time and are out of touch so have to go. I don't care that they will probably be unemployable, that is not my problem.



Age does not make one out of touch.




Mike
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The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

 Mac user, Windows curser, Chrome OS desired.

 

The great divide is the lies from both sides.

 

 


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  Reply # 1638273 21-Sep-2016 15:38
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Until voted out.  Let the electorate decide.





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  Reply # 1638279 21-Sep-2016 15:42
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MikeB4:
richms:

 

That is why I am purely voting on the council stuff based on age. All the old ones have done their time and are out of touch so have to go. I don't care that they will probably be unemployable, that is not my problem.

 



Age does not make one out of touch.

 

 

 

What makes people out of touch is when they are on the inside for too long, and lose touch with the community  and the issues. You also governments that gradually become out of touch, after they have been I power for too long and have run out of ideas, as well as politicians who should retire because they no longer have any fresh ideas. Young people can bring fresh ideas, but so can old people. Infact age doesn't matter at all as long as they are healthy enough to serve. eg In the US the next president will be around 70 when they sit and could be close to 80 when they finish their 2 terms. You rarely see people that old serving in NZ at top levels.


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  Reply # 1638280 21-Sep-2016 15:43
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As long as both they and the people are happy for them to.


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  Reply # 1638287 21-Sep-2016 15:55
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UHD:

 

As long as both they and the people are happy for them to.

 

 

 

 

The problem is that voting in NZ is not compulsory. That means very low number of votes in local elections. So you may get a mayor voted in, who only 20% of the voting pollution voted for. So voting should really be compulsory. It is in other countries including Australia.


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  Reply # 1638313 21-Sep-2016 16:57
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As they say, politicians are like nappies, they should be changed regularly, and for the same reason.


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  Reply # 1638316 21-Sep-2016 17:20
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MikeAqua:

 

Until voted out.  Let the electorate decide.

 

 

Yep, agreed.  It's really the way democracy works... You can't really call it a job for life.. They have to be voted in in the first place - nothing's guaranteed. I guess a prime example would be Winston Peters.  Missed out in 2008, but as we know stormed back in 2011/2014 elections.  

 

In terms of placing a limit on the number of terms one can serve, it's a tough one.  Based on our 3 yearly cycle of elections, i think a 2 term maximum is a bit short for someone to be effective.. When you have politicians who continuously get re-elected for 3+ terms, then that either means that candidate is really good at what s/he does and has the support of their electorate, or there's a lack of choice in candidates, or there's party politics at play (i.e. Epsom electorate anyone)?  

 

Another issue i see in placing a limit would be in situations where you a candidate reaches the limit and arguably has been popular/effective (hence why he continuously gets re-elected), if that candidate can't stand at the next election then you have a new list of candidates who may or may not have any political experience what so ever.  I would argue a first term politician would need to learn the role and may not be very effective, so would this person be considered to be doing his best for his electorate if he's just sat in the back benches?  At the next election does electorate re-elect this person or would the electorate then take a punt on someone else? Would you get a cycle of new MPs at every election for a certain electorate until the right person comes along?

 

Another question to ask is, do people think having 120 seats (121 this term) in parliament too many?  Considering there are only about 70 odd electorates, 50 or so MPs are non-elected and get in merely cos they're on a popularity list.. 

 

 


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  Reply # 1638349 21-Sep-2016 18:53
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MikeAqua:

 

Until voted out.  Let the electorate decide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That would assume that we have a healthy democracy. But our media is now very poor and hardly reports on things that go on in politics, unless it involves some sort of scandal. How do you even find out about what the new potential councilors stand for, they have to spend a lot to get their message out there, as there is hardly anything in the local papers about them. This is only getting worse as consolidation occurs media. You often don't find about something that affects you until it has already been passed through council, as it often isn't reported on. 

 

Re: time limit. I would put it a different way, is 5 terms to many for a Mayor. That is 20 years.

 

If you watched Nigel Lattas program last night, he did show some signs of worry over 'lobbying'. This is where organisations pay a company to 'mingle' with the decision makes, to give them their point of view. Yet apparently there are no records kept of these meetings. It would also likely occur with councils, with property developers etc. The Lobby guy he spoke to says that your average person on the street can also just go in and lobby for something, and will have the same influence as a pro. But Latta didn't agree with that


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