It is fascinating following the way the media take up a story when one knows some of the things going on and/or some of the personalities involved. The story noted in the post below I see today (i) does not make the frontpage of the Christchurch Press (even though a Christchurch man is involved) (ii) fails - as I read across several publications - to make any particular significance of the connection with the Anglican church (iii) in at least one instance makes the bystanding, uninvolved girlfriend the lead 'angle' on the introduction to the story (obviously working the angle of her employment relationship with the Green Party co-leader). Whereas, speaking personally, the interest in the story centres on Jolyon. I would never make a good journalist!
At the heart of the story, including some elements of the offered justification for adding stickers to National Party billboards around the country, is the question of what a 'brighter future' for NZ is, and how that brighter future is reached.
That brighter future, if it is to be a 'national' brighter future and not merely a 'National' brighter future, must be as far as possible a brighter future for all New Zealanders. A brighter future for the wealthy and a hope that some of that wealth will 'trickle down' to the poor and vulnerable is not a brighter future for all. As far as I can tell, that is not the brighter future being envisioned by the National Party. The brighter future for NZ being promised by the National Party includes, for instance, attention to improving education for all so all may have a good starting point for participating in society as adults educated to a basic standard of literacy and numeracy. No party disputes the goodness of this aim but there is plenty of debate about the means of getting there which includes 'national standards' which are much protested about.
In general, if I may stick my political neck out a bit, all our parties in NZ are responsibly committed to a better and brighter future for NZ. All want to put New Zealand First, to advance the National well-being, to commit to a better future for Maori, to ACT now in the best interests of consumers and taxpayers, to seek a United Future, with active concern about Green aspects for a sustainable future, while recognising that Labouring earns that future, not slacking around. The real debate is how we are going to get there, whether as many NZers can be assisted towards that brighter future by this policy rather than that one, and whether we can sustain the ways and means we choose to follow.
I believe as Christians belonging to the kingdom of one who said 'Blessed are the poor' we have a special responsibility to think, plan and work for helping the poor. When we vote in our elections we should be voting for the policies which will do most for the poor. In the wisdom of my now advanced years I think a bit differently about this than when I first voted (in the 1978 election) :). For me the key issue in helping the poor is the economic situation of our nation which, since we are small, involves the economic situation of the world. If we fail to master the best way to manage the economic situation as a whole (to the extent that we are able) then we do our poor no service at all. If we fail to manage the economic situation in the long-term we may do a special disservice to the future poor (e.g. to the elderly in our community in fifteen to twenty years time ... to me, when I am retired!!!!). To give one specific example: if we want great education for all we need a great economy which generates fiscal income which pays for our schooling system and opportunities for our educated youth to work meaningful jobs in the pursuit of good incomes. We cannot have a bad economy and achieve great things for society.
Where I part company with Jolyon in 'political perspective' (as mentioned yesterday) is not over our shared commitment in Christ to bettering the lot of the poor, but in respect of which pathway to doing that is best.
PS Is any reader noticing what I notice as I drive around Canterbury: the National Party is putting a lot of funds into its billboards? I reckon I see about 10 National Party billboards to every 1 Labour billboard, and 50 National Party billboards to every Green Party billboards!