Letter to the Editor: Political Maturity?

Colin James’ article on MMP’s instability is interesting and thought provoking (Management, July 2002). As political writer, Colin has only focused on the failure of MMP to achieve the political stability most New Zealanders are dreaming of.

What concerns me most as New Zealander is the national interest. I believe the two main political parties should put aside major differences and make national interest their top priority. What worries me is the big headlines that minor parties often make in the national newspapers. For instance, New Zealand First Party leader (Winston Peters) recently attacked Chinese migrants, who he thinks have done more harm than good to our international reputation. The fight within the Alliance party has led to the party’s division into two separate parties. What do these events tell us? Do they suggest that there is lack of political stability and maturity in New Zealand?

As nation of less than four million inhabitants, our top priority should be finance first and politics second, rather than the other way round. Look at Singapore, which is more prosperous than the rest of South East Asia. Its politicians have given top priority to finance in order to develop skilful labour force. Through its political discipline, long-term vision, and strategic planning, it has made headway financially not only in the region but throughout the world.

Sadly, New Zealand is missing great opportunity because MMP has not helped the nation appreciate its potential to create conducive environment for investment and undertake joint venture. Generally speaking, before they make decision to invest in any nation, investors look critically to the political climate in the country to make sure that it is conducive to investment.

We need to be mature politically to face the challenges ahead of us and ask our hard questions: Why are most of our youth leaving the country, looking for greener pastures (opportunities) elsewhere? Why are our secondary school teachers continuing to strike? How much has the MMP political system cost taxpayers so far? Has the nation really benefited from this system, and for how long will we continue coping with foreign systems to achieve the theoretical dream of political stability? (abridged)
Saad Al-Harran

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