Sunday, September 18, 2005

Kiwi Kaos

While the world watches with interest as the people of Afghanistan brave violence to cast their votes. And meanwhile the people of Europe holds its collective breath over the tight elections in Germany between Schroeder and Merkel, Merkel's lead has shrunk in recent months but Schroeder political hand is still weak with 10 of the local states in opposition party hands and a struggling economy. These are races to watch with interest naturally, but another political drama is already playing out.

Down south in the Pacific Ocean to the east of Australia is another lovely country called New Zealand. And the recent history of the country shows much political turmoil since Labour under Helen Clark rose to power. The Royal New Zealand Air Force has been effectively abolished. They have 'accidentally' let in refugee Ba'athist thugs from Iraq. Opposed Operation Iraqi Freedom and got into a diplomatic squabble with Israel. Now the simmering local political pot is boiling over and looks to claim everyone. New Zealand just had national elections pitting Labour against the National party with various splinter parties muddying the water: Greens, Jim Anderton, First, United, Act, and Maori parties. Neither Labour nor National has enough seats to form a majority. Labour with Green and Jim Anderton has 57 seats while National and Act have 51 seats. United has three seats and First has seven seats. Which leaves four seats in the 122 seat parliament to the Maori Party. Both Labour and National are going after all three parties with fervor but it looks like the 18 month old Maori Party will be in the driver seat at least to form a coalition and they got some grievances to settle with both major parties. National does not believe the Maori should have special seats and wants to abolish them, so National gaining Maori is very slim but National with fewer seats need Maori more than Labour does which could form a government if both United and First join. Labour is equally estranged from the Maori party, partially it is bad blood between PM Helen Clark and Maori co-leader Tariana Turia and due to government legislation on foreshore and seabed legislation.

So stay tuned to possible political eruptions south of the Equator along with all the other possible upsets and upheavals.

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