The National Party's billboard campaign, now started, is singularly weak. Not because the issue is not an important one -- NZ's loss of some of its most talented people to the convicts on the western island is a slowly unwinding disaster for this country -- and not just because the the billboard's style lacks clarity or force. See:
It's singularly weak because National itself must shoulder a fair share of the blame for the continuing exodus of some of our best and brightest, and not just because they were responsible in the past for the likes of the Resource Management Act and the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, but for what people think they'll do in the future -- which in just two words, is very little.
You see, if the Labour Government's campaign against prosperity is what is pushing New Zealanders in their droves to leave in search of something better -- a poll back in May suggested as many as 1 in 10 adult New Zealanders is "fed up with high interest rates, worried about the housing market, and want better wages," and is thinking about leaving the country to get them -- then the National Party's promises and their campaign against their own party's principles is doing nothing to make anyone consider changing their plans -- and I'd suggest National's cheerleaders and their strategists (if such a species exists) reflect on that point.
If the Labour-led Government is driving them away, then the prospect of a National-led government is doing nothing to arrest the flood. Ask yourself why?
Emigration isn't a spur-of-the-moment decision -- it's a life-changing decision most people make based on long-term expectations. For most of the last year those expectations would include the quite reasonable assumption that National will win the November election, yet that assumption is doing nothing to stem the flow.
They're not just showing a lack of confidence in what Labour is already doing to the country, they've already factored in their expectations of how little a John Key administration will do to change the country, and they're expressing almost equal lack of confidence in what National will do -- which as we know is to do nothing and change nothing.
In short, they've realised that Labour-Lite will be just is as bad for their future as Labour was. And that's singularly tragic.
I'll say no more now, since I said much more back in May. I'll conclude instead with a line from an excellent piece by one John Gardner, a North Shore voter who's only leaving the country temporarily, but who articulates well the wary plague-on-all-your-houses departing NZers must feel about the politicians who make their lives a misery:
But come election time and the truth is nakedly revealed. In their heart of hearts they think we are backward infants rather than thinking adults.
I'm glad to be freed from being treated with such disdain for a while.
Gardner is returning. 1 in 10 won't. And National has nothing up their sleeve to stop that besides a billboard.