Every three years in New Zealand the voters go to the polls to vote for their local mayors, local council and regional councillors and health board officials. 2013 is the local body elections and it’s been marked by… well, not a lot. The problem is that voters just don’t seem to be interested in voting.
The resignation of David Shearer as Labour Party leader came as no surprise to many labour and trade union activists. David Shearer may have been portrayed as an action man of the United Nations, but he certainly wasn't when it came to the Labour Party. The Labour Party has been languishing in the low 30% of the polls for some time. This means with the general election to be held by next November the likelihood of a Labour-led government in 2014 was getting more remote. There have been rumblings from within Labour's caucus for sometime over Shearer's performance as they see their career prospects narrow! With the growing likelihood of a challenge by caucus to his leadership David Shearer resigned.
On April 17th, 2013, marriage between persons of the same gender became lawful in New Zealand after parliament voted 77 to 44 in favour of the passing of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act. This law passed with widespread support from the New Zealand public with most opinion polls showing up to 70% of those polled supporting same sex marriage.
This makes New Zealand the 13th country to legalise same sex marriage and the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to do so.
The recent announcement from Labour and the Greens with regard to setting up a single national buyer for wholesale electricity to curb the excessive profits of the power generators, (who by the end of the current round of partial-privatisations will overwhelmingly be in the private sector), was certainly a shot across the bows of the National led government.
The Westpac television advert showing the house-sharing pensioners arguing about their food and chores may not be so funny in a few years' time. The Government has concluded that it can no longer afford a decent standard of living for pensioners. The problem is that there will be too many of them – as people are living longer and into the bargain, there is the baby boom.