Saturday, October 11, 2008

The joys of being a tiny country in the middle of nowhere

The differences between the American elections and the NZ elections (coming up on 8th November) are kind of interesting.

Launch date of the USA main parties' campaigns for 4th November 2008: end of 2006.
Launch date of the NZ main parties' campaigns for 8th November 2008: this weekend (mid October 2008).

Approximate campaign costs for each major party in the USA election: 500 million USD.
Approximate campaign costs for each major party in the NZ election: 1.2 million USD.

One of the major concerns in the US elections is whether a woman could be elected to president.
In the NZ election, we have a woman running for re-election as prime minister: the job she's been doing for the past 9 years (having taken over from the previous prime minister, who was also female.

Another major issue in the USA elections is whether a black man will be elected as president.
NZ is yet to elect a Maori prime minister (although the leaders of several of the smaller parties are Maori). We do have 21 Maori members of parliament (17% of the total number*). The USA has 45 black members of congress (approximately 9% of the total, I think).

I can't think of anything else to compare, so I'll leave you with some bizarre campaign ads from the last couple of NZ elections.

Here's Labour's from 2002. I'm not quite sure what points they are trying to make. Helen Clark likes Maori culture, I guess. And Peter Jackson. And sport. But what's with all the military stuff and the "I like the USA" schtick? Labour was ANTI sending troops to Iraq.

Here's National's ad from 2005 (embedding disabled). What on earth were they thinking???

And just for laughs, here's a parody ad that makes me giggle (I'd say "obviously" a parody, but I would have thought the previous one was fake too, if I hadn't known better).


* 15% of the NZ population in the recent census identified as Maori, so 17% Maori MPs is proportional representation. In the USA, according to Wikipedia—my research skillz are awesome—the population is between 13 and 15% black (13% identifies as black alone, 2% of the population identifies with two or more races).


Anonymous said...

omg, that national ad was hysterical. I totally would have thought that was fake, too. hee!

and yes, we suck with the women in office and the proportional representation. mightily.

Jana said...

That telethon ad must be a parody!!!

ScienceGirl said...

Hm, doesn't look like you even need Saturday Night Live quoting your candidates :)

Grace Dalley said...

It's a pity that here in NZ women don't make up 50% of MPs - the figure is something like 33%.

It always amazes me that people say NZ is "run by women". I think most people are so unused to seeing women in authority that they don't realise how under-represented women actually are. OK we've had women PMs, but we should expect a woman to be in that job 50% of the time, as in all other positions of authority.

It makes me sad when people describe Helen Clark as "bossy". Of course she's bossy, she runs the country! I've never heard a male PM criticised for being too authoritarian.

Grace Dalley said...

Oh and Jana - I remember that "Telethon" National ad screening on TV. I was flabbergasted at the time, too.

Bardiac said...

Do you folks need an extra Shakespeare person?

StyleyGeek said...

Wait, what??? Bardiac, you want to come to a country that looks likely to elect a party that thinks that second advert was a good idea?

And Jana, from everything I can find online about that ad, it really was their campaign ad. They said they thought it was important to keep things humourous. More important than actually saying what they would do if elected, by the looks of things.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

I know what you mean about campaign length - the Canadian election was yesterday after about a 5 week campaign. I can't believe the Americans are still a couple of weeks away from theirs!

WhatLadder said...

Hey, here in Canada, we just spent $300million to maintain the status quo in an election where just over half of the electorate bothered to vote. Am I bitter?