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September 9, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Editorial – Politics

We had a lot of trouble coming up with ideas for our ‘Politics’ issue. After considering scrapping it altogether, we decided it would be a pretty sad day for our democracy if the student magazine from the capital city couldn’t think of anything relevant or interesting or important enough to write about.

Then David Shearer resigned, and all of a sudden things got a bit exciting. Finally, after the months, and months, and months of—let’s be honest—a pretty mediocre leader of the opposition, Labour looked like it might finally make a go of things at the eleventh hour. We—generally left-leaning editors, in the interests of full disclosure (in case you hadn’t guessed already)—resented Shearer, and by extension, the Labour Party for keeping him there.

Since the departure of Helen Clark in 2008 the Left has felt tired, irrational, and—just like we were for this issue—out of new ideas. The 2014 election, once heralded by the hacks as Labour’s time to shine, was already starting to seem like a foregone—and very blue—conclusion. But with the departure of Shearer, and the benevolent presence of Helen Clark back in the country on UN business reminding Labour of what they had been, things seemed like they might be looking up. Three bright-eyed, bushy-tailed leadership contenders were rearing to give members the chance to talk out the big issues.

Yet soon enough, the big issues just became buzzwords like ‘unity’ and ‘future’ and the only thing you could remember about the candidates was ‘gay’, ‘porn’, and ‘ego’. But that doesn’t really matter for most of us, because we’re not members of the Labour party, and we don’t have a say. Most of us spend more time going to parties than joining them. A lot of us—judging by 2011’s voter turn out—don’t even vote, for that matter.

We cop a lot of flack for not voting, us yoof. We’re told that we should be voting because it means that, as a part of the country, we get a say in building a New Zealand that we want to live in. But if we’re not voting, maybe it’s because we don’t feel a part of the country that we’re growing up in.

We’re treated as expenses, indebted for our time at university, rather than investments in the country’s future. When our interest-free loans aren’t being hailed as an economic burden equivalent to the GFC, we’re the scape goat for a nationwide drinking problem. Despite pretty shit (but not Greece-level shit tg) youth unemployment rates, and huge numbers of under-paid, over-qualified graduates, the solution was to lower the wages of those who are even younger than us. And when our rents go up? The baby-boomer parents’ investment portfolios just became all the more valuable.

As a young person, New Zealand’s political discourse can leave you feeling blue and a little red at times. And though it may seem easier to just keep that apathetic distance between you and the democratic structures down the road, it does occasionally have its plus sides: last week in Parliament’s Question Time they talked about blow jobs.

 

Molly & Stella

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About the Author ()

Molly McCarthy and Stella Blake-Kelly are Salient Co-Editors for 2013, AKA Salient Babes.

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