Chris Totter writes:
What makes me reluctant to award the accolade of Politician of the Year to John Key, however, is his apparent lack of interest in the lives of the 50 per cent of New Zealanders who don’t vote for the National Party, and for whom John Key is not the preferred Prime Minister. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that true political greatness is to be measured by what a politician (and government) does: not only for the lucky and the strong, but also for the weak and unfortunate.
Now, at this point you may be thinking that I’m about to bestow the accolade upon someone from the Opposition’s ranks. You would, however, be wrong. Because 2015 has not been a year in which anyone from the Opposition parties has offered the weak and the unfortunate very much at all – not even that most subversive of emotions — hope.
No, the politician I have in mind is the one who labours away in the engine-room of Key’s Government. The one who keeps the wheels of the economy turning, and international investors smiling.
Solid achievements, both, but I am more disposed towards him because, unlike his boss, he has been giving long and arduous thought to the plight of the weak and unfortunate among us. More than this, he has been thinking about them in a new and intellectually challenging fashion.
His approach has been called actuarial, because his calculations are all about the risk and the cost – both individually and collectively – of not making the weak stronger and their misfortunes less determinative; of not organising the right sort of state intervention at the right time.
For thinking about the half of the electorate who doesn’t vote for his party, my Politician of the Year for 2015 is Bill English.