Libmonster ID: U.S.-1484
Author(s) of the publication: L. G. STEFANCHUK
Educational Institution \ Organization: Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Keywords: New Zealand, parliamentary elections, party, coalition, referendum, electoral system

New Zealand is a small country (4.5 million people) as part of the Commonwealth of Nations. The form of government is a parliamentary monarchy. Formally, it is headed by the English monarch, who, in accordance with the instructions of New Zealand ministers, appoints a Governor-General with a term of office of five years. His power is purely symbolic.

In essence, the country is governed by the leader of the political party that won the parliamentary elections, who holds the post of Prime Minister and forms the government. The highest legislative body of the State is the Parliament, which consists of one House of Representatives and is re-elected every three years.

This is a country with strong democratic traditions. In the past, it has been called the " world's foremost democracy, "the" welfare state." In this regard, it is enough to mention, for example, that women's suffrage rights in New Zealand (at that time a colony of Great Britain) were granted earlier than in the metropolis itself and in most developed countries.

For many years in New Zealand, the two main parties of the country were alternately in power: Labor (Liberal, center-left) and National(conservative, center-right). This situation was facilitated by the majority electoral system of relative majority. One deputy was elected from each electoral district based on territorial features. The winner was the one who received the largest number of votes in his / her constituency, regardless of the percentage of votes cast for him / her, even if it was less than half. In English-speaking countries, the name of this system is the "first to be elected" or "first to be elected" system.

At the end of the 20th century, the situation changed. A mixed-proportional electoral system was developed and approved by a referendum. It has been operating in the country since 1996.

Now a voter receives two ballots in parliamentary elections: one for the candidate nominated in his / her home district, and the other for the candidate represented on the general party list. To get into parliament, a party (if none of its representatives won a personal victory in the district) must overcome the 5% barrier.

As the last parliamentary elections showed, the era of confrontation between two rival parties ended, the country's parliament became multiparty, and other parties began to win seats in it.

In the political life of New Zealand, the Environmental Green Party, New Zealand first of all, the Act, United Future, and the Maori Party play a prominent role. Under the new system, none of the parties, as a rule, can get an absolute majority of votes, and the one that came to power forms a coalition government with the formal or informal support of other parties represented in Parliament.

However, in the next elections on September 20, 2014, the ruling National Party won an impressive victory, winning 60 seats in the parliament (only one vote short of an absolute majority). In recent years, there were 120 seats, but in the specified year there were 121 seats. "I'm thrilled. This is a wonderful evening! - said, having received the news of his victory, 53-year-old John Key. - The election campaign was difficult. But I think that people realized that their country is moving in the right direction, and therefore awarded us this victory. I am very grateful to them for this."1

The opposition Labour Party was crushed-

page 42

physical defeat. It has not had such a deplorable result since 1922. Labor leader David Cunliffe said that he respected the people's choice, that they should rally their ranks, and not look for those responsible. He remained in parliament, but ceased to be the leader of the party. He was succeeded by Andrew Little.

John Key won the election for the third time, which, according to analysts, is not typical for the country. According to G. Duncan, a professor of political science at Massey University in Auckland, one of the largest institutions of higher education in the country, this is an extraordinary result, never before has there been an increase in the popularity of a government during a third term. The three years for which the New Zealand Parliament is elected cannot be considered optimal. After all, the boundaries of the electorate are determined depending on the population, and censuses are held in New Zealand only every five years. Three years, according to many researchers, is too short a time for serious reforms.

There is a tendency: "in the first year of his rule, he is engaged in the distribution of posts, in the second - in the implementation of his plans, in the third-in preparing for elections, which clearly negatively affects the country's economy"2. As you know, before elections, populist decisions are sometimes taken as propaganda, which do not correspond to the real state of affairs.

John Key fulfilled the program proposed to voters in 2008. During the years of his rule, the New Zealand economy developed steadily. The average annual growth rate in 2014 was 3.2% - more than in Australia (2.7%), the United Kingdom (3%), the United States (2.4%), Canada (2.6%), Germany and Japan (1.2%). Inflation was low-0.8%, wages for four years increased from 49.5 thousand rubles. New Zealand dollars (NZD) to 55.5 thousand NZD, and real incomes - respectively, by 9% 3.

Having made a bet on large and medium-sized businesses, Ci held in 2010. tax reform, which caused a lot of controversy. The value-added tax was increased from 12.5% to 15%, while the income tax was also reduced. These measures have seriously affected those who live on social benefits, but they have had a positive impact on the incomes of actively working state employees and business owners. The Government has invested enough resources in the tax collection process to support tax compliance activities. As a result, the New Zealand Revenue Department collected $ 4.1 billion in tax revenue between 2013 and 2014. NZD (approx. $2.9 billion).

New Zealand's Minister of Revenue, T. McClay, said the amount received in 2014 was $ 52 million more than in the previous fiscal year4. According to the latest international business report from accounting firm Grant Thornton, small and medium-sized enterprises in New Zealand are extremely happy with their tax strategy.

Increased tax collection and reduced government spending have allowed New Zealand to reduce the size of the budget deficit by almost half compared to the planned figures. Due to the strengthening of financial control aimed at improving the efficiency of financing socially significant industries, there was a reduction in government spending.

The Government will continue the ongoing reform. In his election speech, Key promised New Zealanders to make every effort to grow the economy and reduce the budget deficit. According to the aforementioned Professor Duncan, the National Party does not offer anything other than a possible reduction in the tax rate in the next two years. Otherwise, it is expected to pursue its usual policy, with a slight reduction in government spending.5

The 2014 election campaign was a tough one for Ci. The notorious Edward Snowden, a former employee of the US intelligence services, accused the New Zealand government Communications Security Bureau of launching the same program for collecting citizen metadata that the National Security Agency was engaged in in the United States. According to him, any statements that there is no mass surveillance in New Zealand, that the authorities do not intercept and monitor absolutely all Internet communications, are a complete lie. If you live in New Zealand, you are being watched, " Snowden said. In response, John Key said that such a program was indeed developed, but to protect against cybercrime, and was never launched.

The fact is that in August 2013, the country's parliament passed a bill allowing the country's main intelligence service, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), to monitor both New Zealand citizens and foreigners. The bill was supported by 61 parliamentarians, against - 59. John Key, who campaigned in favor of the law, stressed that he receives intelligence reports that "deeply concern" him. "If I could reveal them, they would blow away those who are now opposed to the bill," said the politician 6. A well-known English journalist who came to New Zealand specifically

page 43

Key called Glen G. Greenwald, who collaborated with Snowden to publicly criticize the New Zealand authorities, a "conspiracy theorist."

The Prime Minister had to defend his party from attacks in the press and social networks. In August, a controversial book by New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager, an expert on electronic surveillance, "Dirty Politics", was published, which, based on the e - mail correspondence of prominent politicians from the National Party stolen by hackers, describes numerous cases of "dirty" techniques, including the use of bloggers and commissioned articles to denigrate opposition representatives. Hooligans put anti-Semitic inscriptions on images of John Key, who does not hide his Jewish origin. Labour MP Steve Gibson posted a message on social media describing the Prime Minister as a Shylock... a vile reptile with a vicious and vindictive grin.

Ki even had to make an official statement on all the TV channels that he was not a reptilian from another planet and was not going to enslave the human race. He was forced to make this comical statement in response to a request from an Oakland resident who, according to the Open Information Act, demanded proof that "the Prime Minister's disguise does not conceal a lizard-like alien intent on enslaving humanity."7

Key denied all the accusations leveled at him, and judging by the election results, New Zealanders believed him. New Zealand political scientists also note that John Key is really a charismatic figure and is very popular among the people. His rating, according to various polls, reaches 70%.

The Prime Minister is a millionaire, the richest member of the New Zealand Parliament. He refuses his salary, transferring it to a charitable foundation. He is respected by business people who recognize that Ki is a high-class financier and has achieved success because of his intelligence and hard work. Key himself admits that his business colleagues called him the "smiling killer" because of his ability to lay off hundreds of employees without losing his cheerfulness and optimism. Ki is characterized by ambition, the ability to surround himself with the right people, self-confidence and non-conflict, for which political opponents have dubbed him "Slippery John" and "Teflon Ki"8. Key has had a fast-paced political career. He first appeared in Parliament in 2002 as the MP for the Helensville constituency, which covers the north-west of the Auckland metropolitan area (the largest city, the business center of the country, surpassing the population of the capital - Wellington), and was easily re-elected in the same electorate in 2005. In 2006, he headed the National Party.. In 2008, he led her to victory.

In his election manifesto, Ki announced the principles on which his policy will be based: loyalty to the country, its democratic principles, and the sovereign head of state; national and personal security; and equality

Table

Results of the 2014 parliamentary elections

Parties

Voices

% of votes

Changes

Places

Districts

List

Total

Changes

National

1,131,501

47,04

-0,28

41

19

60

+ 1

Labor Party

604,534

25,13

-2,35

27

5

32

-2

Green Party

257,356

10,70

-0,36

0

14

14

0

New Zealand first

208,300

8,66

+2,06

0

11

11

+3

Maori

31,850

1,32

-0,11

1

1

2

-1

Act

16,689

0,69

-0,37

1

0

1

0

United Future

5,286

0,22

-0,38

1

0

1

0

Other parties

150,104

6,24

+2,87

0

0

0

-1

Total

2,405,620

100

 

71

50

121

0



Источник: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_general_election,_2014#cite_note-97

page 44

opportunities; individual freedom and choice; personal responsibility; competitive businesses and rewards for achievement; limiting government power to society; strong families and caring communities; and sustainable development of the environment 9.

One of the most important points of the election program was Ki's promise to hold a referendum on changing the flag. "I want to settle this matter. I want to do this in 2015. I don't think this is a problem that we should discuss for a long time," he said in an interview with a local radio station. According to him, the current flag reflects the dominance of Great Britain, the colonial past of New Zealand, which does not correspond to the modern image of the country, in addition, it is often confused with the flag of Australia.

Key noted that his preferred option would be a silver fern leaf on a black background, which, among other things, reflects the success of New Zealand athletes. In particular, the silver fern emblem is used by the national rugby union team.

The issue of changing the flag has been a concern for New Zealand authorities since 1973. Leaders of the Labor Party and the Green Party have also said that if they win the election, they intend to solve this problem. However, according to one survey conducted in February 2014, 72% of citizens would like to keep the current flag. Before the elections, the prime minister did not rule out that the referendum could be held as early as the September vote, but many public figures opposed such a rush, saying that preparations for a popular vote could take two to three years.

Parliamentary elections in 2014 were held in 71 constituencies (64 European and 7 Maori*). They were attended by 2.4 million people. voters (77.9%) (see table).

As can be seen from the table, compared to the previous elections in 2011, positive changes have affected the National Party, which added one more MP to Parliament, and 3 new seats were won by New Zealand, led by its popular leader W. By Peters.

After receiving the results, J. On September 29, the Ci launched the creation of a ruling coalition, concluding agreements with the centrist United Future Party (leader P. Dunn) and the right-wing, conservative Act Party (DPR). Seymour) and with the Maori Party (U.K. Flavell).

In his" throne " speech (state speech) on January 28, 2015, J. Key said the Government's priorities include: responsible financial management; creating a more productive and competitive economy; providing better public services; and further rebuilding Christchurch, which was hit by the worst earthquake in February 2011. An important part of all these priorities, the Prime Minister said, is housing.

Assuming that Labor's housing policy is to build 100k homes. houses within 10 years - will fail miserably, the Prime Minister proposed his plan. Its purpose is to abolish the monopoly of the state housing corporation on the provision of social housing, to involve as many private companies as possible in solving this problem, as well as local councils.

The Government promises to build 2,000 homes in two years and amend the Law on Land Management and Infrastructure Provision to speed up the pace of construction. "We need more homes built at a lower price. This means that we need more land suitable for construction, as well as a more rational and less expensive process of allocating land for housing development."

The poor usually spend 25% of their income on renting social housing, and the difference in the market value of housing and its rent is paid by the state. In 2017/18, about 65 thousand housing subsidies will be allocated, which will cost an additional $ 40 million. NZD per year. At the same time, the government will encourage those who are ready to get their own housing. Since April 2015, a new program is being implemented, which is expected to help 90 thousand people buy their first home within five years. In addition, funds will be allocated to improve the quality of the housing stock 10.

In the coming years, the government promises to continue its policy of strict control over public spending, achieve a budget surplus and reduce public debt from 25.5% to 22.5% of GDP in 2019. It will try to do everything possible for small businesses to flourish, develop transport, in particular, eliminate traffic jams in large cities, especially in Auckland, where 1.4 million people live. For this purpose, for example, a plan for the construction of bicycle paths is being developed. Measures will continue to be taken to develop and modernize the industrial sectors that the country needs.

John Key has a policy of attracting immigrants to the country. Minister of Employment of New Zealand


* Maori districts have traditionally existed in New Zealand since 1867 (then there were 4).

page 45

John S. Joyce argues that the country needs professionals in many industries: specialists in programming and computer design, builders, engineers and workers in high-tech industries.

Preferential conditions are being created for the entry of those who have their own business. When selecting applicants for a visa, entrepreneurs receive additional points for doing business in the country's regions; when calculating such points, business innovation and its export orientation are also taken into account.

By the way, according to a study conducted by the World Bank, Singapore and New Zealand provide the most favorable conditions for doing business, in terms of such parameters as taxation, regulation, and obtaining construction permits. 11 It is also important that New Zealand ranks 2nd, after Denmark, in the ranking of the least corrupt countries in the world.

In recent years, there has been a trend of New Zealanders returning to their homeland, having previously left it for Australia. Working in what is now New Zealand attracts not only former New Zealanders, but also Australians.

Until recently, New Zealand was considered one of the safest countries in the world, was in the last rows of the list of states compiled by the global terrorism index, was famous for its quiet lifestyle, low crime and good ecology. All this was also taken into account by emigrants when choosing a place for permanent residence.

But now one of the priorities in the policy of J. R. R. Tolkien. The key was the fight against terrorism. In November 2014, the prime Minister said that terrorist threats have increased in the country, and "it is very important to be able to resist them." He assured that those New Zealanders who took part in the activities of terrorist organizations in the Middle East will no longer be able to evade responsibility.

According to Key, government services are closely monitoring a group of 30 to 40 individuals, which includes radical foreigners who are in the country, as well as New Zealanders associated with terrorist activities abroad. Presumably, some of them can participate in fundraising and financing of Islamists. As a result, on December 9, 2014, a bill was passed by an absolute parliamentary majority, according to which law enforcement agencies are allowed to monitor persons suspected of involvement in terrorist activities around the clock; their passports can be taken away for up to three years. The law will be in force until 2017."

The third term of the board of J. R. R. Tolkien Ki coincided with New Zealand's membership in the UN Security Council. She will participate in its work as a non-permanent member in 2015-2016. In its foreign policy, New Zealand intends to continue to defend the interests of small countries.

In the language of journalism, New Zealand is on the right track. From the first days of the new parliament, amendments to the law on improving education were adopted, with special attention being paid to children growing up in disadvantaged, low-income families. The reform on improving the health and safety of people working in production, which is the most significant legal act in this area over the past 20 years, was discussed.

Some changes have been made to the Bill of Human Rights. 2015 marked the 175th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi, and the Government confirmed its commitment to preserve the historical and cultural values of the Maori people.

The future will show whether the ruling party of New Zealand and its leader will be able to realize the rather ambitious goals that they have set for themselves.


* Treaty establishing Sovereignty over New Zealand, signed by Maori chiefs and representatives of the British Crown on February 6, 1840, at Waitanga River village.

1 Rossiyskaya Gazeta - http://www.rg.ru/2014/09/21 /vibori-site-anons.html

Jackson K. 2 New Zealand Politics of Change. Wellington. 1973. P. 11.

3 https://www.national.org.nz/news/news /media-releases/detail/2014/12/17/economy-grows-solidly-in-september-year; https://www.national.org.nz/news/news/med ia-releases/detail/2015/01/20/low-inflation-helping-households-get-ahead; http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/governm ent-focused-surplus-201415

4 http://polpred.com/news/7cnt-116&sector=6//offshore.su, 21.01.2015, N 1281849.

5 http://www.rg.ru/2014/09/21/vibori-site-anons.html

6 http://lenta.ru/news/2013/08/21/newzeaiand

7 http://mag.org.ua/news/3271

8 Prime Minister is not without a flaw. 29.09.2014 - http://maxpark.com/community/4391/content/3011568

9 https://www.national.org.nz/national/about-national, 10 September 2014.

10 http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/ political/264718/john-key%27s-state-of-the-nation-speec

11 World Bank Study: Doing Business in 2013 - http://gtmarket.ru/news/2012/10/23/5115)

12 http://gtmarket.ru/ratings/global-terrorism-index/info#new-zealand; http://rn.ria.ru/oceania/20141210/1037470311.html


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