Longer would be better

December 3, 2012

Why can’t we have longer parliamentary terms?

That was the question put by Mainfreight Managing Director Don Braid on Q & A yesterday.

Three years is too long with a government with which you disagree and not long enough for one you support, but a longer term would give us better governance.

Shorter parliamentary terms lead to short term thinking and short term policies.

In the first year in power a government is finding its feet and beginning to implement policy. In the second it starts making progress (or not depending on your point of view) then everything slows down for election year.

This is frustrating for anyone who has to deal with government and the public service.

It’s not just businesses which find the stop-start-stop of the three year cycle frustrating.

The CE of a charitable trust which gets contracts with a ministry said it is very, very difficult to do much in election year, especially in the last few months of the term.

A four-year term would also reduce costs – every 12 years there would be one fewer election to finance.

That would be good for taxpayers and for the volunteers who fund raise for political parties.

It would also help ratepayers because if parliament went to a four-year term then local government would too.

The idea of a four-year term has not in the past found majority support from the public. I think that is at least in part due to a suspicion of politicians.

But it is one of the matters under discussion the constitutional review which is taking place.

If that group of non-politicians recommended it, the idea might gain traction.


Richie McCaw NZer of the Year

December 10, 2011

Richie McCaw is the Herald’s New Zealander of the Year.

He was born in Oamaru, raised in the Hakataramea Valley and began his education in Kurow which could almost be qualification enough for the title :) but there’s more.

I met him at a wedding last month and in congratulating him on the World Cup win, mentioned the sacrifice I’d made to help with that – my pledge made towards the end of the final game to give up chocolate for the rest of the year if we won.

He had the good manners to say thank you and look as if he meant it.

He’s a talented and dedicated sportsman who led the All Blacks to victory – finally – in the Rugby World cup. But it’s not just what he does, it’s the way he does it. He’s a fine young man of outstanding character.

He has mana.

For that we can credit his family, his country upbringing and the man himself.

The Herald’s business leader of the year is Mainfreight managing director Don Braid.


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