November 09, 2008
Election results thoughts
It was a foregone conclusion that National would win the election: the only question was whether they would need a coalition partner and if so who it would be. The result was the worst possible: ACT. So, just as the rest of the world is finally discovering how big a disaster Chicago School economics is for all except the most rapacious of plutocrats, here comes an unrepentant Roger Douglas to do to the New Zealand economy what his fellow disciples have already done to the economies of South America, Russia and Iraq. (When John Key spoke at TechEd, he mentioned that Roger Douglas had said privately that Douglas wanted to see a crisis in New Zealand to shake things up. To readers of Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, this pattern will be chillingly familiar.)
Interesting, though, that National also brought United Future into the coalition, and are still talking to the Maori Party. We were a bit puzzled at Vic and Jono's election party as to why Key was doing this when National plus ACT alone had a majority, but thought it was probably to give National some wiggle room when ACT's policies are too obviously electoral suicide. But it may also be symbolic. National plus ACT got only 49.1% of the popular vote, and have the seats only because NZ First didn't reach the 5% threshold. National plus ACT plus United Future, however, brings the coalition to 50% or just over of the party vote, allowing Key to claim the fig-leaf of a true popular majority rather than a mere plurality.
Finally, it seems ridiculous that NZ First with 4.2% of the vote got no seats, while ACT with 3.7% of the vote got 5 seats. Don't get me wrong, I'm pleased to see the corrupt, racist Winston Peters finally kicked out of NZ politics (at least for now... I guess nobody thought Roger Douglas would be back either); but there's clearly something wrong here. I assume the 5% threshold was meant to ensure that parties had to have a reasonable base of support before they got into Parliament, but in practice it hasn't worked that way -- it just favours minority parties with entrenched electorate MPs -- see ACT, Peter Dunne and Jim Anderton. Some rethinking needed here, surely.
November 04, 2008
Christchurch Code Camp 2008 - Thinking in WPF
This year's Christchurch Code Camp managed somehow to combine feeling really busy and active, with two streams running throughout the day, with a great informal and relaxed atmosphere, especially visible in Kirk and Dave's MCing of the lightning talks. A thoroughly enjoyable event -- thanks to all concerned!
Here are the slides for my Thinking in WPF talk (PPTX format, may need to right-click to download).