The Soap Box: NZ's politics look increasingly stable compared to rest of the world

Barry Soper ,
Publish Date
Monday, 10 December 2018, 7:26AM
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo / Getty Images
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo / Getty Images

The world order's become the world of disorder, particularly when it comes to politics and it's all happened within the past couple of years.

2016 will go down in history as the year where people we could never have envisaged in our wildest dreams took positions of power. Some of them who've assumed high office have created a nightmare.

The first oddball almost slipped under the radar in June 2016 when 73-year-old Rodrigo Duterte, a former mayor, became the President of the Philippines. In a shocking interview after his win, he claimed to have shot dead three men when he was mayor. When asked whether he was a suitable person to be holding the country's highest office he said, in a matter of fact way, there are four million drug addicts in his country and he wants to see all of them killed, and many of them have been.

It was in the same month that Britain decided to exit Europe and the decision, of course, became known as Brexit. British Prime Minister David Cameron quit in protest and his successor Theresa May's been fighting for survival ever since with the battle coming to a head this week. Another oddball Boris Johnson's waiting in the wings.

Four months later the unthinkable happened, the boorish billionaire Donald Trump was elected the President of the United States, the oldest in American history. Since then he's declared a trade war with the world with this country becoming a casualty when he immediately pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and then slapped tariffs on our aluminium and steel which look set to stay in place.

The main target is, of course, China and their leader Xi Jinping looks set to be in command of his troops long after Trump's been deposed. China this year dropped its two-term restriction for its leaders, meaning 65-year-old Xi could be the President for the rest of his natural.

And last year also saw another unusual character elected to leadership, France's 39-year old Emmanuel Macron whose wife was his former school teacher and is 25-years older than him. Paris has over the past week been razed with riots which, our Government should note, began with protests over an increase in petrol tax and extended to everything else that irks the population about Macron's rookie Government.

And of course, across the ditch, they've made changing political leaders look as natural as the changing weather.

In this country it's true we have an unusual leader, a young unmarried woman, a prospect that not too long ago wouldn't have been contemplated. Jacinda Ardern's old boss Helen Clark was even told to get married before standing for Parliament.

But at least compared to the others we look stable and for that, surely we should be thankful.



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