Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 5. 1967.
April 28, 1967
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of vuwsa
The genius who originated the idea of disrupting the presidential elections by confusing the voters with dozens of insincere candidates should feel satisfied with himself. The voter will not.
The democratic processes of the Students Association like other institutions are designed to permit any member to hold any office on the executive. However, for a democracy to function successfully there must be "responsible participation" by its members.
The actions of Mr. Rashbrooke (Sports Officer) and his disciples cannot be termed by any stretch of the imagination "responsible participation."
Anarchist candidates cannot be viewed as irresponsible as they are acting in accord with principles. However, the majority of candidates are not anarchists and are acting without concern for the welfare of the Association.
The returning officer, whose function was never minor, will now be faced with a massive task. The preferential system of voting will mean hours, possibly days, spent in counting second and third preferences.
The Students Association will be put to additional expense in producing an extra large ballot form and also for a massive election supplement. It has been estimated the supplement in the past has cost £5 per candidate.
The claim that greater interest in student affairs will result from this "stunt" has no validity. More likely the reverse is true. Instead of simplifying matters students will become more confused and abstain from voting, or perhaps pick a name at random.
As it is not the function of this paper to suggest certain candidates are preferable to others we can only suggest the confused voter make some attempt to cast an informed vote.
Strings must be cut
A Schizophrenic is about as comfortable as a porcupine in a balloon factory. Yet such is the comfort of our political loyalties.
From Britain we inherited a status pattern of society which is out of joint with our national character. The status value is expressed in the concept of the Crown. Our national character is expressed in equality. Snobbishness is the effect of one, friendliness of the other.
Our loyalty to the British Crown is a constant reminder that our social and political system is a hand - me - down from another nation. There is little in our formal politics that is inherently New Zealand. All the trappings and sanctimony of British heritage are reflected in the Mace that rests on the Table of the House of Representatives.
Royalty (apart from being expensive) does imply a large degree of dependence. Yet independence is a myth, in a world that Is increasingly affected by the most distant events, especially for a small country like ours. But we should not use our inevitable dependence as an excuse for failing to forge our own national goals and values.
Such is the tragedy of our present circumstance. Recognition of the British Crown is a barrier to our national psyche. We tend to be over-dependent; initiative is thwarted. Nowhere is this more evidenced than in the farce of our politicians making pathetic protests against the inevitable loss of our traditional British market, instead of pulling the proverbial finger to develop new markets.
Royalty does not sufficiently stress achievement value. Instead it implies an inherent birthright which promotes acceptance and consequent apathy.
Though there is much for which we must be grateful. A system of law which, although fraught with irregularities, probably approaches justice more closely than any other system derived by mankind, is an invaluable heritage. Parliamentary Democracy is another blessing.
There is even much to be said for the Crown. It does act as a unifying force above party conflict; it does give a dignity and stability to our political dealings, it does inject a sense of historical identification.
But in human affairs there comes a time when every son must leave parent and home to set out on his own special adventure so that he may leave posterity his unique contribution.
Such a time are we approaching as a nation. The apron strings must be cut—gradually but firmly. It is time to make our special contribution to human development. We can only do this effectively where there is no conflict of sentiment, no shadow of a foreign Crown.
When we think that Royalty (as we know it) was the result of conquest in a distant land many centuries ago, our aspirations lose their revolutionary aspects. All we wish to reject is the power of one age which has ripened to the legitimacy of succession.