CORRESPONDENCErnForeignrnCorrespondencesrnby William MillsrnA Jug of Wine,rnA New Zealand TroutrnWith Missouri frozen solid for twornFebruary weeks in a row, naturally one’srnthoughts turn to the Southern Hemisphere.rnThere were some hot spots inrnour beloved country even this winter—-rnMiz Hillary was testifying before a federalrngrand jury, the Rose Law Firm wasrnsmoking, and Mr. Starr was building arnfew fires of his own.rnNearer to home, though, my friendrnWoody Cozad had been elected to headrnthe Republican Party here in Missouri,rnand I felt with the state in such capablernhands I could surely go south to the landrnof the Kiwis and startle a few trout. Andrnas always, do a recon for places to relocaternwhen the hate speech toward whiternmales becomes intolerable.rnAuckland, on North Island, spreadsrnout around a couple of harbors andrnits excellent seafood is well known. Irnhopped in a rental car and headed downrnto the wharf, suddenly realizing thernwhole country was driving on the wrongrnside of the road. The car company hadrnno automatic transmissions and so onrnthe trip downtown, my right and leftrnfrontal lobes were stumbling over eachrnother to change sides. After the appropriaternaggressive movements, the Kiwisrngraciously gave way. For lunch I had arnhalf dozen Bluff oysters and then theirrnrock lobster, which Kiwis insist on callingrn”crayfish,” and as my family in Louisianarnwould insist, misspelling in the bargain,rnknowing full well it’s “crawfish.” I mustrnsay, though, I would like to see the Cajun’srnface who pulled one of these big babiesrninto his pirogue.rnAfter taking a round trip on the Devonportrncommuter ferry to get a view ofrnthe city skyline and the many sailboats inrnWaitemata Harbor, I walked the downtownrnstreets, coming upon a shop thatrnspecialized in things Scotch. The populationrnof New Zealand is overwhelminglyrnof British ancestry, and a large numberrnof these are Scotch. Straightaway I beganrnlooking for the tartan of the Munrornclan, my own on my mother’s side, andrnfound it. One can buy tartan in severalrnplaces in New Zealand, especiallyrnDunedin.rnAs a Kiwi remarked to me. NewrnZealand is a “wee country,” with just underrnthree and a half million people. Seventyrnpercent of these live on North Island,rnand of these, eight to nine hundredrnthousand live in Auckland. Although itrnmay be a “wee country,” in the last twornworld wars (as James Michener has observed),rn”Among the allies, she had thernhighest percentage of men in arms—rnmuch higher than the United States—rnthe greatest percentage overseas, and thernlargest percentage killed.” Between therntwo wars. New Zealand tracked alongrnwith many other countries in its fascinationrnwith socialism, and conjunctivernwith this fascination occurred the attendantrnpower that accretes to a governmentrncaught up in the necessities of war.rnAnd, lo, in the late 30’s, the welfare staterncame to the Kiwis. Like some of the otherrn”victors,” New Zealand’s socialistsrntook a couple of decades to shred therneconomy and Brazilianize the NZ dollar.rnBut, then, an anomalous thing happenedrnon the way to the bottom. As arnformer cabinet member told me inrnAuckland, the Labour Party (!), not thernNational Party, took up stringent reformsrnfrom 1984 to 1989. In 1985 there werern88,000 civil servants (I know, I know,rnwould that we had so few), and todayrnthere are 35,000. Ah, that our Democratsrncould be injected with this tonic.rnFurthermore, the country gave up on thernunskilled being led by the unqualified,rni.e., state-ownership of business, and therngovernment began to return such thingsrnas railroads and insurance to those whorneither knew how to run them or were replacedrnby those who could.rnIn earlier times, 85 percent of exportsrnwent to England, with all the accompanyingrntransportation costs, and now onlyrn6.1 percent goes there. Tourists in 1985rnnumbered 750,000, and m 1996 the Kiwisrnare shooting for 1.3 million. Gettingrncourage from their Labour colleagues,rnmembers of the National Party whorncame to power in 1990 managed to put arnleash on the labor unions. Now the NZrndollar is strong, rising just a tad duringrnmy visit. As a matter of fact, this samernformer cabinet member confided thatrnLabour could probably have stayed inrnpower, but the prime minister fell in lovernwith his speechwriter, and she startedrnrunning the country (get me the WhiternHouse on the phone, I think I have anrnidea).rnTraditionally, the government hasrnbeen controlled by the party that wonrnthe most seats in Parliament. Whatrncould result from this system, and whatrnhas resulted, was a party that might barelyrnget more seats than the others butrncontrolled the government, displeasing arnvery large share of the electorate. Withrnthis weak mandate, the government oftenrnhad a difficult time putting its ownrnprograms through. Growing discontentrnwith the status quo led to a referendumrnon a plan called MMP (Mixed MemberrnProportion). New Zealanders have toldrnme that perhaps a majority of the votersrndid not really understand what MMPrnmeant (certainly not its consequences),rnbut the referendum passed as a part of arn”throw the rascals out” reaction. MMPrnpassed by 52 percent against 48 percent.rnOne change would be to expand thernnumber of members of Parliament fromrn99 to 120. Of the 120,60 will be electedrnin the traditional way, from their constituencies.rnThe other 60 MP’s will bernelected from party lists. Each voter hasrntwo votes: one for his constituent MPrnand one for his party list. Thus, shouldrnthe New Zealand Alliance poll 20 percentrnof the vote, while it might theoreticallyrngain no constituent MP’s, it wouldrnhave 20 percent of the pool of party listrnMP’s, or at least 12 MP’s.rnOn the face of it, MMP sounds morern”democratic,” but at least two results arernnow apparent. Voters may well vote forrntheir local constituent (“he’s a good oldrnjoe”), but may vote another party’s list.rn(Though the parliamentary system is notrnlike our own, such a vote might be like arnDemocrat voting for Reagan but otherwisernvoting a straight Democratic list). Arnsecond result will lead to dirtier politics.rnSmoke-filled room deal-cutting is almostrna certainty now.rnConcluding that I did not have therntime to include in my travels the muchrn36/CHRONICLESrnrnrn