This is my one-eyed look at last year’s political performances. I should have known better than to expect more than half-million-dollar ‘affordable’ houses from a Labour government. And the big policy announcement? Six hundred more teacher’s aides for special needs children. Surely that’s merely an admission that the ideological straight-jacket of inclusion has never suited all children.
The big bold policy statement I was hoping for; asset sales tax on all houses, was unrealistic. Not because it does not make sense or because Labour is part of a coalition, but because Labour weighed economic principle against pragmatism. The lure of another term in power was too hard to resist.
Three Labour members of the coalition government have been found wanting. Meka Whaitiri was stood down for alleged bullying, but is not the only one who lacks the discipline to wield power. Clare Curran resigned all government portfolios because of her many ministerial missteps.
But both she and Meka Whaitiri did Iain Lees-Galloway a favour. His blatant blunder with the Czech criminal decision was a sacking offence, but three in a row would have been too embarrassing. So he survived, for now. He will have to perform with distinction over the next two years to regain public confidence. Jacinda Ardern? The way she’s performed so far suggests she could turn out to be a prime minister of a lifetime.
But what a sorry bunch on the other side of the House. When they complain about government policy and management they sound weak and insincere. It could not be otherwise after the trail of self-regulated incompetence they left in their wake. What was the media thinking for nine years? Waterways, housing, transport. Wherever you look neglect and incompetence.
But it’s the legacy of corruption they left in the transport industry; warrants of fitness and driver-testing scams are two we know of. I believe much of the growth of corruption in NZ has been imported from Asia, enabled to flourish under ‘self-regulation.’ This may prove in the long term to be the worst of their deeds. Once the poison of corruptions seeps into a culture and becomes embedded it is extremely difficult to root out. And has this poison infected any other ministry?
But even politics is not all misery. When the hospital service workers won a 40% raise I experienced a rare moment of joyful triumph that at last the efforts of these ill-served workers had been finally acknowledged. Who did not?
Well, actually. . . Within days I heard people complain along the lines of: If they can get all that, we, who are far more important, should get… But these miserable misanthropes did me a favour. They taught me the meaning of a saying I’ve wondered about for years: ‘Comparisons are odious.’