Sadly, I couldn’t find Colin Espiner’s excellent piece in The Press today online. It’s good. Colin’s thoughtful observations derail the government’s PR spin about That Nice Man Mr Key and his commonsense centrist approach.
He wonders whether the National government is taking advantage of the economic crisis to push through hard-right reforms Kiwis didn’t vote for.
â€˜â€˜Never waste a good crisis,” United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this month, and John Key’s Government seems to be taking her words to heart.
Ideas are pinging out of the Beehive at a rate not seen since former Labour prime minister Mike Moore was in charge.
Like those pumped out by Moore, some of National’s ideas make sense, some are interesting, and some are out of left or should that be Right field.
We have only just got to grips with National’s issues with ACC, the Corrections Department, the Environment Ministry, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, and the nine-day fortnight, but Key is already moving on, talking private prisons, more public-private partnerships, and loosening the rules around foreign investment in New Zealand.
Key mentioned the latter at the ACT Party’s annual conference at the weekend. It’s pretty unusual for a National prime minister to attend another party’s annual meeting, let alone speak at it. Key has hitherto been cautious to avoid being seen to cosy up to his Right-wing ally. Things are changing fast, however.
Key described himself in a glowing Wall Street Journal article as â€˜â€˜centre-Right”.
During the election campaign, he described himself as â€˜â€˜centrist”. Semantics? Unlikely. Key’s appearance at the ACT conference is a clear signal of where this administration is headed.
However, there is a legitimate question to be asked about whether the electorate did, in fact, vote for change, given National’s mantra throughout the campaign was essentially: â€˜â€˜We’re like Labour, just not quite so annoying”.
is the Government simply taking the opportunity, after nine years of Labour, to give the country a none-too-subtle nudge to the Right?
It’s not often I’ve agreed with Colin the past, but he’s on the money with this one.