In the face of widespread criticism that his government is asleep at the wheel, John Key has boldly relaunched some tired old spin. See, we’re meant to believe the reason why our government, alone amongst the developed countries, has done bugger-all to save and create jobs is that, rather than a ‘big-bang’, Key has adopted for a ‘rolling maul’ of initiatives.
Would it be impertinent of me to ask just where this wonderful rolling maul is and what it consists of?
Key said there were ’40-50′ ideas from the Job Summit sent t0 ministers for development (you can see the list of ideas and the ministers assigned here) but they nearly all seem to have sunk without trace, and are mostly small beer anyway. We’re meant to believe that there’s all kinds of work going on ‘behind the scenes’ that will (eventually) lead to policy. Bollocks.
The ministries are focused on trying to carry out their existing responsibilities with less money and fewer staff. And they’re leaking like sieves. At the moment, there’s not the capacity to develop these supposed wonder ideas and if it were happening, we would have heard about it. Far from developing exciting new policies, Ministers aren’t getting the basics done. Chopper Tolley, for example, hasn’t even replaced the new ECE regulations due for July 1, which she binned back in November, and hasn’t announced the new ECE funding rates, also due on July 1.
The truth, the scary truth, is the reason the government has lost control of the political agenda and shows no signs of regaining it, is that they’re out of ideas on the economy. They came into power with a smattering of policies – tax cuts, some anti-PC populism, and some gifts for their mates but have found themselves tasked with confronting the challenge of a generation.
It’s clear that they’re just not up to it. Key is way out of his depth. English is an ideologue, more obsessed with slashing government like in the 90s than doing what works. Smith and Hide are liabilities. Bennett, Wong, Collins, Coleman, Heatley, Tolley, Brownlee etc are empty suits with no ideas. Sharples and Turia are in dreamland. The good ministers – Finlayson, Power, Groser – are sidelined.
It’s not going to change. Incompetent ministers aren’t suddenly going to become competent. Key, who always just wanted PM on his CV, isn’t suddenly going to develop the vision and drive to lead us out of this economic mire. This is a government treading water, and slowly running out of energy for even that.