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Change nothing

Written By: - Date published: 8:04 am, April 6th, 2022 - 15 comments
Categories: Environment, jacinda ardern, labour, public transport, transport, Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

You get to a point – and Ardern must be close – where the most you can do is hang on.

Her two terms leading the country have been beset by successive crises, each apparently greater than the previous.

March 2019 saw a massacre on our streets of unprecedented scale – surely that would be the worst she would face.


June 2019, Labour’s two largest policy platforms in Kiwibuild and light rail both died, and the Minister responsible severely demoted. Light rail itself was the largest-ever taxpayer commitment in New Zealand and had seen NZSuperfund and partners actively sabotaging NZTA, MoT, Treasury, and Minister Twyford himself to get what they wanted. Two vital electoral promises just died.

But it got worse.

In October 2019, the single edifice upon which the entire government had centred a great and glorious gathering of all APEC leaders across the Asia-Pacific, well, it caught fire. Pretty much killed the conference, except for some faintly-heard digital rescue.

What was about to happen next would make that massive international diplomatic loss of face look small.
In March 2020 Ardern was essentially forced to quarantine the entire country like a reverse plague-ship and seek to save as many of us as possible by buying time to get controls organised and vaccines underway. The personal impact of the plague was such that she put off getting married for over a year.

Surely that would be the worst she would face. Ardern had the skill to ride it to great popularity.
Nope it got far worse, even faster.

In March 2022, just as the country was starting to right itself, Russia invaded Ukraine and disrupted fuel markets, shipping and trade, and set off a global inflation bomb that we hadn’t seen for decades. We know this is going to get worse, for years to come.

We are as punch-drunk as the government itself.

Our confidence that things will improve is plummeting. There is no sense that our government is in control, simply because the waves of fate are too large for any of us let alone this government to adequately steer.

The life we left in February 2020 has gone from us, and we can’t even name the grief. Relationships destroyed, careers gone, futures for our children chopped off. 20% of the population infected and rising.

We are bewildered at the loss of our old world.

It’s gone.

We are in such circumstances going to react badly to any call for major change. Because we can’t cope. We can’t cope anymore.

The calls will get louder that any and every single reform from now on will be met with: “You’ve lost the people”, “You’ve lost the room”, “You’ve lost the polls”. That is because we are now in one of two categories of people: just barely holding on, or falling back and falling down. We’ve all lost so much we can’t bear to name it all.

Every single reform Ardern tries now will be an added punch to our collective concussion.

Ardern is a conservative by nature who has avoided any kind of major move. There are sufficient adjustments. She must not do more.

It is the left which is fundamentally conservative. So much of Labour, and all of the Greens, is about retaining that which is being lost. The lost forest, the dying rivers and lakes, near-extinct native species, retreating glaciers, dying planet. The dead unions, withered native culture and language, smashed labour conditions, weakened state, dry social services, the lost sense of community, cohesion, moral purpose, of any direction to the nation as a whole. Whatever we used to understand by our flag is evaporated into air.

There will still be a few on the very hard left for whom no reform is too great for us to bear, every policy-fuelled crisis is necessary to improve us, each faint blinking beacon on the horizon worth dragging us all towards no matter the cost.

No one is rising to their trumpets anymore.

Now it is time for Ardern to marry this conservative instinct of the left with self-preservation.

She must stop. We can’t take it anymore.

Change nothing.

15 comments on “Change nothing ”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Climate change … no time to stop.

  2. Tricledrown 2

    The middle classes are to scared of change and want their suv's don't want their houses to fall in value so the poor can afford to live in a house.

    The kiwibuild was a great idea but the supply of labour,land and materials was never going to happen overnight . It would take 4 yrs of huge investment in training of enough trades,4 yrs of buying and freeing up land then having to import large quantities of materials as well as building more capacity in local building materials.

    All for well off middle classes.

    It would have been better to build more state houses.

    Which Labour have done.

    But the cost of building houses in NZ is phenomally expensive.

    Supply of Labour Materials and land is still a massive hurdle.

    So I have always advocated micro homes and factory built homes. This at least would give those living out of their cars or tents and living rough a warm dry roof over their heads.

  3. RedLogix 3

    Fuck me you write well Ad. Consider me jealous.devil

    We are as punch-drunk as the government itself.

    This is only the warm-up round – the rest of this decade is likely to throw one flurry of crisis at us after another. While predicting the precise sequence of events is always a fools errand – it is highly probable that we are heading into a global food crisis due to a massive rise in the cost of fertilisers.

    • Ad 3.1

      🙂 I'll cheer up once I'm well again.

      I've just ordered a long-sleeved t-shirt of Durer's Apocalypse.

      • Patricia Bremner 3.1.1

        Ad you are excelling at pinpointing how we feel. surprisesmiley However change is the constant. Grin and bear it. Get well soon.

      • Patricia Bremner 3.1.2

        There is a covid aused condition…anxiety.

    • Tricledrown 3.2

      Redlogix We don't need potash from Russia but most agricultural producing countries do.

      • Poission 3.2.1

        Its more then potash,both ammonia and urea are in supply deficit across europe due to the high cost of gas.


        The third horseman rides.

        When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, "Come." I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; but do not damage the oil and the wine."

        Revelation (6:5–6)

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    “Good night and good luck” from ADVANTAGE then?

    We are on “last chance power drive” for doing anything impactful about Climate Disaster and global warming, so now is not the time for inertia or woe is us.

    That sort of talk gets the filthy tories elected–who quite clearly will do worse than nothing for the working class of this country.

    The Labour Caucus need to get their shit together and make significant changes as should have been done in 2020.
    –Basic Income trial for all citizens of several hundred dollars per week paid via IRD
    –WEAG report fully implemented, all MSD debt written off
    –All student loans written off
    –Fare Free and expanded public transport
    –Free Wifi nationwide to bridge the digital divide that COVID exposed
    –State Sector Act, Reserve Bank Act etc. repealed, all senior civil servants to reapply for their jobs
    –State house mega build
    –4 day week immediately

  5. Coventrie 5

    There was also the Kaikoura earthquake…a huge rebuilding work in itself, but no real time to celebrate as the next crisis came along.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    TVNZ news last night perfectly encapsulated why we are doomed to catastrophic climate change.

    The IPCC story showed a person emptying their compost bin followed by a vox-pop asking people what they were doing.

    Nothing on the massive growth of SUV use.

    Nothing on the fight to get agriculture into the emissions trading scheme.

    Nothing on the massive carbon cost of tourism – in fact, the return of international tourism is greeted with near hysterical, uncritical relief by a middle class that seems to believespending an extended time in NZ is a mild version of the Gulag archipelago.

    As a society from top to bottom we appear to have absolved the big emitters and have atomised our response to individuals doing as much as possible with actually putting themselves out in any way.

  7. Bryan 7

    Certainly lost something.

    You may wish to get out more dearie.

    Nut toffee is bad for the teeth.

  8. Stuart Munro 8

    There is plenty of change that still needs to be accomplished, and to the extent that Labour believes in a competent state, they are obliged to continue and complete reforms.

    Climate change – while we are importing Indonesian coal to burn for electricity, have consigned Ellesmere to a generational (read that as no action) recovery, rely on third world planting to offset our failure to perform, and are poised to allow a hydrogen industry to exploit subsidies while driving up domestic power prices, it is safe to say that the government has failed to engage with the issue.

    Education and media reform. The merger of RNZ with the idiot channel (TV1) to save money continues the slide from banality into actual shit. One would imagine that with warning signs like the occupy morons, and more recently the self-styled 'sheriffs', alarm bells would be ringing about the lack of basic civic knowledge, and the failure of media and tertiary education to achieve this basic public function. There are decades of neoliberal dysfunction to be addressed here – but Labour remains wedded to Roger Douglas's unconscionable theft of public assets – in spite of thirty years of data showing that the public did not benefit at all. There are other parties in play of course (no, not the 'opposition' roflmao) – but Murdoch style media organizations that are fundamentally opposed to a competent state. Labour needs to regulate here, to achieve a better educated public, and to break the stranglehold of ignorant far-right wankers on our statefunded media. Why pay for that? It's neither use nor ornament.

    The economy. We need to move to a more resilient, lighterfooted, forward looking economic model than the dead hand of the Treasury beancounters will ever deliver. The crisis is upon us – there is no avoiding it, except by failing. We have a remarkably educated workforce, hampered by a management class dominated by accountants and lawyers – not engineers and technical folk. The innovation that can come of those professions – Xero etc – has already been done. Every day NZ fails to take the myriad opportunities that lie before us, we fall further behind our trading partners. Labour need to stop swallowing Treasury lies, such as real estate inflation is growth, or immigration is an unmixed blessing, and do their own homework. Or the blithering idiots across the floor of the house will be back, setting us back yet another generation.

    Local government reform. The failure of local governments to maintain, much less extend or expand critical infrastructure like sewerage and fresh water provision, is a damning indictment of the kind of self-serving fools that enjoy local government positions as sinecures. We, as a country, cannot be satisfied with their chronic failures. Kicking the can down the road just won't do, we must not settle for 'just as good as the last non-performing council', we need, as Hamlet recognised Good God, much better. The costs to community and economy (and ecology) of not doing so, though often hidden, are nevertheless substantial.

    So I would say to Labour not "Change Nothing", but: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering."

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