Light at the end of the tunnel

Written By: - Date published: 6:56 am, November 16th, 2009 - 21 comments
Categories: honeymoon, john key, leadership - Tags:

do nothing johnWe’ve been in the tunnel of love too long. (You youngsters can go look it up.) The media’s affair with our personable but apparently useless PM has been a trying time for we lefties. But I think there are glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel.

Those glimmers come in the form of several pieces that have started to voice criticism of Key, his aimless government, and his rogue MPs.  Perhaps it started with Rodney Hide letting slip that Key ‘doesn’t do anything’.  In any case, here’s a few that I’ve noticed recently.

In The Listener cover story pictured, Ruth Laugesen:

But in the wake of the global financial crisis, there is a feeling of drift in the Government’s economic policies. Is the Government really serious about catching up with Australia by 2025? And if so, where’s the plan?

Fran O’Sullivan:

The brute reality is that while our leading politicians are resorting to outright sophistry to justify their unconscionable plundering of the rapidly diminishing public purse, other Kiwis are struggling.

Despite the big-ticket Job Summit, there has been little real focus on the shameful explosion of youth unemployment. Figures out this week show 25.1 per cent of job-seekers between 15 to 19 years of age cannot get work. Just over 10 per cent of those aged 20 to 24 are in the same boat.

Tracey Barnett:

The scariest moment for any opinion columnist is when she discovers she doesn’t have an opinion – and I just got there. One year on from John Key taking office, and it feels as if New Zealand has entered the Age of Beige – and I can’t think of anything more terrifying.

Our new Prime Minister is friendly. He genially pays for his wife’s overseas airfares, his shirts are tidy, his comments evenly modulated. When my American family asks if I like him, I reply, “he’s fine”, like someone’s inquiring about how your school uniform fits. After that, I lose the plot. I can’t tell you what he stands for or against. … Admit it: John Key’s most memorable moment in one year of office was seeing him on the stage of The David Letterman Show, smiling like somebody’s brother-in-law you’d forgotten you went to school with. … I’m waiting, waiting for this Prime Minister to fill in his paint-by-number canvas so I can see some kind of the bigger picture.

Brian Fallow (and Treasury):

The Government seems to have it in for taxpayers. Not today’s taxpayers so much as those who will be footing the bill in, say, the 2020s. 

First there was superannuation. … If that [maintaining the Cullen fund] is no longer possible, it is clearly craven and irresponsible for the Government to refuse to even discuss a reduction in the entitlement parameters of the scheme, such as pushing back the age of eligibility. Instead it plans to just pass on the now much larger bill to future taxpayers.

It is the same story with the costs of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the cornerstone of the official response to the challenge of climate change: a multibillion-dollar post-dated cheque on future taxpayers. … Conspicuously, and for the first time anyone can remember, the Treasury has refused to endorse a regulatory impact statement for the legislation. The quality of the analysis, it says in the bill’s explanatory note, “is not commensurate with the significance of the proposals”.

Michael Laws:

[The Maori Party] are a party that harbours a membership that thinks like Hone. Prime Minister John Key similarly has sticky fingers this morning. Because he has been weak from the get-go. Instead of quickly and forcibly expressing the outrage of a country, he unsuccessfully sought to employ his shooing policeman persona. Move along folks, nothing to see here. …

But one voice that has been missing this week and perhaps would have been the strongest is that of Helen Clark. This was one week when she was missed. One week when her steely outrage would have played so well. And one week when she would have taken the opportunity to hammer Hone hard. Ah yes, it’s been a bad week for the government when you start to nostalgise over Helen.

Well golly. Is this the beginning of the end of the affair?

21 comments on “Light at the end of the tunnel”

  1. Noko 1

    About bloody time, too.

  2. IrishBill 2

    I wouldn’t get too excited, r0b. The Xmas break generally provides a circuit-breaker for this kind of thing and I suspect APEC will provide enough cover for Key to get through to then.

    On the other hand a competent opposition would be looking at the dearth of news over the silly season and lining up a few juicy stories to keep the momentum up. I reckon that’s too much to ask though.

  3. The light at the end of the tunnell is the increasing possibility that this lot will be turfed out at the next election.

    When Michael Laws starts being nostalgic about Helen’s reign you know that the tories are in trouble!

    It appears to becoming increasingly obvious that this particular emperor does not possess any clothes.

  4. outofbed 4

    Yeah but didn’t key score the winning goal that put us in the WCF?

  5. Is that light at the end of the tunnell or the headlight of the train of environmental and economic disaster hurtling towards us at great speed while under this leadership NZ Inc has its foot firmly wedged between the train tracks.

    And our leader is relaxed about it?

    • Bored 5.1

      Much as I would love to see these prats turfed out, the question is really why and with what would we replace them? NACT dont exist in a vacuum otherwise their lack of substance would be filled by ideas and policies etc sucked in from elsewhere. My take is that the Labour led left in NZ also suffers from the same vacuity of substance. This grieves me greatly.

      • felix 5.1.1

        While on one level I share your general sentiment, don’t forget that these clowns have all but promised to spend their second term flogging off our assets. A Labour-led govt won’t.

  6. Zaphod Beeblebrox 6

    What are you complaining about, they’ve basically adopted the same policies as Labour- with a slight tweak of the neo-liberal rhetoric.

    Unless labour were to ditch NZ’s obsession with property wealth- it would be phyrric victory indeed.

  7. gobsmacked 7

    Don’t expect media coverage to change much. Barry Soper explains why:

    “The beer flowed as the giant, succulent crabs were served for us to savor. He was one of the lads and clearly enjoyed the banter and what’s more, unlike any Prime Minister before him he, and not the taxpayer, picked up the tab!”

    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/newsdetail1.asp?storyID=166422

    Buying journalists (or “treating”) would be unethical – possibly illegal – in a robust democracy with a vigilant fourth estate. But not in New Zealand, it seems.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Actually, I think that may be illegal. I know that there’s some rules about such actions somewhere although they may be limited to the “electioneering period”.

      • gobsmacked 7.1.1

        Legal or not, no reputable news organisation would allow its reporters to accept such bribes. Sadly, Soper works for APN.

        What next? A Christmas bonus, from the Prime Minister to the press gallery? (“it’s OK, it’s not from the taxpayer, it’s my own personal slush fund”).

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1

          Oh, definitely unethical and our law already recognises that it’s just that it may not apply in this case. It’s the problem you get when laws are too tightly prescribed.

    • sk 7.2

      Interesting. It actually suggests he had nothing to do at APEC if he had time to take journalists out for crabs. What the NZ press is missing is that Key is not a player at this level. I am sure the other Asiapac leaders see him as a lightweight>

  8. Jasper 8

    And their policies – what policies?

    Shanks holds a “policy meeting” each month in Ohariu for constituents to go along with policy ideas for them.

    Labour does the same thing, but over a three year period… the fact that Nats are doing this right now means they really have no idea what to do, nor what’s affecting normal people.

    While it can be seen that they’re “listening” to me it smacks of desperation.

  9. Jenny 9

    These “glimmers of light” may turn into the shocking flash of realisation that for many the recession is far from over.

    U.S.A. Youth Unemployment at 52.5%

    According to the Sunday Star Times, 15 Nov. 09, though this story is not getting much headlines, youth unemployment in the US is reaching fearful levels.

    According to the New York Post the figure is even higher, and is not expected to improve in under 15 years.

    Generally New Zealand has been a year behind the rest of the world in experiencing the worst effects of the recession, and already youth unemployment here is at 25%.

    Will the Nats take this growing tragedy seriously? Or try and follow the American media and government’s example and ignore this looming social catastrophe.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10607737&pnum=0

    From the NYP;

    The number of young Americans without a job has exploded to 53.4 percent — a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. — meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.

    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/the_dead_end_kids_AnwaWNOGqsXMuIlGONNX1K#ixzz0WsYUeITz

  10. BLiP 10

    heh! the “Age of Beige” – I just love that.

    I only hope that the light at the end of the tunnel you see is, in fact, a freight train heading our way.

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