We’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?
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.
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”.
[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?