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National = Ideological Stupidity.

Written By: - Date published: 1:40 pm, July 25th, 2010 - 8 comments
Categories: articles, democratic participation, john key, national, same old national - Tags:

Just finished reading John Armstrongs article on the union protest last week at Skycity. He is dead wrong about what it means.

In his conference speech, the Prime Minister pitched his package as amounting to modest, moderate and pragmatic change. That night viewers saw the opposition to those reforms coming from the extremes of the labour movement. In the current climate, you don’t have to guess who has more credibility.

At the protest that I briefly attended (one of the few I have attended over the last 20 years), I saw every group in the trade union movement that I know of turning up and largely singing the same tune. It would have to be the first time that I’ve seen that for decades. That is largely because John Key has been outright lying to the more moderate union movement – and they’re now pissed off. So it isn’t the extremes of the union movement that will be working against this proposed legislation – it is the whole of the union movement.

As Matt McCarten says

This was to be a sneak attack because until recently he [John Key] had been reassuring the Council of Trade Union leaders in private that he didn’t have an anti-worker or anti-union agenda.

Unfortunately for him a draft paper outlining his intentions was leaked.

Included in the paper were some nasty policies that Key had specifically promised union leaders would not be considered by his Government, such as union members being able to have their representative at their place of work without an employer’s veto.

The problem is that National have virtually no credibility in writing workable legislation, and a track record of simply ignoring advice through their standard practice of engaging in blind ideological stupidity and sham consultation. You can’t wait for the bills to go through the select committee process and get changes to make legislation workable. National doesn’t listen.

For instance the ‘National Standards’ and the Auckland Supercity legislation were examples of idiotic ideological stupidity being enacted.  Both have gaping holes in their effective implementation. This week, the “Three Strikes” legislation seems to have developed similar legal fishhooks in that it now looks looks like most of the people who will suffer its effects will be the mentally ill.

The existing Fire at Will act is a clear example of idiotic legislation. It is a significant change to the labour laws in NZ and needed to be monitored for issues and abuse. So naturally National set it up that there was no monitoring. There was no data collection of how the act was being used and no avenue to highlight abuses. The only survey that has been done on it by the Department of Labour queried 3500 employers and 13 employees. Perhaps they should rename themselves to be the Department of Employers?

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence of abuses. But since there is no redress and no channel to send complaints to – so there isn’t any data able to be collected. Quite simply no-one knows if it is achieving the goals that National put it in to achieve, or if it is resulting in the abuses tat the opposition to it said would happen.

Rather than seeking that information about how the change is working, if it is having any useful effect, and seeking solutions to known problems, the Nats wish to extend it. This for reasons that have appear to have more to do with ideological stupidity than rational law-making. On the way through they will attempt to toss in restrictions on unions that effectively make it easier for employers to prevent unions from doing their job in a froth of ineffective ambiguous verbiage with little legal meaning.

National have been steadily destroying the trust that is required to pass effective legislation with input from all sides. It has been clear for some time that going through the process of writing submissions and presenting to select committees to correct flaws in bills is a waste of time. National’s MPs will simply ignore them and push through totally stupid bills to become acts. Most of the time you’re lucky to get that. National has also been assiduous in abusing the process of  urgency in parliament to push through bills into legislation with effective input from anyone apart from a small group.

The only effective way of having an input into the legislative process is to mount high profile actions such as the anti-schedule 4 mining march in Auckland, or having direct actions. There are no other effective channels to influence the course of legislation.

That is why Armstrong is dead wrong about his take on the protest last Sunday. National have effectively removed the normal channels of discourse to help amend proposed legislation to something workable. They have made the processes of submissions to select committee pointless. Consequently the quality of bills and legislation being passed has dropped considerably producing

What remains are the processes of direct action. That appears to be the only thing that can make National look away from their blind push of ideological stupidity and take notice of what people outside of their funders are saying. That is why a relatively conservative moderate like myself now thinks that protests are the only realistic recourse to amend stupid legislation. It is a relatively coarse and sloppy process, but it appears to be the only effective one left available for democratic participation.

8 comments on “National = Ideological Stupidity. ”

  1. bbfloyd 1

    on the plus side, we are all going to get fitter from all the marching that we will be forced to do..

    • loota 1.1

      Then there’s the Vitamin D from the sunshine, great for strengthening bones and fighting cancer.

      A lot of these younger NATs weren’t around 20 years ago, let’s see if they’ve got the stomach for the good old fashioned stoush they’ve successfully egged on for.

  2. Zaphod Beeblebrox 2

    The best way to amend stupid legislation is to vote them out of power! Make them pay for their stupidity.

  3. kriswgtn 3

    Count me in as long as its in wgtn-
    aint marched since homosexual law reform and I remember the vile nats from then

    nothing changed since then , they just got more vile

  4. tree hugger 4

    My worry is that people won’t vote them out. They see at John Key grinning and listen to him rambling on about his pizza delivery guy and think, “What a sweet guy; he’s got dimples and he chats to the hired help.” They don’t hear the real message : an attack on workers’ security, on unions and their rights to organise and conduct their business according to the policies and to meet the needs of their members, on general working conditions like holiday provisions, on equity and the right to a full and proper process in the Employment Relations Authority and other forums. It’s a complex message; they’re doing a lot of things at the same time and they’re pretty much all heading in the same direction. John Key’s (possibly fictitious) pizza guy with big dreams for a better job is likely to be on a dispiriting cycle of low-paid, low (and for 90 days no)-security work for quite some time (if he’s lucky). I hope he got a big tip! (Why do I find myself doubting it?)

    • Zb 4.1

      Positive vision of a better NZ where people matter and profits are good if they weren’t destroying the economy, the environment, our lives turning us into profit serfs for some happy accountant type to tick off. Profits were the right way to go but not at the cost of huge debt, huge environmental impacts (not the surface clean vaneer of our highly ordered surburban sprawl) but the structural costs (pollution) when petrol prices double again. We’ve built into our very culture and society unsustainable social habits that profits at any cost were able to cover up until now. The positive vision is there we just have to make it, that we will be better off if every Labour voter gave their constituent party vote to Labour and every list seat to the Greens. Its not rocket science. You don’t need to win one extra voter over, all you need do is convince enough Labour voters that if ACT can get extra seats while NZF who got more votes gets none at all, and you don’t have to accept ACT policies like three strikes, then you damn well better play the system with all gusto. You’ve been cheated, this NAT-ACT government has no legitmacy in my opinion. Why is the left letting ACT get away with spinning the NATs to the right! There is no mandate for it, NZF could have put Clark back in power. Never forget, we need to get angry and stay positive, get even for the rightwing ACT take over of government policy. Stop being nice reasonable lefties, that’s what the right want. Be unreasonable, vote Green on the party list. Have the Greens undo the ACT and jump us to the left for a change.

  5. prism 5

    The existing Fire at Will act is a clear example of idiotic legislation. It is a significant change to the labour laws in NZ and needed to be monitored for issues and abuse. So naturally National set it up that there was no monitoring. There was no data collection of how the act was being used and no avenue to highlight abuses. The only survey that has been done on it by the Department of Labour queried 3500 employers and 13 employees.

    This morning I think I heard Matthew Hooten make some deprecating comment about young advisors to the PM. I may be wrong, perhaps it was actually Andrew Campbell. But it’s a bit annoying if young interns are being apprenticed by NACT so they then have the training in political machinations to find a lucrative job in the private sphere. If indeed, that is what’s happening no wonder we are getting some shitty legislation. Trouble is that the S&W (smug and wealthy) don’t seem to want to monitor, analyse or learn anything that is not to their own advantage.

    Education is something to be thrown at pupils, who will then be tested to see how much of it has stuck. The principles behind the education practice are drawn from such RWNJs as Ian Wishhart. (I’ve been looking at a 2008 Investigate. I can see that there has been a nice time for the vintage to mature and now in 2010 its up for consumption.)

    There is no compunction in shifting our precious taonga and interesting docs presently carefully archived – why? – because history and learning isn’t important to these jerks and jerkesses. The jerks greatest desire is to be well-dressed and have money and the j/esses the same except to have a nice hair style and colour as often as they like.

    One must look one’s best at all times. Doing and learning things come second, making good decisions for practical policies that stand scrutiny and real-life testing come in third, or perhaps fourth if I have overlooked some other trivial personal goal.

    End of rant. But I think it makes realistic points.

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