Everyone knows the “Nanny state” meme. If, heaven forbid, a government should try and reduce energy consumption (carbon emissions, people’s power bills and the like) by mandating energy efficient lightbulbs, then a certain kind of political opponent can paint that as “Nanny state”, too much interference in our lives. Rational policy drowned in a wave of frothing hysteria.
A couple of years ago the term “Ninny state” emerged, to describe the opposite situation, where the government does too little, with policies that are “stupid, weak and not protecting people”. Last night 3 News reported on a prime example:
Government’s last minute reversal on life jackets
A 3 News investigation has uncovered that the Government backed off making lifejacket wearing compulsory on all small water craft, just a week before it was to be signed off.
The reversal was made despite official advice saying the change could help prevent 10 deaths a year.
Now one maritime expert says the Government must take some responsibility for unnecessary deaths. … “If we keep allowing people to drown themselves, unless we make a rule change and start affecting some compliance on it, we’re going to continue to see more deaths,” says editor of Professional Skipper Magazine Keith Ingram. …
The rule change was black and white, and would have made it compulsory for lifejackets to be worn on all boats under 6m, where most drownings occur. But a week before it was to go before Cabinet an email popped up saying the then-Transport Minister Steven Joyce “has requested that the proposed Cabinet paper be withdrawn from next week’s agenda”. …
“In the absence of good evidence that compulsory wearing of lifejackets will make a safety difference, I don’t think that New Zealanders will thank me for over-regulating in this area,” says Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges.
“Just count every life you lose, and be it on you” is Mr Ingram’s message to the Government.
National are so scared of the “Nanny state” hysteria that they drummed up from opposition that they’re now ignoring official advice and killing off law changes that would save lives. Just another small example of the madness that pervades our political system.