Phil Goff is quoted today as saying “we made mistakes” with policies that were perceived as “nanny state”:
Asked if he would apologise to the conference for the nanny state policies, Mr Goff replied: “I think we want to draw a line under the past and say, yes, we made mistakes, we didn’t listen.” Mr Goff said the Labour Government had policies that had made a difference to people’s lives, such as KiwiSaver and Working for Families. “But too often there were things – whether it was something as minor as lightbulbs or shower heads – where people thought, ‘You’ve taken your eye off the ball, this is not what we’re worried about’.”
I understand that Phil feels a need to break with the past and create his own direction for the party. But in my opinion this particular apology is a mistake. Labour is accepting the rabid right’s framing of the debate in seeing “light bulbs” or “shower heads” as minor irrelevancies. It wasn’t about light bulbs and shower heads, it was about energy and carbon emissions. Ultimately it was about the environment. I would have preferred to see Labour fight and win the debate on the real issues, not give in to right wing framing. Start by reading this:
‘Ninny state’ versus ‘nanny state’ in war of words
Every time Health Minister Tony Ryall and Education Minister Anne Tolley use the term “nanny state” to justify their new food policies, many public health researchers wince. They know the two words masterfully tap into the ideology that the state should stay out of matters like food consumption. So much so that public health workers and researchers have felt virtually powerless to respond. Until yesterday.
Now they are planning a counterattack against the use of the terms “nanny state”, “bureaucracy”, “political correctness”, “health nazi” and others by politicians and the food, tobacco and alcohol industries.
Professor Boyd Swinburn, of Deakin University in Melbourne, promotes the term “ninny state”, which he picked up from an Australian conference audience. Dr Thomson said “ninny state” was used to describe some current public health policies that were “stupid, weak and not protecting people”.
If we can’t accept laws that protect people and the environment we have a Ninny State. But perhaps we can accept them, as long as they come from National? National have stuck to their guns on the “smacking” debate, want to ban cell phones for drivers, are planning revisions to alcohol limits, and deciding which cold remedies we’re allowed to buy. Even The Herald is asking “Is National also guilty of ‘nanny-state’ policies?“. So Phil – where was the need to back down on this? Attack the “nanny state” rhetoric, don’t give in to it!