It is popular lately to observe that we are living in a world of “post-truth” politics. In so many cases (and Donald Trump is the obvious example) the truth of what is said by politicians just doesn’t seem to matter at all. Gut affiliation / existing prejudice is much more important.
Less remarked on, but obviously an aspect of the same phenomena, is that we are also living “post-ethics”. Ethical behaviour, ethical standards, they don’t matter either.
That NZ is dangerously far along the road of post-truth post-ethics has been obvious since the limited electoral impact of the revelations Dirty Politics. The popularity of Key / National is eroding slowly, but was not as disinfected as it should have been by the sunlight shone on that particularly sordid swamp. Key is now on record as being “morally flexible” and a believer in “a wide definition of ethics”.
We can point out that Key repeatedly promised higher standards of ethics and competence from his government. We can point out that the Cabinet Manual says that “Ministers are expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards”. It doesn’t matter enough.
Water on a stone perhaps, another gradual erosion of support, but in a world where truth or ethical standards mattered this government would have ended long ago.