web analytics

Pragmatism and the limits of patience

Written By: - Date published: 9:08 am, April 13th, 2011 - 20 comments
Categories: bill english, class war, economy, national - Tags: , , ,

Bill English managed to cause quite a fuss this week with his claim that New Zealand had a “competitive advantage” due to factors like our low wage economy. Another of the factors that English cited was how agreeably tractable our political system is in NZ (audio link at about 40 sec):

“New Zealanders have got very pragmatic about the rules and regulations that apply to the economy, that they should be focused on growth, and we’re able to change quite a lot of things to get there…”

In other words (translating tory for a moment), English can’t believe how easy it has been for that Nats to ram through their agenda this term. They broke their promise on raising GST — hardly a ripple. They handed out big tax cuts to the already wealthy and gave next to nothing to the poor — barely a murmur. They cry poverty to cut back on public services and public servants while finding billions to bail out big businesses — few people seem to care. And all too frequently they trample over Parliamentary and democratic processes — and get away with it.

Of course none of this has caused any growth at all (quite the opposite in fact). But you can see why Bill English thinks it’s so easy to get things done. In public he said that New Zealanders are “pragmatic”. I wonder what he says about us in private. How do you describe a public that seems content to sit back and let the government have another go at “trickle down” economics? Make the rich richer and leave everything to the invisible hand of the market. Are we the public pragmatic? Patient? Disengaged? Supine?

Whatever you call it, Bill English should be warned. Yes we have been patient with a lot of National’s agenda so far. But there are bottom lines that cannot be crossed. As the Nats discovered when they tried on the idea of mining in National Parks, or of selling Kiwibank, and as they may soon discover again over the sale of public assets.

And patience has its limits. There is only so long that the Nats can go on selling the line that their policies are good for New Zealand when all the evidence (the flatlined economy, the skyrocketing unemployment) clearly shows the opposite.

In short, I don’t think the Nats should rely on New Zealand’s “pragmatism” for too long. The government isn’t delivering results, and people are going to want to know why. I only hope that we wake up and start asking the hard questions in time for the next election.

20 comments on “Pragmatism and the limits of patience ”

  1. anarcho 1

    well said, and yes, we have been patient for long enough.

    • Tigger 1.1

      To be fair, some of us haven’t been patient at all – we’ve been mad as hell and doing our best to let everyone know how immoral this government is.

      • Jim Nald 1.1.1

        From the trustworthy mouth of Double Dipton, ‘pragmatism’ is a word to be used cynically to conceal his superb ability at mismanaging the country’s economy and finances 🙂

  2. prism 2

    Great art!  And so graphically expressive of our situation.
    Where do you get your pics I wonder.  Is there a special pics person who sources the perfect one?

    • Jim Nald 2.1

      Ahem. There’s a female version as well (and I’m not talking about Collins, Tolley or Benefitformeandnotforyou). You can google for it: Jeanneke Pis

    • r0b 2.2

      There isn’t that level of organisation “behind the curtain” believe me!  We all source our own pics, I just use google images.  

      Of course, it helps to know what you’re looking for.  That statue (Mannequin Pis) is one I’ve seen “in the flesh” (so to speak), and it often comes to mind when I contemplate the way the Nats treat NZ.

      • Jim Nald 2.2.1

        Good Pis take.

        I saw both Mannequin and Jeanneke. I have a fridge magnet of the former.
         
        Any chance of photoshopping a contemporary Kiwi shonkey version?
         
        I might even ask my neighbour’s grandchildren to make a papier-mâché version with a newspaper picture of the Prime Micturate stuck to it.

  3. ianmac 3

    When your job is at risk you are less likely to make a fuss, especially in a climate where unions and union membership is painted as slime.

    • Tigger 3.1

      Good point, many have been bullied or cajoled into silence – having your say has been painted as troublemaking or, that old chestnut, activism.

    • marsman 3.2

      And many have been kept in the dark and or hoodwinked by our Crony Media.
      These NAct toads have been lying, bullshitting and bullying since before the last election and they are still at it. I have nothing but contempt for the self-serving, corrupt liars.

      • Carol 3.2.1

        Yes they have failed to hold the government to account on this issue, peddled the Jackson-Warners-Government line on The Hobbitt issue, and endlessly spun lines that assist the governments diversions, distortions and anti-democratic, and anti-worker policies.
         
        And last night on TV3 6pm news, Gower yet again was foregrounding Labour leadership issues, saying a Little faction is unhappy with Goff. Is this how TV3 pays off the government for their unnecessary loan to MediaWorks?

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Now I’m starting to get pissed off with the performance of the last Labour Government.
     
    Who clearly failed to set expectations amongst the public as to what we deserve as a country and what it means to create and hold on to a robust social democracy. The opportunity was missed to bed in and reinforce these values and the confidence to demand them, in NZ society.
     
    How else can English and his crowd of upward wealth redistributing social engineers get away with this Tory agenda.

  5. T 5

    I think the apathetic sections of the public will usually take the middle position as a safe bet.  For that, you need two ‘mainstream’ extremes.  NACT give us one extreme.  Labour should be providing the other extreme.  I don’t really see them doing that.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Labour is centre-right and NACT are extreme authoritarian-right. Reality is hard-left.
       
      So, which extremes are you looking for?

      • T 5.1.1

        Labour is … NACT are

        What Labour and NACT actually are is irrelevant to my point (because it’s irrelevant to the apathetic sections of the public).  It’s the image the two sides project that matters.  Labour (under Goff) hasn’t planted its flag anywhere, or if it has, it’s too close to National’s flag (trying to out-JohnKey John Key).

        • rosy 5.1.1.1

          “…it’s too close to National’s flag”

          Yep.

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1

            Some of us are trying to sort it

            • rosy 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I look forward to that. The fear is, of course, that it is too late for this election and the next 3 years will set up another neo-liberal disaster for another generation.

  6. deservingpoor 6

    I’m beginning to wonder if there really is anything they can do that will make the public turn on them. After all they’re actually campaigning on asset sales. The main reason I hate living in NZ under a NACT government and the reason so many of my friends got the hell out in the 90s is because NACT bring out the worst in people. Kiwis ultimately don’t mind getting screwed over as long as they think someone the don’t like (poor, brown, young, female) is getting screwed over more. It worked like that in the 90s, its the same way now and yes I think Labour blew a 9 year golden opportunity to change it.

    • RedLogix 6.1

      Exactly. I’ve believed this for some years.
       
      The problem was not Labour’s alone. The problem in my view is the media in the broadest sense of the word. Everything in the MSM is dumbed down dreck; the dominant themes are oafish red-neckery and selfish gloating. All the dominant voices are either shrill conservatives or sly manipulative smear-jobs on the left.
       
      The whole idea IS to bring out the worst in people, so they will turn against themselves rather than their masters.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison over
    The prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison is over, with all remaining prisoners now safely and securely detained, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. The majority of those involved in the event are members of the Mongols and Comancheros. Five of the men are deportees from Australia, with three subject to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 test for travellers from the UK and the US from 15 January
    Travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights to New Zealand, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago