Colin James has a column in today’s Herald in which he lays out the difference between perception and reality in New Zealand politics. In it he goes through seven points: crime, healthcare, education, the treaty, immigration, poverty and social engineering and points out that in nearly every case Labour has taken action and in each case they have copped flack and the public have perceived they haven’t done enough. I’d recommend you read the linked story but here’s an example of what he’s talking about:
Four, Treaty of Waitangi settlements and Maori wellbeing. Michael Cullen has rung up deals on claims like an icecream vendor on a hot day and dumped barrels of money into benefits and other assistance.
Yet the Maori Party claims Labour is anti-Maori and flirts with National and Chris Finlayson, one of National’s sharpest minds, insists he will “speed up” settlements if minister. Really?
Interestingly each of the points James covers has been a target of the New Zealand Sucks campaign National and its proxies have been running for several years now and in every instance the NZ Sucks talking points have been repeated by the mainstream media verbatim despite the facts not supporting them.
Disappointingly, James finishes his piece with the claim the reason people don’t have a sense of the real situation has something to do with the economy. What that is isn’t clear nor is the reason this has has been happening for a lot longer than the economy has been an issue. As he puts it:
It’s a matter of belonging and feeling you or your children can make good. Too many now don’t. That is at the heart of this election.
I’m sorry, Colin, but I think if you want the real reason the public’s perception doesn’t match the facts I’d recommend you look a bit closer to home.