Nearly a year ago, John Key, shaken by the first whispers of disquiet over his government’s month-long holiday at the height of an economic crisis (whispers that would later grow into cries of ‘Do Nothing’ Key), decided to hold the Prime Minister’s Jobs Summit.
This would not be a talk-fest, it would be a ‘do-fest’ (whatever the hell that is). Key got business and unions together, he promised ’21 top ideas’ headlined by a cycleway and a nine-day fortnight. The media, in the full swoon of honey-moon, lapped it up and regurgitated it to the public. But it’s a year later and no-one’s buying the empty smiles and the show-boating now.
It’s a year later and 59,000 more Kiwis are unemployed, up over 50%. That’s 162 more Kiwis a day, seven days a week, every week for a year unable to find work. Tens of thousands more have given up looking for work and aren’t counted as unemployed.
While Key promised to created tens of thousands of jobs (the cycleway alone was meant to create 3,400) and save 20,000 jobs with the 9 day fortnight, the reality is that 53,000 jobs have disappeared.
The 9-day fortnight didn’t fail because it was a bad idea. In it’s original form, as proposed by the unions, it would have worked. It was the stupid design of the policy by National that doomed it. They cut the training allowance (the unions wanted the workers training on their day off). They refused to put any decent government money in. They expected the workers to bear all the cost. Far from sharing the burden, businesses got more money from the 9 day fortnight than from firing a worker, and that money came from the workers’ pockets. No wonder the workers wanted nothing to do with it.
The cycleway… The cycleway was always just a cheap trick. If a magician had pulled that kind of crap on 4-year olds he would have been booed and Key deserved to be lambasted for it too. Instead he got mindless praise. Now, finally, the people who fell for that ruse and others are starting to take him to task.
Things are going very wrong for Key very quickly. He is exposed as a fraud, a failure, a charlatan. His over-promise, under-deliver, do-nothing, incompetent government is suddenly teetering. Suddenly, everyone sees that not only does the emperor have no clothes but the clothes he sold you are just rags.
His pathetic excuses – ‘it was population growth’, ‘it was Labour’s policies’, ‘it’s nearly over, promise’, ‘the dog ate my stimulus package’ – just don’t fly any more.
After all the promises he made to the working people of New Zealand only to break them, after he filled people with hope only to let that hope be dashed, his fall is hard and well-deserved.