- Date published:
9:06 am, July 8th, 2023 - 86 comments
Categories: climate change, crime, Economy, election 2023, Environment, housing, labour, national, political parties, prisons, same old national - Tags:
Probably like the rest of you I find politics really weird right now.
Parliamentary Team Labour are not helping. Too many of them are making unforced silly errors.
Third termitis, where people are too tired to respond effectively, has started to hit in the second term. When you think about the colossal strain put on our leaders by guiding the country successfully through a one in one hundred year global pandemic this is not surprising.
I had a similar impression during the third term of the last Labour Government.
My impression was that Wellington had sucked the collective spirit out of our MPs.
Rather than dealing with day to day issues and trying to make local lives better one decision at a time they were more deeply entwined in Wellington analysis that became more and more complex.
They became to sound like Wellington senior public servants and less and less like representatives of the people.
Their effectiveness decreased as they became more and more deeply mired in Wellington’s labyrinth.
It normally takes three terms.
But for this Government there are a few worrying signs now.
Out in the country Federated Farmers make New Zealand sound like some dystopian hell hole. Their rhetoric is interesting, given that if their approach to dealing with climate change is followed then we really will be living in a dystopian hell hole.
People are grumpy about crime. It does not matter how often you point out that overall offending rates are down, that the Government has met its goal of putting 1,800 new police officers on the beat, or how prisons which are moral and fiscal failures are seeing their numbers reduce.
It also does not matter that the causes of crime are generational, cultural and due heavily to colonialism and poverty. People want results now, and National is promising them action, no matter how ill thought through, uncosted and ignorant their proposals may be.
The same is that this sense of malaise is not warranted. On the big issues real progress is being made.
The Government has stemmed the housing crisis, record numbers of houses are being built and the Government recently completed the construction of 12,000 new public houses. And houses are becoming more affordable while at the same time the housing market has not crashed. This is no mean feat.
Child poverty statistics are over time improving. There was a hiatus last year but a one in one hundred year global pandemic and the war in Ukraine had their effect on that.
And Greenhouse Gas gross emissions have reduced for two years in a row. The Climate Change Commission is established, the goals are in place and the decarbonisation of industry is under way. The Government deal with New Zealand Steel that would see emissions reduce by 800,000 tonnes or the equivalent of removing 300,000 petrol cars from the fleet was an outstanding example of what an activist Government can achieve. And the number of electric cars in the fleet is surging.
The deal with the Agricultural Sector, He Waka Eke Noa, has been sabotagued by Farming interests and National’s policy of delaying the introduction of the Agricultural sector into the ETS is the height of irresponsibility.
Gradually, slowly, too slow for some, fundamental changes are being made and Aotearoa New Zealand is the better for it.
Which is why the intensity of the grumpy campaign that National is running is so irksome.
On his get New Zealand on track tour Christopher Luxon is attracting a crowd that is predominantly old, pakeha and evidently comfortably well off who yearn for the simple things like the 1960s and tax breaks for their rental accommodation investments.
The general level of grumpiness is intense. It is a testimony to how disliked Luxon is that National is not surging in the polls.
Given current grumpiness levels and the state of the economy it is incredible that things are neck and neck. It does not normally matter that our economic problems stem from overseas events, normally Governments get punished if the economy is gloomy.
What Labour has to do to win this campaign is to create a sense of pride and unity and celebration. It needs to clearly state what it has achieved and what it plans to achieve in the next term if it is returned. It needs to get young people voting in huge numbers. And this can only happen by creating a surge fuelled by hope for the future and a desire to stop National wrecking the place.
And it needs to stop making mistakes.
There are now 98 days to election day. Tick tock …