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Weekend reading for the Nats

Written By: - Date published: 9:02 am, August 3rd, 2015 - 14 comments
Categories: accountability, class war, economy, journalism, national - Tags: , , ,

There were some good opinion pieces published over the weekend. Here’s three of them, starting with Rod Oram in the SST:

Key thinks he can sell cowshit to cockies

Over the past few weeks Prime Minster John Key and his government have reached new heights with what they do best – fiddling around and talking up.

On health, immigration, trade, foreign investment and the economy, among other crucial issues, they have done only two things: take minor action; and talk big. What they have failed to do is offer any kind of serious analysis or sustained strategy. Thus, the Key government is drifting, and the country with it.

Take health. Key conceded at last this week that the cost of prescription drugs would rise if the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks were successful. But worry not, he says. Your prescription costs won’t rise. We will increase health spending to cover them. After all, this is a government that’s increased health spending in every budget.

No it hasn’t. Health spending has failed to keep pace with inflation and population growth since National came to power in 2008. This is the conclusion of analysis by Infometrics, available at bit.ly/HealthInfometrics, which was commissioned by Labour. This shows a 3 per cent gap between what the government will spend this financial year on health and what it should spend. If health spending had kept pace since 2009 the government would have spent an additional $1.7 billion on health. No wonder half the health boards in the country are running deficits. So, the government announced its solution this week: reduce elected members on health boards, and increase government-appointed members. …

Read on for similar analysis of immigration, foreign investment, child poverty and the global economy. Then turn to Paul Little in The Herald:

Can’t afford meds? Don’t get sick

So now you’re interested in the Trans Pacific Partnership. After years of warnings about the free trade agreement’s potentially disastrous effects on lapdog countries such as ours, which have been straining at the leash in our enthusiasm
to see the deal signed off, the public has been given a hip-pocket reason to give a toss.

Then John Key, in an uncharacteristically gauche move, admitted the cost of some medicines would go up under the TPP. This is hardly surprising. When the aim of a deal is to end protection, things tend to be left unprotected. … But meddling doctors’ groups, not yet discredited in the way teachers, beneficiaries and unionists have been after decades of neoliberal governments, led the charge in deploring this possibility.

Our tough love Government must find this galling. Medicine, in its mind, is probably an extravagance indulged in by people who don’t have the mental fortitude to deal with illness and chronic conditions with positive thinking and a can-do attitude. Can’t afford medicine? Don’t get sick, losers.

Sounds about right. Read on for further TPP skewering and a serve at Hosking / Seven Sharp. Then check out the third piece, if you missed it yesterday, excellent work by Graham Adams in Metro:

How bizarre

Is New Zealand becoming the Absurdistan of the South Pacific? Graham Adams reflects on the slow unravelling of a small democracy.

Absurdistan was first used in English in the Spectator in 1989, to describe the bizarre life of Czechs in Czechoslovakia. … Lately, I have begun to feel much the same about New Zealand – that it is becoming an Absurdistan: an odd little South Pacific nation where many things have stopped making sense to many of its citizens, even those normally enthusiastic about its idiosyncratic traits and national character, which has long been marked by tolerance, egalitarianism, a sense of fair play and a willingness to protest against injustice and inequality.

Perhaps what brought it to a head was the strange election in 2014 … Or perhaps it was the Dance of the Seven Hats later performed by John Key in Parliament, where he claimed to be several people at once and accountable to no one when Opposition politicians wanted to know what contact he’d had with blogger Cameron Slater. It’s possible this approach would go down well in Colombia or Argentina, where there is a tradition of magic realism, but New Zealanders are known to be a nation of pragmatists. However, in Absurd­istan you can assert anything you like, apparently, and make it true.

Increasingly, we are asked to believe a multitude of things we suspect (and sometimes know) to be untrue. These include: there is no bubble in the Auckland housing market; overseas Chinese buyers are not pushing up house prices; anyone can benefit from a university education; education standards are not falling; the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be good for us (but we can’t be told what’s in it, even though 600 mostly business representatives in the US get to examine its proposals); nothing can be done about overseas tourists driving on the wrong side of the road and killing themselves and us; voluntary euthanasia can’t be adopted as a government measure because it is too “divisive” (even though more than 70 per cent of us support it in opinion polls). …

See the full piece for much, much more.

All in all, not great weekend reading for the Nats. The third-term decline is picking up speed.

14 comments on “Weekend reading for the Nats ”

  1. vto 1

    Oram clearly had nothing but contempt for Key, English and the rest of the tatty bunch

    • ianmac 1.1

      I believe the Government have banned any dialog with Rod Oram. I believe he is excluded from any relevant meetings.
      I wonder why? 🙂

  2. tc 2

    Cue more spin and BS to create the illusion of actively caring and doing something.

    Look over there folks…..a new flag !

  3. Lanthanide 3

    50/50 odds the next polls will still show National coasting along above it all.

    I think the dairy prices is what will do them in; apparently it’s D-day on Friday for Fonterra when they announce the new milk prices. Wonder if they’re still going to be overly optimistic, on a bizarre assumption that prices are going to pick up?

  4. DH 4

    I agree with Oram, National have been a do nothing Govt. NZ has survived on immigration, borrowed money and selling assets.

    The depressing bit is the country can probably survive like this for a long time yet. Population-wise we’re still pretty empty so they can continue ‘stimulating’ the economy with fake growth for years to come.

    Immigration is the cheats way; it solves nothing by itself but passes the problems onto future generations. Politicians love it, they can do nothing and still appear to be achieving something.

  5. Stuart Munro 5

    Really the Gnats had terminal third term decline in their second term – but a number of factors including a want of coordination on the left, a concerted biased media campaign, and a corrupt judicial suppression order propped the tottering corpse up long enough for it to fall over the line.

    $101 billion in debt with no plan to repay, a shrinking economy, a quarter of children in poverty and a partly inherited housing debacle they’ve tried to resolve with liberal helpings of denial amount to a performance level one would expect of unusually lazy ten-year-olds. They’re out of their depth in light drizzle & NZ is going down like de Caprio and the polar bear’s family. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKDakrjmwJc

    For the good of New Zealand, Key and his colleagues … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG1ES1zW2Go

  6. Thank you Rod Oram.

    The more high profile people who speak up the better.
    NZ people have been treated like mushrooms for far to long by this inept National Government.
    Has their ever been a worse one, well that is debateable I guess.

    • tc 6.1

      National have relied on the gullibility of an electorate under the influence of an MSM it has a large sway over and a dirty politics agenda that’s working superbly.

    • NZJester 6.2

      love the “treated like mushrooms” line.
      I will be so glad when this country gets back out into the light and not covered in all that shit key has been shoveling.
      The mold growing in those conditions is causing this country to decay fast.

  7. Exile 7

    While its easy to paint a picture of a National government thats on its knees its probably worth remembering that they got 49% of the votes and we, hmm performed abysmal. We have a long way to go, but the tide has turned and as long as we can perform and keep our own power-struggles away from the media we are on the up.

    As long as we sit tight, focus on the easy pickings such as house-prices, non functioning education system, increasing national debts, zero-hour contracts and even the TPP we have a golden opportunity to regain power come next election.

    • keyman 7.1

      we are up against the master of bullshit and lies a true god of the art of the con

  8. keyman 8

    I remember rod orams presentation to the Epsom lec a couple of years ago he nailed fonterra right on the head then his insight has proven to be accurate

  9. Michael 9

    Unfortunately, Labour will take this as an excuse to sit back, do nothing, and wait for the Nats to lose the next election. After its run of own goals this year, this may be a wiser strategy than trying to outplay Key at his own game. FWIW, I think it’s best for Labour to use its time in Opposition constructively, by actually listening to, and consulting with, its membership and developing progressive policies that aim at social justice. But then I’m not a member of the Party hierarchy so my opinions count for nothing.

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