National's Naughty Nineties

It appears that some decisions made in the 1990s are causing some slight difficulties for us today. In 1991 the National government of the day decided that pesky building regulations were getting in the way of the building industry's ability to fast track projects, the industry could be trusted to make sound decisions without bureaucratic interference. Now, twenty years later, we have a leaky building disaster every bit as bad as the Christchurch earthquake, $11.5 Billion dollars worth of repairs and rebuilding.

In 1993 the National government of the day ignored advice and repealed the Coal Mining Act and regulations. This meant the loss of the coal mines inspectorate and the knowledge and experience within it. Now almost twenty years later we are grieving the needless deaths of 29 men. Kevin Hague has voiced concern that due to the obvious inadequacies of mine safety in New Zealand we need to act immediately to protect those currently mining. The Minister of Mines, Kate Wilkinson, sees no urgency and is prepared to wait for the findings of the Royal Commission.

The historic evidence of National's laissez-faire attitude to bureaucratic but essential checks and balances is clear for all to see and we will continue to pay the costs of their past negligence for some time to come. The current National government is no different, their eagerness to trust business and market forces and cut regulation is just as apparent. This government ignores advice just as much as they did twenty years ago and their corporate, GDP focussed agenda is no different. The future costs to this country of not responding properly to water degradation, ignoring carbon emissions, not building strong public transport infrastructure and reducing funding to early childhood education will see us paying dearly again in the not too distant future.

"Trust us," says John Key, Bill English, Gerry Brownlee and Anne Tolley, "We know what we are doing......"


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