2012 the Year of Planet Key
2012 is all but over and our celebrity Prime Minister and his team are finding that their plans are unravelling alarmingly.
The invitation to all and sundry to come and dig, drill and frack fossil fuel from us resulted in hundreds of thousands marching (from Auckland to Invercargill) against mining in in our National Parks, a wake up call from the Rena disaster, general dismay about Pike River, some concerns flagged by the Environment Commisioner regarding fracking regulations and a huge set back with the pulling out of Petrobras.
The selling of our state assets have been stalled by ongoing legal action from Maori, Solid Energy's dropping profitability and a very popular petition to get a citizen's initiated referendum.
The cutting of funding to the state sector has seen endless debacles from short staffed departments failing to manage the implementation of new systems (Novapay being the stand out fail), the constant leaking of private information, CEOs resigning and money spent on consultants going through the roof.
The huge $12 billion investment in motorways has largely been revealed as a financial black hole as few of the roads will provide a return on their investment. Meanwhile road infrastructure in the regions have suffered cutbacks and the main road south of Queenstown (our pre-eminent tourist attraction) has seen hour long queues to cross an aging one lane bridge.
The expected boom in the construction industry will not benefit the economy as much as it should with 15% of constuction workers having left the industry over the last few years we will have to import the skills we need from overseas. This won't help unemployment here as training has fallen well short of the future demand. Obviously a good deal of the incomes earned by the imported workforce will end up going back to their home countries.
With our manufacturers struggling with our high dollar and the Government refusing to support our own workforce by outsourcing as much as possible we are rapidly losing manufacturing capacity. Median family incomes are dropping and there is minimal activity in the domestic economy. Even our banks are Australian owned and the dividends earned from our financial activity largely shifts across the Tasman.
While most of our overseas debt was private this Government has had to borrow heavily to keep its head above water (and to finance the tax cuts). Our total international liabilities have now reached around $150 billion, over 70% of GDP. John Pemberton's flip counter shows Government debt increasing by $85 per second based on Treasury figures.
Our Prime Minister seems oblivious to the the devastation he is creating as he himself exists on a planet of his own making, Planet Key. Rather than a world of golf courses and no toilets, Planet Key is looking increasingly like something concocted by the leader of a Banana Republic. Our Prime Minister has an over inflated sense of his own importance and surrounds himself with security more in keeping with a US president (causing a $1 million overspend). $6 million was spent on Government BMWs (with all the bells and whistles) and $2 billion a year in tax cuts has been provided to Key's wealthy mates.
While our Prime Minister pretends to be one of us with his readiness to engage with popular culture (planking, BBQs and Gangnam Style dancing) he actually prefers to spend his time hanging around Sky City, fratanising with Royalty and rubbing shoulders with Hollywood hierarchy.
Planet Key is totally man made as Key himself has no affinity with New Zealand's natural environment. His home wouldn't be out of place in Hollywood, with not even a tree or shrub indicating a New Zealand connection. Key's $3.3 million Hawaiian batch has little in common with the holiday experiences of most kiwis. With no appreciation for New Zealand's wild places it is easy to withdraw from Kyoto, see our rivers as drains for industrial farming and give up our conservation estate for open cast coal mines.
Key now seems to have little involvement in the day to day running of the country and would rather live his celebrity life style. He focuses much of his time in Parliament slagging the opposition in a non Prime Ministerial fashion and refuses to take responsibility for managing his failing cabinet. By voicing confidence in both Banks and Parata he has shown to have minimal ethics, no conscience and has no performance expectations other than making sure things are kept vaguely legal.
Planet Key only exists for a privileged few and for a growing number of New Zealanders the real world in which they live is beginning to resemble something completely different.
Happy New Year!