National's Safe Hands

Now that voters have elected National for a third term, we have three more years of a Government that has minimal constraints. According to Dame Anne Salmond democracy does not figure in the way that this National Government operates, the less of it the better. Public opinion can sway decisions a little but, despite losing the referendum, our state assets were still sold and the party was re-elected with an increased majority.

A good number of New Zealanders have just accepted that the truth often gets blurred under John Key and there are many times when worrying conflicts of interest emerge and suspect deals revealed...but isn't that just politics? After six years a new normal has largely been imbedded. The masters of data manipulation and spin have successfully limited independent reviews of performance, the state of our environment and we are still waiting for the true extent of child poverty to be properly measured. While the StatisticsNZ had their funding cut, the budget for the Prime Minister's Office gets huge increases. Past Prime Ministers had one press secretary and yet a journalist recently told me that John Key has around five and a much larger team behind them. The PMs Office has become an entity in its own right that apparently operates independently from the man who is supposed to be in charge.

I understand that 2014 voters were not given much of a choice, National did have Hager's Dirty Politics hanging over them but then the Left had Kim Dotcom. Labour kept changing leaders so often that naming the current one became a popular pub quiz question... and did Labour really want to work with the Greens? National ran a smart and well resourced campaign and were more active on the ground than they had been for years. Labour struggled to raise campaign funds and for the first time the Green Party outspent them. The economy appeared to be on the up and Bill English seemed to be a steady hand on the Government's purse strings. National did seem to be the best of a flawed bunch. Unfortunately much of their image was an illusion.

The economy appeared strong because of a poorly managed property boom, the Christchurch rebuild and demand for our milk and trees. However, housing bubbles eventually burst, Christchurch will get rebuilt in the near future (hardly a sustainable situation) and raw commodity prices fluctuate.

National's safe hands do not bear close scrutiny and once examined they begin to look more than a little slippery. The ball has been dropped on numerous occasions.
This failing Government is claiming that they can be trusted to negotiate a good deal from the TPPA (despite the mess they have made of the SkyCity deal) and the decision to send troops to the Middle East is a sound one. Trust has to be earned and there is little evidence to inspire confidence in the current regime. 


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