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Marc My Words

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Marc My Words.

By Marc Alexander MP

Political debate is like bathing in someone else's dirty water!

Sometimes it seems the only reason we have elections is to find out whether the polls are getting it right! Maybe I'm too cynical for my own good, but this is how I see things at the moment.

While it's always hard to gauge the disposition of the electorate - a fickle beast at the best of times - some themes do emerge: the most common thing I hear is that people are sick and tired of Labour butting into their lives, uninvited. Labour just can't seem to help itself! Not content to steal from our pockets the wealth we create and vainly try to keep, Labour has spent six long years trying to recreate the world in its own ideological image. Problem is, we don't like what we see.

Some of us still believe that the world doesn't really owe us a living; that we are responsible, and should accept the consequences for what we do; we want to work to feather our own nests and not subsidise government prejudices. While we have an ethical obligation to help build a just and fair society, we don't want government to be a substitute for our conscience.

We all have personal agendas - what's wrong with that? It is called having a ambition. But this Labour Government seems to be in the business of crushing our hopes and aspirations as fast as it nourishes its own objectives. It feeds off the future we work so hard to carve out for ourselves.

Then there is the credibility thing. We no longer have a personal sense of trust ('Painter-gate', 'Corngate', 'Drive-like-hell-to-rugby-gate') and Labour's celestial promise of a rainbow coloured future has the flight characteristics of the Hindenburg. We've lost our innocence. We no longer believe. Not surprising really.we have turned off and are trying to find another channel.

The Government spin-meisters aren't waxing as beguilingly as before and the public want to hear a different tune with different lyrics. It is in the air and Helen Clark knows it. That sense of loss.of running aground, can sometimes bring out the best in people. But then again, politicians aren't like most people. In them it often brings about a brazen and bare-faced scramble for votes, not too dissimilar to how scantily clad ladies of the night a decade or so past their prime, vie for the attentions of unwashed sailors.

The latest shameless Labour ploy has been to throw taxpayers' money at any segment of the population whose vote is available for purchase. And this time, it is students! After months of claiming that $76 billion of over-taxing in the last six years was insufficient for any tax cuts, Cullen has conjured up $1.9 of what he euphemistically refers to as 'unallocated' Budget expenditures (read election bribes). And he has dug deep to find $300 million to strew like rose petals before the feet of our tertiary students so they can enjoy interest free loans. "Fiscal responsibility", you ask? " this is an investment in our future", I hear Mallard quacking.

Ah.yes but whose future, the students or the Labour Government?

Never mind the inconvenient fact that it is not really free but paid for by everyone else. Forget the reality that the same students who benefit from the scheme will then be paying the interest for other students in their taxes. And while we're at it, let us take note that this subsidy to study provides no certainty that the recipients will actually use their taxpayer funded skills in New Zealand.

Oh, and did I mention the cost?

Westpac's chief economist Brendon O'Donovan says the real cost will amount to a blow out of $700 million to $1.1 billion. The National Bank issued a similar warning. Predictably, Cullen acted like a scalded cat and disputed that scenario. It has not been explained why we should rely on Cullen's accountancy skills rather than on those of the Treasury or any other independent verification. Where is the credibility in that!

Of course we have a situation of swings and roundabouts. Not everything Labour has done is bad. It is just that we've had our full..we've had enough. The pendulum has swung and it is time to satisfy our latent potential and realise our possibilities. We're growing and maturing and want the opportunity to fail, if that is the price to be paid for the freedom to achieve. Put simply, we don't want to be mollycoddled any longer. We want to cut loose and think for ourselves.not be watched over by an eager Aunt Helen trying to live our lives for us.

The moment is ripe for change.

Which brings us to National, the beneficiary of a palpable shift in the public mood, rather than the recipient of support for its specific policy initiatives. They seem to be gaining momentum. One can only hope that National is ready for the burdens and possibilities of the Treasury benches. There is of course one ray of sunlight.

At least United Future will be there to help them.


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