Plain English - June 30 2006
30 June 2006
The Kahui Case
It's a mistake to label the Kahui child murders as a Maori issue. Two children have been murdered, someone did it and they need to be caught and locked up for a long time. It's not the fault of government agencies, either. The people to blame are those who killed the babies and anyone who let it happen. No excuses, no explanations, just personal responsibility.
The Dependency Trap
The same searchlight that uncovers the murderers will also penetrate the darkest recesses of the culture of dependency - people on benefits in state houses, living destructive semi-criminal lives without end and without hope. When the investigation is done and the perpetrators are locked up it will be time to attack the rot.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent by the Ministry of Social Development on managing individual cases with workshops, strategies and - wait for it - "Personal Development Plans". But when the Labour Government tells people that welfare is an "investment" then they know the Government isn't serious. Fallout from the Kahui case will see the end of Labour's mealy-mouthed welfare propaganda.
The Electricity Grid
Over the past six years, electricity consumption has risen 25% and the capacity of the transmission grid has hardly changed. The grid had spare capacity 20 years ago, but demand for electricity has caught up and now the grid is running near full. So hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent over the next few years.
Government ministers are getting more and more involved in large-scale investment decisions with the usual problems. Politicians will always spend other people's money freely if it will remove political embarrassment. In the case of the electricity grid, the consumers will pay every last cent. More investment is needed but politicians are bound to overdo it.
The Doers and The Talkers
Of course it's cold - it's winter. But it's been colder for people without power now for 12 days in South and Mid Canterbury. Complaints flowed from a noisy minority in Auckland when the power went off up there, but farming people down south were too polite to get the same attention.
The power companies and Telecom have done the best of a huge job, while it took the Government a few days to realise that behind the pretty pictures of snow-covered paddocks was some real hardship. I'm proud of our resilient rural communities that don't automatically expect help when things go wrong. I know which attitude works best for New Zealand.
The Next Minister of Finance
Trevor Mallard appears to be the man hand-picked by Helen Clark to replace Dr Cullen as Minister of Finance. God Save New Zealand.