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Marc My Words - 28 July 2006

Marc My Words - 28 July 2006

Political comment By Marc Alexander

After the Bawl is over…

What I heard was that the Governor-General dissolved Parliament and there would have to be another election. As I listened further for details it soon became apparent that it was not here in New Zealand but Raro where such events were taking place. Damn!

After what has seemed like an eternity of being governed by a bunch of unionists, academics (sic), and a proliferation of bureaucrats, the merest hint of a possibility that that would change gave me a glimmer of hope. The straw I was clutching protruded from a glass with plenty of rum in it fighting for space with some tropical fruit, a colored toothpick and a little umbrella. It's easy to be depressed and cynical these days. Enterprising friends of mine are moving off-shore to build better lives. The opportunity to earn more, live better and gain greater freedom beckons. It's hard to blame them.

We have moved so far away from being the author of our own lives, that 'independence' and 'initiative' have almost become dirty words. There are over 1,000 one child families with a household income over $100,000 who are now receiving family assistance. Is it just me or is that nuts?

But here's the thing: even if we put aside the reality that an increasing number of middle New Zealanders are being trapped by targeted welfare dependency created by the mischievously miss-named Working for Families bribe; the student loan bribe; or the hyper-active anti-family legislative agenda of this government, the real sixty-four thousand dollar question is what accountability do they really have?

For seven years they have tried to con us into thinking that they know best. They don't. All governments are ultimately judged by a simple barometer: Are we better off as the result of that government or not? If we look at the indicators of education, health and crime it's clear we've gone backwards.

According to their own assessment, (New Zealand Living Standards Report 2004), many groups such as beneficiary recipients and families with children are significantly worse off - particularly Maori families. Worse, the Labour government is actively inhibiting individual and family resilience not only economically by punishing success, but also impeding future accomplishment by knobbling the education of our children. This, they have achieved through supporting mediocrity with the twin policies of mainstreaming children who need special assistance at the expense of other students in the class; and prohibiting parents from choosing the right school for their child through disempowering zoning restrictions.

To add insult to injury, Labour stomped all over parental authority by stopping bulk funding which gave an incentive for schools to raise their performance, and botched NCEA providing students with no tangible performance results against which to measure themselves. This attempt to lobotomize our future is nothing short of a willful denial of our children's potential. We are raising children not cabbages!

And what about another highlight of Labours poverty creation initiatives? How about the disadvantages generated by our health system? The number of GPs has fallen in the past six years, the number of bureaucrats have doubled, and yet a further 5,300 patients in Canterbury have just been cut from surgery and specialist outpatient waiting lists and told to go back to the GP that referred them in the first place. Not only 2,500 patients who need surgery but also 2,800 waiting to see specialists and 110 vulnerable children, many of whom have serious congenital conditions. What the hell is going on?

If the government really believes that it should be the architect of our important life decisions - such as over our state of health - then at the very least fulfill that obligation. If not then not only should we take back our own power to take care of it (and our tax dollars removed to supposedly pay for it), but this government should be sued under the Fair Trading Act for taking our money under false pretences.

We're clearly not safe from the interferences of this government but neither are we out there on the streets. Labour has again failed spectacularly by not taking crime seriously.

So, how safe are we? While our pet poodles are being micro-chipped, violent crime rose a whopping 7% in the last year. Child abuse alone has sky-rocketed by 62% in the last five years. Crime costs us a massive $9.1 billion a year stemming from 1.8 million acts of criminality. And what is the government worried about? Yup, finding ways to lower the costs of keeping criminals in prison by finding excuses to let them out. That's not a solution, that’s aiding and abetting.

And while global warming seems to condemn us to freezing to death, criminals will be able to shuffle around on their under-floor warmed prison either going to the gym to work up an appetite, or snuggle up to a night in with the TV. No Telecom or electricity bills to worry about. No need to work. I have to say I'm thawing to the idea of Labour's open prison idea; it'll make it easier to break-in for the winter.

It's an ironic blessing that we get less government than we're forced to pay for. Certainly less truthfulness, efficiency and integrity. Eleven ministers in this tawdry Labour government have already stepped down, been removed or been the subject of some sort of inquiry. And now we have Taito Phillip Field - clearly a paragon of Labour virtue. So much so, in fact, that because of his strategic importance in this government's wafer-thin majority, he is able to perform the contradictory feat of walking on the surface of the water from the other side of the ethical plimsol line. Ah…to improve ones lot with the safety net of political expediency.

Still, we all have, to varying degrees, the ability to improve our lot. What we desperately need I think, is a new vision. We need to be re-familiarised with our sense of potential, and yes, we need a new government.

We need to be inspired by our aspirations - not the governments. Government is supposed to work for us not the other way around. I suppose the real question is what we're going to do with the labour party caucus when they vacate the Treasury benches at the next election. Unfortunately Lake Alice has now been sold so that’s non starter.

Perhaps the police deciding that cops should not moonlight as prostitutes offers a slight clue. Under normal circumstances there would be too much competition - and we already know Labour hates that. But without that competative rivalry for clients perhaps they could get on and do to voters individually what they've been doing to the whole country for seven years.


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