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Reality Setting In

On Monday 5th July, we saw the results of the latest Roy Morgan poll of New Zealand political opinion. It was published under the headline “Is the Covid-19 honeymoon over for PM Jacinda Ardern”.

The poll showed that support for Labour had slumped 6.5 percentage points from 45 percent in May, to 38.5 percent in June; National rose 1 point to 29.5 percent, the Greens were up 1.5 points to 12.5 percent, ACT climbed 2.5 points to 11.5 percent, and the Maori Party increased 1 point to 2.5 percent. This shows that confidence in the Government has dropped to its lowest level since October 2019 prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This Labour government is failing to implement its policies due to it being over-ambitious, under-endowed with talent and trying to do too much too soon and with too little ministerial ability and even the bureaucracy is struggling to keep up. A popular leader isn’t enough to compensate for - or disguise - incompetence.

Jacinda Ardern promised we would lead the world in Covid vaccinations, yet we are currently ranked 120th in the world and bottom of the OECD. While Kiwis are struggling to book Isolation beds and get home, 40 percent of the country’s managed isolation facility beds sit empty!

Whereas, to actually achieve policy implementations requires ministerial ability, talent, competence, planning, risk & financial analysis and bureaucratic support, all of these seem to be glaringly absent from this administration’s decision making.

Jacinda Ardern promised an end to homelessness. Yet, in spite of spending millions on motels for emergency housing, the number of people sleeping on the streets is on the rise.

Jacinda Ardern announced in 2019 a $1 billion investment in mental health – but in spite of this increased funding promise they have failed to make any significant improvements in the delivery of mental health services. In fact it was seen as being such a failure by mental health campaigner, Mike King, that he gave back his civic honour in protest.

Jacinda Ardern made an election promise that there would be no new taxes under her government – yet we now have a policy of taxing Ute owners to subsidise electric vehicles.

So this tax has not only broken her election promise of “no new taxes”, but will surely eventually lead to an increase in the price of agricultural products and trade services where the use of Utes is not a luxury but a necessity.

I believe that the Prime Minister has seriously miscalculated the popularity of her proposed Hate Speech legislation.

On the campaign trail last year Jacinda Ardern said that she expected “wide support” for expanding existing hate-speech laws to include religion.

Act leader David Seymour said that, she is “twisting and turning” on hate speech so much “she could almost qualify to represent New Zealand in gymnastics” in her attempts to get safely out of harm’s way.

Blaming the Royal Commission Report for instigating this proposed Hate Speech legislation is just more evidence of systemic failure by this government coupled with, at best, a disingenuous attribution of blame.

Throughout history there are many examples of people dying in the fight against terrorism and dictatorships and one of the most precious things they were fighting to protect was the right to free speech.

Reality is setting in and the electorate is starting to understand that populist kneejerk reactionary policy decision making has not had the desired results. While the government deserves credit for managing the Covid 19 pandemic in New Zealand, in all other areas of governance they have only achieved a failure grade with all of their major policy promises failing to be adequately implemented.

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