Will Labour Abandoning Centrist Policies Decay The PM’s Legacy?
The greatest failings of government arise when a growing bureaucracy and political ambition replace the principals of service.
The world has watched the remarkable and successful results when a capable and empathetic leader, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern - Prime Minister of New Zealand, encourages unity and forms a “team of 5 million” with direct success in preventing severe pandemic results.
The nation as a whole was entitled to participate in the remarkable and productive results stemming from encouraging messages from leadership, pragmatic government approaches to lockdowns, critical support for businesses, and robust health messaging around vaccinations.
Each of us was privileged to see how the Labour leadership and especially a PM who had already guided New Zealand through a terrible attack, effectively bring people together once more to improve overall socio-economic life, even in the midst of a global pandemic.
The legacy our PM will eventually leave behind as Labour begins the slow transition of one of its arguably most successful leaders, could be underpinned by these many successes.
However, the next year will dictate whether this legacy erodes or lives on.
In just the past few short months, there has been a substantive corrosion of unity, social stability, and an overt decline of economic growth.
What has occurred in the vague and hazy interim period between last year’s remarkable and positive messaging and the past few month’s deterioration of positivism? We now are exposed to a rhetoric that is not as sociable and empathetic as it is authoritarian and dominant.
To blame the ‘delta variant’ is perhaps an excuse, or at best an over simplification.
Perhaps just as importantly, as both the economic and social stability decays, we should ask how did the Labour party begin to walk down a path similar in many facets to the fierce and futile approaches taken by our Australian political counterparts?
Australia’s path saw the expansion of government control into individual citizenry, expanding authoritarian management of daily life well beyond any health services.
In the past few months, we went from a “team of 5 million” to a rather mirror image of the failing social reality found in decaying democracies such as the United States, where the spectrum of society mixes between a group of ambivalent masses, social extremists, and a confused majority who cannot see how tightening control and additional laws will improve society.
When we apply a strictly unbiased political filter to the events at hand, one principal conclusion is that the Labour party itself has chosen to abandon its remarkably effective centrist policies.
This can be seen in a variety of events. Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you find yourself, it is reasonably overt that a plethora of new policies have created instability.
In no specific order, we find the centrist approach to Labour’s policies have changed instead to:
1. provide protection from state tenants being evicted, no matter how bad their behaviour
2. not to pursue any new legal policies with regard to the gender pay gap even as they touted the principals
3. provide no new legislation to protect female victims of sexual assault, still severely limiting victims’ legal recourse
4. move to establish a major change in the water management of the entire nation with the Three Waters legislation
5. announce the repeal of the three strikes law for convicted criminals, while providing no policies or support with regard to victims of violent crime
6. use tax payer funding to support gang organised community work
7. make vaccinations mandatory across a wide spectrum of services, not specific to front line workers. This has immediately caused degradation in work load for critical front line services including Police, Fire & Emergency and DHBs.
Ironically, it was Andrew Little’s statement back in March 2017 specifying the benefit of making vaccinations for children mandatory, which was a component of the erosion of support that led to his stepping down as Labour’s acting leader.
This paved the way for the already ascending, politically savvy Jacinda Ardern, who then led Labour forward with substantially more centrist policies and communications.
The decay we see in New Zealand is a simple by product of a nation that is being divided instead of united, under policies that could not possibly bring any other result than such division. How this can benefit Labour’s overall standing is not yet clear.
Before the current PM can hang up her leadership hat, it is probably best for those involved to understand that the next two years of policy IMPLEMENTATION will determine whether Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern leaves behind a legacy that will be profoundly positive and uniting or if the new focus and fixations of the party cause degradation that unfortunately overshadows so many remarkable successes.
Mark Rais is the creator of the think tank Trend Analysis Network, writer for the technology and science industry and volunteer senior editor for an on-line magazine. He has published several books and written numerous articles on the topics of macro-economics, technology and society.