‘Our political discourse has hit rock bottom’


In a crazy week of politics following a previously crazy week, I’ve come to wonder if I’m the only sane one or has everyone gone nuts.

Metiria Turei has come and gone. A victim of her own entitlement, lack of contrition and sliding morality. Good job. It was a naive stunt that horrifically backfired on her and her party and her family. And by family she’s really saying the family that did support her in the hard times. She was never going to starve.

In taking that position though I’m adult enough to realise that she was making a valid point. We are parsimonious and vindictive to beneficiaries. If they make any attempt to get off the breast of state assistance, we penalise them. We have a classic poverty trap in this country.

That debate has been lost by everyone. But that’s yet another piece of proof that we have class warfare in this country. The main villains are beneficiaries followed by the working poor and then the filthy rich. The middle class here who pay for most of everything hates them all equally.

But those who say Metiria was hounded out of office by people that don’t understand the difficulties facing beneficiaries – the sanctimonious white middle class males of the media – are themselves being patronising. Metiria was hounded out because she was wrong that two wrongs make a right and means justify the ends. And that’s morally indefensible for someone wanting public office in a black and white world. Even the Labour Party recognised that.

Speaking of Labour, we were introduced to something called the Jacinda Effect. As far as I see it so far it’s same horse, different jockey and that’s not enough yet for me. Shoot me but I tend to look beyond the look to the ideas. So first up from Jacinda we had a fuel tax and a water tax. Welcome to higher prices for the basics which will hit the poor more. Always remember Labour introduced GST which the rich sucked up and the poor struggle with. And I thought Labour was a friend of the poor.

The trick I’ve thought Labour is missing is this: Labour is not claiming ownership of the policies that National stole off them. National, Labour Lite if you want, is not the opposition. They should be arguing they’re a pale imitation. But there’s that class warfare happening again.

Jacinda showed her class warfare colours with a social media post about homeless outside Tiffany’s in downtown Auckland. Tiffany’s and the rich are not the problem. They’re the ones who fund redistribution of wealth. Be nice to the ones who can help. The trick is to keep the rich rich and pull the poor up so that they too can walk into Tiffany’s one day.

My basic concern about the so called Jacinda Effect is that some New Zealanders can be so swayed not by the words spoken but the face of the voice speaking them. The extra 9 per cent that Jacinda reclaimed in the polls this week need to sit back for a moment and question what on earth they actually believe in.

National meanwhile wisely stayed silent this week but I did wonder if that’s because they’ve got nothing to say. Having stolen Helen Clark’s tricks I have to warn them that many say the country is no better than 20 years ago. Structurally nothing has changed. We’re doing well, not because of the ruling parties but because New Zealanders themselves just got stuck in and did it.

It made me think that all the politicians have listened to too many consultants. It’s all style over substance in the search for clicks and likes. Our political discourse has hit rock bottom. Class warfare stifles debate. The vision thing is missing from everyone.

I ask you, honestly, is there anyone you could vote for?

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