No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Jacinda Ardern

There are deep problems with “kindness” as a political philosophy.

with 4 comments

So says a commentator on a recent article about Jacinda Ardern published in The Times in Britain.

The article itself – “How I watched the halo slipping from Jacinda Ardern” – doesn’t really add anything new to other coverage of her that has been made in the wake of her resignation as Prime Minister.

It’s actually that comment by one Iain Thorpe, picked up the blog site Samizdata, that is more interesting than the article itself. He goes on to say:

If kindness is the answer to all problems, then the problems must be caused by unkindness. And people who disagree with you must be unkind people. Obviously you don’t have to listen when unkind people try to tell you anything. And you certainly don’t have to offer them the same concern or compassion as other people. Their unkindness is their own fault. You don’t have to do anything for it, or for them.

And so “kindness” ends up being without empathy, the opposite of inclusion. Ardern’s inability to deal with people who disagreed with or were disadvantaged by her government’s policies was striking. She seldom even attempted to speak to them and seemed incapable of winning over anyone who opposed her.

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Written by Tom Hunter

February 3, 2023 at 8:13 am

Dare we hope? (A return to blogging)

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I have been remiss in not writing in this blog for a while now – some health challenges, moving house (and city), the military posting cycle and exhaustion from an extremely busy couple of years (the 17.7% attrition rate in the army is a contributing factor to that!) have meant that I ended last year a burnt-out shadow of my former self.

I shall rectify this, and shall recommence blogging.

I must also admit to having an overwhelming sense of pessimism about NZ which hindered my motivation to write NZ. More than any other Western country, NZ has thrown away any sense of work ethic and personal responsibility, and our institutional elites seem hell bent on destroying what was once a very good education system, military, public sector and an economy which was once the envy of the world.

With the resignation of Ms Ardern, a figure I regard as so completely overhyped and overrated as to quite possibly be one of the most ineffective country leaders of the last 70 years, dare I feel some more hope about this country?

I certainly don’t rate Chris Hipkins as being able to turn anything around – he has played a starring role in the continued degradation of our education system. And he has just as much experience outside politics as Ms Ardern and Mr Robertson and all the other student politicians turned political advisors turned politicians. But he will bring some more energy and optimism to a Labour caucus who were very much seeing the writing on the wall about their inevitable defeat.

Nor do I actually rate Christopher Luxon. No policy announcements, very little I can see in the way of idealism and no mongrel to take on a hostile media establishment trying to force woke religion down his (and our) throats.

But there is an election this year, and there is a swelling dissatisfaction amongst NZ about what has happened to our country not just in the last five years, but the last couple of generations (blame to go towards both major parties).

So I shall return to blogging. My main motivation is to analyse what sort of country my son is going to be born in and grow up in – he is only a couple of months away now. Will he go to a school with a teacher trying to convince him behind my back that he is actually a girl? Will his school teach him anything about maths and physics, or will it all be about post-colonial stress disorders which he owes reparations for? Will he be able to find a decent job? Will the taxes on his income cripple him? Will he ever be able to afford a house? Will I ever be able to afford a house for that matter?

Should I call it early and emigrate before he needs to start school? Or should I hold out in hope for this country of ours?

Written by Major Star

January 21, 2023 at 2:04 pm

Jacinda’s inflection point?

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There is good and bad luck in politics, and good luck for a leader is when their strengths perfectly fit the circumstances.

In Jacinda’s case it was her empathy – or at least her perceived empathy (perceived because I don’t know her personally and I’m aware of the fake personas usually adopted by politicians) – that fit perfectly with the 2019 mass shooting and then the C-19 pandemic.

In his TV series, A History of Britain, Simon Schama said the following of Winston Churchill in 1940:

The qualities which made him so impossible – his pig-headed obstinacy, his low boiling point, his romantic belief in British history – were now, in the black days of May, exactly what the country needed.

Something even Labour voters appreciated at the time. But in 1945 those were not the qualities needed and so he and his Tory Party got booted in a landslide.

I see something similar here with Ardern, when it came to actually getting things done, and I think she knew it too, as did others like “Bomber” Bradbury and Chris Trotter:

She never appeared to grasp that announcing policy is not the same as implementing it. Press releases do not build houses. Speeches do not end poverty. In the end, it was Jacinda’s constant failure to deliver that made it impossible for her to go on.

If you say “Let’s do this!”, then, Dear God, you have to do it!

But even with the empathy super power I think it began to turn against her with the announcement of the vaccine mandates. Not only had she said a little earlier that there would be no such thing, there was no empathy this time as there had been during the lockdowns. Not even a grim, reluctant admission that this was a terrible breach of civil liberties but something she felt necessary to do. Even in disagreeing with her, I would have appreciated that she at least saw the dangers.

Instead we got the breezy, almost amused, announcement that one class of citizens would have rights that others did not as a way of coercing people: the now infamous, “That is what it is.. so …Yep. Yep”. Even the reporter asking her had not expected that: in fact he hesitatingly suggests that she won’t agree with his take on creating two classes of people:

Polling is not conducted frequently enough for us to ever know if that was the inflection point of her popularity vs unpopularity, and of course she was by then nowhere near as popular as she had been in 2020. But that was more a gradual slide and since empathy was her main power it should surely have been significant in the eyes of the citizens when it was so noticeably absent at the very moment when it was most needed. As I said in this post in December 2021:

Politicians rise and fall, and it’s surprising how often in history you find that the things they won on are the very things that kill their careers in the end.

And among many things she did that should not be forgotten….

Written by Tom Hunter

January 20, 2023 at 12:32 pm

NEW YEAR PREDICTIONS

with 25 comments

#1 from my post of 29 December … Jacx will not lead the Labour Party into the next election.

I’m picking Wood over Hipkins but Keri Allan could be a dark horse … such is the power of the Maori caucus.

Mean – but clever…

Written by The Veteran

January 19, 2023 at 3:12 pm

A QUESTION FROM A (NOW VERY) OCCASIONAL BLOGGER

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I decline to accept the proposition that the Labour Party caucus and Labour’s Council are so divorced from reality so as not to recognise the Jacinda Ardern has now become the equivalent of Jeremy Corbyn of New Zealand politics. She is toxic, the electorate is laughing at her, very few believe anything she sez, the phone is off the hook. Never so true the old adage that you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. The chickens have come home to roost and that is borne out by the findings of the latest ANZ Business Confidence survey.

Two months ago I would have argued the chances of Jax throwing in the towel were minimal. No more. Labour MPs and the movers and shakers in the Labour Party will be contemplating their (non) future with Ardern remaining at the helm. So, who to replace her? Not the ‘nice’ Mr Robertson … Ardern and Robbo are the Hansel and Gretel of the Labour Party … she is ‘Him’ and he is ‘Her’. Failure incorporated. No, if they are to stand any chance at all come the election it has to be someone in their power elite … personable and not overly tainted with failure.

That person … https://www.labour.org.nz/michaelwood

Hat-tip to my Labour Party source.

Written by The Veteran

December 21, 2022 at 7:56 pm

Posted in NZ Politics

Tagged with

No, Sorry just will not be enough

with 10 comments

Outrageous, look at the spike. These people need to pay for the damage they have caused. According to the article they never tested any impact on pregnancy. We have been subject to mass formation psychosis. Note that it is a record of events reported to the Vaccine Adverse events database established in 1990, not a total of all miscarriages.

Written by Whiskey&Pie

November 3, 2022 at 7:25 pm

WILL SHE OR WON’T SHE?

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There is increasing media speculation that the Prime Minister will bail to accept some cushy number in the UN or wherever. Its an interesting debate. Certainly there’s a very real chance that post the election Labour will, at best, be forced into a coalition of what in NZL constitutes the ‘hard left’ (Greens and Te Pati Maori) while at worst it will be consigned to the opposition benches.

Any Prime Minister (any Member of Parliament) would prefer to depart on their own terms with their head held high rather than be shown to the door by the electorate. Ardern, for all her faults, is no fool and she knows her star (and Labour’s) is on the wane. But here’s her dilemma (per courtesy of that ‘nice’ Mr Shama). Does she go before the by-election and make a difficult job for Labour all that more difficult or does she go after the event when, if Labour loses, she can rightly be accused of cutting and running.

I suspect there will be huge pressure on her to stay. Labour knows she is probably worth between 5-10% to them in the polls and even if they lose the 2023 election they will lose better with her in place. And one thing for sure … Ardern is Labour to the core … she will not want to see her legacy defined as leaving Labour to face a rout.

So, on balance, I think she will stay for now unless of course she wakes up one morning and sez to herself ‘I’ve had enough’ … could happen.

Written by The Veteran

October 30, 2022 at 3:28 pm

Posted in New Zealand, NZ Politics

Tagged with

No Brains, No Spine

with 6 comments

I see there is an interesting piece at The Platform on mounting speculation that New Zealand’s illustrious Prime Minister will resign.

Adolf laughed out loud at this bit.

“Her legacy will be tied to two events of significant historical importance: her compassionate, unifying response to the March 15 Christchurch Mosque Attacks and her decision to lockdown the country in March 2020. Those two events, one year apart, showcased Ardern at her best.”

She will go down in history as the country’s most damaging and incompetent PM ever.

And all thanks to that artful ratbag Winston Peters.

Written by adolffinkensen

October 26, 2022 at 6:04 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with

Record Tax Take overshadowed by Labour’s Spending

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$108 Billion. That’s the sum of our money that has been taxed from our incomes, company profits and goods and services.

But Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the lower-than-expected deficit shouldn’t lead political parties to yell out for cuts as there was still a deficit and New Zealand faces “choppy waters ahead”. He’s ruled out tax cuts that “disproportionately support the wealthiest New Zealanders”. National said a “careful” minister would produce “prudent tax relief” and still invest in public services.

Those wealthy NZers who would be “disproportionately support[ed]” are also those who disproportionately provide the bulk of that tax revenue! In fact, the top 3% of NZ income earners (in 2020) paid 26% of all income tax collected. In 2012, the richest 10% of NZ income earners paid 47% of all income tax!

I’d like to keep more of what I earn. I’d like to be able to support my wife and future children with a single income, with minimal government help. I’m happy for a portion of my wages to go to a well-functioning government to wisely spend on things that genuinely make the country a better place.

The Minister of Finance has ruled out tax cuts despite the record take of income tax. Because no matter how much money is coming in, even more is going out under him! Let’s look at some figures of what I reckon could be reduced or eliminated so that we can afford a tax cut – we’re currently looking at a $9.7 Bn deficit, so can we cut $10 Bn from the books? How about we start with the following:

  • Welfare benefits were costing $23 Bn in 2017, and are now up to $40 Bn this year.
    • Jobseeker and Emergency benefit at $3.3 Bn (up from $1.7 Bn in 2017)
    • Sole parent support up to $1.7Bn (up from $1.1 Bn in 2017)
    • Wage subsidy scheme at $4.8 Bn (it was $1.2 Bn in 2020 and $1.1 Bn in 2021)
    • Accommodation assistance at $2.3 Bn (up from $1.1 Bn in 2017)
  • Health expenses are now totalling $30Bn, up from $16 Bn in 2017. Nearly $7 Bn of that is due to health services for COVID-19, including vaccines and managed isolation /quarantine.
  • Educational departmental expenses are up to $2 Bn from $1.2 Bn in 2017. Not sure we need to increase the bureaucrats in the Ministry by that much!
  • Tertiary education funding has increased from $2.5 Bn to $3.2 Bn, for an increase of just 20,000 places. That’s $35,000 for each extra tertiary student.
  • ‘Core Government Services’ departmental expenses have increased from $1.8 Bn to $2.7Bn, the headcount of the public sector increasing a whopping 28%
  • $1.4 Bn has been spent on transport expenses in relation to COVID, including ‘shovel ready’ projects and temporary relief packages
  • $4.2 Bn on “COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payments” whatever they are
  • $135 Million on the “COVID-19 Cultural Sector Response” from heritage, cultural and recreation expenses
  • $1.6 Bn on the Emissions Trading Scheme

Now, I’m well aware that inflation since 2017 has been just under 20% in total. And wage inflation has driven some of the increased tax take, and government departments will therefore need to increase their expenditure to not only pay their people, but also to purchase other services which are now more expensive. Which increases inflation, leading to employees seeking higher salaries, and around the circle we go!

But really, does the government need to be spending an extra $52 Billion compared to 2017? The 2017 budget was $76 Bn of spending. Under Labour, that has grown to $128 Bn this year. If the budget had simply kept in line with inflation, it would only be $91 Bn.

I reckon there’s an easy $20 Bn to be saved from just reducing or outright eliminating some of the increased spending above. And then all of a sudden government books are in surplus, and maybe we can reduce the tax burden on hard-working, middle-class NZers like me.

Return of the untermenschen

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Thanks to the folks here I have returned to the blog writing community after a lapse of many years. The weird thing is I only met one of the co authors face to face and that was a coincidence. You will decide whether I have anything worth saying. I am interested to hear from commenters what they are interested in hearing us blog about. You can read below about what interests and drives me.

I returned to NZ a few years ago after 20 years in UK and Europe. I lost my home and income as a direct result of Covid. I stayed to spend time with family, worked with a tech startup and am now committed to a property development. It was amazing to get on the plane in SFO and see the Virgin Atlantic cabin crew all maskless. The first time I had escaped from the caste system that is masks in NZ for 2 years. The idea that as a guest in a bar or taxi I have choice but not as an employee is one of the more immoral things this witless bunch of thugs has done over the life of the Covid FearMonger. The absolute most immoral and egregious thing they have done is maltreating healthcare workers who turned up to work in the early days of the pandemic when there was no vaccine. They have been illegally sacked (refer Cooke J for the decision), against Ministry of Health advice (google is your friend), for using their judgement to refuse a vaccine.

I have to say the country has changed. Some of it good, some of it just confirms why I left in the first place. Some aspects of it reflect changes in the rest of the world and some are peculiar to NZ. The affectation of the increased use of Maori language all through media and civil service to show ones subservience to the trends of the day was jarring at first, but as time went on I realised that it should generally be viewed as a positive thing, being part of what makes New Zealand unique. I used words like puku, kai etc and very much enjoyed collecting koura as a kid so it is really only a question of degree.

I am unable to watch NZ broadcast news, it simply irritates me too much with the over simplistic “human interest” focus and the ever so woke. Marama Davidson upsetting people by tweeting about Whitakers chocolate having a new woke branding. FFS there are more important things in the world. The articles of interest in the newspapers are simply reprints of left wing foreign media or simplistic pieces with a big picture aimed at a 10 year old. Reading sports journalism here is a rare exception. Knowledgeable people expressing well founded points of view.

The glorious leader of Ardernistan is a joke. Full credit to her for having the charisma and talent to convince people to make her leader, but Winston Peters has a lot to answer for. The latest Roy Morgan poll suggests that she and her team of $55m have made a difference and may potentially get power again next year. Apparently I am a white supremacist conspiracy theorist because I disagree with vaccine mandates. If you want the vaccine go ahead but don’t force it on the rest of us. I am disappointed I did not ask the patched Black Power gang member marching in front of me across the Auckland Harbour Bridge whether he was also a white supremacist. Or any of the many other folks of many shades on the march.

The poll results indicate that NZers are too apathetic or are convinced by the propaganda that Labour/Greens produce to poll as high as they are. I am simply astonished and do not understand it well enough yet. Fascinating though that 19% of women under 50 support the Greens but only 3% of women over 50 do. More men over 50 (4%) than women support them.

Tom Hunter has a great deal of good commentary on what is happening in the US so I will try not to overlap too much. Major Star is a very well informed military type. He is RF and I am an ex TF grunt officer of low rank so we bring a slightly different perspective to the question of what NZ military is for and what positive impact on NZ it can have. I have an OIA request in about current army numbers. I was at a talk on Vietnam last week and a retired senior officer said the Army is down to about 4000 RF and 1000 TF. The force structure and recruitment of the TF is a disgrace. Both parties have ignored the problem and the CDS prefer to have full time specialised and are not interested in increasing the throughput of young men and women. They have about 1200 Limited Service volunteers who do a 6 week course. Then, according to a friend who works in the area they are simply left to their own devices. I will blog further on the subject in due course.

I will probably bring a reasonable amount of climate change commentary. I am very much a sceptic. I know Greenies who have no clue that over the last 30 years there has been an increase in green volume of around 11%. That is the opposite to common belief. The funniest element of Trumps administration is identifying the woke and asking them if they realise that Trump reduced US CO2 emissions by around 15% whereas St Angela Merkel increased Germany’s over the same timeline. The current CO2 % is around 430-450ppm. Plants struggle to breathe around 165ppm and commercial nurseries raise the density to 1200 ppm. Humans can handle up to 4000 and 10,000ppm will kill us. Over the course of history the climate has been substantially hotter than now. Common sense suggests that the Vikings in Greenland around 1000 years ago must have had a beneficial climate. the most interesting piece I read recently suggested that the climate was cooling for around the last 4000 years up until the late 1800’s. That coincides with the start of the first industrial revolution. I have not concluded how much of the increased temperature since then is due to human activities and how much is natural. I do know that the environmentalists who have substituted belief in catastrophic climate change are lying or no better than medieval religious believers when they spout nonsense about existential risk to humanity.

That is enough word vomit for my first blog back. I look forward to the interaction.

[edited for grammar]

Written by Whiskey&Pie

September 6, 2022 at 8:19 pm