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Posts Tagged ‘NZ Politics

Her Fame Spreads

with 7 comments

From today’s Australian.

Even mediocre would be easier to bear: how NZ lost its mojo
Oliver Hartwich

Under Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand has lost its mojo. Picture; Getty Images.
Under Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand has lost its mojo. Picture; Getty Images.

“We have lost clarity of how we add value, why we are here, what we exist for.”

That was among the findings in an internal review prepared by the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA), obtained by Radio New Zealand (RNZ).

But that statement could equally apply to New Zealand as a whole. The country has lost its mojo after a decade of feeling good about itself.

For many years, pollsters Roy Morgan and Curia have been asking New Zealanders whether the country is heading in the right direction. Apart from a few months around the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, large majorities of Kiwis have always responded “Yes”.

During the first Covid lockdown, in April 2020, the highest positive value was 77 per cent for ‘right direction’. This figure has now dropped to 36 per cent, while 50 per cent of New Zealanders believe their country is going in the wrong direction.

That is quite a mood swing, and there are reasons for it.

The biggest contributor to New Zealanders’ grumpiness is the discrepancy between political promises and reality. Without constant promises of world-class performance, even mediocre results would be easier to bear.

One of the advertisements for NZ's 'road to Zero' campaign.
One of the advertisements for NZ’s ‘road to Zero’ campaign.

The aforementioned NZTA review is a good example. With a depressingly high road toll, the government has embarked on a “Road to Zero” campaign. Its ambitious goal: no more deaths or serious injuries by 2050. The promotional awareness campaign will cost $15 million over three years.

Yet, as RNZ found out, since 2018 NZTA has installed less than a fifth of the road-safety barriers due by 2024.

On these numbers, the “Road to Zero” could be a long one.

But it will also be a costly one because the transport bureaucracy has mushroomed in recent years.

As of June 2021, NZTA employed about 2,081 staff. That figure was 1,372 only four years earlier.

Staff growth at NZTA did not mainly take place on the frontline. HR workers went from 57 to 122 full-time equivalents; managers from 214 to 456; accountants from 44 to 66; admin staff from 307 to 485; and communications officers from 32 to 88. None of those mentioned above will ever install a bollard, put up a road sign, or fix a pothole.

NZTA is symptomatic of a much wider problem in New Zealand, even though it is only a small puzzle piece. Faced with a serious problem, the government sets an ambitious long-term goal. It then launches massive public relations campaigns. Following that, it blows up the bureaucracy but fails on deliverables.

It is the same story in practically every major policy area.

New Zealand is also falling behind on education. Picture: AAP.
New Zealand is also falling behind on education. Picture: AAP.

Housing was one of the big issues in the 2017 election campaign. At the time, Labour promised to fix the housing market, reduce homelessness, and build 100,000 affordable KiwiBuild homes over the next decade.

The results after five years? New Zealand house prices have grown by almost 8.7 per annum on average. Emergency Housing Grants, which were below $10 million per quarter in 2017, now exceed $100 million. And KiwiBuild, so far, has delivered just over 1,300 homes – with only 98,700 to go.

New Zealanders used to be proud of their education system, which was considered world-class.

Today, the only measure by which New Zealand schools lead the world is in declining standards.

Reading and literacy have dropped dramatically in the OECD’s PISA rankings. The mathematics skills of New Zealand’s 15-year-olds are only as good as those of 13.5-year-olds 20 years ago. Despite an increase in education spending per student, more than 40 per cent of school leavers are functionally illiterate or innumerate.

Aside from such big policy failures, New Zealanders are bombarded with worrying news daily. There are GPs reportedly seeing more than 60 patients per day. Patients are treated in corridors at some hospitals’ A & E departments, where waiting times now often exceed ten hours.

Nanaia Mahutais the architect of the controversial Three Waters. Picture: Getty Images.
Nanaia Mahutais the architect of the controversial Three Waters. Picture: Getty Images.

As gang numbers have grown, gun crime has also become a regular feature in news headlines. Ram raids, where youths steal cars and crash them into small shops, have become common.

Rather than dealing with these and many other issues, the government appears determined to add new challenges to doing business. It is about to introduce collective bargaining in the labour market and an extra tax on income to fund unemployment insurance.

And these are just the big-ticket items. Practically every industry can tell its own stories about new complex regulations, usually rushed through with minimal consultation, if any.

Furthermore, there is growing unease about the government’s move towards co-governance. It sounds harmless but it would radically alter how democracy operates in New Zealand and undermine basic principles of democratic participation.

All in all, the picture that emerges is that of a country in precipitous decline. That would be alarming enough. What makes it even more so is a perception that the core private and public institutions lack the understanding of the severity of the crisis or the ability to counteract it.

Some notable exceptions aside, the New Zealand media is underfunded and not performing the functions of the Fourth Estate properly.

Adrian Orr, governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Picture: Birgit Krippner/Bloomberg
Adrian Orr, governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Picture: Birgit Krippner/Bloomberg

Despite the vast expansion in public service numbers, it lacks quality and focuses on trendy issues rather than its core functions. In particular, the Reserve Bank and the Productivity Commission need a reset. And across the political spectrum, again with notable exceptions, the political parties lack parliamentarians with the qualifications and experience necessary for a turnaround job.

New Zealand needs to be careful not to turn into a failed state. That does not mean it should expect civil unrest, but a period of prolonged and seemingly unstoppable decline across all areas of public life.

The only way to reverse this process would be for New Zealand to regain its mojo: its mojo for serious economic and social reform. It has happened before. And it must happen again.

Dr Oliver Hartwich is the Executive Director of The New Zealand Initiative (www.nzinitiative.org.nz). He will speak at an event titled ‘The Ardern Experiment’ hosted by the Menzies Research Centre in Sydney on Wednesday, 6 July. Tickets are available here.

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Written by adolffinkensen

July 1, 2022 at 4:38 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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Why I am losing faith/have lost faith in politicians

with 11 comments

Only a small thing, or small things, but Chris Luxon gave a State of the Nation speech today and said this:

There’s the 10 year bright line test extension – a capital gains tax by stealth.

There’s the removal of interest deductibility on rental properties – a tax on Kiwi’s who’ve worked hard and put their life savings into a rental.

There’s the new 39 per cent top income tax rate, which is a boon for tax lawyers and accountants, but betrays this Government’s attitude to ambition and will make it harder to attract top talent to our shores

Facts:

  • National, under John Key, introduced the brightline test. Sure, it was two years, but it was our first ever capital gains tax by stealth, that he accuses Labour of.
  • In terms of interest deductibility, National started down that path by a) in 2010, again under John Key, removing the ability to claim depreciation on residential property buildings, and b) bringing in rules that ringfenced losses on residential investment properties so that such losses could not be offset against personal tax liability – this was, in roundabout terms, and to use Luxon’s own words, “a tax on Kiwi’s (sic) who’ve worked hard and put their life savings into a rental.”

Finally, Luxon appears to protest the 39% top tax rate, but then says this, “We aren’t calling on Labour to change the 39% threshold because it only came into effect recently.”

That’s code for, “we won’t change that” – and I know why, he wants to appeal to middle New Zealand, the grafters who might vote Labour. He needs these votes to win the election, not Act votes. Recent polls have not bridged the gap much. Luxon has simply taken the National votes that were with Act while Collins was leader, and he needs “middle New Zealand”. If he suggested the 39% rate be abolished, Labour would have a field day with their “rich prick” envy and hate dogma.

I get that, and won’t criticise him for it. Because my mind at the moment is focused on removing the current communists that are ruining our country. We can all focus on what Luxon says; I am much more interested in what he actually does.

Written by Nick K

March 6, 2022 at 5:02 pm

Latest Roy Morgan Poll

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Written by adolffinkensen

February 1, 2022 at 6:57 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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Nobody is Smarter Than the Maori at Getting Hold of Money

with one comment

Thus spoke old Haki Apiata to young Adolf in 1965.

Then he went on:- “and nobody is more stupid when he’s got it!”

So Adolf’s eyes opened wide when he saw this excellent piece on the BassettBrashHide blog.

“Being around the table in a partnership model on the mana of the Crown is not really tino rangatiratanga. We want them to lift out the resources and let us govern ourselves” — which means to be “supported, but not governed, by the Crown”.

Furthermore, Te Pūtahitangi recommends the“resources” (read “money”) put under direct Māori control should not be determined by the proportions of Māori and non-Māori within the research community:

“Article 3 of Te Tiriti means Māori must have access to resources to support levelling across the science system. One important resource is funding, so funding agencies should ensure policies are in place to allocate budgets for Māori-led research. These funding models should be based on Te Tiriti principles, rather than population proportionality within the broader workforce.”

So please tell me, dear readers, who is going to kick this gross tahaetanga into touch?

Written by adolffinkensen

January 22, 2022 at 9:03 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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Let’s Go Brandon

with 3 comments

New Zealand usually is quick to mimic America.

So how long will it be before the crowd at a Bledisloe cup match roars ‘FUCK JACINDA ARDERN’?

The rhythm matches the last line of Mozart’s ‘La Ci Darem La Mano’ which Adolf is shortly to inflict upon the public.

Un inocenti amore.

Except there’s nothing innocent or lovable about New Zealand’s government of incompetent Marxist losers.

How will the media spin it?

Over to you in comments.

Written by adolffinkensen

October 20, 2021 at 10:50 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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GONNA BE INTERESTING

with 5 comments

To see how the dynamics of an emboldened Maori Party with now 2 MPs will impact on Labour’s Maori caucus. One suspects there will be creative tension and more simply because the Maori Party can’t afford to be seen by Maoridom as some sort of cypher to Labour. They have to be seen as different, offering different solutions.

Twill be interesting for instance to see how their proposal to have all Maori automatically enrolled on the Maori role (with opt out provisions) which, by their reckoning, could see the number of Maori seats increased up to 17 plays out.

Just how they will determine who on the General role is Maori quite escapes me although I guess that in these woke times nothing should surprise.

Limited blogging this week. For my sins (many) I’m being sent to Invercargill.

Written by The Veteran

November 8, 2020 at 5:00 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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REFLECT ON THIS

with 17 comments

The people are right even when they’re wrong … not original. But did New Zealand really vote to give Labour three years of unbridled power with the only possible check on that being the Greens?

To the victor the spoils and all of that but ……………..

Written by The Veteran

November 6, 2020 at 7:27 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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ADROIT MOVE BY ARDERN

with 6 comments

Some might even say she exhibited some low rat cunning in playing the Greens like a fiddle while at the same time keeping the faith with those tens of thousands of voters who handed Labour a majority of seats in the hope that would govern alone without having to rely on the loony tunes Party.

The Greens were given the barest minimum … a couple of junior ministerial positions outside cabinet … positions that don’t even rate a department of state … plus the opportunity to Chair a Select Committee (in which Labour will likely have a majority) plus a Select Committee Deputy Chair appointment (can be likened to tits on a Bull). No policy gains … just tea and bikkies with Jacinda every six weeks or so. One can understand the scorn heaped upon the arrangement by a plethora of Green Party luminaries.

But its a win, win for Jacinda. She gets a cabinet of her own while locking in Green Party support for whenever the tide turns and she needs them.

While Shaw and Davidson can feast on the baubles of office and not much more.

Written by The Veteran

November 1, 2020 at 7:14 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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THE MENDACITY OF LABOUR

with 8 comments

During the election campaign Labour dumped on National for proposing to turbo charge the plan first introduced under the Key government which allows state house tenants to achieve the dream of home ownership by purchasing their property with the cash generated from the sale recycled back into acquiring new state housing.

This from St Jacinda … “to suggest as an answer to the housing troubles that New Zealand has experienced that we should sell off state houses I think is absolutely wrong”.

And now it is revealed that over the last three years Labour has quietly gone about doing exactly that with a total of 105 homes worth $30m sold under the Tenant Home Ownership option.

This from Housing Minister Megan Woods … “There are circumstances where selling a home to an existing, established tenant makes sense for the tenant and Kāinga Ora.”

Memo to Woods … never good to dump on your Boss.

Labour has a track record of not being able to lie straight in bed and this is just another example of double-talk misspeak. . But, to be fair, one understands completely why they want to institutionalize state dependency … its in their DNA.

Written by The Veteran

October 31, 2020 at 10:32 am

ON RON MARK

with 13 comments

I have a grudging respect for Ron Mark despite his penchant for trying to portray himself as something he never was complete with assorted ‘bling’ designed to create an impression that he had been there and done that. Reminds me a little of the antics of a certain Chief of Army long gone, ex blanket counter, and his quest to reinvent himself as a teeth arms soldier complete with self awarded parachute wings.

Captain Mark can be proud of his achievements; a troubled childhood, became a Craftsman soldier, commissioned from the ranks, UN observer in the Middle East before he resigned to serve as a mercenary in the Sultan of Oman’s Special Forces where he commanded a Workshop.

In 2017 he became Minister of Defence, one of the few politicians that ever really, really, wanted the job. And it’s fair to say he will be remembered as an effective Minister and strong advocate for his portfolio although some might argue that his interpretation of the line between governance and command became a little blurred on occasions and engendered some angst in the senior military.

But that does not detract from a job well done and he deserves our thanks. One suspects the new Minister (Kelvin Davis anyone?) will have his/her work cut out to secure the same level of funding that Mark managed to achieve against a political backdrop much different from the last three years.

Written by The Veteran

October 28, 2020 at 1:48 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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