What’s up with the Nats? (Part rua)
Continued from: What’s up with the Nats? (Part tahi)
If there’s somethin’ strange in your neighborhood
Who ya gonna call?
If it’s somethin’ weird an it won’t look good
Who ya gonna call?
Ever since the National Party conference at the end of July, the National Party has been strutting the political stage like a bunch of patched gang-members, strutting about the main street of some small town in the back-blocks.
Key, Bennett, Joyce, Collins, Parata, Banks – even lowly backbenchers like Maggie Barry – have been obnoxiously aggressive in policy announcements and dealing with the media and critics.
The Nats have been unrelentingly in our faces ever since John Key uttered the threat,
This is not just about confidence.
This is something new. This is about a new, hyped-up, aggressive style of taking criticisms and failings, and turning it back on the critic.
Steven Joyce was on-style on TV3’s “The Nation” (19 August), when he belittled and badgered two journalists (John Hartevelt and Alex Tarrant) who asked him pointedly about National’s short-comings. Joyce’s response was typical Muldoon-style pugnacity.
This interview with Joyce is charachteristic of how National Ministers have been belligerent in their responses. It is singularly instructive,
Interestingly, Joyce has a “go” at Labour; then the Greens; and even Hone Harawira throughout the course of the interview. He even blames the global financial crisis and throws that in the face of Alex Tarrant, as he responds to a point.
Everyone gets a dose of blame – except the one party that is currently in power. So much for National’s creed that we should all take personal responsibility for our actions.
It appears that National’s back-room Party strategists have been analysing the first few months of this year and have realised that when things go horribly wrong, or the latest string of economic indicators reveal more bad news, the relevant Minister(s) responds with aggression and with defiance.
If the old say “explaining-is-losing” is a truism, then any explanation offered automatically puts a Minister on the back-foot.
The best way out of such a sticky moment; take a page out of Rob Muldoon’s book, ‘How To Win Friends/Enemies and Influence the Media‘.
And National’s Ministers have been playing this ‘new’ game perfectly…
Of all National ministers, Bennett’s behaviour has become most irrational, offensive, and just downright bizarre.
Not content with “offering” sterilisation to solo-mums (but never solo-dads) and their daughters, her views on poverty are so breathtakingly, woefully ignorant that this blogger has come to the conclusion that her tax-payer funded tertiary education was a complete waste of time and money.
Bennett’s latest weird comments raised eyebrows and and a few hackles,
” Get in the real world.
One week they can be in poverty, then their parent can get a job or increase their income and they are no longer in poverty … This is the real world, and actually children move in and out of poverty at times on a weekly basis.”
Bennet then lashed out, saying she “wasn’t interested in measuring child poverty“, and instead her government was more focused on addressing the problems,
“Of course there is poverty in New Zealand. This has been acknowledged by the Government but it’s not a priority to have another measure on it.”
How can National “combat poverty” if they are not aware of the scale of it? How can a government budget appropriately, without knowing the numbers involved?
Are they just going to guess?
Which then brings us to the issue of Bennett’s instance that the unemployed be drug-tested,
“There is certainly a line between recreational use and addiction and that is challenging in itself and it’s something we’ll have to work through.
“At the end of the day you’ve potentially got thousands of New Zealanders who are unable to work because of recreational use and this paper also identifies that as a real problem, so we need to keep working our way through a solution“.”
Again, the question needs to be asked – how many unemployed are on drugs?
Is it 99%?
Is it 50%?
Is it 10%?
Is it 2%?
Is it 0.00001%?
We need to know this, because National may be about to throw $14 million of our tax dollars at this “problem”,
“The plan to cut benefits for job seekers who fail drug tests has been met with criticism by the Ministry of Health, saying it could cost up to $14 million a year.
Ms Bennett told Radio New Zealand she would not reconsider sanctioning only drug users based on the Ministry of Health’s concerns and said she was going ahead with the policy.”
“I just don’t feel that we need to trawl through evidence and give that much kind of evidence to something that is just so obvious.“
And added, that she was acting on information from,
“…the visits, from face to face meetings, I don’t know, from some of the international research I’ve seen.”
Never let facts get in the way of some damned good prejudice, eh, Ms Bennett?
National’s intention to throw millions of our tax dollars at a problem that may or may not exist, and has not been quantified, beggars belief. It also makes a hollow mockery of John Key’s 2008 pledge to spend our money wisely,
” We will be more careful with how we spend the cash in the public purse, monitoring not just the quantity but also the quality of government spending.”
National was in opposition when Dear Leader made that pledge. Things change, I guess, when a Party becomes government and has access to our taxes.
The ‘bullishness’ of a cornered National Minister is clearly coming through on this issue.
So if Paula Bennett is ignoring Health Ministry advice,
- Where is she getting her advice and data from?
- Does she know the number of unemployed who are using recreational drugs?
- How much has National budgetted for this programme?
- If National has budgetted for drug testing – they must have an idea how many unemployed will be affected?
- In which case, we’re back to #1; Where is she getting her advice and data from?
Would Bennett know, for example, how many of these recently-made redundant workers are on drugs;
- Hakes Marine; 15 redundancies
- Telecom; 400 redundancies
- Brightwater Engineering; 40 redundancies
- Pernod Ricard New Zealand; 13 redundancies
- Depart of Corrections; 130 redundancies
- Summit Wool Spinners; 80 redundancies
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; 80 redundancies
- Norman Ellison Carpets; 70 redundancies
- IRD; 51 redundancies
- Flotech; 70 redundancies
- NZ Police; 125 redundancies
- CRI Plant and Food; 25 redundancies
- Te Papa; 16 redundancies (?)
- PrimePort Timaru; 50 redundancies (?)
- Kiwirail; 220 redundancies
- Fisher & Paykel; 29 redundancies
- Goulds Fine Foods; 60 redundancies
- Canterbury University; 150 redundancies (over three years)
See previous blogpost: Jobs, jobs, everywhere – but not a one for me? (Part Toru)
The answer, my friends, is not blown in the wind – it’s blown out her —- !
Let’s dispense with the bovine excrement and stop the tip-toeing on this issue.
National was elected in 2008 on a pledge to raise our wages to parity with Australia.
Not only have they failed, but our wage-gap with our Aussie cuzzies is actually widening.
National was elected in 2011 on a pledge to create 170,000 new jobs.
Instead, our unemployment has risen to 6.8%.
In almost every respect, National’s policies – which are heavily reliant on the free market to deliver desired outcomes like growth and jobs – have failed.
John Key is presiding over,
- a stagnant economy
- rising unemployment
- a low wage economy
- wide gap with Australia
- rising government debt
- more New Zealanders escaping to Australia
- and no plans to fix this mess except cuts to the state sector, asset sales, charter schools, crushing cars, and “reforming” the welfare system
That’s it. The “Grand Plan”. That’s as good as it get’s folks.
With more and more redundancies (see above) and unemployment continuing to creep upward, Bennett’s plans to drug test the jobless is a deflection – an attempt to blame the victims of National’s (lack of) policies.
Drug testing the unemployed is a ploy.
The unemployed are victims of the global financial crisis. Just as National likes to make out that that it’s economic policies are also impacted by the recent GFC and resultant recession. It’s obscene that National uses the GFC as an excuse for their failings – and yet deny the unemployed the very same rationale for having lost their jobs.
By demanding drug testing, Bennett is sending a clear message to National’s redneck constituency, and to low information voters, that all unemployed are drug-addled, lazy, ne’er-do-wells.
National has no idea how many unemployed are on drugs.
But they are still prepared to waste millions of dollars on pursuing a policy of drug testing.
All because they have failed to create the jobs they promised.
All because they need a scapegoat to show their dim-witted constituents that it’s the welfare beneficiaries at fault.
The Nazis used the scapegoating technique well well in the 1930s, when they blamed Jews, communists, gypsies, trade unionists, etc, for Germany’s economic problems.
National’s strategy here should be crystal-clear to us all; they are dangling the unemployed as scapegoats to the ill-informed; the prejudiced; and low-information voters, for whom unemployment is a vague concept; the Global Financial Crisis happened “somewhere else“; and the dole is some unimaginably generous payment.
Very few low-information voters understand that the dole for a single person is only $204.96 (nett, weekly).
Very few National supporters understand that unemployment was 3.7% in 2007 and is now 6.8% because of an event that was sparked thousands of kilometres away in Wall St, USA.
And very few low-information and National voters want to understand this. Because to understand the realities of unemployment means that the next step is; what are they going to do about it?!
Like, this gentleman, posting on Facebook, who had no interest in anything except spouting his own narrow, ill-informed, prejudice. I thought I’d share his “considered opinion” with the reader,
These are the people that Paula Bennett, and National, are pandering to.
Prejudice is easier.
It means they can blame someone else.
It means not having to think about the issues involved.
Because it’s always someone elses’ fault.
Like Steven Joyce, who blamed Labour, the Greens, and Hone Harawira on TV3’s ‘The Nation‘, on 19 August. It’s always “someone elses’ fault”.
Unfortunately for Bennett, though, her repugnant behaviour has become so entrenched that she is unable to behave appropriately even to her own colleagues,
Listen: Listen to more on Checkpoint
The more that National fails to deliver results, the more they will blame others.
Why should National take responsibility for a lack of jobs and rising unemployment? After all…
… they’re only the government.
Continued at: What’s up with the Nats? (Part toru: John Banks)
= fs =
For a better New Zealand…
~ Cleaner rivers
~ No deep-sea oil drilling
~ Less on Roads - more on Rail
~ A Living wage at $20.20/hr
~ Marriage equality - Yay! Got that one!
~ Strong, effective Unions
~ No secret free-trade deals
~ Breakfast/lunches in our schools
~ Introducing Civics into our school curriculum
~ Cut back on the liquor industry
~ A fairer, progressive tax system
~ Fully funded, free healthcare
~ Ditto for education, including Tertiary
~ Fund Pharmac for Pompe's Disease medication & other 'orphan' drugs
~ No state asset sales!
~ Rebuild public TV broadcasting!
~ Keeping farms in local ownership
~ Reduce poverty, like we reduced the toll for road-fatalities
~ State housing for life
~ Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!
~ Stronger communities
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