The more things change…
From 1999, the final year of the Shipley-led National government…
Source: Otago Daily Times
To 2012 – some thirteen years later – and now led by a smiling, waving shark from the commercial sector that kindly gave us the Global Financial Crisis and fifteen million unemployed, worldwide,
Some things that we can always rely on, when National is elected into power; poverty will worsen; unemployment remains high; taxes will be cut for the rich, and welfare beneficiaries – the victims of National’s policies – will cop the blame.
Eventually, the realities of National’s mis-management filters through to the television-distracted middle classes and a mixture of guilt and fear prompts them to switch their votes from the Tories to Labour/Greens/NZ First.
Thus it was in the 1990s – and thus it will be in 2014 (if not earlier).
In the meantime, while it takes umpteen bad news-stories to awaken the TV-addled brains of baby-boomers, we continue to waste lives and the locked-in potential of people trapped in poverty, unemployment, and a stagnant economy. Child poverty remains New Zealand’s dirty little secret, to the rest of the world.
For National and their rabid ACT supporters, the fault lies elsewhere,
The Right is very ‘big’ on personal responsibility. Except when it comes to failed Right Wing policies. Then it’s someone elses’ fault.
Meanwhile, the real bludgers in our society continue to live their lives, enjoying the fruits of a developed nation, but not paying their fair share of taxes,
One of the constant refrains of the neo-liberal establishment and sycophants for the rich & powerful is that New Zealand society cannot afford things like decent housing and school meals for our children.
Of course not.
When the rich are not paying their fair share, they are denying society of the means to address poverty-related issues. At the same time, they enjoy living in a society built up with the taxes paid by others.
See previous blogpost: Greed is good?
In the meantime, our society income/wealth gap widens and we move further and further away from any notion of egalitariansism we once had.
If that’s the sort of society New Zealanders want, then let’s be 100% up-front and honest about it. Let’s prepare ourselves for outbreaks of disease; increased crime; drugs; beggars in the streets; and eventual outbreaks of mass violence.
I doubt, though, that Middle New Zealand could stomach an overtly class/wealth-stratified society – especially if poverty becomes so entrenched that it becomes more visible and inescapable. We prefer our poor to be out-of-sight and out-of-mind, so we can focus on who is going to win “The Block” or “The Voice” or “The Whateverthefucktelevisionisdishinguptoustotakeourmindsofreality“.
As long as Middle New Zealand is prepared to accept such a bleak future, then the rest of us can plan and prepare accordingly.
Or, we can turn our backs on that vision, and instead look elsewhere for inspiration.
The Scandinavians and French may be a good start.
Or are we, as a nation, so gullible and thick that we keep going around in circles, decade after decade?
= fs =
For a better New Zealand…
~ Cleaner rivers
~ No deep-sea oil drilling
~ Less on Roads - more on Rail
~ A Living wage at $19.25/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
~ Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!
~ Being nice to each other
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