Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes.
This ability to sell hard right ideological policy shifts as boring and bland is part of the secret to National’s success. The real pain being felt by National’s ideology-over-all approach is never felt by those pundits, so that pain doesn’t really exist.
The mainstream narrative is that Key is quite moderate. Tell that to those at the coal face of his reforms where ideology trumps all and empirical evidence is ignored.
Charter Schools: There is no empirical evidence that Charter Schools lift the educational achievement of all, they are an ideological instrument used by this Government to reduce the cost of teaching. By being able to hire unqualified teachers, Charter Schools are an ACT Party wet dream to denigrate the PPTA and NZEI by undermining the pay rates and employment conditions. They serve no other function than to deplete public education. Charter schools are an idealogical experiment and the political joke that is ACT is the justification for implementing it.
Burn the beneficiary to save the beneficiary: The joy with which NZers love to make the lives of those on welfare as miserable as possible will never change unless there is a wide spread on going campaign of attacks by angry beneficiaries on WINZ offices around the country. There simply won’t be any detraction from coming up with new reasons to disqualify beneficiaries unless there is a stunned reaction by NZers to angry beneficiaries committing violent acts. The fact that our own agencies admitted to Government that Child Poverty could be alleviated but advised not to because the Governments ideological position is ‘work sets you free’ (advice the Government purposely and illegally held up for 17 months) means that no amount of empirical evidence will change the view of the National Party or their cheering bennie bashing voter base.
Privatising State housing: The Government did not admit once to their secret agenda of privatising 30% of state houses before the election. The fact that the Government will sell state houses and then pocket the money instead of reinvesting it back into state housing shows how naked their contempt for state assistance is, and shows the stratospheric arrogance of their plans. National know their voter base hate state housing tenants as much as they hate beneficiaries so throwing the poor onto the streets is a bonus, not a distraction to their policy. Handing their social obligations off to churches is ironic when you consider Key wants to reinvade Iraq to stop a theocracy.
Warring with Unions: National will ram through their Employment Relations Amendment Bill for no reason other than to put the boot into the Unions. Under the law it will allow bad employers who are already hell bent on a fight to be able to walk away from negotiations, making a farce of ‘good faith bargaining’. It will allow bad bosses to contract away your conditions for the sake of ‘flexibility’ and make it less secure for workers in small businesses when that company is sold. This is needless beating on a Union movement who has already had its back broken. National voters will cheer from the sidelines with all the gusto of pro Springbok Tour rugby fanatics.
Each of these areas, Charter Schools, work testing beneficiaries, privatising state housing & more antiUnion employment law are all examples of National’s ideology trumping empirical evidence. None of what they’re doing helps with child poverty, educational achievement, homelessness or safe work places & simply put, NZers love it.
This is the Government that NZers overwhelmingly supported by handing National an unprecedented larger majority and victory on September 20th. Beyond the dirty politics and mass surveillance lies, National are gutting welfare, damaging public education, privatising state housing and continuing needless employment wars with the Unions. This is a Government of spite elected by a people too laid back to care.
Our anti-intellectualism is so casual, NZers burn books on their BBQs.
Being told we on the left have to have a rational debate when National are basing social policy on their prejudices is disingenuous in the extreme.