Jacinda Ardern is in her happy place

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Jacinda Ardern in is her happy place. She is finishing the year riding high in the polls leading a majority Labour government – the first outright majority government since MMP was introduced in 1996. Meanwhile the National Party is in tatters with conservative voters liking the Act leader more than the National leader.

Labour’s support is off the back of an overall excellent response to the threat of Covid 19 – and that is deeply appreciated by most.

Ardern has also got rid of those awkward ideas about transformation. For her they sounded so good on the campaign trail but proved so bothersome in government. Transformation requires assaults on neo-liberalism but that means a fight with business and farmers and Ardern won’t go there. Instead we have tinkering policies which, for instance, bring our labour regulations closer to countries we like to compare ourselves with. 10 days sick leave for workers for example – something every self-respecting democracy has had for decades.

So transformation is out and “building consensus” is in. And with a consensus we all move at the pace of the slowest – in other words big business lobbies and farmers will set the pace for all major policy developments on topics such as taxation, housing, climate change and child poverty. Aside from the odd positive intervention of David Parker – the only Labour minister to show he is not captured by his officials – and the odd negative intervention from Stuart Nash, Damien O’Connor and Trevor Mallard – we can expect little else.

Ardern’s happy place is “building consensus” via middle-class focus groups with the outcomes mediated by business and farmers.

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So we have no capital gains tax, no wealth tax and no effective pressure on animal agriculture which is the blight of all life on the planet and the single greatest cause of climate change – by a country mile.

Ardern’s happy place is one without vision, courage, guts, determination, direction or even aspiration. Her political life has never involved heavy policy lifting – that’s for others while she trolls the Women’s Weekly covers.

It’s a return to the Clark era where Helen Clark was elected in 1999 with a five-point pledge card. Once she has implemented those modest changes she spent the next 8 ½ years managing the free market on behalf of the super-rich.

Ardern’s happy place is a dead end where incrementalism and hopelessness rule. It’s where the super-rich continue to run the show.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Well put John the status quo remains. There are just platitudes and excuses when it come to the social deprivation out there.
    The sooner we accept that those with control and vested interests run this country and it’s run for only some privileged sections of the community we can stop the handwringing and realise poverty is entrenched and here to stay.

  2. The Christchurch chief executive bought in from the U.K earns 9,900 dollars a week not including her superannuation part of the package.
    And the number of people in the council who are financially raping the people of Christchurch earning six figure salaries has climbed over the last year.
    This country is filled with greedy parasites from the top down who exploit this countries people and they always can justify and have an excuse for their greed but watch them run and duck for cover when they should take responsibility.

  3. What you say is so true, John -Jacinda is managing the economy on behalf of the super-rich.

    Of course, it’s not a free market: every aspect is manipulated and rigged to generate outcomes favourable to banks, corporations and opportunists; it is rigged to generate extremely bad outcomes for the environment and for those not in ‘the big club’.

    Whilst you compare Jacinda Adern with Helen Clark, there are echoes of John Key in her policies, and emerging in her responses to criticism -“I’m comfortable with….”

    Jacinda has three major Achilles Heels:

    1. The Ponzi financial system is on its last legs, with interest rates pushed down towards zero (and speculation they will be pushed below zero). The [dis] United States dollar-based system is about to unravel, as the US disintegrates into a chaos and hopelessness as a consequence of the kick-the-can policies implemented over the past 50 years (since Nixon closed the ‘gold window’); digital money generated by the Fed is pouring into asset bubbles like never before -even greater than the 1920s, which led to the Wall Street crash of ’29. having picked a fight with China, our biggest neighbour finds its economy in dire straits, with practically every export to China under threat of massive tariffs or outright bans.

    2. The energy supply that keeps the whole corrupt and dysfunctional system operating is on its last legs: international oil prices are too low to support much of the oil extraction business, but will not rise because there is already demand destruction, and a rise in prices would cause even more demand destruction. Peak conventional oil was in 2007, and peak every-kind-of-oil was in 2019.

    3. The global environment that makes life-as-we-know-it is on its last legs: 2020 saw a record number of highly-damaging hurricanes and typhoons, and record breaking droughts and out-of-control fires, along with record breaking inundations. 2021 will undoubtedly be worse. And with sea ice in the Arctic at a record low for much of the year (only surpassed by the super-storm year of 2012) the world faces the prospect of NO ICE in the Arctic Sea in the very near future, possibly next year. The low ice and extraordinarily high temperatures in the region have already disrupted the thermal gradient that used to keep the jet streams in place. Further overheating of the Artic region (a certainty) will cause even greater instability worldwide.

    Yes, Jacinda will play the game of kick-the-can for as long as she can (pardon the pun). But with mayhem in the pipeline she will find herself forced to act in ways she is intellectually and emotionally not capable of.

    ‘Interesting’ times, indeed. And getting more ;interesting by the day.

  4. My message a week before the “totally turn of your cognitive abilities”–NZ summer season–will likely not be popular with many. People like John Minto, and the 70 odd NGOs prominent recently, are in touch with communities the pundits and Labour Caucus barely acknowledge exist. Working class people marginalised in the first round of sackings under Rogernomics, and their descendants, truly–“the children of Roger and Ruth”.
    Not retrained, not looked after materially, but abandoned and discarded–and demonised as well!

    The problems associated with neo liberal hegemony are detailed daily, “doing ok” and wealthy New Zealanders noses need to be rubbed in it more– the dire straits at least 50% of our fellow citizens are in. And, ACTION, needs to be taken beyond the faithful rallying outside Parliament. Action that disrupts and educates, and Action that unites and gains support for a movement to retire neo liberalism for good from NZ Govt. at the 2023 election.

    There are just under three years to organise in communities, and grow support for direct action by the working class and “underclass”. There are always many struggles going on, what is missing is a United Front and some clear leaders. Certain people have well earned the title leader, and public profile, like John Minto. But time moves on, and new leaders are required.

    In times gone by up until the mid 80s, NZ workers central organisation the FOL (Federation of Labour), would meet the Govt. directly and negotiate over general wage orders and other matters. The FOL would meet the Labour Party directly at the “Joint Council of Labour” which Roger Douglas soon stopped. FOL head Jim Knox was not like Richard Wagstaff, head of the NZCTU, he was a working class battler. That is the type of staunch leadership needed. But Unions fortunes have declined with the rise of the precarious “Uber economy” and part time, contract based work, so new leaders will come from all over, like those that organised the major 2016 TPPA action that stopped Auckland motorways, like the Ihumātao supporters, like the new Māori Party MPs, there are any number that can step up, and must, if this Blair Lite travesty of a Govt. is to be stopped in its tracks and pushed into delivering for working class people.

  5. So right John, begs the saying, “hollow logs don’t make a noise until they fall” much like Jacinda sadly.
    I predict that if Jacinda fails to make the prommised “transformation” she promised us all then she will fall come 2023 and take us with her.

    • Who cares. Why would National voters worry about who is leading them when they have a National government leading the country? Yes the party name is different, but Arderns reign is just an extension of Keys, with a few more kind words and tokenism thrown in. Those on the left who still have faith in Ardern and Robertson doing something transformational are frankly delusional.

  6. What is it with the left that once they get into power they turn on themselves and criticise their party for not doing enough.
    The situation we are in is unique and the scene could change over night . One slip at the border and we could find we are back to square one as is the situation in Germany. Caution has to be the watch word and unfortunately some will suffer but we are in a lot better situation than many .

    • Trevor your comments are extraordinary. I doubt whether those of us on the left have regarded Labour as left for many years. I last voted Labour in the eighties. I doubt the people commenting on Mintos blog see Labour as on the left at all. Poverty poverty poverty, a relatively simple fix but hey Ardern is governing for all and those at the bottom of the rung have no one else to look too so why bother.

  7. Ardern made the Covid response work in no small part because of an enormous amount of goodwill she had. Her aspirations at the beginning of her tenure as PM touched many of us and the fact (or maybe fiction) that it was NZ First responsible for holding those back.

    Enter her new government, late 2020 with a majority and it’s now clear those aspirations were nothing more than cheap slogans, never meant. Climate change is just one example she has been embarrassingly caught out on today.

    Her large reserve of goodwill will rapidly empty if she continues down the path of conservatism. It is already.

    Jacinda Ardern could change so much for the better and she has that rare opportunity to do it and the support of voters but only if she wants to. Sadly it looks like being squandered purely to retain power for the sake of it.

    Wake up Labour!

    • Ardern will do nothing whilst she has the support of 400,000 formerly National voters. She will aim to keep them on board, so expect 3, 6, 9 years of meandering along.

  8. “Ardern has also got rid of those awkward ideas about transformation. For her they sounded so good on the campaign trail but proved so bothersome in government. Transformation requires assaults on neo-liberalism……”

    /agreed 100%

    I think we probably share the same views about who of the current crop of Munsters are worth their salt as well – there are 1 or 2, or 3 or 4, or 5 or 6 at most.

    It’s a hard row to hoe these days. Tried as I have to continue to support Labour, I’ve come to realise that my reasons for doing so are increasingly becoming more superficial. 2020
    Increasingly – the least worst option.

    Labour needed to win the 2017 election, and it needed to win 2020. I’m not sure whether most of them realise 2023 isn’t going to be as easy. Yet JA and her ‘inner circle’ still has a couple of folk who’re about as useless as tits on a bull and equally productive still seem to hold her affection. In fact she even promoted one of them, which to me shows her credentials – especially considering there were better options.

    And as for the blatantly obvious issue of Ministerial/Bureaucratic capture – FUCK ME with a feather duster! I’d make a deal with her if only I could stand the managerial/bizzniss-speak: I’ll point out the bullshit artists and civil servant wankers, if you point out point out the best whiskeys and middle class escapist activities I can legally get away with.

    Hopefully, JA will be weighing up her options as an ambitious, empathetic thoroughly modern Millie with 20 plus years of career ahead of her. However these days, every time she opens her mouth – all I hear is the neo-liberal language of managerialist corporate-speak that only serves as an explanation for an A+ grade student in Marketing and Communications – the student loans for which are now all paid off.

    And if she does decide to advance her future ambitions – there’ll be loving admirers across the globe from Christian Amanpour to one or two of my own fawning relatives and siblings. I look forward to a few more selfies from Chardonnay and Whiskey swilling socialists the next time I’m half-way up an Alp or Himalaya – bloody sure they’ll be gorgeous.

    Roll-on 2023! I wish her well and hope Faaaaaa-aaaaa-aaaa-f-f-f-f-f-Foi is working out ways there can be public f-f-f-f-f-funding for an historical d-d-d-d-ocumentary of her life as President of whatever the hell it was in her yoof to her current starring role as PM of NuZull (that plucky little Nayshun in the South Pacific that has a {PAST] reputation of punching above its weight [but which now relies on reputation rather than substance]).
    Pffft.
    Next
    /appropriate emoji attached
    /media time booked and scheduled
    /
    /

  9. First time I’ve laughed at a cartoon for a while. Stuff expresses the people more but the cartoons …

    I felt Minto got a bit mean at the end but I hate freemarket/ friends-of-the-powerful Labour. And that’s what they are, 36 years on.

    And no muscle, subsequently. Where the Auzzies ultimately had it over us, with their convict distrust of authority.

  10. JA is looking more like Obama every day, excepting a few details. The radical centre has yet to appear in NZ. How far away is it … hurry up !

  11. Mintie, how our knowing of our kiwi, fear. Mortgage ,rent food feed, dare we stand up, as exploitation ridicules starves and derides.

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