The liberal middle class have spent two weeks attacking Chris Luxon as an appalling right winger and telling us how we should be very afraid of a Luxon-led government.
The liberals quite rightly attack his arrogance and self-absorption in hiring a black Mercedes to arrive from across the road into parliament grounds for the first time as party leader. He is an unapologetic rich prick and proud of it. He reeks of long lunches paid for by others and exudes entitlement. He sees his wealth as a sign of his personal success which he “won’t apologise for” despite it being made at the expense of others and adds to our ever-widening inequality.
He wants to “grow the pie” but doesn’t want to change how the pie is cut up. He wants us to believe growth will make us all richer despite this never having happened in the history of capitalism. It’s called pie in the sky for good reason.
And despite his desire for economic growth, property is where a big chunk of his money is invested. Nothing productive here – just untaxed capital gains from long term investment while lower-income people pay your mortgages.
In short Luxon is part of the problem and will never provide meaningful solutions to make this country a better place.
So there is plenty to criticise with Luxon but on the six critical issues facing the country – housing, taxation, incomes, welfare, inequality and climate change – is he any different from the person he wants to replace as PM, Jacinda Ardern?
You can barely fit a zigzag cigarette paper between Labour and National on any of these issues unless of course it is that Ardern has refused to adopt a capital gains tax in her time as Prime Minister while Luxon hasn’t yet ruled it out.
Labour has made tentative steps in so-called “fair-pay agreements” which will begin to make a difference for some low-paid workers but after four years of Ardern-led governments most people on low incomes are worse off: rents and living costs are rising well above inflation; food banks are struggling to meet desperate needs; state house waiting lists are increasing at a much greater rate than the building of state houses; low-income citizens still pay the highest proportion of their incomes in tax; inequality is increasing; responses to welfare reform and climate change have been so pathetic they are embarrassing to talk about.
Labour sits astride the economic roundabout firmly blocking all exits towards a better world while most of us run in circles to make the Luxons of the world wealthier.
So criticise Luxon as much as you like – the pompous rich prick deserves it – but don’t pretend Labour is any different on the big issues. Wringing hands doesn’t cut it anymore.