Kerry McDonald worries about NZ’s increasing reliance on  the  govt (not a good one, he says) to  manage our lives and futures

Wellington’s  newspaper,  The  Dominion-Post,  gave it to  its  readers straight:  “I’m no saviour”—Ardern rejects saintly status”.

But   would   the crowd  of  500  attending  Labour’s Congress  have believed it?  They had stamped  and  cheered   when,  in  opening  the event,  Peter  Samuel   Jackson (no, not the film director) had  said:

We  have   witnessed a masterclass  in  leadership and communications. We  have a very special  leader.  Your  leader, our premier, our   prime minister,  and  NZ’s saviour”.

Not  to be  out-done,  the event’s  host, Michele  A’Court  ( as the Dom-Post went on)  told the crowd:

She has the  best instincts of anyone  I have ever  met. She’s  kind, compassionate and empathetic. She has a spine made of  steel. And in moments of  chaos,  she has given us  clarity. On our worst days,  she has been her  best self”.

Ardern  was  there   to  deliver  the  keynote   address  detailing  the  party’s  “five point”  economic  recovery plan —- important stuff, surely, but  reporters  couldn’t  resist  asking her   whether  she  too  saw  herself  as  “NZ’s saviour”.

She  was  quick,  in  her empathetic  way,  to  deny  it:

I  would  disagree  with that….I  wouldn’t  describe  myself  in  that way. I’m here to  do a  job on  behalf of all  New Zealanders  and I will give  my all  for that”.  

It’s  clear,  though,  that  the  party’s   strategists  already  believe   Labour  will  win the  September  election convincingly   as   the  nation  joins in the deification   of  Saint  Jacinda.   They are  already  pitching for  votes  with the  line  “Join  Jacinda  and  our movement”  plus  the slogan  “Let’s keep moving”.

Given  the  mood  of the   nation,  the formula  may be unbeatable,  although  there   may  be a  minority  of   voters   who   will  pause,  and   question  “Moving to   what?”

NZ   may  have   escaped  the  worst  effects  of  Covid-19  as  much  by  good  luck  as  brilliant management,  but   the    future  for  those  who have   lost  their  jobs — and the many  more who may lose their jobs when  government subsidies  come  to  an  end — is  bleak:   they  will be “moving”,  for sure,  but  not in a  direction  anyone   will like..

Whether  Ardern  and  her  team  have the  competence  to  pull the   NZ   economy  out of  the tailspin the  pandemic has  engendered  is  the  question  voters will have to ask themselves.

The  list  of  ministers  who have failed to  measure  up  has  been lengthening,  from  the   first (Clare  Curran and Meka Whaitiri)  to  Phil Twyford,   and  Iain Lees-Galloway, then to  Kelvin  Davis and  David Clark.

That record  lends  strength  to  the  argument   of  someone   like   Kerry  McDonald,  one of the  NZ’s  outstanding  business  leaders,  who  contends   that – among  post-1960 NZ   governments – Jacinda Ardern’s

“ … has already  shown  itself to be one of  the worst”.


Two talking  heads are  not a  viable   full-game team, and  after  a plausible  first  quarter, the wheels  fell off,  starting  with tracking, border  control, isolation, half-truths, evasions and prevarications—with three-quarters  and the critical economy   still to come.”  .   

He  is  deeply worried NZ  is  becoming  increasingly  reliant on  the  government to  manage our  daily lives and  futures.

The incompetence  is not  limited  to the politically elected government:  it is also  widespread in a “subservient, ineffective  and unreliable public service/state sector”.

So there  may be  something  more to   think  about   besides  “let’s keep moving”  in lockstep  with  Labour’s  wunderkind  leader

One thought on “Kerry McDonald worries about NZ’s increasing reliance on  the  govt (not a good one, he says) to  manage our lives and futures

  1. Kerry McDonald is absolutely right. This is a seriously incompetent government whose policy promises – think light rail, kiwibuild, ending homelessness – have all been total failures. But the public’s genuine fear of COVID 19 has been a gift for them. They have exploited this fear effectively and they have used the opportunity to elevate Ardern to unprecedented heights. Next term however we will all pay for this irrational infatuation through higher taxes and the loss of basic liberties like free speech. Meanwhile the public service has become thoroughly politicised and completely dysfunctional.

    Liked by 1 person

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