“Beware the bossy state”, blared the cover line of “The Economist” last week.
But New Zealanders tend to like some bossiness in their leaders. Look at how popular Jacinda Ardern has been after calling the hard shots during the Covid pandemic.
Even now those who believe she has single-handedly saved this country from the many deaths that have been recorded in countries like the UK, the US and Australia won’t countenance any criticism of her, or her government. Ardern made the big calls, but did it with a smile, and a “be kind” message.
The question is whether this can be sustained as NZ battles back to something approaching normality. And if anyone believes this will be an easy battle to win, they have only to survey the problems the pandemic is leaving in its wake.
The real impact of New Zealand’s economic response to Covid-19 was the headline in The Spinoff above an article in which Bernard Hickey argued:
“Contrary to many assumptions, New Zealand’s economic response to Covid was among the worst in the world in terms of widening wealth inequality and the wasteful use of taxpayer funds.”
And more recently, another headline warned: