The fifth Labour government was a disappointment, an embarrassment, and a litany of opportunities lost. Many good things were done, even the occasional great thing â€“ but right now I can only look back with disappointment.
For nine years with had a “left wing” government, a Labour government, which:
- put a refugee in solitary confinement for 10 months, despite never telling him what he was accused of
- employed a senior police officer for nearly four years despite him admitting to the sexual exploitation of vulnerable teenagers and publicly supporting convicted rapists
- put in place financial support for the children of workers, but ignored the plight of our poorest and most vulnerable children
- drove a 50% increase in the prison population
- failed to bring stability to our abortion rules; leaving our bodies to the whim of the next government
- did not give workers back the right to strike
- drafted and passed amendments to the Immigration Act removing rights of appeal and allowing the use of secret evidence
- drafted and passed the Terrorism Suppression Act, a piece of legislation which cuts deeply into our fundamental rights
- condoned and supported the October 15 raids in which the Police invaded and harassed innocent communities
- passed legislation preventing courts deciding who should own the seabed and foreshore
- put NZ troops into Afghanistan and Iraq
- released an wonderful disability strategy, and completely failed to implement it
- failed to address climate change in any meaningful way
Don’t misunderstand me, that Labour government was hugely better than its predecessor (and has every sign of being better than its successor) but it could have been so much more; we deserved so much better.
I’ve been heard express similar sentiments myself, and don’t disagree with your points. I could add a few disappointments. After the passage of the ERA–which relied on an institutional form that is in a post-mature/renewal crisis phase rather than experimenting with wages councils for secondary labour market workers–more effort seemed to be expended on restructuring the Department of Labour than anything useful…
But, I’m inclined to think on reflection that the glass is half full. It took a great deal of effort to repair much of the damage done by so many years of neo-liberal experimentation, and for that effort we should be grateful.
Public health care spending rose steadily a % of GDP, after stagnating over the previous 15 years, and rose by about 5% per capita p.a.
Market rentals on state housing was abolished.
The RBNZ’s inflation target was raised to 3%.
Interest on student loans was eliminated for graduates who stay in NZ.
The ERA helped stabilise worker representation.
And so on.
It seems to me that, after 2 good terms in which much progress was made, things went to pieces in the last term, with a mixture of bad decisions (many of which you list), hubris, and pandering to Winston Peters diverting focus from further progress.
Indeed. There is an upside though. In three years time the right block will have lost the 3% advantage that it now enjoys over the left block, and Labour will be forced into coalition with the Green and Maori Parties. That promises more progressive change in one term than we had in the last 9.
Many/most of the things on my list happened before the 3rd term: Zaoui, Afghanistan, Iraq, TSA, Seabed and Foreshore, WFF not providing for children of beneficiaries spring to mind. The bulk of the rest were true for the full length of their tenure.
Jafapete: Public health care spending rose steadily a % of GDP, after stagnating over the previous 15 years, and rose by about 5% per capita p.a.
And yet the health system is now in a worse state than it was 9 years ago. Extra funding is good, but only when it is spent on actual health, rather than ideology.
Your litany of Labour’s last term sins omits the worst of the lot – the refusal to eliminate genetically engineered foodstuffs or, alternatively, the refusal to even require that such Frankenstein slop is labelled.
I am still amazed at the free market insistence on consumers being given the choice of what goods they purchase – energy munting plasma tv’s being the latest example – yet when it comes to the products we actaully eat, that freedom of choice seems, somehow, to evaporate.
Strange as it may seem I agree with many of your points.
Unlike many on the ‘right’ I never agreed with the position taken by many re Zaoui. I was and am strongly in favour of him being here, unless concrete and fully verifiable evidence of him being a proponent of terrorism can be produced. I do not accept anything from the French in this regard who have a long record of deviousness in this area, especially as regards Algeria.
re the senior police officer, I think much of this is down to employment law and the culture/inaction of the NZ Police rather than the Labour government
re WFF one of the major issues with government and business in NZ is the woeful failure to upskill the workforce and to increase productivity – the reliance on the commodity cycle has to be reduced, neither Labour or National seem to have had any real idea how to do this – a major growth in national prosperity would do much to alleviate this issue, in that regard as incomes rise WFF should be cut back and focussed on those who need it
I am firmly of the view that locking non-violent offenders up probably achieves little, especially if they are of poor education. I support looking at alternatives.
I detest the views of the SST
The Immigration Act is a disgrace in a so called free society. It and the TSA are prime examples of how terrorists win through enabling oppression in the name of freedom
I am disturbed by the October 15 raids, but know too little to really form an opinion
In principle I support repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed legislation
But there are many other areas of concern than those you list
“I am still amazed at the free market insistence on consumers being given the choice of what goods they purchase -‘
Considering a “free market” is just the term given to free people trading with each other by mutural consent I’m not suprised a fascist like you doesn’t get it….people don’t want your bossyboots BS when it comes to running their lives….thats a major reason why the Labour parasites were turfed out….control freaks are way unattractive.
I agree with your comment
James, From my observations of the mood here in the USA, it looks like incompetence and veniality (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al.) well and truly trumps bossiness when it comes to unpopularity. The relevance for NZ? Just that the new government had better get its act together soon, or it’ll be but a fleeting memory in three years time.
PS…Loved that “Wealth of Nations”…..;-)
Jafapete….I don’t disagree.If National do the wet and whimpy “us too” socialist routine then they deserve to go and be replaced by the real Red devils in Labour….
The Bush years are another example of big government sudo socialism….and Obama will continue it just with more zeal…..yawn.
You might like to consider the final part of the paragrah of the sentence you have taken out of context: “yet when it comes to the products we actaully eat, that freedom of choice seems, somehow, to evaporate”.
My point is: the “free market” has taken great pains to avoid labelling GE products and, thus, actively seeks to deny consumers the very freedoms it espouses. Don’t you find that amazing – the sheer hypocrisy of it?
Perhaps there were too many words in my post for you to maintain concentration to the end?
BLiP I’m with you. “Free market” means that everyone is free to exploit anyone they can. What’s that you say? The neoclassical economists assume that all the players have perfect information about the market. That’s very nice, isn’t it? Now, back to reality…
I tend to agree with Jafa as to the glass half full, but am appalled at the way the Labour govt fell lock-step into the post 9/11 terrorism hysteria. The incarceration of Zaoui (whose case I know a little about) and the passing of the TSA, as well as the NZSIS 2005 report claiming that “home-grown jihadis” were NZ’s gravest threat, strike me as stains on the Labour legacy. The Urewera raids may have some basis in criminal law, but the attempt to trial the TSA for the first time in that episode was another example of Labour playing loose with civil liberties (to think that the Police did so on their own is very naive).
I disagree with Anita about Iraq and Afghanistan (see my post above). The short-lived combat engineer (perhaps SAS) deployment in Basra was authorised by the UN in its post-invasion reconstruction effort, and was little more than NZ face-saving in front of its allies. The ISAF mission in Afghanistan is even more important and internationally supported, so I do not think Labour erred on that one (in fact, it may have been a little too meek in its contribution).
“You might like to consider the final part of the paragrah of the sentence you have taken out of context: â€œyet when it comes to the products we actaully eat, that freedom of choice seems, somehow, to evaporateâ€.”
You still have freedom of choice….just not the right to bully producers to get you what you want.If a product doesn’t satisfy your needs ….walk away,try another…the market allows you that right.Why the boo hoo baby bullshit about needing a label? HTFU. Its you who wants to use force against producers….
“My point is: the â€œfree marketâ€ has taken great pains to avoid labelling GE products and, thus, actively seeks to deny consumers the very freedoms it espouses. Donâ€™t you find that amazing – the sheer hypocrisy of it?”
Theres no hypocrisy…see previous answer…..the same market also has producers responding to the demand of you and others who care about such things and labeling their products….if they picked it right they will “win”….if not they will lose.Personally I would love to be able to eat labeled GE food….I have overseas and its far better than the usual stuff. Its only in backward NZ that there still seems to be an issue….sigh!
“Perhaps there were too many words in my post for you to maintain concentration to the end?”
No….I nailed you.
“BLiP Iâ€™m with you. â€œFree marketâ€ means that everyone is free to exploit anyone they can.”
Good….because everyone alive “exploits” others and their needs to prosper….when done in a free market its called trade.When socialists do it its called slavery.
“Whatâ€™s that you say? The neoclassical economists assume that all the players have perfect information about the market.”
A lie….never has that ever been a Classic Liberal theory….same goes for Trickle down….another leftie invention….Classical Liberalism talks about prices and the signals they send….try reading sometime boys…
The last Labour government was a “worst of both worlds” administration, concerned above all else with its own re-election chances and controlled by a borderline megalomaniac who could brook no opposition to her perspectives without taking it personally and becoming personal in her response.
The kneejerk response to every issue assumed that:
1. The populace were too ignorant to make decisions about what was best for them;
2. ergo, the superior intellects of The Inner Circle (which was often a circle of just two) would decide; and
3. because everyone knows the peasants are revolting, the decision would be implemented through bans, penalties, restrictions and other punitive measures. Who needs hearts and minds when you’ve got them by the wallet?; and
4. In order to ensure a docile or at least disgruntled-but-cooperative populace, the potentially dangerous (in terms of election loss) middle class would be made increasingly dependent on the State. The poor were Labour’s natural constituency and would vote that way no matter what, so they could get ****ed when it came to WFF etc.; and
5. The corollary is that everyone with a different opinion, no matter how well rationalised and genuinely held, is either a) ignorant, b) evil, c) both. Thus, for instance, anyone opposed to Section 59 is either an evil monster who obtains perverse pleasure from child abuse, a supporter of such people, or just plain dumb.
Your last paragraph states they were somehow better than what came before. No, they weren’t. They made some decisions which you see as good and in many cases I’d agree.
But as government they continued and worsened the anti-democratic “we know best” mindset (aptly summed up by Michael Cullen in the now infamous “we won, you lost, eat that” jibe) that can be traced in a steady line back to Muldoon (remember Jim Bolger’s ridiculously affected “Aye am the Prime Minister…”?) and even beyond (though prior to Muldoon it had a more benign, patrician manifestation).
And there are indeed worrying signs that the present government may be set on the same path. It would in fact astound me if they were not, because beneath the policy differences the same mindset prevails on all sides of the aisle.
The free market isn’t there to wipe the bums of the lazy and stupid….get off ya arse and find out for yourself whats what with the products you want to use….and sure as eggs a smart producer will make it as easy as pie to find out about their product…..thats the market at work guys…its all of us interacting.Get it now?
.never has that ever been a Classic Liberal theoryâ€¦.same goes for Trickle downâ€¦.another leftie inventionâ€¦
My understanding is that “trickledown” was never part of the economic theory from which neoliberal political policies were derived. Apparently the original economic theory accepted that free market capitalism would require a certain level of unemployment and poverty. I also undertood that “trickledown” was an explanation adopted by neoliberal politicians to make their policies palateable to the general electorate.
The Fifth Labour government were pretty good, I liked them well enough to vote for them most of the times they asked. Didn’t like the EFA and Winston and taking money from Owen Glenn. Liked the S59 reform (but they handled it sinfully bad) and the Iraq/Afghan deployments and civil unions reforms.
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Do you think it is OK for parents to hit their children with jug cords, bits of wood, hoses, pipes etc and get away with it?
I would give the 5th labour government a 6 out of 10. Labour did some great things, labour did some not so great things.
1) Renationalisation of the railways, even though they left it till rather late, at least we have a decent chance of getting a decent railway system for a change.
2) Air New Zealand buyback, since renationalisation it has been turned round and more New Zealanders have pride in it than ever before – before it was a national pastime to run it down
Not so good things
1) Continual privatisation of health services, such as mental health, aged care, and so on..
2) closure of the remainding mental instituions, leaving a lot of mental health patients being deprived of the healthcare they need
3) closure of the Queen Mary detox hospital, in a time when drug and alcohol abuse has skyrocketed.
4) Inability to deal with accomodation affordability, and avalibility, highlighted in the fact that it took an expose by the Listener to bring the fact that families were living in grotty boarding houses.
5) A blowing out in gaps between the rich and the poor, compunded by the refusal to raise benefits, accomodation supplements and loosen tight elegibility rules.
Just a few…
“My understanding is that â€œtrickledownâ€ was never part of the economic theory from which neoliberal political policies were derived. Apparently the original economic theory accepted that free market capitalism would require a certain level of unemployment and poverty.”
Whoever said that it wasn’t a classic liberal.Indeed the goal has always been full employment because poor people with no discretionary income are no use to business people trying to make a profit.Prosperous people with money sloshing about in their pockets are whats wanted…not the broke and desperate.If you were a greedy Capitalist trying to make huge profits what would you be wanting?
The solution to the current crisis is said to be spending up large…ie:get money moving through the economy. People with no money to spend are not the solution. Businesses want people out there with open wallets….not counting pennys and eating grass.
Then there are the other benefits which are less illness,better educated kids,less crime….etc etc…
Do you think it is OK for parents to hit their children with jug cords, bits of wood, hoses, pipes etc and get away with it?
“1) Renationalisation of the railways, even though they left it till rather late, at least we have a decent chance of getting a decent railway system for a change.”
Oh please! It was shit when the State last had it and nothings going to change.Rail is never going to be an “asset” in NZ….its too uneconomic.In fact its a liability….it takes value away….from hard working taxpayers to the tune of hundreds of millions….At least when some sucker in the private sector has it the rest of us aren’t raped by IRD to support the turkey..
“2) Air New Zealand buyback, since renationalisation it has been turned round and more New Zealanders have pride in it than ever before – before it was a national pastime to run it down”
See answer 1.Its still a pig and Singapore airlines was keen to buy in and run it but noooooooooo! Smarty Cullen got his nationalistic panties in a bunch and lumbered the rest of us with another liability….gee thanks Mike…
What’s wrong with our national airline being in New Zealand hands? Where is your patriotism? I didnt want stinking flithy gooks owning our airline.
It’s not fully government owned. Isn’t some still owned overseas?
I think if no-one ever said that here again we’d all be grateful.
Yes, that’s it millsy and James, you got me. Hell, “jug cords, bits of wood, hoses, pipes” etc are too good for the little scroats. A sound thrashing with some rusty barbed wire would do them a world of good. There, comfortable now your black and white view of the world’s confirmed, are you?
Or you could refer to what I said in response to an earlier thread on this very blog:
On that same comment I also noted that “being classed amongst those who ‘wanted to beat their children’ by some on the left did nothing to endear their perspective to me”.
But by all means go on endeavouring to win hearts and minds in such a successful manner.
Actually, let’s see if I can explain myself better…
In the absence of a Police Complaints Authority that is properly resourced, truly independent and has real teeth and/or a properly constituted Independent Commission Against Corruption (such as exists in most states of Australia) whenever a law comes along which provides the NZ Police more power, I apply this test:
1. Does this law have an aim I support? (S 59 did).
2. Could the same objective be achieved in a different way, without giving the Police any extra power, and without risking the criminalisation of people for minor (got that, minor) infractions through over-zealous policing?
S59 failed the second part of the test. Clear now?
Sorry Rex.I cut and pasted Millys bile without deleting that bit.
“Whatâ€™s wrong with our national airline being in New Zealand hands?”
Nothing…if those hands are private…
“Where is your patriotism?”
Im an individual….not a drone with no mind…hence Im not a socialist.
“I didnt want stinking flithy gooks owning our airline.”
Right on! They may sell it to those fucking blood drinking Jews to drop napalm on those gentle, peaceloving Palistinians! :-O Socialists of the world unite to prevent this outrage!
What extra power did the Police gain by the repeal of section 59? They could always arrest and prosecute parents for using physical discipline on their children.
Hey James, sorry to pour cold water on your right wing self-pleasure fanstasy, but Singapore Airlines is owned by the *gasp* Government of Singapore!
The barrier was lowered. The “reasonableness” test was abolished which meant that, in theory, a harassed parent smacking an unruly toddler on their (well padded) backside could be arrested and even possibly become a criminal (though I accept the risk of the latter being infinitely lower than the former, as I doubt any reasonable judge would wear it).
“Oh,” say the left, “show me an example where that’s happened”. To which I respond that it doesn’t happen till it happens. An innocent student didn’t get gunned down as he boarded a train by UK police eager to exercise their new anti-terrorism powers… till he did.
And if you’re unfortunate enough to be someone who’s on their “s**t list”, as I’ve come to call it, you’ll find that if they can’t get you for one thing, they’ll follow you round till you smack your kid on the bum and then you’ll cop it for that – a variation of the “he’s got it coming” philosophy, which is what a police officer said to my business partner when asked why they wouldn’t leave me the hell alone.
Paranoid? Maybe… but over here in WA police have used their hunt for the Claremont serial killer (still on the loose since he first killed in 1996) to target (and name as a suspect) the president of the WA Council for Civil Liberties.
Their other favourite suspect is a public servant whom they have been following for over a decade. At one point there was so much surveillance equipment in his office the roof caved in on another worker! He too has been identified in the press but never charged.
Then there’s the former prosecutor they publicly accused of murdering his wife, but won’t charge. He’s suing them for libel but even a win will only partly restore his reputation.
Give Police a power (or a taser or a gun) and sooner or later they’ll find a way to misuse it.
You said: “The free market isnâ€™t there to wipe the bums of the lazy and stupidâ€¦.get off ya arse and find out for yourself whats what with the products you want to useâ€¦.and sure as eggs a smart producer will make it as easy as pie to find out about their productâ€¦..thats the market at work guysâ€¦its all of us interacting.Get it now?”
In the context of the point I am making and you are unable to grasp, the application of your logic would mean that the parents who purchased melanine-enhanced milk product are to blame for the death of their children.
Hey James, sorry to pour cold water on your right wing self-pleasure fanstasy, but Singapore Airlines is owned by the *gasp* Government of Singapore!”
So what? The point was it should have been allowed to buy in to Air NZ as thats what was wanted by the people concerned….that was the market solution and a good one.But no the Labour socialits butted in and caused major damage to potential investment here by sending the message that investments aren’t safe under our nationaising Government.
Blip: Sigh….you are a bit dense aren’t you?
In the context of the point I am making and you are unable to grasp, the application of your logic would mean that the parents who purchased melanine-enhanced milk product are to blame for the death of their children.”
How so? Wsa melamine listed as an ingrediant in the product? No….so the parents are hardly at fault.Some scumbags added it in on the QT and we all know the results….and the ones found guilty have been dealt to by China.
So what James, I dont want this country’s vital assetts owned by foreigners. Surely we are capable of owning our own stuff?
Fewer insults would be appreciated. Your points would stand up for themselves just fine without the insults.
What insults Anita? Im just making a few pointed barbs at the Comrades….who I notice had no issue with making a few at me first…
I will endevour to refrain from acting like Millsy (pointed barb ;-)) and stay on the issue…
Yeah I now reallise that some of the insults were quoted (tho it’s hard to tell in your comment), so:
Could you please settle down too! :)
P.S. using blockquote makes it much easier to know who wrote what.
“So what James, I dont want this countryâ€™s vital assetts owned by foreigners. Surely we are capable of owning our own stuff?”
If you…and others have earned the right by productive effort and can purchase the stuff without forcing non concenting others to pay as well thats fine with me….the issue is the press ganging of everyone into the collectivist nonsense of the “public good” whilst violating the individuals right NOT to be a part of the “public good” and not to be stolen from to fund it against their will.
And whats wrong with “foreigners”…? These are just human beings like us who live elsewhere on the planet…who cares about that? I have had more problems with home grown kiwis than I have foreigners….its the person not the place Millsy….to think otherwise is collectivist/racist nonsense.
> employed a senior police officer for nearly four years despite him admitting to the sexual exploitation of vulnerable teenagers and publicly supporting convicted rapists
Having consensual sex is (surprise) not a crime. Meanwhile, I and many others support a convicted paedophile who just happens to be gay (Peter Ellis). What does that say about my and our moral fibre?
But anyhow, when a police officer can see absolutely nothing wrong with police officers using their physical, legal, moral and community power to obtain “consensual” sex from a very vulnerable teenage girl then one has to question the officer’s judgement. When that is a senior police officer who is a role model and leader it’s hard to see how he could continue in a leadership role with such poor judgement.
It says you stand up for what you believe in.
If you were a senior police officer, or an employee of Crown Law, or of the Solicitor General’s Officer (and so on), stating those views loudly and angrily in public would probably bring your continued employment into question. In all of our jobs there are times and topics when we have to be quiet so we don’t undermine our employer.
Rickards deliberately undermined his employer, and an employer that public confidence in is sometimes life-or-death. In addition he undermined the Police’s attempts to address their poor public perception when it comes to dealing with sexual violence.
If he had continued as Auckland District Commander while publicly supporting men convicted of gang rape what message would that have sent to victims of sexual violence trying to gather the courage to go to the Police?
To try and be fair to the Clark government, I think that a lot of their problem is that they were scared of their public servants. Rather than try and seek out independent advice, they just accepted the (highly partisan) views of departments like Police and Treasury.
That makes sense early on, but they should have got better. From the bit of the public services I was hanging out in during the second term they didn’t seem particularly scared of us :)
Perhaps Judith Collins’ ridiculous defence of the police during the informant debacle is the same â€“Â new Minister scared of her public servants and just doing what the Police tell her to.
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But Rickards wasn’t a senior officer at the time. The alleged events happened more than 20 years ago. What you seem to be suggesting is that someone who makes a mistake 20 or more years ago cannot redeem themselves. I happen to strongly disagree. A professional who stuffed up 20 years earlier should be disqualified from his or her profession? We’d all be the poorer if that was the case.
What about all those professionals, lawyers, psychologists, university lecturers, teachers, childcare workers, former MPs and even former Prime Ministers who signed petitions in 2003 supporting a wide-ranging inquiry into the Peter Ellis case? Did they really undermine their employer by publicly supporting a convicted paedophile? I agree that we shouldn’t publicly criticise our employers, but publicly supporting your friends or those who you think have been hard done by is another matter entirely.
If Rickards had stood up and said “What I did was wrong, I was young and foolish then and I’ve grown up an learned a lot since. I wouldn’t do that now and I would counsel all cops against doing something so foolish and wrong” then I would feel very differently about him.
He didn’t, he stood up and said he actions at the time were just fine, and the only thing he was ashamed of was having been unfaithful to his wife. That is not someone who should be a role model or leader of Police, or anyone.
As I said, Anita, consensual sex is not a crime. (And we live in a country where an accused is presumed innocent, though I suspect you’d prefer if that wasn’t so.) You seem to forget that he was charged with serious criminal offences. If he had said that he was wrong and had acted inappropriately, the comments may have been (mis)construed as evidence of guilt. Furthermore, it isn’t his job to make you or anyone else dislike him less.:)
As for him being a role model, I am not sure that he ever set out to be a role model or that it was in his job description. From memory, he worked as an undercover cop and used drugs as part of that job. Can a drug user be a role model?
Cullen regularly disowned Treasury advice.
Clark and her minions undermined the independence of the public service
I feel I should write more, but that’s all I want to say :)
I worked in the public service during part of the 5th Labour government and saw public servants giving free and frank (and sometimes unwanted) advice.
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Police is an obvious one….remember Clarks dirty backstabbing of Peter Doone to get Broad into the job…?
Read Wisharts “Absolute Power”….has her dead to rights.