The End Of The World.
Or have we forgotten how lucky we are?
Have you been looking out of your window for signs of the apocalypse?
Don’t worry, you haven’t been door knocked by a representative of the Brian Tamaki party. They’re probably a bit busy this morning spruiking salvation, or getting ready to march on our parliament, which is closed.
No, I’ve been watching out the window for carnage and catastrophe. The thing is, a lot of people are saying the government has destroyed this country. Truth is, I can’t find any sign of it. Seems to still be there, more or less intact. So what do they mean?
A lot of people are writing things online saying Labour has ruined New Zealand, and now they have to pay. Some of you might say - well don’t read the comments of lunatics online then! Which is fine, but I was talking about the media.
As for those with a bridge over their heads, I’ve asked them in what way the country has been destroyed. But none of them ever have a satisfactory answer.
Usually it’s something that has bugger all to do with New Zealand, but is an issue being experienced around the globe. Like for example inflation.
Or they might talk about some of the ghastly crimes taking place. As if the Labour Party were somehow responsible for the actions of criminals, as you’ll see claimed in the comments section under every article about a violent crime.
When pushed they’ll talk about how divided we have become. Ignoring the fact that this government has done much to bring us together, and that we were pretty damn divided under the Key government.
Their final argument ends up being the real story for many - they didn’t like the vaccinations and the mandates. Now that all the restrictions are over they want it to be known that they were the real victims and that, you’ve guessed it, this government has destroyed the country.
Well I’ve got a secret.
It’s not that bad!
It really isn’t. In my lifetime we’ve had the economic turmoil of the 70s and 80s. The oil crisis, and Britain abandoning us for the EEC - the UK seem to have gotten buyer’s remorse over that choice.
Roger Douglas putting the boot into NZ society, and then in the 90s Ruth Richardson continuing to give it a kicking even though it was already down. Interest rates of 20%, sharemarket crashes, and a Global Financial crisis. Plus of course, Covid.
I’m not denying the increase to the cost of living, the price of food at the supermarket is just ridiculous at the moment. But there are a bunch of factors behind those prices. Whether it be the terrible weather events this year that have hammered food production, or Covid, and the war in the Ukraine, that have caused shortages and the disruption of supply.
But if you must have someone a bit closer to home to blame for cost increases then maybe we should follow the money? Because it’s not the government that are price gouging and profiteering on the supply of this basic need. Much of the problem is simply the sheer greed of people like supermarket owners, who insist on maintaining profit margins, that have made them millionaires, even when times are tough.
Look I get it. If you listen to a radio station, or read a newspaper, and it tells you a hundred times a day how terrible the government is, how they’re responsible for every problem, then you’re going to start believing them.
That’s before you even consider the messaging from parties like ACT, New Zealand First, and National telling you the whole thing is a shambles, a catastrophe, and only they can save you from the hell hole in the pacific New Zealand has become. According to those parties Trump was correct after all, this is a “shithole country”.
But it’s so not. This weekend families will be out and about, going to sports with the kids, seeing friends and family, life is much as ever. Come on, seriously, we live in a beautiful, peaceful country with enough resources to feed, clothe, and house every man, woman, child, and all the other classifications of folks who live here.
People are worried about the economy because they keep getting told it’s terrible. There’s a party still running round the country telling people we’re in a recession, that would be National, even though we’re not in one at all and actually we never were!
So stick that in your pipe and smoke it Luxon and Willis! And stop telling lies about how well we’re actually doing.
The world has been through much over the last few years, but things are improving. After all that upheaval things are getting better, and they’re getting better faster here than most other places. Do you want to know why? Because Grant Robertson is on it!
If you don’t believe me listen to Robertson and Willis talk for a bit, if you don’t come away from doing so thinking Grant is the one who knows what he is talking about who gets it, is realistic, and is doing the tough stuff to make things better with a solid plan… well, I’m not sure I can help you, because the difference is night and day.
If meaningful words and intelligent thoughts from the Finance Minister aren’t enough to sway you, then how about some facts? Because rather than going down the gurgler, things are actually getting better. The good ship Aotearoa is turning and heading for calmer waters.
Both Consumer and Business confidence are up in recent months.
The price of houses has stabilised under this government.
Inflation has peaked and is coming down.
The economy is growing and outstripping comparable nations.
Unemployment remains low.
Often in election campaigns overseas we’ve seen voters being told not to put progress at risk. That might sound like a far-fetched strategy here given the whole sky is falling brigade who blame every problem on the government, but it’s actually true here.
If National are elected house prices will skyrocket with the influx of foreign buyers and the return of incentives to domestic speculators. Things like cutting the bright line test back to two years are not to help mom and pop investors who have a rental to help with their retirement, they’re for speculators looking to make short term capital gains out of Kiwi homes.
Inflation will come under upwards pressure with tax cuts providing a little more cash in people’s pockets and an influx of foreign money flooding the economy. National can’t say it won’t flood the economy, as their tax plan depends on it doing so! At the same time National will be laying off thousands of government workers.
The progress we are making, and all of these factors, will go in the wrong direction for the average Kiwi if National get in. Seriously, don’t put it at risk.
The problem is that National want to keep the discussion at a very superficial level, and not have a nuanced debate where the great and glorious Luxon might be found out to be a charlatan who just wants to rob from the poor and give to the rich.
It seems to be working so far, with a lot of people swayed by their argument - stuff bad, government bad, must change, without really thinking about whether the alternative they might opt for will solve their problems. It won’t. Well, not unless your major issue is making more tax-free capital gains from the housing market.
Think wisely Aotearoa. We’ve weathered some hard times but there are brighter days ahead. Don’t put them at risk, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, by opting for the ones whispering that everything is terrible.
I don’t think anything could’ve summed the current situation up better than a segment on the news last night. It showed Chippy preparing good basic food for hungry tummies and announcing an extension of the food in schools programme. A programme National have said they’ll review, and ACT want to cancel.
Then it crossed to Luxon sneering that Hipkins was “desperate” and telling the wealthy diners in a swanky viaduct restaurant (the name starts with a silent “R”), that when it comes to the cost of living crisis he has their back.
I’m sure he does have the back of those in that restaurant, and they have his. Me, I’m more worried about kids who need a good meal so they can learn well, and having a new government that might de-prioritise them.
Parties like National and ACT would have you believe that you make your own luck in life. Ignoring many many things that might also come into the picture. But they are right - this election we do get to make our own luck.
I reckon we don’t know how lucky we are. But you might be thinking do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk? You might like to remember how well that worked out.
Nick’s Kōrero is a reader-supported newsletter on politics and life in Aotearoa. The views are unapologetically from the left, if you prefer right wing ones there are plenty of those out there. Both free and paid subscriptions are available. If you want to support my work, the best way is by taking out a paid subscription. This one is free for anyone, so please feel free to share it if you’d like to.