Numerous voices are bitching about the things that the Sixth Labour Government has done since seizing power. Persecution mania has ramped up to the point where many people feel personally aggrieved and targeted by the actions of Jacinda Ardern and her supporters. As this essay will show, the abuses of the Sixth Labour Government are a direct result of the neglect of the Fifth National Government.
People like to complain. Seldom do they like to consider that they themselves may have played a role in what has transpired. Even more seldom to people like to consider that they are part of an interdependent system with, and no more important that, all of the things they hate, compared to which they are like yin to yang.
When John Key’s Fifth National Government came to power, they inherited a number of social issues that had festered for a long time. There were large numbers of Kiwis who were desperate for a change to the housing situation, or the mental health system, or to the medicinal cannabis laws. Many of them had reason to believe that a change in Government from Helen Clark’s autocratic style to a more classical liberal style would bring relief.
All of these people were flat out ignored for nine years.
In this act of ignoring people with legitimate grievances, National sowed the seed for their own failure. All National had to do was to acknowledge that spending $400,000,000 per year on enforcing cannabis prohibition was poor fiscal management – a perfectly reasonable argument. That there was no good case to force taxpayers to stump up for the immense cost of enforcing a law that most of them didn’t want, especially when health and infrastructure were underfunded and could have used the money.
But they couldn’t even do this!
If the National Party wasn’t capable of understanding something as simple as the need for cannabis law reform – something that Third World countries like Uruguay understood years ago – then it’s a fair conclusion that they simply aren’t competent. So why not vote them out?
The situation with the mental health system is equally as jarring an example. The Fifth Labour Government didn’t do much to help those who had lost out from neoliberalism, but the attitude of the National Party towards the mentally ill was “just let ’em die.” Key ended his term with the highest suicide rate since records began.
National’s refusal to respect the will of the people wasn’t just a matter of degree. Sometimes it was categorical, as in the case for asset sales, where they were told explicitly that the nation didn’t want them sold, but did it anyway. This is the sort of arrogance that leads thinking supporters to switch allegiances.
So no-one who supported the Fifth National Government ought to grizzle about socialism or communism now. If you’re willing to sit on your arse while your fellows are needlessly suffering, even in cases where they’re not asking you for money but simply an end to the misery, then you’re also willing to accept the consequences of this neglect.
The Labour Party gets consent for the abuses it commits from the neglect shown by the National Party before it. Because one half of the population looked the other way when Kiwis were put into cages for growing medicinal plants, so does the other half of the population look the other way when the right to free speech is violated. The fact that we have the right to both grow medicinal plants and to speak freely is lost.
The great problem, from the perspective of a member of the Kiwi nation, is that this cycle of one bunch of incompetents getting revenge on the previous bunch of incompetents by punishing their supporters – almost all of who are Kiwis – is not helpful.
Labour and National are effectively a one-party dictatorship that has agreed to a power-sharing arrangement between the left and right wing factions. Perversely, the worse one wing of the Establishment Party does, the worse the other wing also gets to do, as there is no alternative to the National/Labour duoligarchy. Thus, anyone complaining about how crap Ardern is must also give some thought to the system that put her in power.
It might be true that Ardern and her Government panicked in response to the Christchurch mosque shootings, and overreacted by working to ban semi-automatic rifles. It might also be true that their actions to violate our right to free speech are obscene and bordering on tyrannical. It might even be true that none of this would have happened if National had still been in power – but National would still be in power if they hadn’t been so shit in the first place.
If we don’t like this arrangement, then the onus is on us to organise ourselves in ways that leave the Establishment no place to step in and take control. One way to do this might be to mutually agree on the sevenfold conception of inherent human rights. If all Kiwis mutually agreed that each other possessed those rights inherently, then we would have the solidarity necessary to enforce them.
If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.