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Political Comment by Marc Alexander 30/3/07.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 1, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Political Comment by Marc Alexander 30/3/07.
Friday, 30.03.2007, 07:14pm (GMT12)

Marc My Words…         30 March 2007

Political comment


Marc Alexander

The empire strikes back…again.

The last few weeks have highlighted a sharp contrast between National party leader John Key and Labour’s Helen Clark. Key has been in the headlines for wanting to reach out to the growing New Zealand underclass. In particular, he kick-started an initiative to get business to help tackle the tragedy of hunger amongst our school children. He followed up with a sensible policy to raise philanthropy by advancing a plan to lift the tax exempt threshold. His reward from the public was a swift upturn in his own popularity and continuing favourable National polling by bringing commonsense solutions to intractable problems largely created and ignored by the labour government.

Then we have Helen Clark being roundly criticised by a disaffected public who see her and her administration as increasingly arrogant, isolated, and removed from the day to day vicissitudes of real life. Nothing underscores this more than her government’s utter disdain of public opinion in the so-called smacking debate. That poll after poll shows up to 83% of the public do not want the proposed legislation doesn’t faze her. Her only concern is to ‘manage’ the perception problem so it does not become an election liability. This has been emphasised by her deputy, Michael Cullen, who condescendingly insisted that the public have got it wrong and that by passing the law they will then have the chance to see it their way. Effectively what Cullen is saying on behalf of his boss is that they don’t give a crap what anybody thinks because they know best.

This, it seems to me, is a very dangerous time for our democracy. We are yet again being blind-sided by a government that has clearly forgotten who pays their salaries. Helen Clark, her labour caucus, and her sycophantic support parties are banking on the public’s short memories. Her cynical calculation is that by the next election voters will be more swayed by the amount of her bribes than recollect unpopular legislation the nature of which directly undermines the only protection we have from an expansive state – the family.

And the pace of the attack has quickened too. Largely, I suspect, because Labour know their time is short. They have carefully fulfilled their aims through two stratagems. The first is to elevate individual rights to almost absurd levels. Now even criminals get compensation for such things as ‘hurt feelings’. The second is to invade the sanctity of the family. They’ve done this by elevating every other arrangement as being as valid despite the abundance of evidence to the contrary. Marriage is no longer a uniquely defined institution supported as the primary and preferred provider of intergenerational stability. Helen Clark has not only diminished its legal status by promoting alternatives, her government has stepped into the economic foundation by capturing cohorts of families into the expanding welfare net. “Working for Families” works against them precisely because the primary relationship between employer and employee has been taken hostage by the financial inducements of benefits that have nothing to do with work and contribution, but everything with indebtedness to a government’s whim.

These tactics have been advanced under the subterfuge of granting legitimacy via a ‘right’ based approach with scant regard to the proliferation of competing interests. The problem is that these ‘rights’ have been gifted to every cause that asks for them whether they make sense or not; and whether they have the effect of undermining a previously given one.

The ‘smacking Bill’ for example, presumes the culpability of parents. How could it not? We already have laws that address child abuse – we just need to enforce them. The point is that such legislation, while supposedly in the interests of children, will necessarily undermine the authority of parents who are best capable of raising them. Accessing this type of state authority within the family has precedent under both the dark days of Soviet-style communism and the Nazi regime where children, through schools, are empowered to act against their parents.

That the balance of power has shifted so dramatically away from the family and the private sector and into the hands of the bureaucrats and the Labour elite should give us pause to reflect on just how fragile our democracy is. Not long ago the state’s raison d’etre was to serve the people; to help achieve what individuals, families and the private sector on its own could not. It was, if you like, the aggregate needs of society put into motion. But ever since politicians found out that the quickest way to secure votes was simply to buy them, the bureaucracy has been more than happy to play along and sate its own growing appetite. A bigger slice of the private sector pie was required to keep up with the demands. But these new demands in turn created more as a consequence of the privations forced by the increasing take.

It should come as no surprise that a government which can determine the economic landscape of a nation will, in time, grow drunk with its own power and arrogance that it will want to re-shape society into its own image. The social engineering policies of Labour (aided and abetted by the Greens) and their supporting parties are therefore predictable as they are disturbing. They no longer work for the people they supposedly represent because they no longer trust them. They only believe in themselves. 

In a sense all governments are ultimately susceptible to capture by their own egos. The danger is that when career drives politics, politicians devise new, costly and more dastardly meddlesome solutions to problems that exist only in their imaginations; hence the spanking law. Its architect Sue Bradford’s claims it “sends the right message”. Well most of us in the real world don’t want messages Sue, we want solutions to identifiable problems that only a government can and should fix. And the biggest problem right now is the government you are an unwitting part of. And you can fix that Sue, by going to an early election and allowing us, your employers, a chance to review your terms of employment.

For most of us it cannot come soon enough.


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