Isn't it wonderful? National announced that there is a $3.7 billion surplus ($2.1 Billion more than expected!) just close to election time. We are supposed to think, "Wow! Aren't they fantastic at managing our collective purse!" No, it is not wonderful, it is shameful. Instead of using their good financial management to put more money where it is desperately needed - eliminating poverty, increasing affordable housing stocks, improving access to healthcare, raising education levels… they are simply crowing; bragging; boasting. Shameful is the only word for it. I am ashamed of the party I have previously voted for.
What is it about money people? Do you automatically lose your humanity when you improve your fiscal management? Is everything about the dollar? Are you simply grown up school kids trying to appear bigger & stronger in the schoolyard? My God! What is the point of amassing wealth if it's simply to admire more zeros on a bank balance! I had an admittedly privileged background compared to most, and I was brought up to work hard & taught that I was entitled to nothing I didn't work for. Because of my background & family, there was really no option for me but to vote conservative / national. After all, Labour meant the unions & people after something for nothing except to disrupt & plunder good businesses. Labour was soft on those who weren't working & wanted to give them money anyway. Stupid because surely those people were just lazy & if you forced them to work - any work but preferably the harder the better - they would begin to understand the value of the dollar they were being offered by a socialist party?
Then I grew up. Yes, I was raised amongst people who fostered these attitudes. Yes, I bought into them. I was always slightly uncomfortable with extremes & could never square either position. Older & hopefully wiser now, I can see things with a clarity I would have died for when I was younger. Being financially sound is great; working hard is admirable. But what if the result of all that hard work & financial diligence is the selfish, personal accumulation of wealth that benefits no one in society except that individual?
This is the National creed. Bill English was explicit about this only a couple of days ago. He does not want to reduce doctor's fees, he wants to give people back the money in tax savings to allow them the choice on how to spend it!! The choice? What fairyland is he living in? When the vast majority of people are struggling to pay for food & shelter & don’t have a high enough income to get much tax back anyway so anything they do get is swallowed up by life; what choice is that? Oh yes, sorry. I've left out the people wealthy enough to pay for private medical insurance who just want a bit of a refund (because they gain the most from any refund anyway!) Shame! Increasing the rich/poor divide is inevitable when the managers only manage for the managers!
I'm ashamed to live in a country I call home where child poverty is rampant, obesity is an epidemic & people simply can't afford to rent or buy a warm dry home. Not everyone can be a manager, not everyone can pull themselves up. Most people need help of some sort, but help should be natural, not shameful; it should be given with natural humanity, not with a myriad of strings attached!
So, shame on you National for not leading! Managers you are & good managers at that. But leaders you ain't. To be a leader you need vision. You need to be able to see & direct all the country's people to a better future. A manager just looks at how to cling on to power, a leader makes the hard choices & shows people why they are necessary & how to get through them. Fossil fuels are out, electric is in. Change one-third of the government's fleet of cars to electric by 2021? Come on Bill, that's probably going to happen anyway! Leadership! Change them all by 2020! There will be ways you can swallow the cost if you really try! But you don't have the vision for that, do you? Yes, I'd hire you as a CFO, but I'd make sure you were under the thumb of a good CEO lest the financial lunatics started running the asylum. Oops! Too late.
So if National have good financial management but a shameful record in society, who should be leading us? I don't want to go through the roll call of those who have adopted the mantra of 'if you can't do, go into politics', but there really is a dearth! So, Jacinda. Fresh, enthusiastic, sensible, compassionate. Well, she has my vote already. Is she a leader? I think so. Only time will tell if she can take those leaps in societal change that New Zealand desperately needs to stay ahead in the world - driving, not adopting new environmental technologies, driving things like the universal wage, driving in sugar taxes, universal health… she is attacked because she is young & 'inexperienced'. Inexperienced in what? Running the economy? She can hire others to do that. She is sensible & my instinct tells me she knows when to lead & when to delegate. You don't need experience for that, I've seen that work well in others much, much younger. If she's a true leader, it matters not how many years she's been on this planet.
I want to live in a country that is managed well but cares for all its citizens & their place in society & the world. I no longer want to be ashamed of a political system that promotes selfish greed ahead of societal welfare. Am I a socialist? A communist? No. Just an ordinary guy who wants to live in harmony with other ordinary people, not feed off them.
If you are also dissatisfied in how our country behaves towards its citizens, then the best chance we have at the moment is to vote Labour in with a clear majority - as the lady herself says, "Let's do this"!