The revelation that Winston Peters filed court proceedings against Bill English and Paula Bennett at 4:59pm on the eve of the election makes a farce of his coalition negotiations with National. The decision was made as soon as the special votes gave Lab-Gre-NZF a comfortable three vote margin. Free Press (almost) feels sorry for all those who voted for and even made large donations (when will they be declared?) to New Zealand First but ended up with the former President of the International Union of Socialist Youth for a Prime Minister backed by a clean sweep of seven Maori seats.
For the first time, but very unlikely the last, in this term of Parliament, ACT voted against the whole House. When National abandoned the taxpayer and voted with the Green Party, Labour, and New Zealand First, ACT stood alone against New Zealand’s already excessive entitlement culture being further expanded.
What was the Bill?
National voted to expand (taxpayer) Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks. Labour lied in the process saying the OECD average is 38 weeks (actually 17.7), but most countries have terrible policy we’d be looking over the shoulder of the dumbest guy in class anyway. Continually expanding entitlements has been the road to ruin since at least Roman times, here we are again.
Free Lunches All ‘Round
Paid Parental Leave is just part of Labour’s ‘Great Loosening.’ By abolishing Three Strikes, Andrew Little has told 2,500 of the country’s most violent criminals who have strike offences ‘have one on me.’ Even people who never supported Three Strikes think that’s nuts. Then there’s the first year free for students, but this weekend saw a new loosening from Carmel Sepuloni.
Ms Sepuloni now says that the Government won’t dock the welfare payments of beneficiaries who refuse to name the child’s other parent. This opens the taxpayer up to two kinds of behavior and we don’t know which one is worse: Deadbeat Dads get off Scott-free (who else is going to name them?). Meanwhile fraudsters get to claim maximum benefits while receiving under-the-table child support.
This Government is so hard left that we are starting to miss the Clark/Key era. Lindsay Mitchell helpfully points out this 2004 exchange between ACT’s Heather Roy and then Labour welfare Minister Steve Maharey: Roy: “When will he admit that this is just a rort so that fathers can dodge child support, and why should taxpayers always have to pick up the bill?” Maharey: “It is a rort, and I have said time and time again in this Parliament that fathers must front up to their obligations, and we will make sure they do, as much as we can.” Today’s Labour caucus would expel Maharey for saying such things.
It is not unkind to say Jacinda Ardern did nothing in her first nine years in parliament but it is inaccurate. While she never passed a valuable Private Members Bill, uncovered a major scandal or appeared to do much of anything in nine years, she worked hard on herself and her image.
Off to the Spin Doctor
Free Press has been approached by people astonished to see her reading papers at the airport that weren’t about the country’s future but hers. They appeared to be studies of herself through the eyes of the media. We’d be a lot better off right now if she’d read a bit about international relations.
Secure the Borders
You can’t win power in Australian politics without securing the borders. No Australian politician can give in to Ardern’s posturing on refugees without paying a heavy political price at home. Australian politicians know that giving into Ardern’s offer to take Australian refugees will do two things: One, encourage more to come in the hope they’ll be let into New Zealand and, Two, give the Manus Island detainees entry to Australia with New Zealand passports. They won’t back down because they can’t.
Not Actually Humane
If Ardern wants to help refugees she should adopt ACT’s Canada-inspired policy of allowing community groups to sponsor extra refugees above and beyond the taxpayer funded quota –if they pick up the bill. The Canadians find that private refugee programs perform better than Government ones (Free Press readers won’t be surprised). Her current alternative is just encouraging people to take dangerous boat journeys (and needlessly irritating our most important ally).
The National Party has leapt to the defence of Partnership Schools. The help is welcome as the Schools are the best thing that the previous Government did. In fact, they form the only policy that an incoming ‘left wing’ Government can’t easily stomach. If David Seymour ever feels important enough to write political memoirs we’ll all know how extraordinary this turn of events is.