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I Didn’t Vote for Them

February 17, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’m getting worried about New Zealand. I really am. If this government gets back into power again at the election (and it probably will) I can see a very bleak future ahead. The initial honeymoon period that John Key and the National Party enjoyed at the start of their current term is well and truly over. Now we see the real John Key: a nasty, self-centered, ideologically driven, but skillful politician, with no new ideas and very little real concern for the country as a whole.

The consequences of his tax cuts for the rich are now becoming apparent. The rich must be having a good laugh sitting on their piles of money while many New Zealanders look for work in Australia, double the number live in poverty and need food banks to survive, uncaring corporations push food prices up beyond many people’s ability to pay, and the government borrows hundreds of millions a week to pay for its generous gift to them.

Have the rich company owners and managers returned this undeserved handout by giving something back to the country? As the well-known ad campaign would say: yeah right! They just make things worse by laying off more staff, buying expensive items from overseas (and making our overseas debt even worse) and generally mismanaging the organisations they are in charge of.

We need an attitude change here. The vast majority of rich people aren’t to be admired for their hard work, intelligence, innovation, or dedication to our nation’s economy. They are to be despised for their greed, simple-minded beliefs, and self-centered attitude to gathering as much wealth for themselves with little regard for anyone else.

In case you hadn’t already noticed this blog entry is descending into a bit of a rant and I admit that I have no real statistics to back up my views on this subject. But common sense clearly shows what’s happening. Fact: since National took power the rich have got richer and the poor poorer at an unprecedented rate. Fact: double the number of people live in poverty now compared to before the current government’s reign. Fact: Australia was affected by the global crisis just like us, it has a more left-leaning government, yet it is significantly outperforming New Zealand.

So by any reasonable criteria you want to name this government is a dismal failure. And whatever they say they will never be any good because they are driven by the discredited ideologies of the past. Privatisation doesn’t work. Tax cuts for the rich don’t work. The trickle down effect doesn’t exist. And cutting costs does not improve the economy.

The latest manifestation of the problems we are facing is the price of food and the price of milk has been a particular focal point because New Zealand is one of the world’s major dairy producers. Many families can’t afford milk in New Zealand any more because the monopoly which controls milk production is determined to squeeze every cent they can out of the poor consumer.

And there’s no need for it at all. It’s not like the dairy farmer – the person who does all the work – is making a lot out of the inflated price of milk. Sure, many dairy farmers are getting rich (I won’t start on the policy of selling off our farms to overseas investors – or should that be “exploiters”) but, according to my calculations farmers are paid just 68 cents for the liter of milk which retails for between $1.45 and $2.60. Someone is doing rather well for doing very little, aren’t they?

And what’s behind the fact that the same company sells the same milk (under different brand names) for such varied prices? The CEO made some lame exclude regarding research and development on TV yesterday but, like most CEOs, he’s nothing more than a skilled liar. Why don’t these people just get honest and admit they are simply using dirty tricks to maximise their profits.

The health benefits of milk are well established and I do wonder how many deaths this irresponsible clown has been indirectly responsible for because of the poor health resulting from his greedy pricing practices. Oh, but that’s the market in action and we must all pay homage to the mighty market. Sorry, but your market just doesn’t work.

And now the ultimate insult: John Key has responded to reports about increased demand for food parcels by saying “…that anyone on a benefit actually has a lifestyle choice. If one budgets properly, one can pay one’s bills. That is true, because the bulk of New Zealanders on a benefit actually pay for food, rent, and other things. Some make poor choices, and they do not have money left…”

I see. So surviving for a year on what Key makes in a week just involves a lifestyle choice. Is starving a lifestyle choice? Is joining the growing New Zealand underclass a lifestyle choice? Is being a victim of National’s great campaign of handouts to the rich a lifestyle choice? I guess it must be because John Key would never try to mislead us, would he.

Just to be fair I do have to say that I’m sure there are people out there who are at least partly to blame for their own predicament – maybe they spend too much on cigarettes or alcohol for example – but trying to suggest this is the cause of all poverty is just dishonest.

It’s possible there will be a miracle and National will be removed from power at the upcoming election. But I doubt it and that will mean we are faced with more of the unthinking, formulaic stuff that the current government seems to favour: selling off our valuable assets, stealing from the poor to give to the rich, and refusing to accept the blame for our steadily worsening economic position. When all this happens don’t blame me. I didn’t vote for them!

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  1. February 17, 2011 at 10:19 am

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