We have essentially ended up as I predicted in this column on July 2 with a first-past-the-post government.
Part of my original prediction was based on the Greens not making it. But even though they have, they are irrelevant which is no bad thing.
The deal done is a kindly sop, which will result in a lot of verbal virtue signalling from the Greens, but any real progress will be Labour’s.
Part of Labour’s success is unquestionably a flight to safety. In uncertain times, safety is certainty and comfort.
The last government was a good example of why MMP essentially doesn’t work.
We like to know where we are at.
This term is make or break for Labour simply because there are no more excuses, no one to blame for all the stuff that went wrong or didn’t happen.
My suspicion is they will make a hash of it, not because I want them to.I don’t. I want them to find talent we didn’t see in the past three years. As I said in the last column I don’t care who runs this place as long as they run it well.
The past couple of weeks have already been a disappointment though. Yes they have been constrained by special votes and meetings with biscuits, but there are also a frighteningly long line of people, businesses, industries and sectors out there with a growing number of concerns about their futures, and Labour has been missing in action.
Decisions and plans around the border, real plans – not verbiage and hot air.
Ongoing support for sectors such as tourism which are vaccine – and therefore border -reliant, in a world where the border looks closed for next year, or at least a chunk of it.
A social housing queue that’s now at record levels having cracked 20,000.
The Auckland Port so frustrated around a lack of testing they shamed the government and started their own programme. The empty places at quarantine hotels as more skilled workers line up offshore desperate to get here and help. The lack of people given exemptions to enter the country as increasing numbers of employers and firms grow desperate for labour.Shipping that’s bypassing New Zealand and leaving shelves empty at Christmas time. An asset-driven recovery package that’s seeing money fly out the banks’ doors at record levels and inflating house prices and making the wealthy wealthier.
Statistics that show that of the OECD countries, not one has increased their debt levels as a percentage of GDP as much as us.
So it’s not like there isn’t a lot to do. Yet for the past 2 weeks – nothing.
It’s confirmation of a long-held suspicion that essentially they worked out a good number of us loved being scared, liked a good dollop of welfare, and as long as we can buy a latte and go to the rugby we are basically happy.
There has never been more urgency to get on with major decision-making and yet it’s been years since we’ve seen a party less urgent in their approach.
So the fact they have the parliament to themselves will make or break them.
If they bring the same pre-Covid ineptitude to this term as last, they are a two term government.
If they are emboldened by their win, and throw caution to the wind and start really governing, they may surprise us all.
But what we will see, is pure government, FPP government, and after the last 3 years I’m pretty sure that most of us will welcome the clarity.
Even if you never voted Labour you know what you are in for. Last term you didn’t have a clue.
This is bad news for ACT and the Greens, and certainly bad news for New Zealand First and every other operator outside the tent trying desperately to gain traction.
In uncertain times, simplicity rules. It’s only when life is good and we are bored we start to dabble.
Niche thinking, and nuanced ideas have no real place in times of crisis.
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