New Zealand has been living a lie. The Washington Post today revealed that Jacinda Ardern’s Labour-led government is in fact a facade for the “far right agenda” of Winston Peters. Duncan Greive details the shocking revelations – and the legislative programme of this terrifying coalition.
First published on 9 September 2017.
“A shadow is poisoning Middle-earth,” the Washington Post tells us. We awoke this morning to find that one of the most important news sources in the world has uncovered a shocking situation, hitherto hidden in plain sight: New Zealand has become the latest nation to fall into the clutches of the far right.
This appalling situation is made all the worse because we, up until the column’s publication, had been basking in blissful ignorance – thinking that our newly elected Labour-led government was in fact intending to make good on its promise to introduce a “kinder, more caring” nation.
Indeed the 37-year-old prime minister Jacinda Ardern appears at first blush an unlikely flagbearer for neo-fascism. The former leader of the International Union of Socialist Youth, Ardern has made ending child poverty the bedrock of her politics and describes herself as a “social democrat” and a “progressive”.
This was simply a facade. Lipstick on the fascist pig. “The real power lies with the far right,” we learn in the column, the work of a New Zealand-based blogger. “While Ardern may be the public face, it’s the far right pulling the strings and continuing to hold the nation hostage.”
Yet more terrifying: “The far right seized power by exploiting the very system meant to be a fairer version of democracy.” According to the author, the MMP system we had until now believed gave a fairer representation to differing political views, in fact bequeathed all the power to a party with just 7% of the vote. To be fair, some far right commentators had been warning of this – but the majority had foolishly laughed it off. No more!
The shattering revelations continue. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was born ten days after Hitler moved into the Führerbunker, but was not so young that he could not learn the lessons of the far right well. While New Zealanders have for a long time operated under the assumption that Peters and New Zealand First were a Muldoonist party – a combination of social conservatism and statist left-leaning interventionism – the author has some news for us. Citing Peters’ racist comments and attitude toward the media, the author has revealed the true nature of Peters and NZ First’s agenda.
Why did we not see this coming? Simply put, because no one even realised NZ First existed. Some sheeple might have believed that their role in ensuring a third term for two of the last three governments gave them some degree of primacy, but they would be dead wrong: “New Zealand First has traditionally been an afterthought in New Zealand politics.”
Now, the whole country is going to hell. “Like American white supremacists in the age of Trump, bigots in New Zealand have also been emboldened by New Zealand First’s success”. To back this up, we are told of “clashes” involving white supremacists, linked to story which states that “a handful” of National Front protesters were there, accompanied by a video showing hundreds of counter-protestors chanting “refugees are welcome, racists are not”. New Zealand in the midst of its own Charlottesville.
The piece ends with a solemn warning – stern advice for Ardern to dissolve the government instead of leading a neo-Nazi movement in left-wing organic hemp clothes.
“It would be best for Ardern to end her unholy alliance with New Zealand First and the far right, even if it meant she might not return as prime minister. As long as the far right has power, bigotry and hate will continue to fester in Middle-earth.”
It would be easy to brush this off as scaremongering, or a shockingly ill-informed column which mischaracterises everything it touches on.
This is exactly what the far right wants you to do. Instead, we will leave you with the facts. Yesterday Dame Patsy Reddy – herself likely an agent of the far right too, though this isn’t made explicitly clear – made the speech from the throne. In it she lays out the incoming government’s legislative agenda. We have bullet-pointed parts of it below, so that we all can gaze upon the malign plans this government has for our once-innocent nation.
Review the tax system (not tax cuts)
- Looking at all options to improve the tax system’s structure, fairness and balance, including better supporting regions and exporters, addressing the capital gain associated with property speculation and ensuring that multinationals contribute their share.
Superannuation and gold card
- Contributions to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund will resume immediately to help safeguard the provision of universal superannuation at age 65, and as part of the Agreement with New Zealand First, the government will introduce a new-generation SuperGold smartcard containing entitlements and concessions
Raising the minimum wage
- 100 Day Plan includes a commitment to raise the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour from April 1, rising to $20 an hour by 2020. We must aspire to be more than a low wage economy.
Pursuing more international trade
- Pursue new trade opportunities, including with Russia and its Custom Union partners, Europe and the United Kingdom post-Brexit.
- Pouring a billion dollars into the regional fund, building regional rail, re-establishing the NZ forestry service,
- This government will set a target of a Net Zero Carbon Emissions Economy by 2050, with legally binding emissions reduction targets and carbon budgets to keep New Zealand on track to this goal.
- Establishing independent Climate Commission to determine more details, including how to transition to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035,
- State house sell offs will stop.
- Through its Kiwibuild programme, this government pledges to build 100,000 high quality, affordable homes over the next 10 years; half of them in Auckland.
- This government will put child poverty at the heart of government policy development and decision-making. It will establish targets to reduce the impact of child poverty and it will put these into law.
- Change the Public Finance Act so that, every Budget, New Zealanders will hear about how many kids have been lifted out of poverty and we can all see clearly what more needs to be done.
- It will eliminate the gender pay gap within the core public sector and encourage the private sector to do the same.
- It will invest an additional $6 billion over four years in modernising our education system, including $1.8 billion to deliver more teachers, better professional development and more learning resources.
- Offering more funding to schools that do not charge fees
- making the first year of tertiary education free, with the intention of making the first three years free in future terms, and by increasing student allowances and living cost payments.
- It will support the teaching of te reo Māori in schools.
- GP fees subsidies will be increased to cut fees by $10 a visit
- Free doctor visits will be extended to everyone under 14, with teen health checks for all Year 9 students.
- Seniors will be entitled to an annual free health and eye check as part of the new SuperGold Card.
- Funding for alcohol and drug addiction services will increase, and drug addiction will be treated as a health issue.
- Medicinal cannabis will be made available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain.
- Referendum on legalising the personal use of cannabis at, or by, the 2020 election
On indigenous MPs
- This government is proud to have the most Māori and Pacific Island cabinet ministers of any New Zealand government; with eight Māori and four Pacific Island ministers.
Treaty settlements and relationship with Māori
- Most of New Zealand’s major iwi are now involved in treaty settlements. This government is committed to bringing others to completion as quickly and fairly as it can.
- It is time to start considering what the treaty relationship might look like after historical grievances are settled. To consider how we, as a nation, can move forward in ways that honour the original treaty promise.
“New Zealand has a great opportunity now to become a kinder, more caring and confident nation. This will take courage. We will have to do things differently. But it is possible, if we include each and every person, in each and every town and region of New Zealand.
“This government invites you all to join us in creating a better future together. A future with a fair and unified New Zealand, where the wellbeing of all New Zealanders is at the heart of all we do.
“Because, after all, what is the most important thing in the world? He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. It is the people, it is the people, it is the people. No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa.”
Now you know…
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.