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Richard Prebble

Richard Prebble

A Labour/Green Government. Should we worry?

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Is it just me or do we face a real peril? As part of our survival genes we humans see threats everywhere.  That is why we are suckers for charlatans peddling fears.  But as MPs are fond of saying “just because I am paranoid does not mean they are not out to get me”.  So should we worry about the prospect of a Labour/Green government?

History is against National.  MMP is a system that requires partners.    The political circle will turn; if not this election, then the next.

What concerns me is not the wheel turning but how far it appears to be going to turn.  We have never had a Labour/Green coalition.  Helen Clark ruled it out as too extreme.   Most people believe that these days’ politics does not really matter so it won’t be too bad.

Thirty years of moderate politics has made us believe that this is now the natural order.  It is thirty years since we have had governments that actively intervened in the economy with measures like total wage and price freezes and an income tax rate of 66 cents in the dollar. You have to be getting Super to remember when New Zealand governments ordered “carless days” and regulated that you needed a doctor’s prescription to eat margarine.

Most voters think “since we have had MMP governments have been forced to be more moderate”.  I think it is not long enough to tell.  MMP could mean governments might be even nuttier.  MMP might mean the tail can wag the dog.

MMP has not altered the fact that the New Zealand Parliament is the most powerful in the world.  Crown Law is right.  A future New Zealand parliament can rip up without compensation the deal with Sky City to build a new convention center.  What Crown Law should have said is “The New Zealand parliament can order the confiscation of anyone’s property without compensation.  Parliament can do anything”.  MMP has not changed this reality.

We are always only an election result away from socialism or fascism or some loony populist nonsense.

Have the Greens moderated?  I think they are more extreme.   Dr. Russell Norman is a socialist.  He takes no responsibility for his acts of economic sabotage that have cost the taxpayer over a billion dollars in the Mighty River and now Meridian sale.  “It was not me who made the decision to sell” as if that is an excuse for economic terrorism.

Rob Muldoon used to say about PhDs “He is not a real doctor”.  Norman got the title doctor for a thesis he wrote about the Alliance Party.  He is an apparatchik.  Norman’s whole life experience is extreme left wing politics.  Metiria Turei does not make me any more reassured.  Ms Turei’s speeches reveal she is actually an anarchist. An inconsistent anarchist who supports the liberalization of her vice of choice soft drugs while supporting policies to the right of the Destiny Church on vices she does not approve of such as gambling.

Jeanette Fitzsimons is an extreme environmentalist who goes so far as to fertilize her vegetable garden with her own waste but on other issues she was more moderate.  In Rod Donald there was a streak of pragmatism and an interest in how the economy works.

Business realizing the Greens may well be in the next government has tried to reach out to explain for example how our farming industry works.  They have found Dr. Norman to be arrogant and rude and Ms. Turei to be totally uninterested in how wealth is created.

The New Zealand Business and Parliamentary Trust were, to quote its website, “formed in 1991 to help bridge a perceived gap of understanding between MPs and business people”.  The trust organizes Business Study Attachments “ to provide MPs with intensive one-to-one introductions to a business organization, to give an overview of key business functions and to encourage MPs’ understanding of the contribution business makes to the economy” .  Even lefties like David Cunliffe have taken an attachment; in his case with Air New Zealand.

All the party leaders including the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition are members of the Trust’s Council and participate in the seminars the Trust organizes.  Rod Donald was a member of the Council and took an active part.  Jeanette Fitzsimons is still on the Trust.

Russell Norman and Matiria Turei are the only party leaders who refuse to serve on the Trust Council. They do not want to “understand business”.

An extraordinary lack of curiosity is needed to hold fixed positions.  Norman and Turei campaigned as recently as 2002 saying the major issue facing the country was “peak oil”.  According to the Greens the world production of oil was going to rapidly decline and we needed to immediately give up our cars for public transport.  Since that prediction the world’s production of hydro carbons has exploded and fracking is making America go from the world’s largest importer to an exporter.

More curious people after being so spectacularly wrong would reexamine their beliefs.

None of which would matter except Dr. Norman and Ms. Turei may soon have power.

A government powerful enough to take property off Sky City is certainly powerful enough to take your property.

Labour leader David Cunliffe did not rule out Dr. Norman being the next finance minister until the media put him on the spot.  It was the wrong question.  Why is a mainstream party even contemplating sharing power with a party as extreme as the Greens?

As I write this article I conclude that just being worried about the prospect of a Labour/Green government does not cover it, I think a better description is of how we should feel is petrified.