What do you think National will do this year? Let me lay a few predictions on you, cynical as they might first seem.
Strangely, New Zealand’s unemployment figures keep going up but there are less people on the benefit. This has actually been delivered as some kind of government success, but apply logic. With unemployment rising, there are more people in need, for sure.
So where are they? Some gave up and moved to Australia, where they now have diminished civil rights and no access to social welfare or medical treatment. Even though their taxes go into Australian government coffers. There’s a National Party success right there. And there are other ways of fudging the benefit figures.
But you haven’t seen anything yet – wait till they get to work on the sickness benefit. Our ‘government’ (is that what you call it?) reckons the sickness benefit is some kind of rort in order to get a more money. In some cases this may well be true – the majority, though, of people on sickness are victims in genuine need, getting a little more while they cope with illness, medication and all sorts of other stresses.
Meanwhile, far flung schools are getting teachers who have only had six weeks training. Six weeks training!
To this government, people in far flung communities mean little. They’re marginal already, so why not marginalise them further? Who cares? (We all should. This is utterly unconscionable in a modern society.) Rich people live in cities and send they’re children to private schools. The wealthy land owners and farmers in the country use boarding schools, as they always have done. Every one else … well, they simply don’t matter.
Key will continue to dismantle state housing. Labour may have set out on this path a couple of decades ago (with Helen Clark as Minister of Housing), but getting National in on the coat tails has been a disaster. The main bugbear seems to be that poor people have been housed on prime real estate, or at least real estate that has become prime, thanks to spiralling out-of-control and inequitable house prices that … rich people profit from. Poor people are supposed to be hidden in South and West Auckland, Porirua, Wainuiomata etc. Michael Joseph Savage should be spinning in his grave. He’s probably generating untapped power in his mausoleum right now.
Meanwhile, our houses continue to get more expensive thanks to the failure to introduce – or even entertain – a Capitol Gains Tax. Why? Capitol Gains Tax is an equitable measure. It would mitigate the greed of the class that … supports and votes National. So it doesn’t have a chance. But you knew that, right?
The gap between rich and poor is being widened on purpose. If you’re not rich, National has no reason to care about you. If that wasn’t obvious to you before, it sure will be soon. And those with money and power can buy the votes of the poor either quite directly, or simply by hiring PR gurus who specialise in wool-over-eyes.
Key will make way for Joyce, who will be next National Prime Minister, since Key is getting bored even though it’s harder work than he thought. Mr Fixit is sure as hell going to fix you, soon, if you are poor and marginalised already or heading that way. Joyce has more leverage than ever, in the latest cabinet reshuffle. He’s dangerous because he’s been the power behind the grinning Key’s throne – and Key’s election campaigns – for a while already. He’s most likely the person responsible for the gentle, slow destruction of the Maori Party, which Flavell must have figured out, unlike the patsies currently running that doomed show.
By the way, do you think Joyce will fix Nova Pay for teachers? That’s not really what he’s there for. Nova Pay can’t go belly up as then we’ll find out what it’s actually cost us. Mark my words – Joyce will make it work so we don’t find out too soon what an actual expensive mess it’s been, so as not to spoil National’s election chances. That’s why Hekia Parata has been kept on – she knows too much. Can you think of any other reason she’s still there? She’s a walking disaster. Meanwhile, virtually off-the-radar ministers have been summarily dismissed. But at least Joyce might make it work. If National wins the next election, Joyce will be our fuhrer.
Meanwhile, the economy won’t grow. No jobs are are being – or have been – created. More middle class people will be forced into the margins.
But for the lower class, things are, and will continue to be, so much worse.
Have a great year.