Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Dr Michael Bassett: Challenges facing Christopher Luxon's Government

Unless you were present to hear the Prime Minister deliver his State of the Nation speech on 18 February it was difficult to get the full speech. Chris Luxon mailed out only a few bullet points. TV One promised to give viewers a good look at it on the 6pm news that night, but that low-level reporter, Maiki Sherman, introduced her story with a whole lot of irrelevant stuff from the Big Gay Out before providing unrelated snippets of Luxon’s speech.

The Herald left reporting the speech to Sam Hurley who interspersed a few of Luxon’s comments with only partially relevant counter arguments from the Leader of the Opposition, while failing to remind readers that the appalling educational and welfare statistics occurred under Chris Hipkins’ government. Make no mistake about it: the Main Stream Media are hard at work trying to undermine the new government.

In the end, I found the full speech. Clearly, it was no oratorical triumph; Chris Luxon has none of the charisma of John Key or the intellect of Helen Clark. But the tone of the speech was correct. Times are tough, and a more rigorous approach to welfare is urgently needed. Carmel Sepuloni left behind 70,000 more people on so-called “Jobseeker” unemployment benefits than were there in 2017 when she came to office. Luxon’s statistic that 2,000 young people receiving a youth payment or young parent payment are now expected to spend an average of 24 years of their working lives on a benefit is frightening. But as Lindsay Mitchell has pointed out on our site, the situation is much worse. More than one in five of all new babies being born today comes into a household dependent on a benefit. None of those children will grow up in a family that knows anything about self-reliance or working for a living.

Luxon’s speech was short of solutions. In that sense, National seems little better than Labour which, you’ll recall, came to office in 2017 after nine years in Opposition, with so little policy they needed more than 200 committees to advise them on what to do. Luxon points in the right direction, for the most part, but more than eighty days after coming to office he is still shy about specifics.

This is serious. Labour’s incompetent ministers became so reliant on their officials that the bureaucracy eventually came to feel that it owned the policies that emerged after 2017. And right now, those same people are being asked to reverse or unscramble their own work. A fight back is underway. Already there have been at least two serious leaks from bureaucrats to journalists designed to embarrass the new Government: one a cabinet paper warning ministers about the political dangers in relation to their approach to Treaty issues, the other about financing build-to-rent housing. Several friends of mine who interface with departments working on the development of new policies tell me they have encountered what they sense are deliberate efforts by Wellington bureaucrats to ensure they won’t deliver what ministers have instructed. Wellington, as we all know, is now in the hands of the Greens, many of them harbouring ideology that would have survived comfortably in Bolshevik Russia.

Moreover, there are nearly 16,000 surplus civil servants who were casually popped on the public payroll by Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins. A major exercise in patch protection is now underway by those whose jobs are threatened. Every RNZ news broadcast seems to contain a union threat about collapsing services if civil service jobs are pruned. But taxpayers were promised a reduction in staff numbers. And budgetary restraint in the current economic climate is fundamental.

Worse for the government, in the absence of Luxon’s clear indication of nuts and bolts solutions to the problems he outlined in his speech, ministers are dependent on the advice of many of the very people most hostile to their policies. I cannot recall a time when any government’s plans have been so threatened. Certainly, the basic public service ethos of employees needing to deliver the policies the public voted for is being challenged.

The Minister for the Public Service, Nicola Willis, ironically, is the very minister who under her other hat as Minister of Finance, has the most direct interest in the implementation of the new government’s policies. It’s certainly time for a new State Services head, and it might be time for a full-scale inquiry into the bureaucracy so that civil servants are told in no uncertain terms of the responsibilities that accompany the rather lavish salaries they enjoy. And any inquiry should include TVOne and RNZ that have been over-indulging the political whims of their employees ever since last October.

Historian Dr Michael Bassett, a Minister in the Fourth Labour Government, blogs HERE. - where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

It is ‘We the People’ who bear the brunt of and then have to pay for “CHALLENGES” that OUR successive Governments are very good at creating for us?

The question is, is it complete incompetence or is it all by design?

Robert Arthur said...

If only such could find its way into msm.

Scott said...

Absolutely right. The state funded media in particular seem to be against this government from day 1

Anonymous said...

These are early days in what will be a long fight to restore democracy for all New Zealanders.

I’m looking decisive action by the government against the divisive identity and race-based politics of the previous administration. But it will take some time to turn the ship around and point it in a new heading. CL’s fairly softly, softly approach may turn out to be the best approach against often rabidly vociferous and uncivilised antagonists.

I’m not rushing to judgement on the CL-led government. Let’s see where things sit in two year’s time.

And personally, I’ve had more than enough of past political rhetoric and ‘charisma’ from the likes of both JK and JA.


DeeM said...

If ever we needed a strong, steadfast, highly competent Prime Minister it is now.
But look what we've got. The Plasticine Man - completely pliable, squeeze and squash him into anything you want.
The public service, MSM, and all the other Left-infected bodies must be rubbing their hands before they start moulding. A bit of pressure here, a firm push and shove there.

Still, you get what you vote for. Well, not me personally. Didn't vote National, never thought much of Luxon, still don't really know what he stands for.
Love to get my hands on him though!

Basil Walker said...

Yes there are challenges, and for sure there are solutions .
We have too much government media and simply the time has come , cut your costs by 50 % or shut the door . We do not need a choice of biased media .
Stop importing coal for Huntley and use our own coal.
If you have a student loan and have swanned away overseas, pay up or your student loan interest will escalate enormously
Immediately reduce the beneficiary loans total from Social Development by increased automatic deduction .
No father, No government handout for baby .
Reduce electricity prices immediately and a simple sorry to investors who have gauged NZers unmercifully .
Immediately withdraw from the Paris Accord etc and disband the futile Carbon Zero alarmism .
That would be good for the next 100 days of the Coalition Government .

Anonymous said...

And Basil, withdraw from UNDRIP immediately, as it never applied to NZ and never will.

Basil Walker said...

Absolutely Anon 3.33 , It also was a treaty and has no lawful power. May I suggest talso that all the charity businesses including Sanitarium , Ngai Tahu , Tainui etc be legislated to pay tax . Ngai Tahu has tourism opertions that compete with tax paying businesses and they just fatten the executive wallets as the beneficiaries get a powhiri in th wind .