The Politics of Dumb intentions

Sheep. Photo by PhillipC

I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about New Zealand if I’m honest. To me it’s just a loose amalgamation of Air New Zealand memes, a team that’s far too good at rugby and lame jokes about New Zealanders that Australia adopts as our own once they’re famous.

But in recent months, it’s become increasingly obvious that we need to start paying more attention to our cousins across the Straight, as their green scenery has become replaced with Green ideology courtesy of the election of PM Jacinda Ardern and her Labour-coalition government.

As those of us who experienced the “Rudd-Gillard years” and lived to tell the tale know, the Labor governments that succeeded John Howard will long be known for their pathetic infighting, and loading up the debt of future generations with such brilliant ideas as the Gonski education program, the multibillion dollar asylum seeker debacle, and the national disability insurance scheme.

Then there were several other virtue-signalling exercises in giddy self-importance like signing up to the Kyoto Protocol and the green energy swindle that has resulted, and the roll-out of the NBN which even today, despite the fanfare and backslapping, continues to lurch towards irrelevance and a massive price tag.

Said best here, everything the ALP did was idealistic – loaded with the best intentions of promising all things to all citizens – but they hadn’t the faintest idea that, when it comes to issues of climate, education, human rights vs identity politics, human smuggling, saying “Sorry” or even the home insulation debacle overseen ironically by Peter ‘Beds are Burning’ Garrett, a Labor government “fix” usually accomplishes nothing at best but more often makes the situation worse.

In other words, its “cruelty personified” for the LNP to house refugees on Manus, but don’t talk about the thousands that died at sea because of Labor’s “fix” that encouraged the people smuggling boats in the first place because “feelings”.

But it’s New Zealand that needs our attention today, not because we should ignore the current shit-shower that is Australia’s parliament, but because in less than a year, not only has Jacinda Ardern, the fresh new face of New Zealand feminist socialism, managed to create a cottage industry of gushing liberal media fawning over her every utterance, but her Labour government is pushing the same feelgood, virtue signalling nonsense designed to capture the hearts and minds of millennial and female voters, concerned with policies that sound “lovely and nice” but don’t have any economic reality behind them at all.

Some Kiwi femmo.

So far they’ve had the Labour Youth Camp scandal in February this year, where Ardern’s senior leadership failed to notify the parents of four young people alleged to have been sexually assaulted by an event organiser, falling back on new-age mumbo-jumbo about “victim led protocols”, established under the false belief that the rights of underage victims could be trampled by informing the parents – does the lack of regard for parents’ views sound familiar to anyone?

NZ education minister, Chris Hipkins, late last year announced a full review of New Zealand’s senior school certificate, the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) under the guise of “supporting young people to succeed on a diverse range of pathways”. The review has merely culminated in legislation to close down independent charter schools, schools not beholden to the state curriculum that ironically offer parents an alternative for kids seeking a different pathway in life. The insidious reality is that the legislation is all about kowtowing to the Teachers Unions that benefit from scrapping schools that don’t require teachers to sign up to union contracts. Unions love a Labour government.

Then just this weekend the NZ Herald reported that business confidence has tumbled this year as New Zealand slipped from third highest to second last in the 36-country OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) rankings. Not a great start.

But it’s this piece from The Independent about New Zealand becoming the first country to introduce paid leave for victims of domestic violence that got my attention this past week. The Dom-Vio Bill, promoted by Greens MP Jan Logie, is really just another layer of legislation added to the burden of business owners, who now are not only tasked with dealing with any unfortunate victims as employees, but will be obliged to pay for it.

The legislation doesn’t require employees to provide any proof of their situation yet makes it contingent upon the employer to not only provide 10 days paid leave, but also to fast-track flexible working hours or a change of work location for the victim, as well as remove any of the employee’s contact details from the employer’s website should there be that need.

How many employers these days, given the voluminous HR departments inherent in most medium to large businesses, wouldn’t already be sympathetic to a woman (or man) suffering from mental or physical domestic abuse, or wouldn’t already make special arrangements for them in order that they can still function at work and deal with their domestic situation?

It’s illuminating that New Zealand’s official opposition, the Nationals, had proposed certain reasonable amendments to the bill, to both ensure that business owners be educated on their obligations under the new Bill, and remove the extra leave entitlement and instead guarantee that victims would be able to use their leave or sick leave in lieu. Neither of these were accepted – because Labour and the Greens are heavy on ideology and compassion but light on business acumen. Given New Zealand Maori are three times as likely to be the victims or perpetrators of violent domestic abuse as non-Maori, I wonder how this will impact on hiring decisions should there be a suspicion of domestic abuse in a potential new hire’s background?

What’s evident here is that this is yet another case where, despite billions being spent on NZ government agencies to deal with domestic violence annually, in a country alleged to have the worst record in this area in the world, the legislation simply passes the buck to business owners to deal with the consequences, but will do nothing about the root causes.

The politics of dumb intentions indeed. New Zealand voters are gonna learn the hard way I guess.

And while swoons over Ardern’s return from maternity leave, let’s be thankful that New Zealanders have a healthy talent for yachting – it’ll make it much easier for those fleeing the coming devastation to get over to Oz.