Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Why Won't National Co-Operate with Anyone?

I read with alarm that the agreement between the Maori Party and the National Party included a new committee to investigate the causes and propose solutions to poverty.

This was one of the wild-card issues of the 2011 Election, springing from a fantastic documentary on the subject of Child Poverty and How We're Doing It Wrong when compared to Sweden, or even New Zealand in the 1950s. The right-wing citizen's militia of bloggers could only find two faults with it:

1) The mould in the house could have easily been solved by opening a window, and
2) One of the families had a boat-load of consumer electronics, so obviously, they weren't as poor as was made out.

Welcome to Missing The Point theatre.

Wammo: Keeping it Real since Ever.

Poor people may not always have been poor. Poor people often survive on gifts and hand-me-downs, and few things date as quickly as games consoles. This is called Charity, and when Christians have a mind to do so, they're quite good at it; the problem is, however, that Christians - as a collective noun - are not always the best at spotting when the money-changers have set up shop in the temple.

Likewise, anyone who has ever lived in a shit-hole slum house owned by absentee landlords and run by petty bullies of property managers know that it is not as simple as opening a window. If it was, that window would be open. But it's not open, so, therefore, it cannot be that simple.

I once lived in a unit next door to a unit with a leaky roof. The water found its way down by coming out of the roof over the head of my bed. The landlord - after dicking about for 9 months - proudly announced that she would not be doing anything to fix it.

This is the problem with Capital Gains as a revenue stream. It encourages dickish, low-maintence behaviours from landlords. And, as always, it's the children who suffer.

Newly anointed Labour Leader David _____ (Shearer, I think?) has announced his intention to force his way onto this committee. Well and good, because care for the poor is not in National's self interest: the surest way to keep wages low is to make sure there are lots of people out there that can do the same job for cheaper, wielding the threat of high unemployment to keep workers frightened. National loves high unemployment; it gives them more votes, and drives wages down.

So. Why should Shearer have to fight his way onto this committee? Surely having it be bi-partisan or poly-partisan would ensure that any changes emerging from it would be widely adopted by all the teams, instead of just one?

The second TV1 leader's debate was telling on this point. In it, Goff dropped a bombshell that no-one seemed to notice apart from Key: Labour had approached National twice, twice mind you, to form just such a committee to discuss the root problems of long-term poverty, and been rejected.

"Oh, wait," bleated Key, like a possum in headlights. "Hang on. You are welcome to contribute to the National Party Green Paper on poverty!"

(This was the debate where Key just could not physically meet Goff's eyeballs, he couldn't even look at him, for fear of turning to stone.)

Which, to me, exposes the John Key Management System for what it is:

1) Take Credit
2) Deny Responsibility
3) Profit

You would not believe the flak I caught for this one.

By having Bill English in charge, National can claim all the credit for any good ideas the Maori Party has. Just like they claimed credit for all the work done under the Green's home insulation scheme. Just like Key claimed all the credit for the Welfare Policy that is going to drive wages into the ground and drive a stake into it's heart, then left Paula "Basher" Bennett holding the towel to cop the flak, resulting in her narrowly losing her "Proud Westie" heartland vote.

Remember, also, that the Maori party are not a Left-Leaning party. All of their rhetoric is about Maori Doing It For Themselves, which is great and all to the good: Because Whitey is sure as shit not going to do it for them. But it does mean that they find themselves in bed with National more often than is helpful; because National are the very honkeys that put them in this mess in the first place, and they have no interest in fixing the problem because, again, it drives wages down.

So, TL;DR time:

Why does Labour have to fight to be included into their own policy home turf?
Because National wants to take the credit, and deny the responsibility.

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