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Out of the blue, into the red

Opinion Piece

Curious to see what the fuss is about, I sampled “The Jacinda Effect” at EIT on Tuesday.

Two big beautiful silver BMW 730d government cars look out of place beside Gisborne’s old Japanese imports in the carpark. Polished chrome dazzles and their windows are blackened like mafia staff cars. They are not even in parking spaces, which helps a quick getaway.

Inside, the cafeteria is packed mostly with women, as the airport was. Young Maori women and steely grey-haired baby boomer feminists in red-shirts sit cheek to jowl, along with a few men who look like they pretend to be feminists in the hope of garnering female affection.

Jacinda arrives to rapturous applause. She is the Labour Party’s ticket out of hapless opposition with little other change to policies or people. Fortunately for Labour, a hapless opposition makes for an arrogant, aloof government, which stops promoting talent and generates a public will to punish. Annette King “the Queen Mother” is introduced to scattered applause, which intensifies as Ardern adds that she is the longest serving female member of Parliament.

After some soothing patting about how relaxing Gisborne is (that’s benefit dependency, substance abuse, stagnancy and shuffling mental illness for you, Jacinda) she begins to erupt bumper sticker slogans. She says “Free” dozens of times, but never gets around to saying: “Tax”.

She has seen the raw logs leaving town through the port. Gisborne’s town fathers apparently begged her for publicly-funded wood processing facilities. We could make kit-set houses here! Rapturous applause.

She has been to see EIT’s trades classes. It’s great to see young women in them. She won the fourth form metalwork prize, the boys didn’t like it.

Virtually no men in EIT’s nursing, social work or primary teaching programmes — who cares? Fifty percent more women than men go on to tertiary training in New Zealand. After centuries of patriarchy, who cares? News that day that our young Maori men still have the highest suicide rate in the country . . . no mention of that either.

This is Marxist (now called Post-modernist) identity politics with a disarming grin.

As former president of International Union of Socialist Youth, New Zealand’s fawning media never ask Ardern if Venezuela’s recent implosion changed her mind about socialism. They probably didn’t do socialism the way it should be done, the way Labour are going to do it. Former London mayor and British Labour Party stalwart Ken Livingston said recently, the problem was that Chavez didn’t kill the oligarchs when he took power.

Climate change and our Paris Accord commitments are a super big deal. New Zealand will have to pay other countries over $1.4 billion every year for a decade via a globalist corrupt bureaucracy. That would be a lot of fenced rivers and jobs here, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, comrades. New Zealand must pull its weight — that’s the international socialist way.

National never really stepped far away from that way during nine years in Government. Now Labour and National, and their leaders, have swapped places in Thursday’s Colmar Brunton poll, the opportunity may remain lost because National ignored that corporate wisdom that you don’t make the chief financial officer the chief executive.

So what is the Jacinda effect? She is disarming. You look and feel bad criticising her. She’s a candy floss hit, almost completely devoid of substance. Winston Peters may be aping Donald Trump’s framing of himself as anti-establishment, but Jacinda Ardern is reaching for Obama’s winning formula — a blank screen upon which people can project their own aspirations — Hope, Change, Let’s do this!

Think of Venezuela. Let’s don’t.

Martin Gibson