Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fantasy in Middle Earth

It looks like New Zealand has lost The Hobbit films. Sir Peter Jackson has said that Warner Brothers are coming to New Zealand next week to discuss moving the film production offshore. Sir Peter will remain as director but thousands of New Zealand actors, production staff and support contractors will not have the opportunity that the Lord of the Rings provided them in past years. Why? It is because of the greed and stupidity of the union, Actors Equity, and a few scurrilous troublemakers in the actors fraternity. They have bitten the hand that feeds them and now they are left to wonder why they won't have any work at all.

This is typical of the mentality of many New Zealanders. People in this country live in a political fantasy land. They seem to forget that money and jobs don't grow on trees. They adhere to the utopian, socialist notion that a benevolent government can provide for everyone. They aren't prepared to ask the question, who provides the benefits they expect the government to bestow on them? They aren't prepared to acknowledge the obvious - that it is always an entrepreneur like Peter Jackson (for that is exactly what he is) who ultimately creates all the wealth they consume.

It is not that these people are stupid - we could forgive them if they were. No, they know perfectly well that their beliefs are based on a fantasy that has never worked well anywhere in the world. That makes their views, and their sabotaging politics, all the more reprehensible. They are the same people who demand higher salaries for teachers without being prepared to link pay to performance, or who demand higher taxes to pay for ever more welfare handouts and more money for their pet social engineering projects like preserving the Maori language, without questioning whether such extortion is damaging to enterprise and jobs.

Unfortunately, such dishonesty is the stock in trade of a fair proportion of our elected representatives who give their fellow travellers want they want. Although in the case of some of the politicians, I think lack of intelligence is a valid excuse. That is the effect of a dishonest electoral system that puts half the seats in Parliament in the hands of party apparatchiks who appoint people they can control to party lists.

Unfortunately I don't think The Hobbit debacle will be a wake up call for these mediocre bludgers. They will continue to sell their brand of politics that says all anyone needs is a benevolent government (run by their friends, of course). And New Zealand will continue to get poorer as a result. I just hope they reflect for a moment on the damage they have done in this instance.