Monday, December 5, 2016

John Key hasn't made NZ a better place

So John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand for nearly three parliamentary terms, is to resign. Some of the more alarmist media have expressed shock, but others predicted it some time ago. My initial reaction was to tweet the above comment but on reflection I am not so sure that he has left the country no worse than he found it. Certainly it is not as good as it might have been after 8 years of government led by a National Party that is meant to stand for "equal citizenship and equal opportunity, individual freedom and choice, personal responsibility, competitive enterprise and reward for achievement, and limited government". John Key's government that has given us the notorious FATCA tax law, the draconian GCSB Amendment Act, a retreat from the principals of equality before the law and universal democratic suffrage, a heavy-handed and authoritarian response to the Christchurch earthquake that has hamstrung that city's recovery and the country's economic growth, and a myriad of other erosions of individual freedoms and expansions of government interference in our lives.

Some commentators have predicted that Judith Collins might follow Key as leader. Frankly, I think her selection would be electoral suicide for the National Party as Collins remains deeply unpopular after her resignation following various scandals during National's second term in office, despite Key reappointing her to Cabinet. The alternative seems to be Paula Bennett, but I doubt whether the latter has the necessary political presence and support amongst her colleagues to get the top job. The current deputy prime minister, Bill English, will be the caretaker until the National caucus votes on a new leader but he is hardly an inspiring choice to take the party into next year's election.

This country remains relatively free, prosperous and safe - perhaps one of the best places in the world to live based on these criteria, but under John Key the trend has not been positive and I hold out no hope that a new prime minister will reverse it.

No comments: