Wednesday, September 12, 2012

National's dual themes: authoritarianism and cronyism


(Morph courtesy of Rowan Crawford)

What are the big themes of the National government? Sadly, its authoritarianism and cronyism. On the first, we have ECan, "tough on crime", CERA, more "tough on crime", ECan again, and now National's war memorial farce. On the latter, there were tax cuts for the rich, ETS subsidies, gutting the RMA, ECan, PPP prisons, "Roads of National Significance", privatisation, charter schools - the list just goes on. And they're themes which have been developed even more strongly since the last election. As of last week, the government had passed just thirteen non-money, non-Treaty settlement bills since the election. Four of these - the Crown Pastoral Land (Rent for Pastoral Leases) Amendment Bill, Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill, Mixed Ownership Model Bill and Road User Charges Bill - were pure cronyism. Another four - Customs and Excise (Joint Border Management Information Sharing and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims (2012 Expiry and Application Dates) Amendment Bill, Search and Surveillance Bill, and Social Security (Youth Support and Work Focus) Amendment Bill - were explicitly authoritarian. The remaining five are mostly tinkering around the edges and patching up old legislation. Basically, there's not a lot to their policy other than "cracking down" on people, and handing great wodges of cash to their mates. And there seems to be little prospect that this is going to change anytime soon (though this could be taken as a new emerging theme of "vicious stupidity", I suppose ).

Update: Credited morph-creator. Which I should have done yesterday.