The beatup on Simon Lusk’s strategy documents, which are materially indistinguishable from Helen Kelly writing a memo about how Labour can use union manpower to get out the vote, is yet another example of the media getting itself worked up over nothing. The only true fiscal conservative to run in New Zealand in the past 20 years was Don Brash. He did not perform well.
John Key knows that fiscal conservatism does not fly. That’s why reducing the deficit has taken a backseat to things like “investing in infrastructure”, keeping interest free student loans, leaving tax cuts off the table after the 39c dragon was slain and not changing Working for Families – the biggest middle class welfare scheme in New Zealand’s history.
He is being very smart by disassociating himself from Simon Lusk. In the long war that started back with the Cavaliers and the Roundheads, the Cavaliers have been defeated at every single important juncture in history. The myth of neo-liberal hegomony is simply a device for Noam Chomsky to sell books to people annoyed they couldn’t get into a position of power within the government, media or academia.
Progressives have run New Zealand for a lot longer than anyone in the media would even realise. They even made up a phrase “public service neutrality and professionalism” that gives them cover if they inadvertently show their true colours when designing or interpreting a policy. Even commercial regulation is indistinguishable from American style progressive idealism.
Fiscal conservatism will always lose because it is completely antithetical to the interests of the median voter. John Key and Bill English haven’t rolled back the policies of Helen Clark because they simply can’t! That’s what fiscal conservatives don’t get – they are on the wrong side of history. It’s a waste of time to try and convince donors to increase National Party donations from $6M to $18M per election cycle because no party can successfully roll back progressive policies without opening itself up to thrusts to the jugular.
What is the trajectory of history? It is of ever increasing power embedded in government. If you want proof of this, for a thought experiment, get into your time machine and tell an Auckland homeowner in 1913 that he can’t build a deck without getting the approval of someone on the local board. For further hilarity, go back to the 1870’s and tell a sheep farmer he should be concerned about the sheep dung of his flock ending up in pristine high country streams.
This is why Russell Norman saying that the government isn’t progressive enough is funny. The National Government is the most progressive National government in history. They are only still there because they didn’t touch the progressive goodies that Helen Clark (a true globalist progressive if there ever was one) implemented during her premiership.
I thought that the Green Party had guys (Clive? Clive?) advising them on politics in New Zealand. They’ve been consistently hitting >12% since the last election, and pretty much all left-leaning young people prefer Greens to Labour. Their time will come as older public servants who lean Labour retire and die.
Russell Norman will have aggravated some people with his remarks this weekend. He’s not biding his time for the inevitable (thanks MMP!) Green landslide which I predict to occur from 2020 onwards. The trend is for things to go his ideologies way, ever since the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the French Revolution.
Relax, you’ll be able to replace the BMW 5-series with Priuses (Pri’ii?), you just have to wait a decade.