Karl du Fresne writes:
Changes in the health sector reflect another dominant trend under Labour: a return to Big Government. In education and local government as well as health, power is being stripped from local administrators and placed in the hands of unwieldy central bureaucracies, remote from the people they supposedly serve.
In other radical changes, union power is being restored through a return to a discredited national pay agreements system and proposed ‘hate speech’ laws will place new restrictions on freedom of expression.
Meanwhile the government is showering money on pet causes such as cycling, announcing recently that it would commit $785 million to a second Auckland Harbour bridge that will be used only by cyclists and walkers. The plan was rightly ridiculed as humouring a small but vociferous minority of the affluent middle classes.
It didn’t go unnoticed that this indulgence was announced only days after nurses, with overwhelming public support, staged a national strike in support of pay claims that would have cost the government far less. It was a telling demonstration of Labour’s priorities.
So far, the smiling zombies — five million of them — have tacitly encouraged all this radical transformation through their silence. This can partly be attributed to the still-potent Ardern Effect, the political fairy dust that a charismatic young prime minister scattered over the country following the 2019 Christchurch mosque massacres and again when the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
But it’s possible to sense a mounting pushback, particularly in those parts of the media — such as commercial radio — that haven’t been ideologically captured. Opposition to Labour’s agenda has been fuelled in recent weeks by concerns over a compulsory school history curriculum that will indoctrinate pupils with neo-Marxist theories of colonisation and white privilege; by the ascendancy of violent criminal gangs that the police seem unwilling or unable to challenge; and by the announcement of generous taxpayer subsidies for electric cars (another handout to the affluent middle class), with corresponding punitive taxes on diesel vehicles that will hit farmers and tradies — two groups that are crucial in propping up an economy severely hit by the downturn in international tourism.
Labour certainly isn’t wasting their majority.