Thursday, 26 October 2017

Our new government has taken office and comparisons are already being made about the circumstances of its accession. Some are saying that the public mood is similar in terms of enthusiasm and response to the advent of the Lange Government in 1984. That government came to office after the grim and increasingly repressive Muldoon Government, and its election was greeted more with a sense of relief that the long national nightmare was finally over, than a sense of excitement about what lay ahead. That is clearly not the mood today. There is no sense that either the country is on its knees and facing imminent economic collapse, or that the outgoing government had become more and more intrusive in people's lives and virtually every aspect of the economy, as was the case in 1984.
A more accurate comparison is 1972, when the Kirk Labour Government swept to power. There was at that time a palpable feeling of "It's Time for a Change", not too far removed from this year's "Let's Do It" slogan now being reprised in so many different ways, as Kirk capitalised on a mood that the long-term National Government had run out of steam and ideas. Like today, the economy was in reasonably good shape - the impacts of the 1974 Oil Shock and Britain's joining Europe in 1973 were yet to come - and there was a growing sense of optimism about the country's future and emerging identity. The "climate change" issues of the early 1970s were French nuclear testing in the Pacific, and apartheid in South Africa (both of which the new government had strong positions on) and there was a housing shortage, in Auckland in particular. All in all, circumstances far more akin to today than to 1984.
But herein lies the challenge for the new government. Leaving aside the particulars of managing a coalition with the serially erratic New Zealand First (the Greens will be far less difficult - they, after all, are just happy to finally be there after 27 years of failure), the new government would do well to study the lessons of the Third Labour Government, lest it similarly succumb in 2020 or earlier and end up just another "what if" footnote in history.
First, it should be careful about promoting and believing in its own invincibility too much. When Kirk was elected in 1972, no-one imagined he would be dead within two years, with his government left wallowing in the wake of his demise. This is most certainly not suggesting nor wishing a similar fate for our new Prime Minister, but using the drama of the most unexpected circumstance of all to highlight the priority need to establish a credible, broad based, competent leadership team.  Next, no-one also envisaged in 1972 the economic shocks that lay ahead, with the dramatic oil price increases and supply limitations after the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the catastrophic impact they were to have on fortress economies like ours. The domestic cocoon of complacency always shatters quickly in a crisis. In the 1970s New Zealand was clearly caught short by not only the Oil Crisis but also the impact on our trading patterns and the need to develop markets and diversify products that British entry to the Common Market had caused. So, the government needs to be wary of trying to shelter New Zealand too much from global influences, over which it has no control. A cautious embrace of globalism, rather than a wholesale rejection would be prudent. We are part of, not apart from, an increasingly interdependent world. And finally, the government needs to know and understand the value of flexibility and pragmatism. It will not always be right, no matter how much it will wish to be. Kirk's refusal to budge from costly manifesto commitments, despite the international economic shocks, was short-sighted and blinkered, and allowed Muldoon, aided by the Dancing Cossacks, to storm to victory in 1975 on the promise to "Rebuild New Zealand's Shattered Economy".
Last week, one Australian newspaper stupidly and wrongly labelled our new Prime Minister a "commie", which clearly she is not. But, as an educated and literate person, she will be well aware of Karl Marx's observation that the thing to learn from history is that people do not. So I wish her well as she sets out to disprove that dictum.      
 





4 comments:

  1. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10465138

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The unintended irony of your position is typical. The right have continually undermined Labours attempt to create farsighted nest eggs for all Kiwis. Note that first home buyers are using their kiwisavers to access the autocatalytic security of home ownership. & your leader Mr English undermined the high performing super fund in an act of economic stupidity reminiscent of Muldoons folly. Make all the excuses you like - short term ditherers like yourself have cost us our uniquely Kiwi lifestyle security. Get rid of that silly bowtie & go backpacking through the ancient world for godsake & learn where we are on the socio-political spectrum & what we have to lose.

      Delete
  3. RESTORATION CAME UPON MY LIFE WITH THE HELP OF FUNDING CIRCLE INC. AFTER BEEN DRAIN BY SCAMS ...

    I'm Isabella Tyson from 1910 N Halsted St Unit 3, Chicago IL60614 USA,, i have been searching for a genuine loan company for the past few months and all i got was bunch of scams who made me to trust them and at the end of the day took my money without giving anything in return, all hope was lost i got confused and frustrated, i find it very difficult to feed my family and vowed never to have anything to do with loan companies on net and went to seek of assistance from a very good friend which i explained all my experience regarding online companies with and said he can help me that he knows of a Godsent and well known company called FUNDING CIRCLE PLC, he stated he just got a loan from them although i was still very unsure about this company due to my past experience but i decided to give it a try and did as i was directed by my friend and applied, i never believed but i tried and to my greatest surprise i received my loan in my bank account within 24 hours, i could not believe that i would stand on my feet financially again. I’m glad I took the risk and applied for the loan and today i'm thanking God that such loan companies still exist and promise to share the good news to people who are in need of financial assistance because the rate of scams on net is getting very serious and i don't want people to fall victim when we still have genuine and Godsent lenders.. You can contact this Godsent company using the information as stated and be a partaker of this great testimony.. Email: fundingcapitalplc@gmail.com OR Call/Text +14067326622 thanks


    ReplyDelete