By Matt McCarten
from Herald on Sunday
It can be boring when someone talks about themselves. Today I’ll take the risk.
I know I get into scraps and sometimes overstep the mark in clipping my opponents - and there’s always a few of them waiting impatiently for my demise.
They may not have to wait too much longer. I was diagnosed a year ago with the killing kind of cancer.
I’m only sharing this as the news seems to be getting out and some people seem to think I’ll soon be taking to my bed and softening my political views.
No such luck, I’m afraid. Most cancer sufferers think they can beat the odds. Why should I be any different?
But as a nation we are good at collective denial about reality. This week we had several examples of it.
We delude ourselves, believing we are a First World developed country when it must be becoming increasing clear we are on track to be the first “white” country to slide into the Third World category.
We have no manufacturing capacity after we took leave of our senses in the 1980s and removed all protections so we could compete with countries that pay a dollar a day.
Our politicians pretend they have a cunning plan to close the wage gap with Australia and we pretend to believe them, even though statistics show the average weekly gap is now a gigantic $580 and growing wider by the day. It won’t be long before we become a staging post for new migrants on their way to Australia.
Even our agriculture base is coming unstuck with many farms with unserviceable debts - owners are forced into indentured labour for the Australian bank they now call master.
Farmers I know just want to hock their land to any foreign corporation who’ll write them a cheque. Remember former Prime Minister Robert Muldoon’s infamous 1975 ‘Dancing Cossacks’ advertisement warning us of the threat of red communists taking over New Zealand?
It was dark humour at the time. But is it tragedy or farce that under Muldoon’s own party we now have Kiwi farmers begging to sell our country to Chinese communists?
But, we argue, at least New Zealand is a democratic and corruption-free society. Really?
Last week a leader of a dysfunctional 2 per cent party appointed political cronies and favoured technocrats to run entities that control 70 per cent of Auckland’s assets.
Rodney Hide’s appointees will in reality run the new city. The person Rodney Hide appointed to oversee the merger of the cities and set up these business boards has now been picked to control all public transport.
When Hide first tapped Mark Ford to manage the new city merger he solemnly announced he was ideal because he wouldn’t be selected for any future role with the city. The small matter of him now holding the most powerful role and best paid job in the region is met with a shrug.
The deafening silence by politicians across the political spectrum on the other outrage this week is staggering. The business and political commentary claims it was necessary to give $1.6 billion to South Canterbury Finance to protect the economy. What rot.
The other finance companies that went bust had three times the losses that this company has and the Government didn’t feel the need to help them.
This company didn’t provide any audited accounts and yet went into the government’s guarantee scheme. Once in, they offered 8.5 per cent interest. South Canterbury Finance’s phone must have rung off the hook as every broker was telling their customers to sign on quick for free money. They were right.
Obviously it’s socialism for favoured capitalists when their greed gets the better of them.
Michael Cullen said this week that eventually New Zealand will become a republic. The only discussion is, as we don’t grow bananas, whether we name it after a kiwifruit or a kumara.
And I tell you this, I’ll be working hard to make sure I’m still here to see it.