It’s customary in the run up to an election for voters to ask, “Do I feel better off today than when this Government first took office?”
Since Labour is a second term government, let’s turn our mind back to 2017.
After nine years of National, economists were describing New Zealand as having a “rock star” economy.
A Listener poll published at the time showed “84% think we do incredibly well for a small country at the bottom of the world, and 76% believe, given the current state of the world, there is no better country to live in.”
Kiwis appeared satisfied with the party that had guided the country through the swine flu pandemic, two earthquakes, the Global Financial Crisis, and some difficult commodity slumps.
However, it was opposition parties that captured the interest of the media and ended up changing the course of the election.
It started when the Green Party’s then co-leader Metiria Turei delivered a controversial speech on welfare reform, during which she admitted benefit fraud. Perversely, it caused a surge in support for the Green Party – at the expense of Labour. This triggered a Labour Party leadership change with Jacinda Ardern replacing Andrew Little just seven weeks out from the election.
Thus began a media ‘love-fest’ with Jacinda Ardern. Media commentators inhaled ‘Jacindamania’ fairy dust and Labour hoovered up supporters from within the Greens, New Zealand First, and even from National.
Labour’s new leader assured New Zealanders that if she became Prime Minister, she would be open, honest, and transparent. Thanks to the vagaries of MMP she was appointed our PM. But open, honest, and transparent, she was not.
The warning signs were there.
The fact that she had been the President of the International Union of Socialist Youth and continued on in that role for a further fifteen months after being elected to our Parliament in 2008, was a telling sign of the extreme ideology of our new Prime Minister.
That dangerous extremism revealed itself early on when she claimed climate change was her generation’s “nuclear free moment”.
And dangerous it was. Just months into her administration, without official advice or Cabinet approval, Jacinda Ardern made a unilateral decision to ban new deep sea oil and gas exploration – in order to look decisive at her first overseas meeting as PM.
She later declared a climate emergency and introduced the world’s most extreme Zero Carbon Act, pushing up the cost of carbon and forcing up prices throughout the whole economy. This has not only exacerbated New Zealand’s cost-of-living crisis, but over-regulation is now threatening the viability of key agricultural industries.
Jacinda Ardern not only used the tragedy of the Christchurch terror attack to crack down on the rights of law-abiding Kiwi firearm owners – in order to look strong on the world stage – but also, to launch her Christchurch Call and lead the world in censoring the internet.
By 2019, the radical United Nations’ Agenda 2030 had been embedded into New Zealand’s legislative and regulatory framework – but we only found out because Jacinda Ardern boasted about it during a speech she delivered in New York: “My Government is doing something not many other countries have tried. We have incorporated the principles of the 2030 Agenda into our domestic policy-making in a way that we hope will drive system-level actions.”
At the centre of all of these world leading initiatives was the personal ambition of Jacinda Ardern. These were revolutionary changes for our country that Labour had not campaigned on, while those promises they did campaign on – including building tens of thousands of affordable homes, reducing homelessness, and eliminating child poverty – were turning into dismal failures.
Without a doubt, Labour was destined to be a one-term government – but then, as election year dawned, along came Covid.
The pandemic enabled our authoritarian Prime Minister to introduce some of the world’s most restrictive emergency measures. And, with her claim she was our ‘single source of truth’, it provided a platform for her to embellish her world persona.
Our loss of liberty was unprecedented.
Under the guise of fighting the virus a multi-million-dollar army of communications experts was hired to deliver the Government’s message – and help Labour win the 2020 election.
And win they did – with over 50 percent of the vote, Jacinda Ardern promised the country she would govern for ‘all’ Kiwis: “We will not take your support for granted. And I can promise you, we will be a party that governs for every New Zealander.”
That turned out to be a lie of monumental proportions.
Jacinda Ardern’s introduction of vaccine mandates – in spite of promising before the election not to do so – divided the nation and crushed the human rights of many Kiwis. In attempting to ‘lead the world’ in vaccination rates, large percentages of the population were mandated into receiving vaccines they would otherwise have declined.
Then we discovered ‘He Puapua’, the blueprint to replace democracy with tribal rule that had been kept hidden from voters for over a year. This unmandated plan by Labour’s Maori Caucus to transfer power to the iwi elite through co-governance was, in reality, a fundamental attack on democracy itself.
Labour justified co-governance by claiming that the Treaty of Waitangi delivered a partnership between Maori and the Crown. But the great Maori leader, Sir Apirana Ngata, in his brilliant explanation of the original meaning of the Treaty, shows that to be a lie.
The Treaty established the Queen as our Sovereign, protected private property rights, and gave Maori the same rights and privileges of British citizenship as every other New Zealander. No special rights based on race were promised by the Treaty – everyone was equal.
After three years, we now know what a divisive and devastating affect He Puapua has had on race relations in this country. New Zealand has never been more racially divided than it is today.
In health, we now have the astounding and abhorrent situation where, as a result of Maori co-governance, patients are being prioritised on the basis of race, instead of clinical need!
Thanks to co-governance in education, children are being indoctrinated with a Maori worldview that denigrates our history – and our pioneering forebears who helped build this nation.
In local government, the democratic rights of local communities to challenge the establishment of Maori wards was abolished retrospectively and without warning.
And now our water assets are being confiscated through the financially unsustainable ‘Three Waters’ proposal, that Labour is forcing onto the country in order to give control of fresh water to iwi.
Hiding in the shadows of the He Puapua reforms, the Office for Maori-Crown Relations is spearheading iwi partnerships and co-governance throughout the public and private sectors.
Is the fact that crime is now out of control a result of iwi interference?
Is the iwi partnership with Corrections responsible for violent Maori offenders who should be in prison, being released into the community and committing more crime?
And is the iwi partnership with Police resulting in a blind eye being turned towards Maori offenders, instead of arrests being made?
Was Immigration New Zealand’s partnership with iwi the reason immigration settings took so long to change in response to the country’s critical shortage of workers?
In an investigation into the so-called independent Environmental Protection Agency, Thomas Cranmer found that key personnel were implementing “a radical model of co-governance seemingly against the wishes of their Ministers” – and he warned, “this demonstrates just how much momentum co-governance now has within ministries, agencies and NGOs.”
The subversion of democracy, as powerful tribal interests pull the strings and control the agenda for their own private benefit within both public and private institutions, is Labour’s dangerous legacy.
Tragically, many New Zealanders are still completely unaware that any of this is going on. The Fourth Estate can bear much of the responsibility for this scandalous state of affairs.
Apart from a handful of outlets, the mainstream media has failed to investigate the partnership lie and the damage it is causing to our democracy.
Part of the reason, of course, is Labour’s $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund. Put in place ostensibly to support the media during the aftermath of the pandemic, its ulterior motive was to prevent the media from investigating the bogus Treaty partnership claim that underpins co-governance. They did this by requiring all media receiving the funding to ‘promote’ the partnership instead of exposing it.
While the fund finally ran out in June, last week reports emerged that the Minister of Broadcasting Willie Jackson was planning on meeting with mainstream media representatives to agree on a set of guidelines for reporting on Maori and Treaty matters during the election campaign. If true, couldn’t such discussions be seen as an attempt by Labour to encourage media collusion and influence the election?
So here we are, just weeks out from the 2023 General Election, facing not only a cost-of-living crisis, fuelled by Labour’s reckless spending and the excessive regulatory cost burden they have forced onto the country, but a racially divided future, with democracy in tatters.
What the Hipkins-Ardern Labour Government has done to our country – undermining democracy and turning New Zealand into an apartheid state – would have been unimaginable back in 2017.
So, the answer to the question of whether we feel better off now than when Labour first came to office, must surely be a resounding “No”!
But what lies ahead?
Both National and ACT have opposed co-governance.
So too has New Zealand First – as this week’s Guest Commentator, political analyst and Victoria University’s Democracy Project Director, Dr Bryce Edwards, recently explained:
“Race relations are a prime issue for NZ First to campaign on, with growing concern about Government initiatives in this area.
“Peters and his party are banging on this drum, helping drive-up discontent with the Government’s agenda on ethnicity and co-governance. Peters condemned this as ‘separatist’ and specifically stated he was ruling out working with the ‘racist’ Labour Party.
“It looks like Peters is going to bang on this race relations drum much harder than either National or Act have been doing. NZ First has the ability to go harder on this because the party’s top four politicians are Maori, which means they cannot as easily be dismissed as being racist.”
Dr Edwards makes the point that accusations of ‘racism’ or ‘race-baiting’ have never bothered Winston Peters, who describes them “as yet more proof of the ‘liberal elite’ arrogantly and unfairly defending privilege and the status quo.”
Public opinion polls are now converging on the view that Labour’s day is almost done. It is now drowning in its own vile legacy, while Jacinda Arden is busy fulfilling her personal ambitions on the international stage – benefiting from the profile she created at New Zealand’s expense.
Meanwhile, Willie Jackson and his fellow members of Labour’s Maori caucus say we have nothing to fear from co-governance.
Tuku Morgan, the former MP who chairs the $2 billion Tainui Iwi, and has been appointed to lead the northern Three Waters entity agrees: “Non-Maori have absolutely nothing to fear.” But in the same article he threatens court action if the democratic process goes against iwi control of water.
Speaking on behalf of iwi leaders last year, he issued a warning: “I don’t know which world they belong to, this is 2022 Aotearoa New Zealand, this is about partnership. We will never be denied, we will never go silently in the night, our voice must be heard at the table and we must take our place, end of story.”
Those are not the views of people committed to serving the public good – as Labour is spinning co-governance – but the arrogant and intimidatory demands of elitists, who believes they have the ‘right to rule’.
Co-governance is a euphemism for totalitarian tribal rule. The iwi elite will call the shots and they will be accountable to no-one. They will not be able to be challenged, nor sacked. They represent the future if Labour is re-elected.
Dr Muriel Newman established the New Zealand Centre for Political Research as a public policy think tank in 2005 after nine years as a Member of Parliament. A former Chamber of Commerce President, her background is in business and education. First published here.
Read The Ardern Legacy by Muriel Newman.