Before New Zealanders went to the polls on the 23rd September 2017 the nation had a choice between stable and economically responsible government and an unproven leader making outlandish and unfunded promises. It reminded me so much of the Australian federal election in 2007 when Australians were facing the same choice. The gushing over Labour leader Jacinda Ardern dubbed Jacindamania was exactly like Kevin07.
During our coverage of the New Zealand election I did my best to warn New Zealanders of what they could expect if they fell under the spell of the stardust. In 2017 in Australia we are still paying the price for our ill-fated decision 10 years ago. Our energy prices are now the highest in the world and our electricity supply is increasingly unreliable. Our federal government debt is now approaching $600 billion, we are also still dealing with the consequences of having our borders opened to illegal boat arrivals.
Jacinda Ardern has only been New Zealand’s Prime Minister for less than a month and all the signs point to New Zealand repeating Australia’s lost decade. In her effort to virtue signal on progressive causes Jacinda Ardern has decried Australia’s closure of the Manus Island Detention Centre and has pledged to accept 150 of the men there along with $3 million in humanitarian assistance.
Not surprisingly asylum seeker boats have already been sent New Zealand’s way, they have been turned around thanks to Australia’s successful Operation Sovereign Borders. If the Australian Government was more vindictive due to Ardern’s rhetoric they might have just redirected the boats down the Tasman for her to deal with.
Ardern has also stated that fighting climate change is one of her government’s key priorities. She has pledged to set up an independent climate commission to propose climate change mitigation programs. She even channelled Kevin Rudd when stating at APEC that climate change was the greatest challenge facing this generation.
Not enough time has passed for her to propose a budget but with vague commitments such as ending child poverty, increased health and housing services and free university education those things do not come cheap. She is proposing new taxes to pay for all of this but of course increases in tax do have an adverse impact on economic activity.
In another similarity with Australia Ardern is being propped up in government by an alleged conservative who many view as betraying their base in Winston Peters from New Zealand First who appears to be allowing her to pursue this progressive agenda, this is similar to the role Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor played when they supported Julia Gillard.
New Zealand only has three-year parliamentary terms, so the voters can deliver a swift verdict however if this is Ardern’s actions within the first month of her Prime Ministership what can New Zealanders expect in months and years to come? As Australia learned the election of a conservative government does not undo all the damage that a reckless left wing government inflicts.
New Zealanders could have learned from us, instead it seems they are going down the path of emulating us. All we can say in Australia is don’t say you weren’t warned.