Saturday, November 05, 2016

Nanny state marches on - impervious to reigning party

In retrospect, one could almost feel sheepish about the accusations of Nanny Statism hurled at Clark in her final months. Political commentators would have it that excessive paternalism lost Clark the 2008 election.

National made a song and dance of reviewing silly and burdensome regulations but the neurotic back-saving health and safety stuff marches on. I gave you a perfect example this morning of accelerating meddling madness.

The crusades against alcohol, tobacco and obesity are only gathering momentum. Legislatively this manifested in  lowering the drink/drive alcohol limits (pubs go out of business against a backdrop of a rising road toll) and  ongoing tobacco tax hikes (creating a lucrative source of income for criminals and much danger for legal sellers). No  relenting to sugar tax demands yet but what are the odds?

Bureaucracy is like a fungus. Growing wherever the conditions enable it. Quietly spreading. It is impervious to changes of government. Especially when the so-called political 'masters' are tired.

At this point I am quite disillusioned with National. If that is possible, when no torch was held for them at the outset.


Mark Hubbard said...


I think worse than the latter Clark years as we now have (huge) bureaucratic authoritarian (S)tatism embedded in with Christian/Catholic conservatism (cavemanism) that is denying Kiwis in two hugely important areas of individual rights: euthanasia and (medicinal) cannabis. I want outright legalisation, but for goodness sake, at least let chronic pain sufferers grow their own. Key appointing seminary trained O'Connor to the euthanasia committee - only to make sure the issue never makes Parliament - is the most cynical political appointment I can think of in my adult life.

I really want to see National and Peter Dunne go 2017. I know the replacement will in some ways be worse, but not much anymore, and those two issues, please, someone represent individuals over them. The only area I see National as useful on is keeping a 'slight' cap on tax rates (not taxes wholly, thinking of the GST I now have to pay on books from Amazon); but nothing else.

macdoctor said...

Here is the problem, Lindsay. If you reverse ANY "safety" legislation and ANYTHING happens, you can expect major reaction from media, the opposition and the public. It is simply too politically risky.

Children still die in swimming pools despite all the fencing legislation. But take that legislation away and the blame for the very next child to die will be laid at your door.

It is possible to stop this legislation at the outset, but even this is difficult because the constant clamor of everyone is for the government to do something.

Don W said...

The voters are the problem as they keep voting for paternalistic gov'ts.I think that the majority of people want a nanny to watch over them and wipe their backsides. And as for J Key, what does he actually stand for, I don't know.Maybe he stands for his own personal popularity.

JC said...

You can't stop people from thinking and talking and thats always dangerous for some sectors of society... what to do?

You can't stop them talking but you can "direct" the talk into less dangerous areas.

One of the elephants in the NZ room is 40 years of ACC.. its an expensive and monstrous failure but much loved by many for it's "free" money and services. But rather than get rid of it we talk about health and safety which is politically less risky.

We have one of the worst safety records in the developed world because someone else pays the bills when we injure or kill ourselves. Force people to take responsibility for their own health and safety and our record would improve rapidly. However, thats not going to happen so we double down on the failure, talk about the minutiae of H&S and make pointless law.

The most striking thing about the US election isn't Donald Trump now but how the hell someone like him didn't appear four decades ago. Forty years ago the White population of California was near 80% of the total, today its less than 40%.. this is almost entirely due to unconstrained and usually illegal migration.. not a natural increase or dramatic increase in fertility. Trump noticed and said so in uncouth terms and finally someone had broken through the "rich tapestry of culture, shared heritage, multiculture, Hispanic-American" and so on.. Trump said what millions thought but wouldn't say too loudly because racism, intolerance, bigotism etc.

We make stupid and trifling law as a way to hide or ignore larger and more important truths and because people bogged down in trivia won't stomp on the weasels who want power over them.