I don’t know about you, but I’m starting wonder whether we're watching the death spiral of a Government that’s lost its purpose and sense of duty.
It seems with each day that passes, the Government’s calamitous handling of our country is evidence that it’s given up on its obligation to public duty. The asset sale farce and the poor manner in which the Treaty of Waitangi claims have been handled show a misunderstanding of how a majority of us think.
The willingness to stand shoulder to shoulder with a handful oil executives, yet ignore the concerns of 150,000 Kiwi’s who want a cleaner safer way of growing our economy shows an arrogant disregard for those concerned about the future of New Zealand. As Phil Heatley put it: “they are not really New Zealand”. Really? And Texan oil giant Anardarko is?
It seems that the Government has been waiting for their second term to really unleash their ideological and regressive policies on our nation. I say ideological, because it seems that the economic and social basis for these decisions is desperately flawed. It seems that their once likeable front man is losing his touch. The veneer of the jolly, laid-back, ‘he’s the sort of bloke you’d shout a pint’ Prime Minister, can no longer hide what John Key’s Government is doing to the nation.
I say this because the events of recent months have got me wondering whether the current Government is acting in the best interests of New Zealand. Who do they represent and what principles do they have? Are they the principles of ordinary New Zealanders, or are they the principles of greed?
On Friday, it was revealed that New Zealand was the only nation at a global summit to vote against action to save our very own Maui's dolphins . The Government’s argument was bogus, claiming that there just wasn’t enough science to support the protection measures put on the table . A shameful and misleading claim as these are the most studied dolphins on the planet.
The real reason is that the Ministry of Primary Industries had acted to protect minority fishing interests over the survival of a species. Pure and simple. Can you imagine if efforts to protect our iconic Kiwi were dumped in favour of the possum fur industry?
These actions will place New Zealand on the wrong side of history. They will undermine our global reputation and damage the reputation of those fisheries that are operating in a less destructive way. And this will harm their efforts, along with many other businesses trying to access overseas markets.
New Zealand’s reputation is its economic lifeline and it’s a reflection of New Zealander values. This Government has just let us down because it failed to do the right thing.
Which leads to the vital question; does the Government have a sense of what is right any more?
At the beginning of the month, a joint proposal with the US to safeguard the pristine wilderness of the Ross Sea from fishing and exploitation was blocked by Steven Joyce, David Carter and Gerry Brownlee. They did so because it was “not consistent with the Government's economic growth objectives”. To them, it was more important to protect a fishing industry that serves up rare fish to high society restaurants in New York than it was to protect one of the most beautiful places on earth. This is a morally bankrupt and appalling decision.
Last week, the Arctic sea ice shrank to its smallest extent ever recorded, prompting warnings of accelerated climate change . This was a warning sign we can’t ignore. We must reduce our pollution and urgently move towards a cleaner, safer way to power our homes and businesses.
Yet, in spite of climate change warnings, Government Ministers have set about gutting the Emissions Trading Scheme - the only law we have that would encourage our biggest polluters to clean up their act.
In 1984, New Zealand sent shock waves around the world by standing up to a global superpower and blocking nuclear powered vessels from entering our harbours. It was a courageous act that has become a touchstone in our history. It defined our nation as a country that had principles, values and a strong sense of doing what was right.
Today, our Ministers have degraded that stand. Any politician or member of Government has an obligation to uphold the highest ethical standards. And this means deciding which actions are right and wrong. It also means protecting and promoting those values that are shared by us all.
Yet, by writing laws to suit our biggest polluters and plunderers and forcing through a short-sighted business agenda that will erode our cultural heritage it seems clear that the Government has not only lost its direction, but also its moral compass.