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John MacDonald: Is this really the most divisive govt in recent memory?

John MacDonald,
Publish Date
Tue, 22 Feb 2022, 12:49PM
Christopher Luxon. (Photo / File)
Christopher Luxon. (Photo / File)

John MacDonald: Is this really the most divisive govt in recent memory?

John MacDonald,
Publish Date
Tue, 22 Feb 2022, 12:49PM

National Party leader Christopher Luxon says Jacinda Ardern leads the most divisive government in recent memory. But then he would say that, wouldn’t he? 

It’s not as if he was ever going to come out and say in that speech he gave yesterday that the team of five million is “tight as bro” and the Prime Minister is doing a fantastic job. 

That was never going to happen. But has he gone too far saying the current government is the most divisive we’ve seen here in New Zealand in a long time? Think about it. Is it really THE most divisive? On the evidence presented by Christopher Luxon yesterday, I don’t think it is. 

I do think the Government are a bunch of control freaks. That’s nothing new, I’ve said that before. But I’m not swallowing Luxon’s line that the current government is the most divisive we’ve had in a very long time. 

There is no doubt that the country is divided on a lot of things. Always has been and always will be. For starters, we are a divided country the morning after every election. 

Some of us get the government we want. Some of us don’t. That’s our doing - not the Government’s. 

Then, once it’s in power, the government of the day does things that some of us like and some of us don’t. We get even more divided, because we all have opinions and the different things governments do affect us all differently. 

But Christopher Luxon seems to think that the current government has taken things to the next level and, as a result, New Zealanders are being pitted against each other by Jacinda Ardern and her Cabinet colleagues. 

Some examples he gave yesterday of us being divided (because of the current government) are: 

  • Renters versus landlords
  • Business owners versus workers, and
  • Farmers versus cities

Not terribly convincing, as far as I’m concerned. 

  • Landlords and tenants have never had love-love relationships
  • Business owners and workers have always had disagreements and disputes, and
  • Farmers have always felt like us townies don’t appreciate them

And I don’t see these things changing any time soon. It’s always been like this. 

Of course, no political speech these days can avoid Covid - and Luxon also said yesterday that the current Omicron response is further proof of the Government’s divisive nature. 

This at the same time as new research is telling us that about 50 percent of New Zealanders think the current Red Covid restrictions are adequate - and a further 24 percent think they should be tighter. 

If I was in the current Government, I’d take that as a vote of confidence. I wouldn’t see it as evidence of a divided nation. 

Having said that, the people who want even tighter restrictions obviously don’t own businesses or haven’t lost their jobs or homes because of Covid. And that’s the key point, as far as I’m concerned: “because of Covid”. Not “because of the Government”. 

Now you may disagree with me here. But any Covid response from any government (red, blue, green, yellow, pink - whatever colour) is going to be divisive. 

But that doesn’t mean the government that just happens to be in charge at the time is “divisive” itself - let alone the most divisive ever. 

About a week ago, I asked whether the protest at Parliament was a reflection of wider anger and frustration around the country. 

And we were swamped with people telling us how angry they were. Some even found it difficult to speak because they were so angry and it was the first time some of them had even spoken about it. 

It was really raw. 

But the question in my head now is whether that level of anger was just because everyone is so over what’s been happening over the last couple of years - or whether that anger is targeted directly at the Government. 

Christopher Luxon believes the anger is with the Government - because he thinks it is the most divisive government we’ve pretty much ever had in this country. 

I think people in this country would be feeling just as divided right now whatever party was in government. 

It’s how we humans tend to respond when we’ve been through something for an extended period of time, which has a really significant impact on our lives. An irreversible impact. 

Just like what we’ve been through here in Canterbury over the past 11 years. 

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