ON AIR: The Sunday Session

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Mike Yardley: Government not helping NZ with latest world tour

Mike Yardley,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 23 January 2019, 6:12p.m.
Jacinda Ardern and Andrew Little, seen here in a file photo, have been making headlines overseas. (Photo / NZ Herald)

The Government’s world tour continues.

The Justice Minister has been in Geneva dumping on New Zealand and our human rights record. Not only does he think our justice system is broken for incarcerating so many people, particularly Māori. But he’s also played the colonisation card, claiming Māori feel like strangers in their own land.

Excuse me? Colonisation is to blame for today’s appalling social outcomes for Māori he says.  What’s the bet the colonisation card is going to be played in court by defence lawyers as a mitigating factor to excuse serious offending? Is this where we are headed? Did you notice that Stuart Nash distanced himself from this sort of colonisation bollocks?

A good mate of mine, who happens to be Māori, called me today enraged about Andrew Little’s  sermonising. And he makes a good point; what is to be gained by casting all Maori as the victims of colonisation? What is to be gained by branding them all under the cloak of victimhood? He finds that offensive and belittling. I would too. 

And Andrew Little wasn’t done there, dumping on New Zealand. He also thinks this country is failing women. I’m surprised the Minister didn’t go the whole hog, do a David Cunliffe, and a apologise for being a man. And a non-Māori man at that.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is schmoozing with the snow angels in Davos.

She fronts well on the world stage, the global media fawn over her. 

But strip away the fluff, and it’s more substance I’m looking for.

I was hopeful that we’d here more about the government’s well-being agenda, and what the hell it exactly means. Jacinda Ardern wrote an op-ed for the Financial Times overnight, where she talks about New Zealand’s world-first well-being budget. It will be based around the economics of kindness, she says. Whatever that means.

One of the top priorities will be enhancing mental well-being, particularly of young New Zealanders, to enhance their productivity. Dramatically increasing mental health funding is a given, and no one is going to oppose that.

But if the Prime Minister is serious about enhancing mental well-being and a person’s productivity, that simply doesn’t square with their current actions and intentions.

They are sabotaging well-being by feather-bedding the welfare state, axing the sanctions and devaluing the virtue of work. The number of idle Kiwis parked up on Jobseeker Support has hit a four year high. Driving up dependence is destroying wellbeing.

And their permissive approach to recreational  drug use, like pill testing at music festivals, is just as insidious, just as corrosive.

Then we’ve got the big kahuna. Their referendum on dope. Would the legalisation of cannabis improve the health, productivity and well-being of New Zealand? Of course it wont. Why would we want to throw even more fuel on the fire of our mental health crisis, adding to the scrapheap of wasted lives.

This government looks utterly clueless and confused on what real well-being means. 

ON AIR: The Sunday Session

9a.m. - 12p.m.