Monday, October 13, 2008


I’d have thought John Key was on shaky ground in touting
his credentials for governing New Zealand by boasting, as
he did yesterday in his campaign launch speech, “I’ve
actually worked in the world of finance and business.
Helen Clark hasn’t. I’ve actually picked up a struggling
business and made it grow. Helen Clark never has. And
I’ve actually got stuck into a business, trimmed its sails,
and delivered some profits to its shareholders.”

Right. Wait a minute. Doesn’t Key come out of the same
right-wing camp that has insisted for the past 25 years
that it’s a mistake to give executive control of social
institutions and government departments to people
who actually know something about the work being
done in those places? That’s why, consistently since 1984,
we’ve seen accountants being appointed to run places like
hospitals and Treasury wonks to take charge of ministries
like Education. By the same token, Key would be the last
person qualified to run an economy, especially as the
particular business he was in—investment banking—is all
about maximizing profit pretty much regardless of other
considerations, and doubly especially given the current
crisis, which has been visited on us by the colossal
mismanagement of, you guessed it, investment bankers.

Key’s long speech, it should be noted, contains not a single
reference to the environment, global warming, climate
change, peak oil or anything of that nature (this nature,
our nature); even the centre-right's favourite weasel-word,
"sustainable," fails to get a look-in. His 11 "commitments"
are so bereft of ecological awareness that they amount to
giving a drowning man money instead of a lifeline. So much
for the future. Oh well, it’s only a planet we're talking about.

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