Yesterday the Salvation Army made comments about the poor socio-economic state that New Zealanders find themselves in.
In making the comments particular emphasis was placed on job creation. However they also focussed on the inability of New Zealanders to get jobs because of a raft of causes, with unsustainable immigration being seen as one of the key causes, along side a serious misuse of recreational drugs and so forth rendering many unable to turn up.
Much has been made of the comments, not least because they came from an an agency which normally refrains from political commentary, lest it give the appearance of being biased in favour of one side or another.The only thing more surprising than the fact that the Salvation Army elected to make such commentary is the extent to which the Government appears to be in denial about the situation for many. But in denial this Government certainly is. It attacked repeatedly the allegations and the Minister in charge suggested a significant bias may exist. Its reluctance to act is for a very simple yet quite fundamental one: to acknowledge the socio-economic crises looming, after all of these years in Government would be to:
- Admit in a round about way that New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was right all along
- That 8 years of National socio-economic policy have been an abject failure
- The allegations that Mr Key and his party generally care more about their wealthy donors than anything or anyone else and have no plan to seriously tackle the issue
The sad truth is that the Salvation Army will just have to wait out this third term Government of Prime Minister John Key. The socio-economic wellbeing of New Zealanders has long been a football on an increasingly muddy pitch, with no one seriously content in trying to score a goal. As credible as the comments were, it might also think twice before jeopardizing any agreements it has with the Government of the day. Others who have found good reason to be critical of the Government performance have been threatened with repercussions.
But could/would a Labour led Government implement the necessary changes? Just a couple of months ago there was talk of time and paper wasting Commission of Inquiry into welfare. It was following a particularly brutal murder of a young boy and, as calls for an inquiry into a subject about which plenty has been written often go, ignored the findings of past inquiries, which were still waiting to be implemented.
Having endless inquiries is one thing. Having the results of an inquiry implemented are quite another.