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GBE2:Blog on: The Truth as I see it today.
We have just had an election in New Zealand and, as expected, the right wing conservative National Party was returned in a narrow result with the left of centre block. But our major left of centre party, the historical Labour Party had one of its biggest defeats in its history. We have a proportional system here now, known as MMP. Our system is based on the German system and allows for a variety of interested parties, political affiliations, ethnic and social minorities etc. We used to have the First Past the Post system - winner takes all. But democracy occasionally allows for some political machinations and corruption to some degree or another.
I'm not complaining so much about the result, it was in many ways a foregone conclusion, but for voters to regard it as such and not bother to vote defeats the democratic right to vote - millions in other places around the world don't enjoy that right - and add the apathetic voters to that mix, and you don't have a very good political environment or outcome.
So what have we been promised by the right wingers? Privatisation of state assets, welfare reform to get everybody off welfare benefits: the unemployed, the sick, the invalid, get them all ready for work! I don't have a problem with getting the unemployed to work, to training or up-skilling. They have also indicated that further eroding of the rights of New Zealand workers is on the agenda again - just like the fascist Employment Contracts Act of the 1990's which was used to emasculate the NZ union movement, to create more flexibility in the labour market and allow more casualisation, and to reduce the real cost of wages and salaries.
But where are the jobs for those thousands of semi-skilled workers now that so many industries have gone offshore to places like China? And there are severe economic difficulties being experienced in Europe and to a lesser degree other places too. What sort of employment is there for the sick or invalid? They are on these benefits because health professionals have assessed them unfit to work and needing welfare support.
Those on invalid benefits include the mentally ill, and those with intellectual difficulties. Across the western world mental health hospitals and facilities have been closed and sold off and replaced by emergency units in recent decades. IHC sufferers no longer have IHC Workshops where they could do part time work and meet socially. There are few residential homes in New Zealand for IHC patients. So many are looked after by family members, particularly grandparents who struggle for financial support because society says they are "family" and should do it for love! Fortunately this attitude is changing and there is now a belief that family members should at least be paid the minimum wage for looking after children or family members fulltime. Invalid benefits do not provide all the finance needed to cater for mentally unwell and intellectually deprived and challenged people.
But we don't have such people living on the streets here in this country. Some homeless people are that way inclined, because there is support in New Zealand for the homeless. So somebody living under a bridge is not really an indictment of NZ society.
But in the meantime we will have to suffer fools rather ungladly, those ideologically driven, ignorant politicians who lack first hand knowledge of those people they claim should get back into work and stop using resources that would better (in their opinion) utilised in building more highways and motorways to the beaches and holiday resorts further north, building higher decile schools and private hospitals for the offspring of the privileged sector of New Zealand society.
Until help is really on the way and the left of centre Labour Party is able to rejuvenate itself, we will have to tolerate the inanities and ignorance of the political right here in New Zealand. And that friends, is the truth and nothing but the truth! Every decade the Labour Party has to rejuvenate and reinvent itself as another generation of the politically inane right of centre tries to influence the good people of this fair country, be they farmers, business people, those that service our industries, and those that actually provide the sweat and tears and make the wheels of industry and service go around - the working people of New Zealand.