Out of touch with poverty
The houses on the hill should have been left as bush to catch the sediment.
A future Maori legend in schools will probably say: ‘‘Porirua Harbour disappeared because the forest was destroyed.’’
The sediment smells because the sea is angry about this and wants the human race to listen.
Nick Leggett, can you do this before you exit?
I hear Maori would like this dredged. Well I would say Maori know and understand the sea.
WHERE DO CANDIDATES LIVE?
This year’s Porirua local body elections are not too far away, but there has to be some clarity here.
I want to be certain when I am voting for eastern ward candidates that they are actually living in the Porirua East area and not outside the boundary.
For example, there is an eastern ward candidate living in Whitby. Is that the Porirua East area?
I will be voting, but this time I will only vote for Eastern Ward Candidates if they actually live in the area and are out there in the face of the community getting things done.
That is what they are paid to do – not to sit on their bottoms doing nothing at all.
To vote or not to vote that is the question.
Some people have benefited from the economic policies in vogue for the past 30 years, yet many have not. Worldwide, the anger felt by those left behind is now finding political expression in open hostility to migrants, widely seen as the cause of job insecurity and housing shortages, and against the institutions of government.
That anger drove the Brexit vote in Britain, and it motivates Donald Trump’s supporters in the United States. As automation scythes its way through white collar jobs, this pool of the aggrieved is likely to expand.
More people face the prospect of flat or declining wages in the short-term, and part-time or nofuture jobs on individualised contracts. That prospect remains only a marginal part, at best, of this country’s political discourse.
In Parliament and on RNZ last week, Finance Minister Bill English gave the impression of someone still living in the 1950s, within a Norman Rockwell painting.
In his worldview, hard work is still rewarded with upward mobility, and those who want to get ahead, can and will do so. For him, the anxiety about downward mobility and the socially dysfunctional levels of income inequality simply does not exist.
Furthermore, English intimated, if anyone did happen to get in trouble, why, Social Welfare could always be counted on to lend a cheery hand up, as annual increases in the minimum wage rolled in and put extra money in the kitty.
Oh yes, there was the little matter of people sleeping in cars. That, English added, was not a fault of central government, but of poor local planning. Nothing that better zoning rules couldn’t fix. One had to ask: is this what English really believes?
Or are his reassuring messages being deliberately targeted at segments of the voting public that have had no direct experience whatsoever of the life-blighting nature of poverty?
To be fair, there has been a smattering of political debate this year about the future shape of work. Ideas like the Universal Basic Income have flaws, yet they are a recognition that the workplace will not be a sustainable source of income for a significant number of people for much longer.
Plainly, English and his Cabinet colleagues have yet to get up to speed on that issue – and just as obviously, they aren’t planning for it.
Meanwhile, rather than offering a hand-up to the needy, the Government has been engaged
‘‘For him, the anxiety about downward mobility and the socially dysfunctional levels of income inequality simply does not exist.’’
in a reform process over the past five years that has proved to be very successful at making welfare support harder to access.
Look, English told RNZ, think how much more hopeful things are here than in Australia or the United States. Even as political rhetoric, this was threadbare stuff. To all intents, it was a variation of the old parental saying: eat your vegetables kids, because people are starving in India.
Similarly, we should apparently all be grateful that for now, most of us don’t yet need to be working two or three jobs in order to pay the rent, and put food on the table.
English can still see hope glimmering on the horizon. And for those that don’t – that’s essentially their problem, not his.