The nanny state is back, and it looks like Helen Clark

Red Claire Trevett writes at the NZ Herald about the return of the nanny state…and it looks remarkably like Helen Clark.

Within the first month of taking office, Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have been adopted as the Not So Secret Santa by many.

Among them, astonishingly, is former Prime Minister Helen Clark who has taken an early lead among those lobbying the Government.

After years of silence, partly because Clark was bound by her role as head of the UN Development Programme but also because there was a National Government, Clark is now full of ideas for what Labour can spend money on.? ?

Spare us all.

First Clark decided it would be a good idea for Ardern to introduce free dental health care, at least for low income households.

She tweeted about this with some vigour and took care to tag Ardern and NZ First leader Winston Peters in.

Health Minister David Clark was left to reject Clark’s idea ? pointing out that this Labour Government could not do it for the same reasons the last one did not: money.

Of course she’d be the first to call for free dental care…if only she’d done that when she was PM. She could have got her snaggle-teeth fixed without the need for some airbrushing and Photoshop.

Undaunted, Clark followed up with a tweet expressing horror at a junk food being marketed as a “lunch pack” and New Zealand’s obesity problem. “Public health action please!”

Again, why didn’t she deal with this when she was PM? Missed opportuniddy?

There is an air of Sermon from the Mount about these tweets from Clark, who clearly has some unfinished business she expects Ardern to pick up.

Admittedly, Ardern is a Clark protegee and is being helped by Clark’s own staffers Heather Simpson, Mike Munro and Gordon Jon Thompson.

She is also in Government with Clark’s own former coalition partner Winston Peters, so Clark could be forgiven for taking liberties.

She can never be forgiven.

Clark isn’t alone…there are plenty of others out there who want to control our every waking moment who are glad they have a listening ear.

Perhaps the most brazen was the request from the Post Primary Teachers’ Association for an immediate five per cent pay increase.

Budget processes be damned – they assured the Government this would solve the teachers’ shortage in time for the start of school next year.

When this was predictably knocked back, the union had the cheek to issue a press statement saying it showed the Government was not taking the issue seriously enough and “children are going to be the losers here.”

“We expected better from the government.”

Teachers are never happy, even with a compliant Labour government who bends to their every whim and fancy.


There is another final echo from the old Clark Government to bedevil the Ardern Government.

That is National’s cries of ‘nanny state.’

The nanny state line has been rolled out twice so far. The first was when Labour opposed National’s amendment to allow a mother and father to take paid parental leave at the same time if they wish.

The second was reversing National’s changes to allow parents at some schools to enrol their children up to eight weeks before they turned five rather than wait for a new term.

The shock of losing has clearly seen selective amnesia set in for National.

National has forgotten it oversaw measures such as massive hikes in tobacco taxes, plain packaging, a lowering of the drink-driving limit and lifting the driving age.

Then there was the King of the Nanny State moves – banning the sale of the only cold and flu pills that actually worked.

Good final slap about nanny statism under National…but those are the only examples. Labour wanted to control what showerheads we used, what sort of lightbulbs houses should have and a multitude of other non-important stuff.

If Helen Clark had ignored those she might have been able to get her teeth fixed.


-NZ Herald