Jacinda loves her overseas trips

No wonder Jacinda loves her overseas trips. She is treated like a celebrity, and she laps up the attention. She does BBC interviews. She gets asked questions about babies and marriage, as if no one had ever had a baby before. She talks about kindness and being on the right side of history. She gets an enormous amount of attention, and she revels in it.

The foreign media love her because they see her as a fresh face with a lot of new ideas. She is different from all the stuffy old politicians who manage to run their countries properly. They see her as new and exciting. Along with the other ‘young guns’, Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron, they see the three of them as changing the world with their revolutionary ideas.

What the foreign media fail to see, or have no interest in exploring, is the fact that these leaders are no longer so popular at home, because their own voters are bearing the brunt of their socialist policies and it is starting to hurt. Think of Macron and his gilets jaunes. Less than two years into his first term, Macron is facing the unthinkable prospect of having to negotiate with an angry mob to prevent another storming of the Bastille. Macron is right to be concerned. The French have form.

At Davos, Jacinda is able to talk about her proposed ‘wellbeing’ budget, without having to provide any details of how it will work. She can tell the world how she has stopped oil and gas permits in New Zealand, without having to confess that we have burned more coal this year than we have in the last 5 years, just to keep the lights on. So much for being ‘on the right side of history’.

She doesn’t have to admit that her government’s flagship policy, Kiwibuild, is in serious trouble, and housing affordability in New Zealand is a major issue. She doesn’t have to deal with questions about Karel Sroubek. She doesn’t have to account for anything to anyone when she is overseas. She probably finds that a welcome break from the firestorms that await her at home.

If she is good at anything, it is talking, and Davos is nothing more than a talkfest. Watching these world leaders ‘brainstorming’ by writing on a whiteboard shows what a waste of time it all is. Nothing will be achieved, except for the additional carbon dioxide poured into the atmosphere from the 1500 private jets flown to the forum. Hypocrisy is the shining light at Davos this year.

Photoshopped image credit: Technomage

Jacinda could possibly get away with it if she had a competent group of ministers behind her. There is nothing wrong with having a prime minister who is essentially nothing more than a front person. She lets herself down badly by not having a grip on the basic issues of economic management, such as a definition of GDP, but her biggest problem is that she is probably the government’s best asset. Most of the rest of them are either way out of their depth, such as Phil Twyford and Iain Lees-Galloway, or are arrogant, like Shane Jones and Julie-Ann Genter.

Then there are those who are or overdue for retirement such as Winston Peters and Ron Mark. The rest are a rag-tag bunch of activists and fringe dwellers, along with an extraordinary number of novices. This is not a competent government, but the media’s adoration of Jacinda glosses over that fact entirely.

Talk, as they say, is cheap, but there is still no indication of what a ‘wellbeing’ budget is going to look like. It will probably just mean a lot more social spending, funded by tax increases. As this is the government that has reduced sanctions on beneficiaries, there is now less incentive to find a job anyway. We now have over 11,000 more people on Jobseeker Benefits than a year ago, in a market place screaming out for workers. It is madness, and what is more, this is only the beginning. This government has created this situation, and, under the veil of ‘kindness’, it is set to get much worse. Particularly for those who actually work for a living.

No wonder Jacinda loves her overseas trips. They treat her like a celebrity. The Kim Kardashian of politics. That is what she is. She can make grandiose claims that she doesn’t have to justify, and everyone thinks she is revolutionary. Those of us who have to live with her slogans and policies, however, view it all quite differently.