Pansy Wong - Farewell to the Year of the Dog
February 17, 2007 will see the official end of the lunar Year of the Dog. What a year it’s been – no more so than in
politics. 2006 has had no resemblance to the traditional and quiet period that normally follows an election.
One of the traits of those born in the Year of the Dog is that of loyalty. This year, Dr Don Brash has shown that to
both the National party and the country. He resigned as the National Party Leader, and from Parliament, when it became
apparent that he couldn’t continue in his role when the issue of the stolen emails kept on resurfacing and taking
attention away from National holding the Government to account. Loyalty to the party and to the country came before his
In the words of some political commentators, next year it’s ‘game on’ between National and Labour because of the
youthful, intelligent and dynamic leadership duo of John Key and Bill English.
Only a few days ago, John Key held his first media conference in Auckland with the Chinese media. The room was packed
with reporters, flash bulbs were going off in all directions, cameras were rolling and the pens were flying. When asked
what the strengths of John Key were over Helen Clark, he answered without hesitation that he’s more ambitious for New
Zealand, while Helen Clark just wants to maintain the status quo.
Of course, the status quo is simply not good enough for our country. The latest census revealed that more than 42% of
New Zealanders who are 15 years and older earn an average of $24,400 per annum. This simply is not good enough and goes
some way to explaining why first-home buyers find it difficult to buy a home, especially in Auckland. It’s time Labour
stopped trotting out the line that all is well with our economy when it’s clear the Government’s coffers are full but
the taxpayers’ coffers aren’t.
Labour’s behaviour this year has been barking mad.
First off, Helen Clark totally rejected claims that they used parliamentary funding for election spending, then they
passed a law to make it legal, and then they promised to repay the $800,000 they owe.
She commissioned the inquiry into the dealings of the Hon. Philip Field, but the commissioner had no power to call
witnesses, it cost $500,000, and now Field has been stood down on full pay until the police inquiry is finished. Which,
coincidently, doesn’t have a completion date.
Michael Cullen had to give up his argument that personal tax cuts aren’t affordable because the surplus grew obese. He
then shifted to telling us tax cuts couldn’t happen because of the inflationary impact. So the Government’s spending has
no impact on inflation? It’s time for Dr Cullen to tell the truth - that he doesn’t trust us to spend our own money.
David Cunliffe passionately championed to let an Iranian overstayer stay while he was an MP, and consequently had a
change of heart when he became Immigration Minister.
There are many loose ends that will come back to haunt the Labour Government in 2007. National and the New Zealand
Herald have demanded that Ministers Damien O’Connor and Chris Carter respectively resign from their posts to show
ministerial accountability, but will it happen?
In the meantime, have a nice and safe break, drink sensibly, drive carefully and watch out for each other.
Pansy Speak will resume in February 2007.