Saturday, 3 September 2005

Labour - six of the best

In the interests of balance and fairness, Drone has been trying to come up with six Labour achievements to mark the six years of their rule. Seems like something to try.
1. One unequivocal move in the direction of freedom was the introduction of civil unions. Government has no business in people's bedrooms, and good for Tim Barnett for quietly and diligently pushing this through on the grounds of individual freedom. Support for laws such as this is a litmus test for freedom lovers: it is not for the State to judge adult relationships; it is their job simply to recognise and protect them should the partners wish that to happen (I won't mention the Property Relationships Bill -- whoops! I just did). The Civil Union Bill moves in the direction of freedom, with no new coercion. A big tick.

2. The decriminilisation of prostitution recognised that people should be free to do with their own bodies what they wish, and free to charge for the use of their bodies if they wish. You don't need to be an advocate for prostitution itself to recognise that it's not the State's business to proscribe people's choices for themselves. And once again, good for Tim Barnett for being the quiet achiever. Another big tick.

3. I confess I'm struggling now. Like Drone, I think the Chinese free trade deal looks good. So that's another tick.

4. I did enjoy Marian Hobbs' defence of genetic engineering during the pathetic 'corngate' beat-up. Not so much an achievement, I guess, but her arguments and those of the Royal Commission for the science of GE were very sound, and as a consequence the legal environment for genetic engineering hasn't been as bad as it could be. Things could have been a a lot worse with Nick Smith in the Environment chair.

5. As Drone says, "some of Phil Goff's changes with parole and sentencing have been a step in the right direction of making punishments fit the crime." To that I would only add the words 'slow', and 'only because of electoral pressure.' Susan Couch and others would undoubtedly disagree that things have yet moved far enough, and of course they'd be right.

6. The words 'slow', and 'only because of electoral pressure' could also be applied to the few weak moves to remove racial favouritism from legislation. But baby steps have been taken, which is something.
So that's it unless anyone else can think of any more?


  1. Gidday,

    I've included this post as part of Kiwi Carnival #6. Please let me know if the blurb is up to your standards.


  2. Well, getting unemployment down to the lowest level in the OECD is fairly impressive if you ask me.

    Personally I think the most important thing Helen did for NZ in the last 6 years was *not* sending troops to Iraq, and in general supporting the U.N. rather than the Bush Administration. Regardless of the moral considerations, the economic benefit from being regarded as a "safe haven" for expats to return to, tourists to visit, and Asians to send their kids to study English in has been huge for us.

  3. "Well, getting unemployment down to the lowest level in the OECD is fairly impressive if you ask me."

    Not when 300,000 people--ten percent of the country--are on a benefit. That's not getting unemployment down, that's fiddling. And to have 300,000 on a benefit when the country has enjoyed some of the best economic conditions for a generation is a disgrace, an absolute disgrace. The economic golden weather has been pissed away.

    See, I was trying to be nice about Hard Labour and you've got me started. Don't make me start about the loss of sovereignty occasioned by our blatant UN forelock tugging, or our pissweak refusal to join the alliance to remove Saddam Hussein.

    And don't start me on the foreign language schools, a goose which was laying golden eggs until killed by government bureaucracy, meddling and immigration politicking.



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