Leadership and reality

If you listen to talkback radio it’s not a pretty picture painted of our country. We’re broke, it feels like a recession, those that can least afford it can afford it even less, crime is rampant.

An opinion poll came out this evening which showed the National Party on 57.5% compared with Labour’s 28%. All of this in the middle of a lot of crises – the earthquakes, the AMI guarantee, South Canterbury Finance, all of which put together are going to leave us no change from $10 billion. Notice how suddenly everything seems to cost in the billions now? When did that happen? We hardly blinked for more than a day when AMI was guaranteed by us for up to $1 billion. A few days later the Treasury produced a report that said government agencies could save $245 million through efficiencies. Seemed to me (slightly cynically!) that if we have $1 billion for AMI, why bother with all the pain of saving $245 million? Or put another way, let AMI fail and there’s a billion saved just like that, or maybe not.

Anyway I digress. Somehow in the midst of all of this the leadership of the government has managed to keep the majority of New Zealand in support. Some people comment that John Key appears genuine, mixes well and tells it as it is. And whatever the crisis him and Bill English keep telling us that this latest 1 or 5 billion will be allowed for in the budget. Seems like we accept that and on we go. I should also observe that those who don’t think John Key is so flash, have become sharply more critical of what they say is a facade.

What exercises my mind in all of this is whether leadership can be so good that we ignore reality, maybe because it’s too much to grapple with, or we think it’s not our problem.

I’m no economist, but $8.5 billion for earthquakes, $2 billion is it for South Canterbury Finance and up to $1 billion for AMI sounds like a lot of money for us. And must put the economy and our lifestyle at serious risk – even if for all the things that we won’t be able to do while resources are directed to Canterbury (all of it!).

Collision course or to the rescue?

Are we turning a blind eye? Do we think that the leadership knows what it’s doing so we keep on supporting? Do we think that a lot of it is out of the leadership’s control? Or what?

I was a teenager in the mid to late 1970s when the Muldoon government borrowed us into oblivion. Yes there were outside forces, such as the oil crisis, and UK joining the EU, but it all seemed to be well, not quite real. Then.

The discussions about political leadership seem to me to be way too superficial for intelligent people (I know some intelligent people who told me!).

We’re in a big financial crisis, living on an expectation that our political leadership, who appear to majority to be reasonable people, have some reality behind the photo opportunities.

Why do I keep thinking “I hope they know what they’re doing”. Is your organisation like this?

Stephen

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