Monday, 8 March 2021

Government’s super-majority creating extreme arrogance

“ACT says you can’t deliver better public policy if you don’t show humility, and this Government’s arrogance is getting in the way of solving problems and helping people,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“We’re seeing it in the response to COVID-19 and other important areas like law and order, where the Government isn’t prepared to adopt a culture of continuous improvement and shuts down scrutiny at every turn.

“Jacinda Ardern will ultimately regret this escalating arrogance, the latest example being cancelling her weekly discussion with NewstalkZB’s Mike Hosking.

“It joins a long list of increasingly hubristic moves from the Prime Minister and her Government.

“Together they make up a rap sheet of high-handed, elitist behaviour from a group of Ministers who are showing themselves to be out of touch with the people that put them in the Beehive.

“Recent cases are Jacinda Ardern letting the mask slip and attacking members of the South Auckland COVID-19 cluster, and then running for cover in the days following to avoid scrutiny from the media.

“Then this morning she de-platformed herself from NewstalkZB to avoid answering questions.

“Stuff political columnist Andrea Vance was spot on at the weekend when she summed up the Government’s vaccine rollout as ‘a secretive, sluggish spin-fest,’ with the flow of information ‘tightly controlled and heavily politicised.’

“She could have been speaking about practically the entirety of the Government’s programme – not just COVID-19.

“Meanwhile it’s the stuff that often doesn’t get so much focus, such as the use of urgency in Parliament to pass bills you didn’t campaign on, like the Maori wards legislation, which also reveals this Government’s arrogant mind-set.

“On numerous occasions Jacinda Ardern’s Government has made changes to electoral law under urgency and without the usual convention of consultation with all parties in Parliament.

“We saw it in 2019 with the Electoral Integrity Amendment Bill, Referendum Framework Bill and the Electoral Amendment Bill.

“These are laws that are foundational to how we conduct our democracy, but they were sprung on Parliament at short notice and rushed through without proper evaluation.

“You can’t paint yourself as a paragon of democratic virtue and then not walk the talk – not if you want to stay in favour with voters.

“Eventually that behaviour will catch up with you.”