Does it ever bother you that your entire public persona is built around making you seem like a buffoon? That your media advisors’ mandate is simply to make you seem like a loveable chump? Do you realise that by playing into this caricature you are implicitly agreeing with the notion that the majority of New Zealanders are just too dumb to elect a leader who is smart, forward-thinking and politically astute?
Have you ever considered that it is not that youth are unengaged with the political system, but that your conception of engagement fails to reflect the way in which young people engage? Yes, voting is important, but a triennal vote is only one form of political expression and not necessarily the most important form to all young people. Remember John, it’s a dynamic environment. Things, technology, forms of engagement – they’re all changing. When you tell young people that you think they’re so disengaged they can’t even get out of bed before 7pm, you’re not proving that young people are disengaged with the political process; you’re proving that politicians are disengaged with young people.
Have you considered a good concealer for those bags under your eyes? Do you think it’s wrong that your appearance is almost never the subject of such snarky remarks, yet when Helen Clark was leader more words were written and more conversation had about her appearance than perhaps any other aspect of her leadership? But seriously, get some sleep.
When you came into government, did you actually believe that you would simply ‘cap the public service’ and not butcher it to pieces? I should probably remind you that when you came into government, the world was already in the throes of an economic recession and, on your own admission, things were pretty bleak. Yet, on these facts, you thought that you could save all of this money (which, by the way, is actually a tiny drop in the bucket in terms of public expenditure: please refer to ‘building new prisons’ question below) within the public service without making any job cuts. And now things have suddenly changed so dramatically that you need to cut hundreds of people from the public service? It just seems odd.
On the subject of this bleak economic outlook, our ‘dynamic environment’, and preparing New Zealand for a long-term future that is likely to be charactised by increasing insecurity around land, water and resources: asset sales. Common sense, try it some time. You might enjoy the feeling.
Do you find it ironic that so much of your success is framed in terms of your ‘state house upbringing’, yet your proposed welfare reforms further stigmatise any reliance on state support and frame those who receive support from the state as no-hopers and bludgers? Does it ever occur to you that the very message your reforms send will act as a barrier to moving off welfare; that while it seems your family had faith in you and supported you in every endeavour, not every child in New Zealand grows up with those kind of positive messages, and so when even their own Prime Minister tells them they’re no hopers, it’s pretty hard to get past that and go on to become ‘the next John Key’?
Actually, in general, inequality in this country: when is that going to feature on your agenda? I have a few different types you could look into if you need suggestions – income, gender, racial just to name a few. Also, so you know, increasing GST and giving tax breaks that ultimately serve only to benefit the wealthiest doesn’t count as addressing inequality.
I’m a little curious as to why you have proposed a new $900 million prison in Wiri. If this is spare cash just lying around, can I please suggest 101 better uses for this government expenditure? How about giving it to some of those services like Women’s Refuge that actually make a positive, useful contribution to keeping our communities safe and from which you cut funding last year? If you are spending this $900 million with the hope that this prison will actually prove effective in either reducing prisoner rates or cutting crime and building safer communities, please let me direct you to the overwhelming amount of the international literature and research that conclusively proves more prisons and higher incarceration rates do nothing to bring down crime and that punitive solutions ultimately benefit no one. I can send some to you, highlighted and all, given that you probably won’t have any public servants left to do this kind of research.
That’s probably enough for today. I would hate to bore you with the ramblings of a politically disengaged and somewhat despairing young person.
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