Matt McCarten on politics

Matt McCarten is a Herald on Sunday political columnist

Matt McCarten: Time for Douglas to take a good hard look

118 comments
Roger Douglas has hung around beyond his use-by date. Photo / Janna Dixon
Roger Douglas has hung around beyond his use-by date. Photo / Janna Dixon

Act's Sir Roger Douglas agreed with last week's column when I wrote our next generation of talent is fleeing New Zealand because there isn't the opportunity here.

Apparently, though, it's all my fault. To understand why people are leaving the country he advises I only have to look in the mirror. I didn't know I had so much power.

In a slightly odd press release, he stated: "Young people are pouring out of New Zealand faster than you can say 'Communist manifesto'." In the 1960s when Douglas was starting out, red-baiting godless commies was in vogue.

I know he's been a pensioner for some years now, but the other pensioner who leads Act should remind him the Berlin Wall fell 22 years ago. The world's been enthralled with turbo capitalism ever since.

However, I'm not sure the people of Greece feel the same way about neo-liberal dogma that Act ideologues still do.

Douglas reminds me of one of those unrepentant politicians who hangs around long past their use-by date justifying their crimes to anyone who will listen. In my view, he almost deserves jail for the damage he and his conspirators did to New Zealand.

Instead, we give him two taxpayer-funded pensions and an MP's salary. Not bad to have three streams of state income at the same time telling us we must stomp out bludging. To rub salt in our wounds, he got a knighthood.

Act's recipe for economic salvation - driving wages and benefits down, with young people offering to work for virtually nothing - is delusional at best. But as true believers, they can't bear to think it's their message that is flawed. They blamed Rodney Hide and after they installed Don Brash they jubilantly claimed they'd soar to more than 10 per cent in the polls. Yes, well ... they haven't moved and wallow below 2 per cent.

Clearly we don't understand their cunning plan so they've taken out a mass newspaper advertising campaign and sent 100,000 letters to convince us to introduce Third World wages so as to close the wage gap with Australia.

The Act Party spent years raging against rorts by politicians in using taxpayers to fund their campaigns. Now that the gullible rich no longer fund Act, their entire campaign is funded by the taxpayer through a loophole.

Come back Rodney the perk buster - the country needs you.

Then again, Act long ago threw away any pretence of principled behaviour after Hide and Douglas got pinged a while back for taking themselves and their partners on worldwide recreational junkets courtesy of taxpayers.

If they really believed that people would back their dogma under their new leader, they had a golden opportunity to test it by calling a byelection in Epsom. They could have run their campaign to slash wages and introduce youth rates as part of it.

To use the excuse they used on Hone Harawira, that a byelection was a waste of money, was a red herring. We already know Act is delighted to misuse tax money for campaigning purposes. They seem to think it's acceptable to dump Epsom voters' choice of local MP and then not go back to those voters for their consent.

But Douglas and his followers have never been believers in democracy. They carried out a coup inside the Labour Party in 1984 to launch their Rogernomics agenda without a public mandate. Even now they are only in Parliament because Act and National cheated by letting Hide win the seat and bring in four other MPs with fewer votes than NZ First (who got nothing).

Don't even get me started about the recent process of dumping Hide for Brash, who wasn't even a member of that party. They have raised cynicism to a new level, one that Joseph Stalin would admire.

This party still expects us to take them seriously. Good grief.

Douglas is correct when he says that the culprit for our children fleeing our country is in the mirror. But it's only when he's looking into it.

- Herald on Sunday

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf02 at 22 Dec 2014 20:30:11 Processing Time: 471ms