National building up own fears of Labour party

By Jay Kuten

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Despite what Chester Borrows says, the sky won't fall on Wanganui any time soon.  PICTURE/FILE
Despite what Chester Borrows says, the sky won't fall on Wanganui any time soon. PICTURE/FILE

Ordinarily, I wouldn't bother to take issue with a fellow columnist, although it's always open season on politicians.

And I may be a trifle jaded in that I automatically reach for the salt cellar and hold on to my wallet and my armchair when these folks start to put their spin on reality.

It's an attitude of self-preservation that leaves me unaffiliated to any particular party and skeptical towards all.

When I read last week's column (September 18) by my friend Chester Borrows, I thought surely he must be joking.

Either that or Chester has taken up script writing for one of those apocalyptic Hollywood movies. You know the type. The camera pans on a city in shambles, garbage and rodents everywhere in the streets, stores boarded up and buildings - what's left of them - graffiti strewn. It's dark and no signs of ordinary commerce. Wrecks of cars abound. Then suddenly the focus sharpens on a broken signpost and we find out it marks the site of the destroyed chambers of the Wanganui District Council.

At least, that's what seems to be the predictions of Mr Borrows of our future after Labour takes over.

Politicians can be expected to be partisan but fearmongering is something else.

Mr Borrows' dystopian view of our Labour-led future stands in stark contrast to his usual columns, in which Chester Borrows treats me to his unalloyed optimism, especially as it relates to the doings of his National Party.

I can't fully fault Chester for claiming that the interests of Wanganui won't be served by Labour. It's purely a partisan point and at least half-true.

The previous Labour government and its local representative did relatively little to bring business or institutions to Wanganui. But the sad fact is National has been a disaster for our city and the region.

Jobs have gone as government services were moved elsewhere. UCOL is being dismembered under government supervision. The National government has explicit plans to diminish local hospital services by regionalising them. For each of the series of catastrophes, Mr Borrows has either been a bystander or a willing participant.

One example stands out. When the government wrongly and foolishly chose to move maternity services as its leading edge of regionalisation, Mr Borrows supported that move and rationalised it as the best of possible solutions.

He changed his mind, but only after the whole community strongly opposed the idea.

Personally, I don't share Mr Borrows' dark vision for our future should the nation install Labour. I don't usually go in for predictions, but it is self-evident that the promises of National to bring our earnings on a par with Australia have been empty words, except perhaps for a fortunate few.

We're not doing all that well, and some of us are worse off than they were five years ago. That 15 per cent GST takes quite a bite, especially from the working poor among us.

The privatisation of our energy companies will benefit the 5 per cent who can collect the dividends, but those dividends will come from the higher rates those newly privatised companies will demand of all of us.

Isn't it time the overused tax and spend mantra applied to the opposition, was retired?

Mr Borrows cites the work of National's Shane Ardern to back up his assertions with accounting figures.

I'm more than a little sceptical about partisan accounting. It's coming from the same team that overpaid on NoNopay.

This is the government that rationalises its slavish following of disproven economic theories of fiscal austerity with misleading figures such as statements that we're borrowing $15 million a week.

It's that austerity which has led to the unemployment we've suffered in Wanganui as they've moved or terminated government services.

While I have my own doubts about what Labour may bring to our city, it can hardly be as disastrous as under National.

Contrary to Chester's predictions, the sky won't fall. Ultimately, what we need to say to fearmongers is "Boo!"

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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