Change is happening. Slowly. But it's definitely happening. It didn't start with a slushy, but slushies are symptomatic of it.
Even five years ago, if it emerged the Department of Corrections had spent a lot of money on slushy machines for its correctional officers there would have been public outrage.
"Hard working Kiwis' taxpayer dollars are going on slushy machines!" some politician would have bellowed.
"Haha!" a newspaper sub-editor would have laughed. "I can cleverly call that a 'slush fund' in a headline". Then they would have been so proud of their cleverness they would have self high-fived and gone on a break.
New Zealanders would have been outraged! Ministers would have called in Chief Executives to justify slushy machine spending and demanded they be more spendthrift with their money.
But it hasn't quite played out like that.
A bellicose Simon Bridges did indeed try to drum up some outrage.
"SLUSHIES" he yelled when answering his own rhetorical question of what the Government had managed to deliver in its "year of delivery".
"SLUSHIES" he repeated like he'd discovered a new word and wanted everyone to share in his excitement.
David Cormack: Do the Greens deserve to be re-elected?
David Cormack: Let's hope there's more to Govt than meets the eye
David Cormack: Won't somebody think of the children?
"AND GRANT ROBERTSON DRANK THEM ALL".
Get it? It's because Simon thinks fat jokes are OK. He also thinks that people will be outraged that a government department wants to look after its workers.
Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis wasn't having any of it. "It's a disgrace that Simon Bridges is trying to politicise staff health and safety ... This is about looking after our people and making sure they're able to perform well and I make no apologies for it." Tough stuff.
It's also a very different tone from the "do more for less" attitude that was pervasive for government departments under Bill English's stewardship as finance minister.
There's a bigger question over whether prisons are effective (they're not) but the point here is that a government was comfortable spending money so that its workers could be better off while working.
And that's the change. Where once we looked up to titans of riches for their ability to earn and hoard money, society is slowly realising that money should be spent on workers. That our labour is not cheap. That we should be well compensated for our work, and that those without work also deserve the dignity of being looked after and living a life that is better than just subsistence levels.
This whole slushy episode is part of why the Government's response to the welfare expert advisory group's recommendations is so disappointing. Yeah they're tinkering with some minor changes that do go some way towards a slightly fairer system but it's nowhere near what the report recommended.
After ignoring the Tax Working Group you have to ask what the point of all these "expert" groups is if the Government is just going to ignore nearly everything they suggest.
Just under 30 years ago the welfare state was butchered by Ruth Richardson's "Mother of all Budgets". The amount the benefit was reduced to wasn't enough to feed people the recommended minimum daily intake of calories. Twenty six years later and following the last election, both Labour and National had committed to returning the benefit to the level it was pre-Richardson. That's a tacit acceptance that we currently live in a system designed to make the poor stay poor.
All around the world, increasing inequality has meant that workers are no longer seeking to earn eleventy billion dollars and leave their brothers and sisters behind. People are beginning to see that the punitive treatment of those without work is undignified, unfair and inhumane. Instead people are beginning to re-collectivise. We're wanting a better world for everyone. Not just the few, but the many.
Being left behind is happening globally. It's what gives rise to increased racism and bigotry. Oftentimes our political leaders will scapegoat immigrants, or beneficiaries, or other minority groups for why more and more of us are struggling, instead of laying blame at those who rig and benefit from the status quo.
But when you get situations like Jeff Bezos being worth 75 per cent of New Zealand's entire GDP it's only a matter of time before the rage that was misdirected at the beneficiaries and immigrants is turned on the billionaire who hoards wealth and does nothing with it but vanity projects. Or the politician who sees these problems but chooses to maintain a rigged system.
Notre Dame caught fire and in less than 24 hours a group of billionaires pledged over US$600 million dollars to help fix it. If the rich really didn't want to be eaten, this demonstrates they could easily provide enough for everyone to eat.