The roundabout of politics in New Zealand is interesting.
The recent Budget was a typical Labour Budget, spending big to address many of the social ills thousands of Kiwis suffer from every day.
Huge plans to increase core benefits, funding to address the appalling statistics of Māori health, $55.5 billion earmarked for the next four years for infrastructure, a new facility at Scott Base in Antarctica.
Māoridom has been a winner in this Budget, with 7 per cent dedicated to addressing Māori inequity in health, education, housing and other infrastructure.
This will hopefully provide a transformational change for many iwi, by Māori for Māori, especially in the new proposed Māori health authority.
Labour's Māori caucus has flexed its undoubted muscle and Cabinet listened.
New Zealand now expects a huge surge in house-building, the completion of a few more roading projects and a further resurgence in the recovering rail industry.
Based on this Government's record to date, it tends to promise a lot but delivery seems to be lagging.
Are these just further promises that are probably not going to be kept, or are going to be years in the making, perhaps never seeing the light of day prior to the inevitable change of government on the roundabout in 2023 to 2026?
The opposition, National and the self-described "party of opposition" Act, showed their lack of concern for the immediate needs of families struggling on the benefit and for the inequities Māori face, especially in health.
One gets the impression from the Budget debate that both parties would, once back in power, stall benefits again and roll back health to the present system that does not address need evenly across the country or across cultures.
Children of beneficiaries have no control over the poverty many of them live in.
Only the heartless few would deny benefit rises to the parents of these little ones. In my personal experience, most of these families really struggle.
There is no fat on any meat these kids get. Their homes are not theirs. The rent must be paid before food is purchased.
In winter, heating is a must to protect small bodies. Thankfully, Labour's Winter Heating Allowance helps here but it is still a challenge to provide a safe, warm secure home for many children when on a benefit.
Living on a benefit for most of these families is living on the poverty line, nothing more than that.
There is rarely anything left over for treats for children, something we all like to provide.
There are beneficiaries who are simply too ill or disabled to undertake either full-time or even part-time work. Many try to manage low-paid part-time jobs but also need help from MSD to simply exist.
Benefits also help those who have, through no fault of their own, lost their livelihoods.
The recent classic example is hard-working people over 55 who lost their jobs during Covid-19.
Many of these people had been with the same employer for years, and had a career planned.
Their dreams of paid work until at least their mid-60s are gone.
Ageism will ensure many of these people will struggle to find viable full-time work as they get older.
Retraining won't help. Most, nearing the end of long working lives, don't want to retrain with little or no prospect of subsequent employment for a few years.
These people may or may not get a benefit or may have to simply spend their life savings to exist until they are broke or on the benefit or pension, whatever happens first.
After a lifetime of graft they deserve decent benefits and also deserve to have the ability to keep what assets they have acquired.
Yes, there are beneficiaries who should work but choose not to. Fit people who game the system.
Any Government of whatever political stripe cannot be judgmental about who deserves what.
Benefits are paid to the decent, the unlucky, the sick or disabled, the casualties of Covid and the system-gamers.
The gamers give beneficiaries an undeserved bad name.
Only they really want the benefit. The majority have little or no choice, they actually need the help of the state to get by until either their lot improves or pension age arrives.
Labour's time will pass. The "fairer, kinder society" will once again be subject to a National-led Government attacking workers' rights, stalling benefits, slimming down expensive social services, looking after its rich mates and allowing health and education to wallow in further penury.
Or will it? Has the day of the conservative "born to rule" Governments in social democracies like ours gone?
Is National in its present form dying as a party?
Is there room for a slightly right-of-centre Liberal party in New Zealand - nearly 100 years since the Liberals last stalked the halls of power?
Has Labour stolen the centre swing-voter forever?