Jacinda Ardern and Labour have raised the white flag and declared that taxation reform is no longer on its immediate agenda. It underlines again that this Labour Party is seeking political power without any real purpose other than to avoid a fourth straight election defeat.
DISPLAYING an obvious realpolitik that views the capture of parliamentary power as paramount, Jacinda Ardern and Labour's retreat from any kind of taxation reform - any attempt to make the wealthy pay their fair share - has seemed inevitable. Clearly rattled by an opinion poll that suggested that Ardern's meteoritic rise to the eighth floor of the Beehive could not be assumed, Labour have failed to hold their ground and retreated.
The UK Fabian socialist R.H. Tawney once said of political democracy that it is not a choice between different leaders but between different social objectives.
But Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party doesn't subscribe to any notion of democratic socialism and any commitment to social objectives comes a very distant second to the interests and concerns of the market.
In its abandonment of something as fundamental as taxation reform and a more just and equitable tax system, Labour has consigned 99 percent of us to further austerity. The wealthy remain untouched - they must be glad that Jacinda 'cares'.
"We listened to what people were saying," said Ardern, trying to defend Labour's miserable taxation surrender. That 's right - we're all clamouring for further austerity, entrenched poverty and ever-widening inequality. The shiny new package that was Jacinda Ardern is looking decidedly shop soiled now.
Of course Labour's failure to 'be brave' (Ardern's words)) underlines again that any Labour-led government will not be transformative. It will ensure the continuance of neoliberal rule. I don't think most Labour supporters are voting for that.
Of course, hardcore Labour supporters, those who are clogging up the social media right now, are either continuing to defend Labour or are keeping their mouths shut. Theirs is an unprincipled politics, little better than that of their National Party counterparts.
Commenting on Guyon Espiner's interview with Jacinda Ardern on RNZ earlier this week, Giovanni Tiso observes:
"Ardern gave every indication that under her leadership, and with a much diminished contribution from the Greens, Labour remains committed to the continuation of the fundamental policies of the last 30 years. Call it the interlude we get to have every nine years or so in-between Tory governments. We’ll see the back of some truly dreadful ministers, associate ministers and undersecretaries. Some people’s living conditions will improve, or at least stop deteriorating – which of course is not insignificant. It never is. But the desire for deep and lasting change that the enthusiasm surrounding Ardern both evokes and demands will likely remain unfulfilled. Nothing illustrates this prospect better than the literal papering over of last month’s empty, self-defeating slogan – ‘a fresh approach’ – with an even emptier one – ‘Let’s do this.’ This what?"
Maybe the slogan should of been "Let's do not much."