Jacinda Adern is the Worst Prime Minister Ever

Jacinda Adern has globally been hailed as one of the best leaders the world has ever seen. She has been painted as a role model and a messiah of what politicians should strive to be. I completely disagree. In fact, I believe Jacinda Adern is potentially the worst prime minister New Zealand has ever had. It’s 2022 now, and people are finally getting over Jacinda fever, which carried her to a sweeping victory in the 2020 election. Kiwis are finally starting to wake up to the abysmal failure that has been the 5th Labour government with Jacinda Adern at the helm. The damage the current government has been causing has become increasingly apparent, and Jacinda Adern herself is becoming increasingly more worried and erratic with the fact there is a high probability she will lose power in next year’s election. As the saying goes, power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

First things first, let’s rewind back to the 2017 election. What were Jacina Aderns and Labour’s biggest aspirations? She constantly stated that the only reason she ever got involved in politics was to end child poverty. This is a noble aim that should be commended of course, but when talking about politicians, there is only ever really one reason why they enter politics, for the  power. Those who think otherwise are fooling themselves. Seeing as this was her chief aim as a politician, it is important to ask if child poverty has improved under her government. The answer? It has risen dramatically! New Zealand is now facing a cost of living crisis like we’ve never seen before. The amount of New Zealanders who work full time but still rely on government benefits to get by has risen at an exponential rate since Labour took power in 2017. This shows times are getting harder and harder for average and poor  working class citizens. Inflation is at an all time high, Businesses are struggling and there is a dire sense of pessimism amongst the New Zealand population. So this is Cindy’s paradise. Food is harder to put on the table, people are struggling to put a roof over their head, but at least she’s nice, right?

Another big issue she promised to tackle was our housing crisis. New Zealand has one of the worst housing markets for first home buyers in the world. House prices doubled under Helen Clark’s Labour government, then again under John Key and Bill English’s National government. During the 2017 election campaign, Jacinda Adern used this to her advantage by blaming the nation for the housing crisis whilst promising to make housing more affordable. Looking back though, it’s a shame kiwis didn’t call her bluff, as historically house prices have increased more under Labour governments than national (13.6% under Labour compared to 9.1% for National). Her main policy to tackle this issue was Kiwibuild, which aimed to build 100,000 affordable homes for first home buyers, through a government run initiative. This seemed like a good policy at first glance, but was a complete and utter failure. Only 602 houses were built from the initiative, a long way off Jacinda’s promised amount of 100,000. So how are house prices looking 5 years after Jacinda Adern got elected? So far they have more than doubled and have increased more in 5 years than the 9 years of the previous National government (which came under deep scrutiny for the rising cost of housing). Mixed with the fact we have a cost of living crisis, and you can see how incompetent this goverment has been. Jacinda Adern has not stayed true to her promises at all. In fact, she has made everything worse. 

The only saving grace Jacinda Adern can hold on to is her initial response to the covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Cindy is clinging on to this time for dear life! She knows the only way she can be elected again is to convince enough ignorant people that she has kept them safe and will continue to do so. Unfortunately for her and fortunately for the greater good of New Zealand, more and more kiwis are waking up to her nonsense. People are starting to realise how incredibly botched and incompetent our pandemic response has been post 2020. Forget about facts for this one, go outside and see for yourself what our disgraceful pandemic response has done to the nation. The streets are quiet, hardly anyone is eating out and businesses are closing left right and centre (taking jobs with them). I go into Christchurch CBD regularly and feel heartbroken when I walk into a local business and the owner’s face lights up like they haven’t seen a customer for years. You can feel it in the air how low on morale everyone is, how arduous it is living with all these pointless masks and restrictions. If this is Jacinda’s image of paradise, there is no way we can allow her to be elected for a third term. It would be the nail in the coffin for New Zealand.

The only rebuttal Jacindatarians have against all these points is that she is a kind person, a compassionate leader who is empathetic and treats everyone with respect. Those who deny this fully are out of their mind. Jacinda Adern is indeed a nice person who everyone likes, who wouldn’t like her? This is politics however, when you cast a vote in the election, you are not voting for the person, more a machine that runs the country. Jacinda Adern may be a nice person, but the machine that is the 5th Labour government is completely and utterly inadequate and has no business running this country. Jacinda Adern has now become corrupted by power, that is the only thing now driving her. She can try to lie to the masses and manipulate people all she wants, but the results of her government are loud and clear. People will not tolerate it much longer, hence why after a complete political monopoly Labour are finally starting to drop in the polls as National rises one again. National leader Christopher Luxon is an outstanding character with actual real world experience, which is a rare trait in politicians these days. He has Jacinda on the ropes, and I truly believe he will be the man to dethrone her come the 2023 or 2026 election.

Thus, contrary to global media outlets, hailing Jacinda as a goddess, I believe she is perhaps the worst prime minister of all time. The stats in pretty much all aspects of her tenure back this up. I have absolutely nothing against Jacinda herself as a person. I believe she is someone everyone should look up to, and we should all take her message of being kind to one another seriously, especially in today’s day and age. As mentioned above however, it is not the people themselves that matter, more the results their government actually produces, Jacinda’s government has shown no results, only failure after failure. Kiwis must make Labour pay for this next election. We can’t let a government get away with making our quality of life dramatically worse. Regardless of what offshore media that know nothing about the state of our country may say, Jacinda Adern has been a failed prime minister in every way. Unless a complete miracle happens, I believe she will pay the price in this coming election.

How the Right can win back support

It is very safe to say that 2020 was an absolutely abysmal year for the Right. National, New Zealand’s centre right party, recorded their worst result ever, winning only 33 seats, down from 56 in 2017. Not only this, historically safe blue electorates flipped red, in turn, landing a lethal blow to Veteran National MP’s such as then co-leader Gerry Brownlee, and Nick Smith. In my opinion, this result sends a clear message, that the Right is in need of a major revolution. In order to win back voters, the Right must modernize their policies and get with the times, as their old fashioned and outdated way of doing things are no longer viable in the current political climate. 

The Right must first draw inspiration from the Left, which with Labour winning over 50% of the vote, plus the Greens winning 7.5%, is obviously doing something right. So what has been making the Left so successful? In short, the Left has been connecting voters a lot more, creating an actual movement instead of a short term political campaign. The Left has identified many emerging trends and monopolized on them, focussing on the economic and social issues that really resonate with everyday New Zealanders. Compare this to National’s campaign run by Judith Collins in 2020, which striked an 18 year old like me as more of a boomer brigade instead of a movement encompassing all New Zealanders. Times are changing faster than ever, and the Right needs to adapt just as fast if not quicker if they have hopes of winning voters back.

First up is how the Right goes about their economic policies. The left has somehow managed to convince younger generations that socialism is how New Zealand can end poverty, even though capitalism has been responsible for lifting more people out of poverty than any other economic vehicle in the history of humankind. It is true that New Zealand is currently far from a socialist country, but the early seeds are being planted. The thing is though, the left isn’t necessarily wrong that our current economy is not working for everybody. As times change, so should our economy. What we need is an updated version of capitalism, one that champions innovation but at the same time leaves no kiwi behind. Unfortunately, National are still trapped in the 1980’s Rogernomics and Reaganomics mindset, where neoliberalism, a form of capitalism that champions the free market, minimal regulations and major tax breaks to large corporations reigns supreme. Kiwis can see how much damage this has done to society. The housing crisis, China’s takeover of our economy and out of control inequality can all be linked back to these neoliberal policies put in place in the 1980’s. This is the reality of trickle down economics, something the Right has tried to champion and sell to the public for decades. Trickle down economics has not worked, and has tarnished the name of capitalism, giving the Left the opportunity to spread the popularity of socialism. It is now time for the Right to champion ‘trickle up’ economics, and in my opinion it all starts with Universal Basic Income (UBI). 

UBI is still a relatively new idea, only brought recently to popularity by figures such as democratic nominee hopeful Andrew Yang, Businessman Elon Musk, and recently even Barack Obama. The Opportunities party had a solid UBI policy, which I’ll use as an example. This UBI proposal aimed to pay out $250 a week ($13,000 a year) to each and every New Zealander aged 18 and older. This would be paid for by a 33% flat tax rate (Businesses and individuals pay the same percentage of tax regardless of their income level). At first glance, this seems like more of a left wing idea (although Andrew Yang and Barack Obama would most likely be considered Right wing in New Zealand). However, in my opinion, UBI is the ultimate Right wing economic idea. Yes, it is true that the proposal stated above would raise the current business tax from 28% to 33%, which at first seems to go against the Right’s philosophy of Business first, but think about it. Basic income would lessen the need for the government to constantly increase the minimum wage, thus immensely helping out small businesses and allowing them to survive in the economy. It also opens up the doors for more ordinary kiwis to become more risk averse and start to open their own small businesses, as they now have $13000 per year to fall back on if all goes wrong. A true free market can’t allow monopolies to take up large percentages of the economy, as it means ordinary people and small businesses are pushed out of the marketplace as they can’t compete. Furthermore, yes it is true that UBI is paid out to everyone regardless if they work or not, which at first seems to go against the Rights prized philosophy of ‘personal responsibility’. When you think about it however, UBI encourages more personal responsibility than almost any other policy on offer. It is up to the individual to decide how they want to spend their UBI, whether they want to use it towards their Uni fees, afford better quality food or use it as extra income in retirement. The individual always has a better idea of how to spend money to benefit their own lives than the government, which is why policies such as first year free tertiary education, the winter energy payment and government kiwi saver contributions wail in comparison to basic income. It is important for New Zealand to remain a capitalist country, as without capitalism wealth is not created and innovation is non-existent, which ultimately makes every citizen poor in the end. The time has come for the Right to get rid of the horrid neoliberal policies they have been clinging on to for too long. It is time to get voters excited about what capitalism has to offer: Innovation, prosperity, freedom. It all starts with the Right championing UBI. 

Next is how the Right tackles social issues. Take it from an 18 year old, the times of social conservatism are well and truly over, regardless of where you lie on the political spectrum. Lets compare the ACT and New Conservative parties for example. ACT is New Zealand’s LIbertarian Party, at least under David Seymour’s leadership. This essentially means ACT stands for freedom in every which way. Economically it makes them New Zealand’s most right wing party, but socially it puts them on par with Labour and even the Greens on many issues. New Conservative on the other hand, take more traditional and old school stances on Social issues, while not actually being too extreme economically. The differences were that ACT for example was pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, pro-cannabis pro-marrige equality and mostly atheist. New Conservative on the other hand was against all things mentioned above, including marriage equality as the party was deeply religious. The result? ACT won 8% of the vote, despite their arguably extreme economic positions, while New Conservative was nowhere near close to making it into parliament, only winning 1.4% of the vote. This along with the fact NZ First crashed out of parliament shows that social conservatism doesn’t fit into New Zealand society anymore, and good riddance. 

National are currently in a dilemma, as their party is split between the more ACT like social liberal types and the dinosaurs that take a more socially conservative approach. Under Todd Muller and then Judith Collins, National definitely fell under the social conservative label. Judith Collins for example had a Donald Trump like presence about her, which made her come off cold, smug, arrogant and unpleasant. She had the caucus to match too! Nearly all of  the Nationals list were Pakeha, male and christian. Todd Muller arguably took this to the extreme, as not only was he anti-abortion, euthanasia and cannabis for example, but he actually had a MAGA hat displayed on his desk! No Todd, New Zealand doesn’t want to draw it’s political inspiration from the shit show that is the United States of America! The heartbreaking thing about all of this is at the start of 2020, National was polling at 46%, well above Jacinda Adern’s Labour party which at that time was experiencing failure after failure. Who was in charge of the party at this time? That’s right, Simon Bridges and Paula Bennet, two highly educated and successful Maori citizens who had had humble upbringings and achieved massive success. This again shows how social liberalism is the way of the future, so how should the Right adapt? 

First things first, the Right needs to tie Social Liberalism to its prized philosophy of small government and liberty. It amazes me how conservatives can skyte about how the government shouldn’t tread on anyones rights, and then for example be anti-abortion, which in turn essentially gives the state full control of a Womman’s reproductive rights. It amazes me how conservatives can claim to champion free markets, then turn around and be against legalizing marajuiana, which would create a huge industry and give the government hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxpayer money to play around with. Small government, individualism and Liberty are ideas that make me proud to be right wing, but our politicians must actually carry out these ideas, instead of power tripping minorities and vulnerable members of society. Recently for example, Conversion Therapy has been a huge issue amongst the LGBTQ+ community. During the election campaign, LGTBQ+ members put Labour under enough pressure to commit to banning Conversion Therapy, a practice that although barely seen in New Zealand, essentially makes it ok under the law to torture someone with the intention of changing their sexuality back to ‘normal’. Unfortuanately, Jacinda Adern is EXTREMELY hesitant to actually bring in legislation that would ban conversion therapy. This is the PRIME oppotunity for National to put pressure on Labour and come out in support of banning conversion therapy. After all, conversion therapy goes against the princibles of individualism and small government. This is the time that the right should be showcasing these amazing principles, and standing in solidarity with the LGTBQ+ community. Judith Collins however, being the conservative she is, essentially said in response that National don’t have a position on Conversion Therapy! Way to drive people away from the right and confirm to young people that anyone who is remotely right wing is bigoted, racist, sexist and homophobic, which of course is entirely untrue (but thats the image of the Right these leaders project). 

Astonishingly, National recently had a laughable attempt at trying to appear more progressive. Judith Collins announced that National would once again contest Maori seats in 2023. The first time since 2005 when then leader Don Brash refused to run any candidates in maori electorates for the name of equality. The public called this sick stunt out for what it was, tokenism. Is it true that the right needs more diversity? Yes, but tokenism and virtue signalling is not the way to accomplish that. Diversity must happen over time, as more and more people are exposed to the Rights ideas and how amazing these principles are. It must happen naturally, take for example the current Labour caucus, the most diverse caucus ever seen in the Beehive. Labour did not achieve this diversity by handing out positions to people in the name of Tokenism to appear diverse, it was a natural occurrence. Even on the right, ACT leader David Seymour is Maori (although many leftist try to call him a privileged white male for some reason), did he get handed his position? No, he worked his way up and has led ACT to their best result ever. Heck, even the New Conservative list was more diverse than National! The reality is, you can’t have a diverse caucus if one of your main ideologies is social conservatism. The right must go back to its roots and put the work in on the ground. Tie social liberalism to the incredible principles of liberty, individualism and small government. The Right must completely change it’s image, but it won’t happen overnight. The Right must have a long term vision and create a movement that can carry out that vision. If done successfully, The Right theoretically will become more diverse than the left. Winning over voters old and young, gay and straight, transgender and cisgender, maori and pakeha, atheist and religious. 

These are probably the most important things that the Right must start doing to win back voters. There are many more things however the Right must start focussing on unless they want to be a relic of the past. Although the left has monopolized the environment as a key area of concern, there is no reason the Right can’t champion environmentalism as well. There is still so much political capital to be seized in terms of genetic engineering, Nuclear energy, and other innovative ways of tackling climate change. There is an opportunity for the Right to champion Local Body Government, which has been neglected by all sides of the political spectrum for too long. Overall, the Right has to modernize their approach to politics. We are living in an exciting period and it’s time to think more innovatively about the ideas that can improve New Zealand and humanity. It will take a monumental effort to bring the Right into the 21st century and to influence people to turn to our side. With Jacinda Adern looking like she is going to hold on to power for a long time, now is the chance for the Right to work in the shadows and completely revolutionize politics as we know it. The Left shouldn’t be the only side bringing new ideas into the political landscape, the Right should be bold enough to do so as well. It is the difference between the Right’s future or their downfall.

Why An 18 Year Old Voted For ACT

2020 was an exciting year for New Zealand politically. Turning 18 in June, it was the first time I had the privilege of contributing to our democracy, casting a vote in the general election for the very first time. Contrary to other 18 year olds, I did not vote for Jacinda Ardern’s Labour party, nor the Greens, both parties that typically attract a younger voter base. The party that earnt my vote was David Seymours ACT party. 

Now before you go spitting out your avocado toast, it is important to note I have nothing against Jacinda Ardern’s leadership prowess, nor against the passionate voter base of the Greens, led by young admirable leaders such as Chloe Swarbrick. Similar to other 18 year olds, my areas of political concern include poverty, the housing crisis and more freedom for each and every Kiwi. The question then became which party had the best policies for solving these issues facing New Zealand, creating a country where everyone has equal opportunity to succeed and prosper, regardless of their background. Unimpressed with Labour and Nationals status quo style politics, I decided to turn my attention to the smaller parties. 

Observing the Greens, it was no wonder why so many young people viewed them as the party to create true change within New Zealand. Their MP’s talked with absolute passion about issues such as homelessness, the housing crisis, poverty and maximising the freedoms Kiwis could enjoy. It is this passion that evokes emotion in many young voters, especially since first time voters for the most part are oblivious to what makes good social and fiscal policy, usually voting on emotion instead. It is this emotion that the Greens use to sell voters the myth of a flawless utopian society, something they do extremely well. Unfortunately, their fiscal positions were very unsatisfactory. In the wake of an economic crisis, the Greens wanted to introduce new and raise taxes, implement more regulation and increase wasteful government spending. Some of their proposals such as the wealth tax have proven to be catastrophic in Europe, and yet somehow were still being sold by the Greens as a way to reduce income inequality. Their obsession on government spending, particularly $11.7M towards a new Private Greens School as the country was plummeting into debt with people losing their jobs, was just plain irresponsible. Although the idea on which the Greens ran their campaign was spot on, their policies would have done more harm than good to the country at this time. 

After eliminating the Greens, my party of choice was a battle between The Opportunities Party (TOP), or ACT. Both parties had very clever and well researched ways of tackling the issues which plagued New Zealand. I was a big fan of TOP’s Universal Basic Income (UBI) proposal. A policy that would give out $250 per week ($13,000 per year) to every Kiwi aged 18 and older no questions asked, paid for by a 33% flat tax rate. Unfortunately, polling indicated that TOP was nowhere near close enough to make it into parliament, which meant my best option was David Seymours ACT party, which had gained a considerable amount of momentum throughout the year. 

The 3 main reasons ACT appealed so much to me was their proposed economic recovery plan, their policy to help solve the housing crisis, and their stance on freedom of expression. 

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, New Zealand, like many other countries was plunged into an economic recession. The result was catastrophic, small businesses all across the country were forced to close, taking jobs with them. By May, over 200,000 Kwis had become unemployed. History shows that the quickest way for an economy to recover after a recession is to increase the spending power of the population, predominantly amongst poor, working ,and middle class households. Both TOP’s UBI proposal (in my opinion the best and smartest policy of any party) and ACT’s economic recovery plan strove to do just this. ACT went about the issue in a more classical neo-liberal way. It’s economic recovery plan aimed to cut the middle income tax from 30% down to 17.5%, and GST from 15% down to 10%. This would directly benefit poor, working and middle class households, introducing more spending power into the economy. To pay for these cuts, ACT planned to abolish costly and unnecessary government spending such as the Provincial Growth Fund and first year free tertiary education. They also planned to freeze the minimum wage for 3 years, which may sound ugly, but creates more jobs (in a time of mass unemployment) and allows small businesses to get back on their feet. The tax cuts combined with lower government spending would create a surplus in the economy, positioning the economy in a way where it could start to pay off the 140 billion dollars of debt it had incurred. Overall, ACT’s fiscal policy made the most sense out of all the significant party’s economic recovery plans (if they even had one in the first place). It focussed on what had worked in other countries and throughout history. It would have been a great stepping stone to raise the quality of life of each and every New Zealander and the quickest way for the economy to recover. 

In a closely related topic to the economy, ACT hands down had the best and most thorough policy to help fix the housing crisis, in my opinion the biggest crisis facing the country, especially for young people. Their policy titled ‘Build Like the Boomers’, aimed to simply build more houses. David Seymour says, “Since the mid-1970s, our population has grown by two million, but we’re building fewer houses now than we did then. It’s no wonder we have a housing crisis.” The root of the housing crisis simply comes down to Supply and Demand, one of the most basic economic concepts. New Zealand has a shortage of houses. Leftist usually dismiss this claim, arguing that the housing crisis is a lot more complicated than just building more houses. They suggest that we need to tax housing, be it through a capital gains or wealth tax, lower immigration (Labour made it a priority to curb immigration during their last term) and put a cap on the amount of investment properties one can own to fully deflate the prices of housing. While these suggestions do all hold some merit, and are important in the discourse for this particular matter, nothing will truly work unless we build a larger supply of housing, simple as that. ACT is the only party that understands this, so how do we build more houses? In the 2017 election cycle, one of Labour’s biggest policy proposals was the now infamous Kiwibuild, which sought to build 100,000 affordable houses through a government initiative. If the policy had achieved what it strove to do, it would have been a step in the right direction in terms of fixing the housing crisis. Unfortunately, Kiwibuild was an absolute disaster. By October 2020, only 602 houses had been built. What this highlighted was that there were too many regulations which prevented an adequate number of houses from being built. In other words, it was simply too hard to build a house in New Zealand. ACT identified this, suggesting to repeal and replace The Resource Management Act, and to focus on taking the bureaucracy out of housing and infrastructure. This would make housing development and construction a whole lot easier, leading to more homes being built in the short term and long term. The housing crisis is hot on the mind of every young New Zelander out there, and ACT was the only party that had real solutions to the problem (and made it one of their top Priorities). 

Freedom of speech has been a hotly contested issue in recent times, Not only in New Zealand, but all over the western world. New Zealand’s bill of rights act 1990 says everyone has the right to freedom of expression, “including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form”. Freedom of expression is one of the essential liberties of a free and fair democratic society. Unfortunately, freedom of expression has consistently been under attack throughout the last couple of years. ‘Hate speech’ legislation has been slowly creeping its way into New Zealand’s political psyche for some time. Most recently, Jacinda Ardern and Labour revealed their most blatant attack on freedom of expression yet. Outlining their plan to ‘sharpen’ current hate speech laws, adding religion and the LGTBTQ+ community to the list of protected characteristics. While with good intentions (you can’t dispute that these groups are precious and deserve to be protected), the problem with hate speech laws is that ‘hate speech’ is deeply subjective. Who gets to determine what ‘hate speech’ is? David Seymour was swift to defend the right to freedom of expression, saying, “Freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental rights New Zealanders possess. A new hate speech law will do the exact opposite of protecting and strengthening the rights of New Zealanders – it will fundamentally undermine them.” He goes on to say, “Hate speech laws are divisive and dangerous, turning debate into a popularity contest where the majority can silence unpopular views using the power of the state.” In defending freedom of expression, I am not suggesting that hate speech (however an individual defines it) is particularly pleasant or welcome. What I am saying is that each individual should be safe to express whatever thoughts, opinions or beliefs they have, safely under the law. In a free and democratic society, the state should not be allowed to silence anybody. ACT would prevent this from happening by repealing all existing hate speech laws, specify that the Harmful Digital Communications act only applies if the complainant is under the age of 18, and abolish the human rights commission. Freedom of expression is a crucial component of a progessive and inclusive society, which is why ACT, the only party that was truly defending freedom of expression, got my vote. 

Thus, contrary to many other 18 year olds, I proudly voted for David Seymour’s ACT party. After diligent research and careful consideration, I realised that ACT had the best solutions to the problems facing New Zealand. Many fellow Kiwis agreed, ACT’s share of the vote rose from 0.5% in 2017 to 8% in 2020, increasing the amount of ACT MP’s in parliament from 1 to 10. They have a lot of momentum going into 2021, especially with a divided and wavering National party and David Seymour’s amazing success in getting the End Of Life Choice Act across the line in the referendum. I have high hopes for ACT throughout the next 3 years, and hope they keep standing up for all New Zealanders, focussing on the important issues the country faces. 

As an 18 year old, my views are highly liquid, and change constantly as I encounter new information. This post is not stating that I am an ACT supporter for life (I couldn’t bear the thought of becoming too ideological). I voted for them in the recent election because after careful analysis I came to the conclusion that at this point in time, they had the best policies to help solve the problems I deemed important within New Zealand. My views are bound to change over time. I am excited to see what party will have the best answers to New Zealand’s problems next election.