The most remarkable goes most often unremarked.
I’m sure Shakespeare or Ben Jonson made this observation. If they didn’t they should have. If not I will lay claim to the eternal verity which it contains, helping me to earn a reputation for wisdom and profundity which, who knows, will one day lead to fame fortune and an invitation to appear on a reality television show. Thus would my life achieve completeness and meaning.
The remarkable event in question is the statement by Billy English, Minister of Finance, that the Government will borrow 250 million dollars a week for the next four years. At which point, we the taxpayers will be paying five billion dollars a year in interest on the debt. What the minister was saying is that New Zealand is stone motherless broke. This momentous pronouncement was greeted by the media and populace alike with a large yawn and sank without trace.
The statement is remarkable in many ways.
The first is that from about 2000 to 2005 we had the best years in financial terms since the wool boom of the 1950’s. Yet three years later we are bust. This tells you that the government of the day was completely irresponsible in terms of fiscal probity and that Michael Cullen and Helen Clark should both be in jail for treason.
The second remarkable result of the unremarked news was that numerous civil servants demanded pay rises and the labour movement in general insisted that they be recompensed for their declining standard of living.
And the third result was that when the new government made a pathetic attempt to wind back government spending by reducing the monstrous burden of the runaway train called the Accident Compensation Corporation, which pays more than a lotto win for stubbing your toe, there was uproar, consternation and high drama. Instead of John Key or Billy the Finance telling the truth (“There is no honey left in the honey jar, you silly bear”) they muttered and mumbled about nothing material. Both John and Bill should be next door to Helen and Michael in Cell No. 3.
I could go on about this unremarked remarkable event. Treasury has done the numbers and told our leaders that the old age pension is unsustainable. Fifty billion by 2050 and only three people left in the work force under eighty years of age to pay for it. Bill’s response? This government is committed to pay universal superannuation at 65 years of age . The dopiest drongo in the Flood Hotel could tell you that there is a serious long term problem contained in that statement.
And as for our troops fighting for a regime that is only marginally less barbaric than their opponents. Is that not the most remarkable wonder of them all? My Grandfather fought for a world free of militarism in the trenches of the first world war. My father fought for a world free of fascism in the skies of western Europe during the second world war. Our troops are now fighting for a regime that is the absolute antithesis of everything this country has fought for and stands for over the last century.
Can you believe that this nation would risk the lives of its soldiers for a regime that supports starving women who refuse their husbands conjugal rights? Where is the outrage over that?
And most remarkable of all, in a local context, with the rural economy once more in disarray after three years of drought, and now facing low returns caused by a high dollar caused by the skyrocketing national debt, the Regional Council is sitting on 150 million dollars in cash which they refuse to return to their rightful owners, the ratepayers, in their time of desperate need. Perhaps the Regional Councillors should occupy cell No. 4 next to the other motley crew.
The good news is that last week I stood by my beehives and berated the bees for wasting time on the willow trees when my fruit trees needed pollinating. Within hours they were swarming over the apple blossom pollinating their little hearts out at a hundred miles an hour.
Someone finally took me seriously. That’s the most remarkable thing of all.