Politics in that other universe, the United States, has some interesting lessons for New Zealand and it appears John Key is doing his homework well.
President Obama was elected on an almost unprecedented wave of emotional popularity, defeating a president and his party which had lost their way. 'Independents' carried the day (and between them and the Democrats they elected a symbol when they needed a president) and swept the Republicans aside on a catchy slogan, 'hope and change.'
The Democrats and their president embarked on an ideological and extreme legislative programme which introduced socialism on an unprecedented scale, starting with the nationalisation of the auto industry and culminating in the takeover of the hitherto private health care and insurance industries.
They succeeded in alienating many of those independent voters and more importantly, they (a) galvanised the aimlessly drifting conservative side of politics into a cohesive and noisy anti-Democrat movement called the Tea Party and (b) shocked the Republican Party into putting aside some of its divisions and going back to its roots - which largely coincide with the ethos of the Tea Party. Since the enactment of Obama's health care putch, his ratings have been languishing between 16% and 21% negative - the lowest ever. It is an unprecedented reversal of political fortunes in so short a time.
Americans got more change than they bargained for, no change where they wanted it and no hope for any improvement in their daily lives.
Translate this scenario to New Zealand and you begin to see why our current administration is in no big hurry to strip away the follies of Labour's nine years.
To do as the IMF suggests and as many of the people Adolf called 'shouters of the right' suggest will simply hand to Labour the wherewithal to recreate itself on a wave of media induced public outcry and hysteria aimed at our very own 'independents' otherwise known as swing voters. Labour will have its very own Tea Party - with some damn fool name like 'Fair Go' or 'Down with Rich Pricks.' These are the people who deserted Labour and NZ First in droves and put NACTionalMP into power.
You have only to cast an eye over The Herald's and the left's beat up on the Mining discussion paper to get a sneak preview of the media onslaught which would follow slashing of the public service, removal of interest free student loans and free doctors visits and the winding back of WFF.
The IMF needs to understand that New Zealanders have been brainwashed into becoming a nation of welfare dependents. The unpicking of this disastrous mindset requires much care, cunning and patience. It seems to me John Key, Rodney Hide and Tariana Turia have enough of these qualities to carry the day but they will need another term to complete the job.
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