Chris for Prime Minister

From the depths of the south, Mark Chamberlain contemplates the future of government.

In Home Block6 Minutes

I recently allowed myself a moment of quiet smugness when news broke that Ms Ardern had stepped aside. Smug in the fact that in my January column, I had predicted that she would step down. But apparently, everyone is a Nostradamus these days with numerous people claiming they had foretold it too… after the fact, of course.

Nestled on a small beach with friends, hiding from the unforgiving Central Otago sun, is where we were when we heard this historic news. A collective hoo-rah went up. Not because we are, as the media would have you believe, misogynists; but rather because we thought she was a twit. She had pulled the wool over the collective eyes of a flock of five million. So, what are we left with? A battle of the Christophers. One, a savvy politician with little business experience; the other, a savvy businessman with little political experience.

Why not campaigning on radical (if not separatist) policies out in the open, which would have allowed for a contest of ideas – true democracy.

I believe time will judge Ms Ardern harshly. This Government will go down, quite possibly, as the worst of all time. But to be fair, this too could be said of the opposition.

Case in point, very few will know that second only to the United States, this Government borrowed more money per head of capita, than any other country in the world. Another good example can be seen in Mr Hipkins’ experience as Minister of Education for five years, a time in which all the numbers have been heading in the wrong direction.

Truancy rates are high, positive outcomes for students are low. It shouldn’t be my job to communicate this to the nation but rather the job of a much-muted (or could that perhaps be politically neutered?), Christopher Luxon.

Poor Ms Ardern said her tank was empty, much like the children living in poverty with empty tummies, whom she promised to rescue.

Businesses, families, friendships, education, health and careers now lie in ruins at the base of her ‘pulpit of truth’. No matter what side of the aisle you are on, the reasons and efficiencies of lockdowns and mandates look weaker by the day. In her obsessive quest to ‘flatten the curve’ they inadvertently flattened the economy. But it was her self-described creation of a ‘second class citizen’ and culture of fear and control that will have the most lasting effect.

It got me thinking, how wrong were the parliamentary protestors? Excluding the extremists of course, the mandates were lifted a few weeks after the riot and, interestingly a year on, most charges brought by the police have been withdrawn. Also missing is former Speaker, Trevor Mallard and with the new Prime Minister, so too have disappeared many of the publicly unpalatable policies.

So, what are we left with? A battle of the Christophers. One, a savvy politician with little business experience; the other, a savvy businessman with little political experience.

While those who celebrated Ms Ardern’s departure were labelled misogynists and bullies, it appears that the person who has been the least kind to her, is in fact, her replacement. He has thrown a vast number of her policies “on the bonfire” and has been quick to point out their flaws. Rather hypocritical when Mr Hipkins had, of course, sat in Cabinet meetings where such policies were agreed upon.

At the time of writing this, Cyclone Gabrielle is unleashing a torrent upon the north while we in the south are baking in drought. We may poke fun at our northern compatriots, but lives have been lost and families who were already under pressure, are now increasingly so.

At times it has seemed, as farmers, that we have been the proverbial whipping boy for all that is bad in our country, but compassion is a noble quality and as the political ‘Which Chris?’ contest heats up, we need to remember that we are all on the same team. Come October, I ask for one thing; a leader who will reunite our country.

P.S Look for a snap election in April.