Posts Tagged ‘ Government ’

Taking responsiblity for your actions

I guess the situation with Tony Veitch has got me thinking about why people seem so reluctant to take responsibility for their actions. When you make a mistake, admit it, apologise, do what you can to rectify the situation and then everyone can move on. It seems to have become surprisingly hard to do this recently, every apology seems to be qualified by an excuse which usually is blaming something wider for your actions.

I could say it’s the current government who have been responsible for the cultural change in New Zealand, but I can’t as it’s been growing for a while, although I do feel they have perfected the art and made it more acceptable.

I link this failure for individuals to take responsibility for their actions to Political Correctness.

In the world of PC every action is the result of some external force. Maori can blame white people for all their ills because of the actions of colonists over a hundred years ago. Overweight people can blame multinational food companies for their obesity. Smokers dying of cancer can blame cigarette companies for their horrible afflictions. Just about anyone committing some crime can blame ‘society’ for disadvantaging them in some way which lead them to lose control of themselves. And last night Tony Veitch got to blame working seven days and being a bit stressed for kicking the stuffing out of his girlfriend.

This politically correct nonsense has now gone to such lengths that increasingly people don’t even feel the need to apologise at all. After all, everyone should know by now that it isn’t an individuals fault, it’s some external cause originating from the society we live in. Why apologise or take responsibly for your actions when you no longer have any control of your life?

Now the government doesn’t bother apologising or take responsibility for it’s actions, and I include government departments and public servants in this. Offenders will just go to ground and sit it out usually with the complicit backing of those around them. When they do apologise it’s usually has some weasel words in the apology which it can use later on to claim it wasn’t really apologising for it’s mistakes, but someone else’s (witness the agent orange ‘apology’ to Vietnam veterans) and the apology has been so thoroughly vetted by armies of lawyers that it loses all common language meaning and decents into obscure legalese which results in something that really isn’t an apology but a complex excuse. Why should people take responsibility, no other public servant, elected or otherwise does anymore. Even worse the government has now become a vehicle for this corruption, providing support and finance for the blame business whether it be the Treaty of Waitangi industry or the rapidly expanding social services.

You can lie (sorry, miss-speak), cheat, bully, assault, steal and not only not have to apologise because it really isn’t your fault, you’ll actually have a whole bunch of supportive people behind from public figures, the media and academics ready to justify your actions for some obscure historical or societal reason.

Long gone are the days that saw people who screwed up, admit it, resign with some grace and quietly go about making good. Often these people would do this with some dignity – thus showing respect to their victims – gain the respect although not the sympathy of the public, and people could feel that they appreciated the depth and affect of their mistakes. In Japan public figures who stuff up apologise in a humiliating public display prostrating themselves before the press conference and victims, be good to see a bit of that here.

Now you can expect a lucrative contract with some trashy magazine spilling your guts about how it was alcohol or some other rubbish, with soppy airbrushed photos and simpering excuses from your mates saying what a decent person you really are, and eventually you’re back in the saddle. Not only have you not apologised, you haven’t taken responsibly AND you’ve made a bit of cash along the way.

Political correctness is morally corrupt. People like to blame big business and capitalism for the moral corruption in society (yet another excuse) but in fact it’s the PC movement itself that has visited this moral vacuum upon society.

If we really want to start to improve things in NZ we need to start with ourselves and the morality (not religious morality, but moral fibre and integrity and taking responsibility for your actions) of the people we elect and put up as role models. We should have a zero tolerance for people who display a flexibility with the truth and who always seek to blame some external source for their actions. Only when we as individuals take responsibilities for our actions, admit it when we have made mistakes without recourse to excuses, will we be able to improve society and behave in a fair, decent and respectful way to one another.

Interesting blog article on the two types of appology often used…

http://peripatus.blogspot.com/2005_09_01_archive.html

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Truck Strike

(Actually that should be blockade as I see many were actually being paid by the employers) You’ve got to have some sympathy for trucking companies. It was clear the Government didn’t bother giving them notice of road user charges because obviously they would scream blue murder. Instead of deferring it until everyone had got used to higher fuel costs and things had settled down a bit, they did it anyway.

The thing about that is always missed is that although the charges are for trucking companies, ultimately the consumer is going to pay for this in increased retail prices for the goods moved via transport.

A more cynical person might think that this is the beginning of the campaign to force companies to use Kiwirail for transport. The one mechanism the government has to force up costs of road transport is road user charges, I guess they could then take the money collected and give it to Kiwirail (instead of improving the roads).

I hope as many truck drivers as possible participate and traffic is gridlocked, it will send a message – not to the government, who stopped listening to business some time ago – but to voters. This is a government who is both arrogant and out of touch.

You have to wonder what is going on with Labour – they seem to have a death wish!

The Economy Tanks

As the economy comes to a screeching halt, the brakes appear to have been applied by the general collapse in the housing market. This is mainly a result of the housing market tanking in the USA because the house of cards around the financing of the housing boom suddenly collapsed exposing the boom for what it was – dodgy people borrowing money they couldn’t repay to fuel a housing boom that allowed other people to borrow yet more money based on the increasing value of their property.

Obviously this simplifies things a bit, there are other factors such as oil prices.

For years now commentators have been predicting the housing boom would fold and despite people having their head in the sand for somewhat self interested reasons, it’s happening here. The ‘liberal’ lending of finance companies to property developers who in turn sold properties to people suddenly rich from their own increase in property equity fueled a vicious circle and finally the party is coming to an end and a big hangover is looming.

Sound familiar? of course, we saw this during the last boom/crash in 1987 with the share market when people borrowed against their increasing share value to buy yet more shares.

Strangely everyone here thought they had it sorted, somehow this was different, mainly because it was housing and NZder’s have a love affair with housing that is verging on irrational. If you bought you house for $200k, and suddenly it was worth $400k, you could borrow $200k to buy another house, which would be worth $400k, and so on, you were actually  rich – you just had a ship load of debt. I’m not suggesting that people haven’t made money, they did before the stock market crash. And the smart ones got out when it became obvious what was going to happen.

The interesting question is this. The economy has been doing well up until now, but this has clearly been driven by two main drivers; the housing market and the warm feelings of wealth this created, and the rise in commodity prices such as dairy products. In many ways neither was sustainable long term (and we’re just very lucky that dairy is still going to hold up for a few years before that corrects).

The entire housing boom had nothing to do with people earning more money, wages haven’t increased much and increases have been below the inflation rate, the debts been ‘financed’ through capital gains in property, not wage increases.

The government has made much of residing over a good economy, but in fact the hard reality is that neither of these things were a result of the government. They have no affect on international commodity markets, nor the loose lending of finance companies and banks. They just took the windfall taxes generated by the debt boom, and threw it into inflationary spending on the burgeoning bureaucracy and social spending (thus driving up inflation).

So, maybe the last five years hasn’t been such a great success after all?

Instead of the government borrowing and spending, we all have. Maybe the government hasn’t really been that prudent after all? They didn’t need to borrow because we did it for them, personal debt has soared and the consumption tax windfall financed government spending without any need for the government to borrow.

It wouldn’t have been wise of the government politically to put the brakes on (and in fact they obliquely bagged the Reserve Bank Governor for trying to slow the debt binge) because then they wouldn’t have had all that dosh to splash out on buying votes.

I don’t think the government has improved the structure of the economy fundimentally and apart from social spending (which doesn’t create wealth) nothing has been done long term to put the economy in a good shape. It’s actually been the usual borrow, tax and spend, with the individual taking the debt on, rather than the government. We are all very slow learners.

They were serious

Well, Clark and Co were actually serious, and in another example of election year stupidity  we have the instant solution to South Auckland’s problems (just add huge dollops of cash)…

“The Government has revealed tough measures to clamp down on liquor sales, including allowing councils to prevent outlets opening near schools and to limit opening hours.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said yesterday the Cabinet had considered a raft of changes to liquor laws, including tougher controls on the supply of alcohol to young people and putting more restrictions on the location of off-licences.

She said the Government had prepared legislation(after giving the matter about 30 seconds thought)

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10517993

Regardless of whether you think this is the solution to the problem, this can’t possibly be  a well drafted piece of legislation. It’s even scarier when they describe it as a ‘raft’, you just know there is a whole lot of other things buried in there. There are already controls on sales of alcohol to “young people”, how about just enforcing the existing laws? You could actually achieve everything you wanted with the existing laws, but this being election year I guess everyone wants to look useful.

I hope this doesn’t get any support in parliament and isn’t passed. It should be seen a blatant electioneering and if it turns out after the dust has settled after the election then the whole thing can be looked at rationally.

I wonder when Clark is going to start using those image consultantsthat transformed her last election, is that lipstick rubbed on her cheek??