We do a bit of business in the Taranaki region. And there's one thing about the people up there; they call it as they see it.
Gordon Brown is the former Chief of Staff of the Taranaki Daily News and former Head of Journalism at the Western Institute of Technology. He continues to write columns for the local paper, and he's written a beauty this morning which is plain speaking at its best; check this out:
It's a funny old world at times.Last November we had an election and rather naively, I thought National won, with an unprecedented, at least in modern times, 47 per cent of the vote.So remind me again, who won the election? Or better still, remind Labour list MP Sue Moroney.She got lucky when her private member's bill was plucked out of the ballot and understandably she is going to make the most political capital possible from it.Do bear in mind, though, that it is official Labour Party policy for New Zealand to have 12 months paid parental leave, and Ms Moroney acknowledges that this is a step along the way to achieving that.It is also pertinent to note that Ms Moroney has been a list MP since 2005 but owes her place in Parliament to her strong union ties and subsequent high place on the list. She was a Labour electoral candidate in 1996, 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2011.Her proposal is to extend paid parental leave from the present 14 weeks to six months. Finance Minister Bill English was quick to publicly state that the Government would exercise its right to veto it on financial grounds.But for Moroney and her supporters to be talking about that response as nothing less than a threat to democracy is nothing more than a sad joke.She refuses to cost the bill, although others have costed it at $150 million, but says by 2014 we'll be able to afford it. Fine, by then there will have been another election and at that stage Moroney and her colleagues will have the chance to sell it to the electorate (again), and if successful, pass it into law themselves.
We agree wholeheartedly with Gordon Brown's opinion-piece. Although Ms Moroney's Bill has been drawen from the Members' ballot, it is very much Labour Party policy, which the John Key-led government has no obligation whatsoever to support.
But for Sue Moroney to describe the government's intention to us its power of veto as "a threat to democracy" is absolute bunkum, especially when one considers that the Helen Clark-led government used the power of veto more than 30 times between 1999 and 2008. It's a case of pot; meet kettle for Labour and its prophets of doom.
And one other thing that we've discovered about the good folk of the 'Naki is that if they don't know for sure that you've grasped the point they're making, they'll tell you again, just to make sure. Gordon Brown does just that in his close:
Now before anyone thinks I'm picking on women, let me state categorically I'm not anti-women. In fact, I think every man should have one, at least. And I'm not anti-babies or children either. Some of my own family have been those.But I am anti-bludging. Let's call it what it is.It's about a small but growing group of people who think they have a right to make any decision they like and we should pay for their consequences.It's not about rights, it's all about choices.I have nothing but the greatest admiration for those couples, and women, who went without to give their children a good upbringing. Anyone over the age of 30 or so will know what I mean. They, like us, never received a cent from the Government (or us) for childcare. My wife worked, we paid the costs and what was left over went towards our savings to buy our first house.It may come as a shock to the likes of Ms Moroney to know that women generally planned their pregnancies and the last thing on their minds was a Government hand-out.Just why we should pick up the tab and somehow be jointly responsible for anyone else's child isn't the sign of a more enlightened society. It is a symptom of a reluctantly indulgent society, which simply can't afford such profligacy, that allows others who abdicate their own responsibilities to bludge off the rest of us.
Doubtless the feminists will seize on that first paragraph to attack Mr Brown; good luck to them. We are sure that he is up to the contest. But he is absolutely right in his remarks about days gone by. When the first Mrs Stock and ourselves had our children, we made sure that our finances were in order first. We saved everything we could, which would have made our dear departed father proud. We paid off our second mortgage (remember second and even third mortgages?), and made sure that we could cope on one income for however long it took. And we didn't ask the state (Sir Roger Douglas was the Finance Minsiter when our eldest was born) for anything over and above the Family Benefit which every New Zealand parent received.