Sue Bradford

Sir Roger Re-emerges

by Sue Bradford

Last Friday 8 August I had the interesting experience of sharing  a political platform with Sir Roger Douglas, nearly 20 years after our last encounter when I was part of an unemployed workers’ demonstration challenging what he and his Labour colleagues had done to the country.

Like a ghost from Christmas past, Sir Roger re-emerged in the somewhat incongruous setting of the Te Awaharahi Marae deep in rural Waikato.

Addressing a large hui of unionised Maori nurses, he held forth on how much they would benefit from Act’s intention to cut taxes while privatising the health system and ACC, forcing people to take out private health and accident insurance.

The response to Sir Roger was underwhelming, but I have to admire his gumption in standing for Parliament again at his rather senior age, twenty years after he and the fourth Labour Government gutted the economic infrastructure of the country, putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work.

The impacts of what Sir Roger and his colleagues did in the 80s are still felt keenly in places like South Auckland, Northland, the Bay of Plenty and Tairawhiti where a lot of the ongoing unemployment, poverty, family violence and crime is a direct or indirect result of what happened way back then.

My deepest fear now is that with or without Act as part of the mix, a National-led Government would be more than happy to lead us all down the same path again, putting into place policies which deliberately create unemployment while further harassing and penalising those who end up in the benefit system as a result.

Published in Campaign | Economy, Work, & Welfare by Sue Bradford on Mon, August 11th, 2008   

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