January 28, 2023

The Salvation Army He says child poverty remains unchanged, despite government claims that rates are declining. Once again, the well-being of Maori and Pasifika children is even worse, with estimates that they are 10 percent more likely live in poverty than other children.


In 2019, the New Zealand government committed NZ$1.9 billion to address mental health. Mental health continues to worsen (and yes, it’s worse for Maori and Pasifika). The number of beds in acute mental health facilities is the same as in 2017when Ardern came to power.

Robertson, the architect of New Zealand’s welfare budget, was widely seen as Ardern’s successor. The fact that he has chosen not to run for the Labor Party leader post before the 2023 election shows that he is well aware that New Zealand voters have found the delivery of the welfare budget wanting. It turns out that, at least in politics, it’s not the thought that counts.

Albanese will also confront comparisons between the Indigenous Voice and the interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi, the historic and enviably successful treaty between the Maori and British settlers, under the Ardern government. After years of successful co-government, the Labor Party remains accused by conservative parties to create a system in which Maori have more rights than other New Zealanders. Separately, the New Zealand Greens are concerned that co-governance arrangements lead to a de facto privatization of assets they believe should be in public hands. The complexity of the debate across the ditch can add a layer of complexity to a Yes campaign, which relies on a strategy of radical simplicity.

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All in all, Ardern has done a disservice to the credibility of “kindness.” He’s mastered the semiotics of empathy, but his kindness doesn’t care about real-world outcomes. Ardern’s empathy has proved as useless as the humanitarian tourists whose good intentions end up harming the countries to which they inflict.

If this is what a modern liberal icon looks like, Albanese better hope he is never accused of being one. But as the New Zealand election accelerates, the comparisons will become irresistible. If tiny New Zealand has been the test market for Albanese’s plans, it’s time to re-investigate them.

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