Hilarious: leftie journalist complains about right-wing bias of media

Gordon Campbell can’t stand the easy ride that National is getting

Like clockwork, the old ‘nanny state’ criticism has been wheeled out this week by the National Party and lapped up just as predictably by the mainstream media.

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials.

Nannies are female. They fuss. They meddle. Real men don’t need’ em. Like the term ‘First World problem’ that it epitomizes, the ‘nanny state’ label is reserved only for those occasions when the state intrudes upon the lifestyle options of the upper middle class: most of whom see no trouble at all when Big Government micro-manages the lives of anyone poorer than they happen to be.

Like most political clichés, the term flatters the people who use it. This week, the ‘nanny state’ label got attached to Workplace Relations Minister Iain Less-Galloway, because he rejected a National would-be amendment to its parental leave legislation that would have allowed both parents to take up parental leave at the same time. Nanny state-ism, right ? You had to read right to the end of the Dom-Post story to find the reasoning behind the rejection:

Lees-Galloway may have a point that the changes required [would] be out of scope of the current legislation and far more technical than what a simple ‘supplementary order paper’ amendment could capture.

Right. So… given the technical changes to the current bill before the House that the amendment would have entailed, National’s gambit was actually a delaying tactic, and one utterly in line with the party’s track record of hostility to the whole notion of extending paid parental leave. Reportedly, Lees-Galloway was discussing (with colleague Willow Jean-Prime among others)on whether to promote National’s point in separate legislation, and more besides:

Lees-Galloway said one suggestion he had heard was that both parents could take leave for the first few weeks of a baby’s life. “It’s a completely separate policy issue, we really need to look at it outside this bill,” he said..He said Labour did look favourably at a second amendment from National to extend the number of “keeping in touch” days parents could spend at work without losing their paid leave.

National has no credibility to pose as the champion of parents and babies on this issue. In reality, it has had to be dragged kicking and screaming into accepting any extension of paid parental leave at all. During the last term for instance, Bill English used the heavy hand of the state to veto a bill containing an extension beyond 18 weeks – because to do so, he argued, would be “unsustainable. ” The new government’s schedule – 22 weeks by July 2018, and 26 weeks by 2020 – will still bring us up to scratch in three years time only with what countries like Brazil and Russia already offer, but still behind the entitlements available in the United Kingdom. Regardless, those ‘nanny state’ headlines seem to be just too tempting for the media to resist.

The humanity of it all!  Won’t someone think of the children?

 

Gordon Campbell

 


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