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Lesson from Canada – Optimism the better policy

  • May 3rd, 2011

Stephen Harper at last has a governing majority after a dramatic election defeat for the LIberals, and even more stunningly, the separatist Bloc Quebecois.

Having governed so successfully in minority governments I wonder whether he'll find it hard to control his party's hubris now they at last have a majority. 

The near elimination of Bloc Q reminds me that pre-emptive pessimism may avoid disappointment, but that does not make it reliable.

Some years ago Canada seemed to be headed to permanent decline. Pandering to Bloc Q had sapped morale, the left controlled the Canadian media and intellectual life, and the dry economics of Stephen Harper were seen as doomed to rejection.

I'm optimistic that New Zealand will similarly  confound the pessimists though I'm not sure yet whether we've found our Stephen Harper.


  • Sinner
  • May 4th, 2011
  • 12:16 pm

lets see: 9% corporate tax rate;
full support for private schools & healthcare;
elimination of arts & culture funding;
We have our Stephen Harper – he's just taken over ACT

  • Pat McCarthy
  • May 4th, 2011
  • 4:22 pm

John Key is a genuine optimist. He is also a pragmatist and has an unerring judgement in what will be best for New Zealand. He plays the long game and is set on securing valuable gains steadily and methodically. He is like the captain of a great Test team not a 20/20 team. Don Brash is the 25/25 man . John Key has faced many a test in life and is unbeaten. He will make us a champion nation.


Possibly – I hope so, but Stephen Harper has earned his current status by taking some very unpopular steps. When John uses some of that enormous political capital to require lazy people to work, to end the teacher union stranglehold on our children’s education, to roll back the RMA and other attacks on enterprise and self reliance I’ll agree that he is the one, and his current careful husbanding of his capital has been worth it.
I’m inclined to your view Pat but he is leaving his run rather late.

  • Pat McCarthy
  • May 5th, 2011
  • 2:28 pm

To continue the cricket analogy. This is still day 1 of the Test match and I believe that John Key is consolidating singles and conserving his wicket. Rash impetuous shots have led NZ to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory too often. He will bat through for 3 days to a great team and personal total (9 years) and his legacy will allow the bowlers to complete the victory.

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