An Example to the World

New Zealand is best known to most as the setting for the Lord of the Rings films. In fact, its biggest tourist draws are “hobbit villages” from the films. Now that the Ring of Sauron is destroyed and Mount Doom is dormant, it is safe to visit.

The question has been raised, “What if the world was governed by women?” Mrs Putin (if there is one) would never arbitrarily invade Ukraine. Angela Merkel did a fine job for Germany. Margaret Thatcher was somewhat less renowned in the UK. What did the Falklands War solve anyway?

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Arndern showed what an empathetic, caring government leader can do last week. Her budget for the upcoming year includes:

Direct payments to the poorest 40% of New Zealanders to fight inflation

Half-price public transportation fares to combat energy prices

Incentives to replace gasoline-burning vehicles with hybrids or electric cars.

Increasing health spending by a record amount

Instituting a single payer national health system to ensure that money is spent wisely

Jacinda’s budget is expected to pass NZ Parliament. Apparently, there is no Mitch McConnell and no Fox News down there to stifle it.

This is not the first time that Jacinda’s government has presented an example to the rest of the world. In 2019, a White Supremacist used an assault weapon to kill Muslims at worship in NZ mosques. Jacinda and her top ministers attended the next services at those mosques to show solidarity. More to the point, within ten days of the attacks, NZ Parliament passed a “buy back” bill that removed 50,000 assault-type weapons from circulation.

Good luck pushing a bill like that through the US Congress.

New Zealand’s COVID inoculation rate approaches 90%. As a result, total COVID deaths there just passed 1,000. Of course, NZ’s population is only 5 million. By comparison, US COVID deaths just passed 1,000,000 and our population is 330,000,000. If we handled COVID as well as NZ did, US deaths would have been 66,000. Figures lie and liars figure, but certainly hundreds of thousands of Americans would not have died if we did what NZ did.

Jacinda will deliver the commencement address at Harvard this week. Maybe she can talk some sense into the future leaders of America. On the other hand, Jared Kushner is a Harvard grad. He is beyond help.

By Ed Dufton

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Lynette Dufton

These posts are written by my father, Ed Dufton, who has an incredible knack of condensing the day’s news into a witty and insightful commentary on society.