Rena is PM's tipping point

14:34, Oct 22 2011

Acts of God are difficult for man to prepare for or defend against. The real test is how man sets about to repair acts of God or unforseen calamity.

A government cannot cure everything. But in a small democracy with a small economy, the size of government relevant to the private sector is huge.

As a consequence, the NZ Government, by default or by design, is usually the first and last bastion in remedying the adverse impacts of acts of God and man.

In the history of our nation, never has a government presided over by one Prime Minister been visited with so much catastrophe. These difficult circumstances allow for significant goodwill and the country will give politicians a lot of leeway in these trying circumstances.

But this government has finally run out of that leeway with its management of the economy, and more tellingly, over their lack of intervention over the grounding of the Rena.

In terms of the economy, this Government holds the record for posting the worst deficit this country has known.


Fifty percent of this deficit is attributable to the Christchurch recovery – $9 billion.

The other $9b is down to bad management. We are on credit watch as a nation and our rating has just dropped. Economic storm clouds are gathering for the 2011/2014 three-year cycle.

Government support for financial-services companies has meant when they failed the NZ taxpayer has bailed them out with hundreds of millions of dollars.

Not all things in this government cycle can be written off to unforseeable acts of God.

Meanwhile, the masses meander down to the colosseum to watch the games hosted by Caesar, so their minds are on the World Cup, not other matters.

This government's dream run and this nation's chain of catastrophe finally hit a tipping point when the Rena ran aground and the government determined to leave its salvage operation in the hands of the shipping company that owned the vessel and its insurance company out of Europe.

The Minister of Transport will forever now be known as "Stephen Rena Joyce".

When the inquiry into the deaths of 29 coalminers concludes and greater inspection occurs over the Christchurch rebuild, the government John Key leads following November 26, 2011 election, will be a government under siege because of the failings of man, not God.

Sunday News