The Labour government under Helen Clark was nicknamed ‘Helengrad’ on the grounds that it was an authoritarian power-mad tyranny, typified by the times Clark signed a painting that she didn’t paint, and drove really fast in a car somewhere, crimes that might sound trivial now but consumed the National Party for years and still get mentioned dozens of times a week in the Kiwiblog comments.
There’s no amusing name to describe National’s authoritarian streak, but it seems a lot more pronounced than Labour’s under Clark. Andrew Geddis details the latest incident: legislation passed under urgency discriminating against the family caregivers of severely disabled people, containing an ‘ouster clause’ which prevents those discriminated against from challenging the law in court.
Throw that on top of recent developments: legislation banning protest against deep-sea drilling, the 35 year compensation clause for Sky City Casino, scrapping the undertaking to reform MMP and a bill granting massive expansion of powers to the GCSB to spy on New Zealanders, along with all the previous outrages: retrospective legalisation of the police’s illegal spying, the unconstitutional powers granted to Gerry Brownlee after the Christchurch earthquake, the constant abuse of urgency, the suspension of democracy in Christchurch (feel free to add more examples in the comments) and this might be the most authoritarian anti-democratic government in modern New Zealand history.
But, like I said, there’s no funny name to describe this pattern of behavior so in political messaging terms it doesn’t exist. If anyone has any pithy suggestions, throw them in the comments section.