The Maxim Institute’s Real Issues quotes from and comments on, Michael Cullen’s speech at the Labour Party’s recent annual conference.
After outlining his priorities for the remainder of the term, Dr Michael Cullen proceeded to share what lies beneath them all: “What connects all these threads are two things. The first is that all involve a central role for government as organiser or funder or facilitator. All demand large amounts of tax dollars either by way of expenditure or foregone revenue.”
He continued, “We must remain and be seen to be concerned with those on low and middle incomes. During this century they will need the protecting and nurturing power of the state to care for their interests and advance their aspirations just as much as in the last century.” The failure to acknowledge that people and communities should have the impetus and resources to advance their own aspirations is a gaping and tragic one.
While government is limited in its scope, it can also play an inspirational role for the rest of us. Unfortunately, rather than encouraging New Zealanders to take responsibility, to work for social justice and to care for the interests of those around them, the priorities outlined feed on people’s willingness to ask, what can the government do for me?