In the United States political writer Naomi Klein is loved or loathed in equal measure. Conservatives regard her as a socialist/communist antipathetic to the American dream and purveyor of conspiracy theories.
Personally I don’t find her central thesis of disaster capitalism in her book The Shock Doctrine particularly controversial. The main premise that political and financial elites would opportunistically use wars and natural disasters to implement economic and political reforms advantageous to themselves seems eminently plausible given the Machiavellian nature of politics.
Has this idea been applied in New Zealand after the Christchurch earthquakes? Or has the suspension of many democratic functions by local government, and their assumption by central government bodies like CERA been a necessary step in Christchurch’s reconstruction? What about the “out of the blue” proposal to merge and reorganise schools in a still shell shocked community? The apparent trampling of small property owners rights in the new plan for the central city? Klein has been particularly scathing of measures taken in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to privatise as many of the city’s formerly public functions as possible, particularly education. Will the National Government take the same opportunity to do the same in Christchurch with Public Private initiatives, charter schools and land rezoning?