When people say ‘there’s no difference between the two big parties’ or ‘where are the policies’, it’s shorthand for ‘I haven’t been paying attention’. We had a great example of the contrast yesterday. National would subsidise expansion of dairy by selling our assets; Labour would get modern equipment to poor schoolkids by cutting sports subsidies to rich schools.
National isn’t against welfare, they just think it should only be for the rich. Like dairy farmers – which, increasingly, actually means corporate, foreign-owned, dairy businesses.
National wants to give $400m from selling our power companies to expand irrigation in Canterbury to allow for extensive and more intensive dairying. The environmental ramifications would be devastating with destruction of the native ecology and increased effluent in the water table and what remains of the rivers. But what do you expect from a party whose leader characterises any water that reaches the sea as ‘wasted’?
Labour would get $75m out of subsidies to private schools and a National policy that pays for sports equipment for well-off schools and re-direct it to lap-tops or tablets for low decile schools.
Such equipment is obviously going to be central to education incoming years, so it’s vital that poor kids are given early access to them. Education professionals have welcomed the policy, only regretting that it couldn’t be extended above deciles 1-3. Well, maybe it could be if National hadn’t borrowed $1.1 billion in the last year for their ‘fiscally neutral’ tax switch.