In what passes for political comment in today’s increasingly anorexic DomPost, we read that David Parker issued a speech that “criticised National for failing to boost imports and control housing prices.” That didn’t sound like David Parker. Sure enough, his speech actually put the finger on the real problem, the government’s failure to boost exports. It’s a very good speech – you can read it in full here.
The DomPost’s error was used to give Key an opportunity to comment, with a snippet headlined “PM quick with the putdown,” and with the weak riposte that Labour is “a joke.” One thing is for sure, New Zealand’s ever-receding “brighter future” is no joke. At least David Parker has some ideas about what to do about it. Vernon Small highlighted them last week, in the context of telling us that National was about to repackage it’s tired old to-do list to make it look like it was actually doing something.
While Labour’s recipe is far from populist, and is only making incremental inroads in its polling, it can rightly claim an agenda that is big- picture and far-reaching.
By anyone’s measure you could never describe a capital gains tax, significant changes to monetary policy, a big push on savings, more for research and development and a long-term plan to lift the state pension age as mere tinkering. In contrast, the Government’s regime, led by Finance Minister Bill English with Steven Joyce riding shotgun on the MoBIE ministry, has been incrementalist.
I’d like to see the DomPost put it right. Labour’s “big picture and far-reaching agenda” won’t ever be populist if the media garble it. Tell us all about what Parker actually says, and then let us decide which party is the joke.