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Looking at the big policy picture

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 pm, August 22nd, 2014 - 10 comments
Categories: election 2014, greens, labour - Tags: , , ,

Despite John Key’s key message du jour, the parties of the Opposition are talking policy. A (totally unscientific) look at party websites reveals Labour and the Greens have put out hundreds of pages of policy information – compared to National’s 26.

But a word count isn’t really proof of anything more than a party’s ability to get someone to churn out copy. And even having a lot of policies isn’t proof of a real plan to improve the lives of all New Zealanders. When all you give is a few scattered bullet points detailing short-term quick fixes

So what do Labour’s policy releases to date tell us about their plan?

The Best Start package including extended paid parental leave makes sure every newborn’s basic needs can be met. Upgrading schools and extending free GP visits carries them through childhood, in drier, warmer houses which their parents can afford to heat thanks to lower power prices. They’ll be able to afford to go to university, or get a secure apprenticeship if that’s what they want to do with their lives. And once they start work they’ll be paid a fair wage for their labour, their basic rights will be protected, they’ll be able to afford a home of their own if they want one, and in time they can get support and take the time to stay at home with their own babies if they have them.

All this in the most beautiful country in the world with a strong economy built on skills and value-added manufacturing, low unemployment and low government debt.

The Greens want to help our poorest children by investing in health, education and supporting families directly in the early weeks of a child’s life. They’ll boost early childhood education, healthcare, give kids rivers they can swim in, and rebuild our economy through green investment, digital manufacturing, and upgrading our infrastructure and transport to meet the demands of our changing world. And yes, they’ve done the numbers too.

It makes a total mockery of John Key’s claims that the Opposition are focusing on dirty politics and avoiding the policy debate. Labour and the Greens are presenting smart, practical, but ambitious ideas which build a picture of a better, more prosperous, more caring New Zealand.

It certainly isn’t the left that’s running away from debating policies. Maybe the leader of a party deeply implicated in dragging our political discourse into the mud of tabloid attack politics should consider the beam in his own eye first.

10 comments on “Looking at the big policy picture”

  1. karol 1

    I see that the Nats are likely to be trying to undercut/match/compete with Labour’s housing policy – focus on first time buyers.

    Greens and Mana are also including polices on increasing the numbers of state houses.

    The Nats are also likely to offer a (last minute) tax cut bribe. To counter all the recent negative stuff for the Nats.

    I’m pleased to see the Greens want to raise taxes on the top 3%

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      I think the Nat’s policy at their campaign launch on Sunday will be housing related.

      They almost certainly will not have a tax cut bribe before the election, because it will be obvious exactly what that is – a bribe, because English has said several times since the PREFU came out that they would not announce a tax cut policy before the election, and that it would be in their next term (probably year 3 – just in time for 2017) and only ‘when it was affordable’.

      They are really playing up hard that they are better economic managers and the books are returning surpluses that can be used to pay down debt. They really won’t be announcing a tax cut before the election.

      • dv 1.1.1

        ‘They are really playing up hard that they are better economic managers and the books are returning surpluses that can be used to pay down debt

        Current debt

        NZ$ 85,812,347,072

        • Lanthanide

          Yes, I’m quite aware that National’s rhetoric isn’t actually reflected by the facts.

  2. disturbed 2

    I listened to the party political broadcast on RNV at 8.30pm toninght and the Labour message was by far much more inviting than Key’s monolithic capitalist monologue.

    Metiria’s pure voice and words came over warm as David’s did, so Greens were second best.

    Winston’s soft mature speaking was snappy but good.

    Laila was also relaxed and effective.

    Looking back on the 30 minute catalogue of all party’s political policy;
    We found John Key was ridged and nonhuman like uncaring. (android)

    Maybe teamkey are all martian’?

    They don’t know what lying means?

    • ianmac 2.1

      It is hard to avoid bias but Key does not speak well. He does not inspire so why is he still there? Mind you Jim Bolger was not very inspiring either.

  3. Ad 3

    Hagar coverage is sucking policy oxygen from all sides.

    You’re right that a Labour-Greens coalition already feels coherent and doesn’t cause anxiety anymore (especially with Jones gone). At 28% Labour caucus are shifting to necessity and acceptance of the Greens.

  4. So with ‘Best start’ and supporting policy, the claim by a self professed pundit (“it’s what I do”) that labour are nothing but neolib national in disguise is as bunkum and bogus as the claimant himself.

    Given the chance, and less outright smears from the disingenuous self serving self promoting agenda driven numpties, a labour green government would be a great benefit for those trapped in national’s poverty trap.

    Look behind the bitter slogans and find, like listed in the article above, the good stuff is there.
    Vote positive and love NZ.

  5. aerobubble 5

    Nationals ad is a minefield. The hooks are tempting. The crew getting back to the ramp, where they started instead of reaching a new brighter place, start vomiting from the polluted water. The crass comparisons to other countries failure to keep pace with the NZ economy, due to the ChCh earthquake and a rush to baby up in the year of the Dragon in China, while floating on the effluent.
    Nice hooks, but don’t take the bait, the stylized lying is designed to breed a negative response. The best response is just to be clear, and calling it a hollow style over substance effort.

    Labour ads was substance and direct. Greens also hit their supporters buttons too. Its getting into the danger zone, change is needed soon, its not just the profits in peril of extinction.

  6. Foreign policy:

    “[ISIL are] beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology with a sophisticated strategic and tactical military prowess and they’re tremendously well-funded. This is way beyond anything we have seen. We must prepare for everything. Get Ready!” ~ Chuck Hagel, US Secretary of Defense


    Syrian rebels who would later join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan, according to informed Jordanian officials.

    The officials said dozens of future ISIS members were trained at the time as part of covert aid to the insurgents targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The officials said the training was not meant to be used for any future campaign in Iraq.

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