Written By: - Date published: 8:49 pm, January 28th, 2014 - 18 comments
Categories: benefits, capitalism, child welfare, class war, david cunliffe, education, equality, greens, hone harawira, housing, jobs, labour, mana, poverty, russel norman, sustainability, vision, welfare, workers' rights - Tags: jacinda arden
The PM made his statement in the House today – it was a bit of a diversionary fizzer: just looked like a government out of ideas, and going for more of the same, plus tacking on a few responses to opposition policies; a lot of waffle. The opposition is gearing up for the elections, and there were some interesting responses: some inspiring, some thought provoking, some a repeat of things that need to be repeated again and again this year.
Here is a selection of opposition speeches in the House today.
Cunliffe was on fire (although he needs to pace himself a little better and protect his voice). Cunliffe calls the speech of “that prime minister“, “visionless and defensive“: a speech from Planet Key, somewhere in Hawaii.
Meanwhile, New Zealand is a more divided country than ever before. Cunliffe says a new Labour led government IS an alternative. Cunliffe picked up on some of the themes from his State of the Nation speech from the previous day.
Russel Norman’s speech was more low key than Cunliffe’s, but, his words are powerful and inspiring. He presented a very responsible agenda for the Greens, while outlining a Green vision for the 21st century.
Norman begins by saying that New Zealand can make history in 2014
by electing the first genuinely progressive government in more than a generation,
with a strong Green Party. Norman focused on Green Party values and contrasted them with that of the National Governments.
Norman recapped some of the progressive, often world-leading, legislation introduced by previous NZ governments, such as that of the Seddon and Savage government. He then outlines some of the achievements of the Kirk government. He said these governments were far from perfect, but they were game changers.
Norman had me cheering in my chair when he said that, 40 years on from Kirk, it’s time for a new wave of progressive government in New Zealand. YES!
He then said that NZ needs a Green government with “values of egalitarianism, sovereignty and democracy“. But, more than that, it needs to “integrate these values with new modern values of sustainability.” The “next wave of progressive change that is sweeping the world is green.” This is necessary as we learn a new way of living “good lives” with finite and limited natural resources.
We are learning to access the unlimited resources of human creativity, ingenuity and generosity in order to live prosperous lives…
I liked the way he called the National-led government “far right“: because that is exactly what they are, behind the smiling mask of our PM.
Jacinda Arden began with reference to the recent State of the Nation speeches. She said it’s possible to see where there are areas of consensus and where there are differences. She praised some aspects of National’s education policy, and was very positive about the Greens’ policy on school hubs.
Ardern then focused on income inequality, and socioeconomic factors underlying them.
She went on to explain a few things about how Labour’s Best Start policy addresses such underlying factors. She argued that the policy was aiming for some short term results, but also for long term results that will not be obvious for many years: such as drops in people in prisons, and savings on health care.
Ardern was animated when she pointed out that most members of the House had been benefited from family benefits, which were cancelled in 1991 by Ruth Richardson.
Ardern also explains why they focused on the first three years of life for the extra payments to parents – because those were the ones shown to be hardest for parents, needing to be constantly caring for their new child. This is meant as a building block for a step change.
A strong and impassioned speech from Ardern.
And Hone showed he’s in the House when it matters. He also began on the increasing inequalities, and the impact on those less well off. He described exactly what that means for many people.
Harawira was dismissive of reports of the “rock star” economy, and said that the benefits of the recovery were going to the richest 1%, while the 99% either stagnate or go backwards. Hone spells out what this means for those struggling.
Hone said that one single tax cut gift to the rich ”
was more than the entire 22 years of the Treaty of Waitangi settlements when Iwi ended up with less than 3% of what was stolen from them.
He mentions how, in Glen Innes and elsewhere state housing tenants are being pushed out to make way for housing for the rich. He attacked the government’s Charter School policy and anti-worker approach.
And for you, Paddy Gower, Ardner said that 60% of parents are not eligible for Paid Parental Leave.
And as the election campaign gathers steam, I will be listening carefully to see if Labour returns to the spirit of Savage’s government, and works towards a true social security system.