National has recently been upping the campaign rhetoric but there is a disturbing lack of policy detail.
During her Congress Speech Jacinda Ardern reviewed the Government’s response so far and set out a five point plan including the following:
While on the weekend National announced:
In fact the new road, from Cambridge to Piarere in the Waikato was previously a road of National Significance that went from Cambridge through Piarere to Tirau. It was a previous project announced again but scaled back. How ambitious can you get?
Early in the current term there was a claim earlier on that National with its 56 MPs was going to be a policy factory. There is precious little evidence of this. When you look at National’s website there are a bunch of policy papers full of rhetoric and nice pictures. The two policy announcements I could find are these:
Melbourne’s experience of using cheap security labour to enforce quarantine shows what a potential disaster the first policy is. The Age has some of the details:
When the Victorian government decided in late March to put private security contractors in charge of hotel quarantine in Melbourne, it was putting the lives of its constituents in the hands of an industry known for shady operators, wage theft and opaque contracting practices.
The lightning decision was made during the first alarming spread of COVID-19 and just 24 hours after the national cabinet on March 27 had decided to detain returning travellers in hotels for two weeks. From then on three private security operators – selected without a tender – would guard the people at the highest risk of carrying the coronavirus.
Victoria’s decision was different to that in NSW, the other state where a significant number of travellers also returned to compulsory hotel quarantine. In that state, police and the defence forces were heavily involved alongside private security. The system has had far fewer problems with outbreaks.
Infection numbers have surged and parts of Melbourne have gone into strict lockdown.
As for relief for tourism operators I struggle to understand why. With the pandemic raging overseas the prospects of us opening up the borders to major markets in the near or even medium future are low.
What National does have is three slogans that it is going to use again and again and again. These are:
Muller should be careful with his rhetoric. There is more than a sneaky suspicion that there is a National supporter within Health leaking information to Michael Woodhouse. The disclosure during the weekend that personal information of infected people had been leaked to media appears to be a response to the ridicule that Hamish Walker received after claiming that potentially infected people from India, Pakistan and Korea were going to be staying in Queenstown hotels may have prompted them to release the personal details.
Hipkins is throwing a lot of resource at finding the leaker. This could be interesting.
And Muller should be embarassed at the rhetoric he is throwing around. About the leak he said “[i]s it a deliberate leak or is it accidental? It doesn’t really matter at a level … it’s loose, it’s shabby and it’s a reminder these guys can’t manage important things well”.
Leaks from the public service are not a new thing and happen all the time. And if leaks are a sign of incompetence then the National Caucus are exceedingly incompetent.