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Does National actually have any policy?

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, July 6th, 2020 - 66 comments
Categories: health, labour, national, same old national, tertiary education, todd muller, tourism - Tags: , ,

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:

  • Investing in trades and apprenticeships.
  • A $1.1 billion Jobs for Nature package that was announced at Budget 2020.
  • Investments in waste management and energy generation.
  • A package of 23 projects across the country that will clean up our waterways and deliver over 2,000 jobs
  • Extension of the Small Business Loan Scheme to the end of the year
  • A $150 million fund to provide loans to R&D-intensive businesses to address climate change.

While on the weekend National announced:

  • A new road that has been announced twice before.

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:

  • “National would allow tertiary education providers to bring international students into New Zealand, under strict quarantine and testing protocols, to support our education sector and economic recovery.”
  • “The closure of New Zealand’s borders and ongoing domestic business restrictions due to Covid-19 are posing an enormous challenge to the tourism industry. Struggling tourism operators need immediate relief to stay afloat and to ensure the industry can rebuild.”

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:

  • Labour is shambolic.
  • Labour will increase taxes.
  • A strong National Government to deliver more jobs.

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.

66 comments on “Does National actually have any policy?”

  1. dv 1

    Don't forget the bonfire of regulations and Tax cuts!!!!

  2. Sacha 2

    The PM seems to realise that countering the Nats is as simple as focusing on tangible jobs this government can actually deliver – as opposed to Muller's hand-wavy fantasy ones.

    I'd also suggest the left adopts desperate as a widespread response to Hooton's 'shambles'.

    Every time one of these pale relics opens their mouth, it sounds like the 90s all over again. No wonder they don't want to lead with policy.

  3. Sabine 3

    yes, tax cuts and open the border.

    lol. same as it ever was.

  4. Just Is 4

    How could anyone vote for these cretins.

    I watched Mullers responses on the news last night, his use of the word " Shambolic" for the situation where a returnee in isolation had climbed a 1.8mtr high fence in the smoking area to gain freedom pretty much describes his election policy in a nutshell.

    Why didn't the reporter ask him what his solution would be, cos they new that National don't do solutions, everything is Ad Hoc.

    Scaremongering is the main policy, there is no detailed policies on anything, reactionary scaremongering will cover all topics, Health, Education, Infrustructure, Economics, they're only interested in winning at any cost.

    Certainly for voters, his display of politisizing an escapee that made significant effort to escape was very telling, he showed no concern for the potential risks, shifted the blame to the Govt rather than the offender and had no solution himself. How could anyone vote for him or his party with so little to offer in terms of reality where he and party have been able to offer a suitable alternative to current Isolation practices to minimise risk, he's a hollow man with absolutely nothing to offer everyday Kiwis.

    Last nights display was also a copy of what we would have expected from Bridges, and Bridges was dumped for that type of retoric and now we have Muller copying it, it's a joke really.

    I don't see Muller lifting National any further up the popularity scale than they were under Bridges, in fact I think Bridges has a few more brain cells than Muller, and that's not saying much.

    Roll on election, National are going to be sidelined by the voting public, but elevated by the blind media, my faith is in the NZ voting public.

    • tc 4.1

      It is that hollowing out of policy for 2 elections running, a reflection of dysfunction within.

      You don't employ hoots for an intelligent open discourse. You're after some alternative tactics which we've seen from the likes of woodhouse etc.

      • Just Is 4.1.1

        They've got nothing to offer, every statement, remark is aimed at the rusted on supporters that will always vote for them regardless on any policy vacuum, but the swinging voters have been supporting the current Govt as displayed in polls on responses to the pandemic.

        92% aproval rating at the height of the pandemic, is almost unheard of in our lifetimes, many will return to the default setting, but many more will in favour of the status quo

        Better the devil you know.

        • tc 4.1.1.1

          A lot of those rusted on supporters would be very pleased we have a govt committed to rebuilding rather than the flogging off and selling out having seen it's impacts over the last few decades.

          • Just Is 4.1.1.1.1

            Quite true.

            I still see National getting the mid 30s in the election, well down from 45.

            Doubt it will be enough to keep the current top seat warmer there though

  5. observer 5

    "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 thought I'd better check this, as Micky S is hardly an unbiased source. So I went to the website, and not only is this statement true – it's actually worse. They have a section marked "policy" and there is none. At all. Only "Have your say" – asking US what National stand for. Bridges did have policies, but they seem to have been erased.

    But they do have a link to Todd Muller's speech, the day he took over from Simon. He proclaimed:

    "First and foremost – I'm about what's best for you and your family – not what's wrong with the Government. And I'm not interested in opposition for opposition's sake. We’re all tired of that kind of politics."

    Yes we are tired of it, Todd. But it turns out you really aren't.

    • Sacha 5.1

      If you're tired of that sort of politics, you don't hire a Hooton.

    • Just Is 5.2

      Your quote of Mullers first statement did not age well, not well at all.

      He's a puppet on strings, just not completely sure whose pulling the strings

    • new view 5.3

      Observer. The election is in September. I suspect National will have policy by then. Muller hasn’t had three years to generate his own policy surely. Labour sold us a list a mile long of policy at the last election. We’re still waiting. Oh that’s right they are intentions. Please!! I’m sure you and Mickey are happy to wait another three years. We might get a few aircraft to Rarotonga by then. You’re right we must be patient. 🥱

      • Incognito 5.3.1

        When he finally cracked that safe in his new office there were no policies in there. Simon Bridges had shredded all five bullet points. Poor Todd had to start from scratch and he’s still scratching.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    Nashnull got nuffink…

    Except–snitches galore in the public sector, a surly ‘born to rule’ entitlement disorder, a substantial dirty tricks IT department who rifle through people’s backstories to almost Primary School level it seems at times in their desperation. And of course, a lacklustre bal’head coot in a suit for leader.

    My worry is decades worth of historic voting patterns show a hard wired tory vote exists in New Zealand for various reasons–will that change sufficiently in September?

  7. That_guy 7

    This is unfair. National actually has four slogans, not three. The fourth one is "CRAZY GREENS, SOCIALIST VENUEZUELA , TAXES BAD, WHY CAN'T THEY STICK TO THE ENVIRONMENT LIKE THEY HAVE NEVER DONE, SOMETHING SOMETHING COMMUNISM". Or variations of the above.

  8. Muttonbird 8

    We will never know the identity of the National Party plant inside the Ministry of Health. If the person is found a deal will be done, and they will leave the public service quietly with no further media attention. Whatever penalty that person might have been subject to will be wiped in return for no redundancy package.

    The Nats themselves will be part of this deal and we the public will be kept in the dark once again.

    • Sacha 8.1

      You don't get to make that sort of deal when you are not in government. Hence their desperation to get back there.

    • Anne 8.2

      We will never know the identity of the National Party plant inside the Ministry of Health.

      No, we might not know his/her identity but I have confidence Chris Hipkins on behalf of the government will be only too happy to reveal all the circumstances around the person responsible – assuming of course it was done with malicious intent.

      What puzzles me is the fact that… surely the culprit would have known that the government would leave no stone un-turned in order to identify them given the seriousness of the leak.

      • Sacha 8.2.1

        The person who grabbed the information is not likely to be the one who spread it to media. The former is easier to identify.

    • Gabby 8.3

      Why not? What's to protect?

      • Draco T Bastard 8.3.1

        For some strange reason both business and government have taken to hiding their criminals. Something about image I suspect.

        They all seem to have forgotten that Justice needs to be seen to be done.

  9. FAB mouse 9

    I wasn't really paying attention but there was a statement I heard that sounded like a policy to stop the regional fuel tax.

    I didn't hear them challenged on the effect of this policy so stopped listening.

    • observer 9.1

      Yes, they have announced that before. It is their policy, along with a "congestion charge" and other options to claw back the lost revenue, details of which are … under discussion.

      So it's a good example of their policy-not-policy. Against something, sure. Alternative? No.

  10. satty 10

    The problem with having policies, especially if they are not overly well thought through, is that people might ask questions about it. You would have to know all the policies, including the details, and how they fit into a bigger picture.

    This requires a big brain to come up with them in the first place and to talk about them in all those interviews afterwards. So it’s a lot easier not to have any of those ideas and simply have some stupid slogans – see Boris Johnson – and just call everything out you don’t like about the other parties and their policies over and over again. The media in NZ is more than happy to amplify this bullshit for you.

  11. KJT 11

    National has a plan. They are just waiting for their owners to tell them what it is.

  12. KJT 12

    National's plan.

    Build more roads.

    Sell something.

    And. Tax cuts. (User charges, GST and fees "are not taxes", apparently).

    Same plan they had since 92.

    • Just Is 12.1

      kjt

      NZers didn't buy the Tax cuts in the last election, so offering them up again in these unusual times with no identifial method of compensating the shortfall shows how shallow they are.

      Interestingly, the only party that voted against the Tax cuts that Bill English introduced to Parliament prior to the election was the Labour Party, every other party voted for them.

      Just a reminder for everyone

      • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1

        Interestingly, the only party that voted against the Tax cuts that Bill English introduced to Parliament prior to the election was the Labour Party, every other party voted for them.

        [citation needed]

        • Just Is 12.1.1.1

          Sorry, I thought it was common knowledge, it was certainly banded around by the media prior to the last election.

          I hope your concern is not related to the Fact the Greens voted in favour of those Tax Cuts.

          I use my phone for making comments, it is imposible for me to provide a link, which is generally why I try to avoid the need for a link.

          Your welcome to prove me wrong of course, I'm happy to graciously appologise if I'm proven wrong

          • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.1.1

            mikeinauckland:

            The Greens are apparently only voting in favour of the family tax part of the Budget, which is presently being debated in Parliament, you can watch it live on Parliament TV, channel 31 on Freeview.

            While this raises some eyebrows, it appears that the Greens feel there are some benefits in this part of the Budget, that offer some income improvements for families, so they rather support it, as these are overdue. This does not come without criticism though, and it appears the Greens still oppose other parts of the Budget.

            It seems that you were exaggerating.

            • Just Is 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Sorry, they (The Green Party) voted for the Tax cuts, that is the family tax part, just not the rest of the economic plan, on the basis that low income families would benefit from it. The statement also concludes "raised eybrows" from those wathching proceedings.

              I will reiterate, the Labour party was the only party to vote against the Tax cuts, your link simply proves that the Greens voted for the Tax cuts, but not for the balance of the economic plan.

              I don't really see it as an exaggeration, when the article you've provided clearly states the Greens voted for the Tax cuts only, which what I stated originally.

              I've only made the claim cos I remember it clearly and was extremely surprised, it also rang an alarm bell that the Greens haven't been CONSISTENT on messaging, something I have a lot of issues with.

              Tax cuts DO NOT SUPPORT LOW INCOME FAMILIES.

              They screw the whole economy as we saw first hand in 2011, the then Govt would have you believe the GFC was responsible, 3 yrs after the rest of the world.

              Most here in NZ say the economy never really recovered.

              It's not first time the Greens have cosied up to National, during the Rugby world cup, the Nats wanted licensed clubs to be allowed to open at unusal hours so punters could watch, again the Grens supported the move, Labour didn't, again, I was surprised the Greens would support this move, I feel is was about popularity rather than smart politics, it also indicated inconsistencies in the messaging.

              By the way, I wish that I'd been wrong about this, it certainly would've given me more respect for the Greens, don't get me wrong about this though, I like the Greens, they have a very important role to play in the future of NZ, I'd just like to SEE MORE CONSISTENCY, and less popularity competing

          • Enough is Enough 12.1.1.1.2

            Mickeysavage got very upset over it at the time

            What the feck Greens

            • Just Is 12.1.1.1.2.1

              Yes, so did I, which is why I remember it so clearly.

              Inconsistencies in messaging, really, really importatant.

              • Incognito

                Inconsistencies in messaging, really, really importatant. [sic]

                Luckily, they have come a long way angry

  13. gsays 13

    Typical National, they stand for very little but stand against things.

    That is how they came into existence, to be against the Labour party.

    I suppose when you are against things, opposition is where you belong.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      Typical National, they stand for very little but stand against things.

      National stands against things that prove capitalists are superfluous such as good governance.

  14. RedBaronCV 14

    Is there policy that we are not going to be really told about?

    I wonder if things like this are on a black list

    -sell anything that Labour has invested in in the last term like social housing

    -tweak the health report which advocates centralisation so that there is a nice health package to privatise

    – give all those students extra work rights to increase the number wanting to come here to be milked for profit.

    -decrease annual and sick leave entitlements and employer kiwisaver because business can't afford it you know.

    – remove all overseas investment criteria because it hinders the offshore truly wealthy buying the country up

    Do National ever tell us what they really intend to do in office- nope.

  15. Treetop 15

    National always has a policy but they are misguided in who their policy helps. That is why it has taken the government 3 years to address the social damage that National caused and this is ongoing.

    Poverty in NZ is collateral damage and the mindset is the same when it comes to Covid-19. I am unable to trust National on these issues.

  16. Peter 16

    Looking at various appearances of Muller makes me think of a truck. Everyone's piled into the cab to travel down the golden highway. The signage on the sides promises there's a load of leadership and charisma on board. They make a stop, someone opens the back door to look inside to see the chokka cargo. It is starkly empty.

    • Sacha 16.1

      A richly-worded manifest though. As much chaos, shambles, and custerfluck as you could ever want.

  17. observer 17

    Todd Muller did announce a policy on May 26:

    "The trans-Tasman bubble needs to be an absolute priority, because, at the moment, we've pushed this COVID threat down to basically zero… Our next-door neighbour Australia has had similar success in terms of their COVID response."

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2020/05/todd-muller-calls-for-innovative-plan-to-reopen-new-zealand-s-borders-post-covid-19.html

    Today's news: the border is being closed inside Australia – between Victoria and NSW.

    Todd Muller probably blames Ardern for not ruling Australia properly.

  18. Adrian 18

    Mickey, your sneaky suspicion made my ears prick up as I vaguely remember reading or hearing around the time that Woodlouse was lamely defending his "homeless sponger " allegation that he let slip that the info came from a "trusted ( yeah, right ) source high up in health " or words to that effect. Start looking at who missed out on Dr Ashley's job.

    • Gabby 18.1

      It would be such a Gormless thing to do, it would pretty much confirm that passing the gormless one over was the right decision.

  19. cathy-o 19

    National never has any policy that they are prepared to talk about. we know that most of their policies are designed to benefit their wealthy mates.

    but they are very good at winning elections. take nothing for granted

  20. Maurice 20

    Getting tired of being talked down to while trying to inform my group of Labour's achievements.

    Keep having Kiwibuild and the cut and run ex-Minister of Health thrown in my face.

    They keep saying – NONE of the incumbents are of any use National or Labour – the Greens and NZ First do not even get a mention just:

    Vote for the NEW Team – Party Vote ACT

    It also looks like firearms people have totally deserted NZ First and now see ACT as their only hope.

    It is all going to be very interesting soon!

    • Sacha 20.1

      Selfishness will have an even more strident voice at the table. Interesting times.

    • observer 20.2

      It also looks like firearms people have totally deserted NZ First and now see ACT as their only hope.

      So National will have to decide if they stand by their own vote in Parliament, or cave, to appease ACT voters. Everyone except Seymour supported the first package of gun laws.

      Yet another question for Todd, and a chance to show leadership ("er look, that's a conversation we can have …").

  21. Brian Tregaskin 21

    "

    We will never know the identity of the National Party plant inside the Ministry of Health. If the person is found a deal will be done, and they will leave the public service quietly with no further media attention. Whatever penalty that person might have been subject to will be wiped in return for no redundancy package.

    The Nats themselves will be part of this deal and we the public will be kept in the dark once again."

    This time its different if found they will be charged and if proven that money exchanged hands for information or even if payment was in form of a job the proceeds of crimes act may apply in addition to the standard charges.

  22. Pat 22

    The election period dosnt start for 2 weeks…..and a week is a long time in politics.

  23. georgecom 23

    someone started calling Todd Muller "Todd Muddler". I laughed at the time seeing it as a bit of humour. However it does seem to be coming true. Todd is muddling his way toward an election. Keeping the chair warm for that Luxon guy?

  24. Lucy 24

    But you need to realise National has hired the guys who gave Scomo his victory against all odds. If you are prepared to play super dirty you have a chance and National is prepared!

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