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National Policy?

Written By: - Date published: 9:14 am, September 20th, 2011 - 57 comments
Categories: national - Tags: ,

John Pagani has an excellent piece on the lack of National substance in the lead-up to this election.

Like last election we’re seeing Labour say what they would do, presenting one alternative, as National fail to present theirs; relying on that nice man John Key’s image over any policy substance.

Labour announced monetary policy and a tax-free first $100 each week back at the start of the year.  A 39c top tax rate was a partial cover to the cost of that plus last years’ announcement of no GST on fresh fruit and vegetables.  Several weeks ago a Capital Gains Tax more than covered the rest of the financial gap.

$800 million of Research and Development tax credits to help our innovative business were covered by the reversal of National’s sop to farmers on the ETS.

A reversal of ECE and ACE cuts was promised before last weeks’ Education Policy launch.  That launch promised National Standards would be ‘gone by playtime’ as teachers returned to focussing on teaching and extending our children rather than measuring and labelling them.

Yesterday the policy rush continued with 2 more policies.  The Suffragette Day Women’s Policy launch heralded free dental care to pregnant mums, and concrete measures to improve pay equity in the workplace.  The Canterbury Policy promised an end to land profiteering, payment for home improvements and short-term government insurance if needed as a last resort.

There’s more – on Cost of Living, Apprenticeships and Youth Employment, controls on overseas purchases of land and monopolies, etc, and yet more regularly coming out – mainly on non-rugby days!

But what do we have from National?

?

John Pagani lists:

1. Asset sales.
2. Reforming welfare for 16 and 17 year olds by giving them smart cards.
3. Today’s re-announcement that the retirement age will remain fixed at 65

That’s it.

There is a policy page on the National website, but with the exception of Canterbury it is out of date – a rehash of 2008.

There has also been a suggestion that they’ll likely put off the ETS for some industries at a cost of $500 million.  No word on where that money is coming from, I guess we’ll just put it on the bill, Bill.

There’s no long-term plan to give New Zealand a ‘Brighter Future’, just a quick sell-off to cover their enormous deficit for a year, and hope the economy recovers by itself.

And we all remember this from National’s website last election:

They did have a last minute (to remove any time to scrutinise) rush of announcements: not raising GST, capping not cutting the Public Service, tax cuts north of $50/week, ultra-fast broadband to 75% of Kiwi homes…  but apparently they weren’t worth much anyway.

Will we get the same this time?

Although this post should be covered by the opinion section of electoral law and shouldn’t need authorisation, here’s mine anyway, just to be safe:
Authorised by Ben Clark, 54 Aramoana Ave, Devonport

57 comments on “National Policy? ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    “There has also been a suggestion that they’ll likely put off the ETS for some industries at a cost of $500 million. No word on where that money is coming from, I guess we’ll just put it on the bill, Bill.”

    The $500m in lack of proceeds from the delayed ETS is being mostly compensated for by not having to pay subsidies to forestry owners.

  2. queenstfarmer 2

    It’s good that National isn’t unleashing a flood of high-spending policies and social engineering. Silence is golden on that front.

    When you’re as massively supported by the public as National is, it means you’re already doing most things well enough by most people, to be able to pick your battles. In contrast, opposition parties need to spin their wheels, promise various degrees of new spending and/or reform, and voice faux and/or real outrage to try to gain traction.

    • Blighty 2.1

      no-one’s asking for ‘high-spending policies’ or ‘social engineering’. We’re asking for plans to fix problems. Like the plans that Labour has presented, which are fiscally neutral.

      • Joe Bloggs 2.1.1

        .
        No-one is asking for ‘high spending policies’

        but Labour is still offering them.

        Ring-fencing $100 million so that up to $50,000 can be given to as few as 2000 homeowners in Christchurch’s red zone? Because they might have added a bathroom after 2007? Or repainted their roof?

        Run that by me again? Up to $50,000 per voting household in Christchurch’s red zone?

        • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1

          It was the current government that let insurance companies off the hook for full replacement costs on houses that now need to be fully replaced. If they hadn’t done that, then the full replacement cost for these houses (including their additions) would be covered by the insurance companies and the government wouldn’t have to intervene at all.

          • insider 2.1.1.1.1

            Isn’t that only in places where the govt says it won’t those houses be rebuilt? From what I’ve read insurers are happy to pay out on rebuilding houses in the red zone, it’s the govt that is preventing it.

            • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1.1.1

              No, insurers are happy to pay out *repairing* houses in the red zone. They are not happy to pay out for *rebuilding* houses, aka full replacement cost.

              • Draco T Bastard

                No, insurers are happy to pay out *repairing* houses in the red zone.

                Especially the houses that had previously been written off as unrepairable.

        • mik e 2.1.1.2

          jb fulfilling wind bag brownlies and shonkys empty promises

        • mik e 2.1.1.3

          Nationals policy is Borrow and Hope no body asks them any hard questions

      • queenstfarmer 2.1.2

        Fiscally neutral through tax increases and tax exemptions. (note I think Labour’s proposal to introduce a 5K tax free bracket is a great idea)

        • aerobubble 2.1.2.1

          National have blown the budget with tax cuts, borrowed heavily, then they
          were hit hard when ChCh Earthquake, they needs to make even more savings.
          All the time commodity prices were going higher. How could National have
          been more incompetent, they can’t even balance the books in good times.
          And since our economy is a bulk exporter – good times – is when world
          commodity prices are high as they have been under National.
          They won’t even broaden the tax base to make it easier to steer the national
          fiscal ship.
          Labour have bright forward looking policies back by some of the most
          successful capitalists our country has produced, National have what?
          A speculator who knows how to charm people into buying high and
          selling low to him.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      Social engineering is the governments job and this government is doing it all the time by making the rich richer at everyone else’s expense (they’re supposed to make things better for everybody rather than just themselves and their rich mates). They’re also putting out and implementing high spending policies all the time – tax cuts, pollution subsidies, selling off of income generating government assets, use of more private contractors to do the governments job etc etc.

    • millsy 2.3

      Social Engineering? You mean allowing consenting adults to go about their business in the bedroom without god bothers wanting them thrown in jail because they used a dirty sex position? Or weren’t married?

      And god forbid that we should spend more money on SCHOOLS and HOSPITALS. Come on Farmer, do you remember how much hospitals National closed so Bill Birch could cut taxes in 96?

  3. Steve 3

    Announcing no policy in 2008 worked for National, it’ll likely work for them again this election (although I hope it doesn’t). However, they now have a track record for the last three years and if Goff’s able to pull it off he can attack Key on broken election promises, worsening social indicators, cuts and inaction. In that setting, Key will be much less able to dodge and avoid issues without looking slimy than he has been able to in the news media.

    • Ianupnorth 3.1

      The word liar wasn’t used by Goff on breakfast TV this morning, but the word reneged was used several times highlighting hypocrisy over ChCh.

  4. randal 4

    O f course we will get the same style of obfuscation and distortion of reality that we got last time. National has basically become a group of very dishonest people all fighting for preferment after they get tossed out of ofice which should happen soon.

  5. Jenny Michie 5

    To be fair National is promising more job and service cuts in the public sector, mergers and and generally smaller government, without spelling out the consequences.

  6. It doesn’t matter how bad things get under National, unless Labour has an answer to:
    – Well we’ve just been through the worst of the global recession
    – Hey we didn’t cut WFF or benefits during the recession (as though that’s noble)
    – We had major earthquakes
    – Labour left the books in a shocking state (a lie repeated enough to become accepted)
    – Pike river, you remember how sympathetic I was at the time? (forget about now)
    – We can’t afford to do anything more (because we cut our revenue sources and will do so again)
    – So we’ve done a pretty good job, you know, given the circumstances right?

  7. HC 7

    Well, there is a bit more to National Party policies, which though has not been quite “finished” and published yet. To be expected are:

    1. An introduction of a radically revamped welfare system, where there will be one benefit for all so-called “job seekers”, which will be about the level of the present “dole”. No more preferred treatment of invalids, disabled, sick and sole parents. ALL will eventually have to be prepared to work (hence “job seeker”), get work tested, and have to try even harder to apply for humble servings to top up a base rate NOBODY can actually live off;

    2. The introduction of competition to ACC (privatisation of accident insurance);

    3. Watering down the ETS, so that farmers will get “subsidised” to be allowed to pollute rivers, lakes and let their cows/cattle emit more methane for longer;

    4. Build more motorways and highways, so more shambles in public transport will convince even more prospective voters and citizens that public transport is supposedly “useless” and not worth investing in;

    5. The de facto abolition of remnants of public broadcasting by stopping funding for TVNZs TV7, restricting funding for Maori TV, considering to put TVNZ up for asset sale and privatisation; putting more financial pressures on Radio NZ (so the remaining journalists will be mindful of the hand that feeds them);

    6. Cutting back further in state agencies, so fewer staff will work more and get harsher employment conditions, which is supposed to prepare the public and state agencies to be partially privatised and outsourced;

    7. Introduction of initially “voluntary” birth controls for sole parents on benefits, in order to stop alleged “breeding” at the expense of the taxpayer;

    8. The outsourcing of NZ government to private enterprise based in Panama or the Bahamas.

    • HC 7.1

      Damn it, I forgot another two important policies that National did announce not long ago:

      9. The plan to review Housing NZ tenants every 2 or 3 years to establish, whether they should remain to be allowed to live in such “generous” state subsidised accommodation for longer, plus some other restrictive measures limiting entitlement, which will lead to thousands presently still being kept on waiting lists to be thrown off them.

      Those that are not ill, poor and desperate enough will be thrown out and have to look for something on the “market”, which will in a city like Auckland mean: High rents, likelly over-crownding, increased poverty, more health, educational and crime issues for children and future generations.

      10. Privatisation of prisons to “cater” for the drop-outs and other “human litter” dropping through the wider cracks and loose weavings in the desintegrating “safety net” the state and NGO social agencies still provide.

      Our future is in GOOOD HANDS, so do not worry, all is taken care of! Smile and wave once more!

      • millsy 7.1.1

        …not to mention the return of the slum lord, dressed up as a “mum-and-dad property investor saving for their retirement”.

        The government’s policy on state housing is purely a sop to private landlords as this will increase rents across the board.

  8. Afewknowthetruth 8

    National know exactly what to do and are already doing it:

    Stick up billboards everywhere saying: “Building a brighter future.”

    Put up some airbrushed photos of smiling politicians and candidates.

    Pretend everything is absolutely fine, and lie to everyone about the future.

    Manipulate political ‘debates’ and avoid discussion about anything remotely connected with reality, such as the fact that we are past peak oil and all present economic arrangements will soon collapse, that we have runaway greenhouse, that we are in the midst of the Sixth Great Extinction Event etc.

  9. Afewknowthetruth 9

    This except from a recent article sums up our present predicament nicely:

    “We are seeing a perfect storm of converging crises that together represent a watershed moment in the history of our species. We are witnesses to, and participants in, a transition from decades of growth to decades of economic contraction.” –Richard Heinberg

    “True development is in harmony with the needs of people and the rhythms of the natural world. Humans are part of the universe, not its masters. This awareness of the interrelatedness of all things, as expressed in Buddhism, is also lived in the traditions of indigenous peoples throughout the world.” –Sulak Sivaraksa

    It is increasingly obvious that natural limitations will soon force economic growth to cease. Although this view has been well-studied for at least 40 years, it still remains largely unexamined by the mainstream media. National leaders and corporate CEOs continue to insist that the economy is the true heartbeat of human society, and its growth is the only valid measure of social progress. From this perspective there is very little difference between the top levels of government and the top levels of corporate management. Both are preoccupied with promoting endless growth, because both believe in what Adam Smith called the “invisible hand” of the market, which magically transcends physical and biological limits.’

    By the way, answers to various questions asked yesterday are on the ‘windmill’ thread.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      In the last few weeks I’ve spoken to nine or ten MPs from various parties about peak oil, energy depletion and climate change.

      They can’t pretend that they don’t know what’s going on; willful blindness is simply not an adequate policy tool.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 9.1.1

        In the last few weeks I’ve spoken to nine or ten MPs from various parties about peak oil, energy depletion and climate change.

        Did you notice them making excuses and backing away from you with a concerned look on their faces?

  10. side show bob 10

    I like part three but to be fair the whole bloody ETS scheme is utter bullshit. Why is agriculture included in the ETS, baring in mind we are the only country in the world to include agricultrue. Oh that’s right the socialist gits that were in power at the time realised they would have to include agriculture or they would miss out on lots of lovely loot, thieving bastards !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Why is agriculture included in the ETS, baring in mind we are the only country in the world to include agricultrue.

      That’s BS, links or it didn’t happen.

      Agricultural and horticultural considerations were heavily considered in the Kyoto Protocol both as sources and as sinks of greenhouse gases.

      My feeling is that you are making shite up as per usual.

    • HC 10.2

      Bringing agriculture into the ETS is inevitable, and it is indeed being considered by the EU and also a few other countries, as far as I am informed.

      NZs case is special, because agricultural emissions make up roughly half of all ETS relevant emissions in this counrty. So simply only including CO2 and the likes and not methane, etc. is not making sense for a country like NZ.

      I agree that an ETS cannot and never could have been the only answer to address emissions and climate change issues. We should put more into research of alternative technologies, different agricultural practices, improved preeding and of course more diversification of production. Over dependence on dairy and meat production is silly. Also is quality more important than quantity.

      But National is doing very little in all of this, and simply trying to shift the inevitable as far away into the future as possible. So Dodgey Key or “Dodgkey” the “Smilin Assassin” is not only speculating and playing with our money and currency, he is doing it with our future!

      But spending a bit on such future investment in research, development and public transport is just “socialist” nonsense, is it? The “American Way of Life” is STONE DEAD, because it was based on lying, short sighted, ripping off capitalism, which is falling apart everywhere. You do not see it yet, but you are with your mindset swiftly becoming a “dinosaur” minded species in danger of self-extinction.

      • Afewknowthetruth 10.2.1

        Anyone who knows the science of climate change knows that ETS is simply a complex financial scam designed to avoid doing anything about the real issues whilst allowing financiers to continue to act as parasites.

        Fortunately for politicians and the banksters who manipulate government policy, 99% of the populace is scientifically illiterate.

        The CO2 content of the air is around 2ppm higher than at this time last year, and the rate of increase in CO2 has been accelerating. We are headed for an abrupt climate change event of almost unimaginable proportions.

        Most of the people responsible will be in the late years of their lives, It will be their children who will have to pay the horrendous cost that will result from all the manipulation and lies that characterise mainstream politics.

        • Draco T Bastard 10.2.1.1

          We are headed for an abrupt climate change event of almost unimaginable proportions.

          Considering that such events have happened before, admittedly in other ways, it’s not unimaginable at all. We know what’s going to happen but the deniers (National, Act, Monckton) have enough clout in the MSM and within government to prevent us doing anything about it.

    • Ianupnorth 10.3

      On the radio this morning they were discussing this; the average dairy farm will pay $1200 per annum, not the $20K as projected by Fonterra. The main issue was being seen as being more efficient and less environmentally damaging, something that our farmers are innovaters at, apparently.

    • mik e 10.4

      ssb creapy name creapy attitude.Theres money to be made out of the ETS burying your head up a cows rear is just sulking and not taking advantage of innovation which can save money for farmers and make money for farmers. This attitude is the same attitude farmers took when they had more than 30 years to adapt to the EU being formed.Farmers were caught with their pants down, politician[ Muldoom ]helped them by subsidizing farmers to do the lame same thing they were doing a hundred years prior exporting to the UK . Nothing has changed in farmers mindset .Business is about adapting or dieing.

  11. Josh 11

    Every single one of these, with the exception of the Canterbury Earthquake, was the policy of the Green Party beforehand. Plus I would challange any political party to put up as much policyas the Greens have on their website: there’s literally hundreds of pages worth.

  12. randal 12

    national has become a government of kneejerk ad hocery trying to please everyone and making a mess of things as per usual. They think government means pelf and peculation instead of actual leading the people. time for them to go.

  13. DJL 13

    Im just not looking forward to the ads on TV where labour presents its ideas and policies, and Nacts just slag, slag and more slag. Its like they are still in opposition.

    • Carol 13.1

      While National will also continue to brand Labour as the party of negativity, and say that Key/National take a positive approach to things?

  14. marsman 14

    Please dedicate a post to ‘All the Unnecessary Things National Have Done. e.g.
    1. Give big bucks to Warner Bros.
    2. National Standards.
    3. Private prisons
    etc. etc.
    How many and at what cost ???

    • queenstfarmer 14.1

      1 was unfortunately necessary, due to the idiocy of the union. However in a strange way the Govt worked it out quite well in the end. I would think it has more than paid for itself.

      2 was simply a policy choice, though interestingly one that Labour now seems to have largely accepted.

      3. The first one hasn’t been established yet, so the jury is out (no pun intended).

  15. Georgecom 15

    Heard this avo that AMI may be needing to cash in $300 million or more of the Govt back stop guarantee. Bill (English) will simply put it on the bill. On the plastic it goes for someone else to pay off.

    Quite a contrast between the 2 main parties in the approach to the Govt debt.

    One reacts to things, continues spending and puts it on the credit card. Borrow and hope. We really haven’t had a borrow and hope Government like that since Rob Muldoon. Leave it for someone else to clean up another day.

    The other still borrows however it has some plan to cover that debt. The money needs to be sourced now however there is somethinking behind how it will be repaid.

    Rob

  16. mik e 16

    Key hypocrite backing an insurance company so CHCH can go ahead .Labour mentions it and it is wrong.

  17. Jenny 17

    The reason National has no policy is because National will not be leading the next government, ACT will.

    ACT have policy by the bucket loads, ACT will fill National’s policy vacuum.

    What can we expect?

    Look to Brash’s recommendations to the Welfare Working group for a start.

    From there look overseas to see how right wing monetarist government’s have targeted not the creators of the recession, the bankers and financiers, but instead turned trained their guns on the rest of society.

    We will likely see more tax cuts that favour the wealthy.

    We likely will see more and bigger bail outs of failed financial speculators, bankers and insurance companies. These financiers will likely carry off hundreds of $millions more of public money.

    I expect we will see very harsh austerity measures imposed on the rest of society to account for the losses to the public accounts.

    The same sort of austerity measures imposed overseas that have seen huge social unrest.

    To counter the social unrest ACT policies will engender;
    We can also expect extreme anti-democratic authoritarian police state type law and order policies.
    Civil society at all levels will be targeted.
    The right to protest will be severely curtailed.
    Unions will be virtually outlawed, or so constrained as to be irrelevant.
    Surveillance and intrusion and monitoring by state agencies of the everyday affairs of New Zealanders will be stepped up.

    Terrorist scares and alarmist propaganda will become common place, paranoia will rule public affairs, making travel and every dealing with government and private beaurocracy a time wasting and frustrating nightmare.

    Every sphere of government spending will be slashed except for the army and the police, whose spending will be ring fenced from budget cuts.

    Like the last ACT led government, the damage to the economy and infrastructure of this country will be long lasting and inter-generational.

    The time to put down our cup of tea will be over, and Roger Douglas’s unfinished business will be complete.

    • marsman 17.1

      We have to make sure Act don’t get a foothold again.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 17.1.1

        How?

        • Jenny 17.1.1.1

          How?

          The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

          Well GFfkaO, The Labour Party needs to dump their sectarian electoral strategy, which at this stage seems to be all about winning a clear majority in 2014.

          Because of the long term damage that an ACT government will inflict, victory in 2011 and nothing less, needs to be the goal.

          To do this Labour needs like National has done to embrace their possible support parties instead of trying to destroy them.

          This could take several forms. One way would be to help any potential ally, lift their list vote.

          • Jenny 17.1.1.1.1

            Labour could agree to ask their supporters on the Maori roll to give their list vote to the Maori Party.

            This would see the Maori Party bring in many more MPs.

            This would only be done in agreement with the Maori Party, that in return after the election the Moari Party pledge to give their confidence and supply to a Labour led government instead of National.

          • Jenny 17.1.1.1.2

            Here’s another idea.

            If Labour really wanted to win, then they could do for New Zealand First as National have done for ACT.

            New Zealand First won far more percentage list votes than ACT, but because they didn’t win a seat, it didn’t count.

            For the good of the country New Zealand First should be given a safe or Marginal Electorate seat with which they could bring in a host of support MPs for a Labour led administration.

            Talking about Winston I would like to channel another Winston – Winston Churchill.

            You ask, What is our policy? And I will say, It is to wage war with all our might and with all our strength….

            You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory!

            Winston Churchill, 1940, in his first address to the country as the newly appointed Prime Minister of the Conservative Government

            At the time Churchill was elevated to the premiership, he was a Conservative Party outsider, having won his seat in parliament not as a Conservative but as an independent after his departure from the Liberal Party which he had been a member of for many years.

            Apart from his British Bulldog never say die spirit, the greatest strength that Churchill brought to the role was his non-sectarian approach, which enabled him to knit together a wartime coalition of the three main British Parliamentary Parties, Labour, Liberal and Conservative.

            I feel that the need is so great that Labour also should consider dropping their sectarian, two party, BAU approach to elections and instead truly embrace MMP.

  18. Here is an interesting presentation from a lady called Laurie Manwell.
    Here is her blurb on  the website of the Toronto hearings:
    Laurie Manwell  is a PhD candidate in Behavioral Neuroscience and Toxicology at the University of Guelph. She has published research on the effects of drugs on learning, memory, behavior, information processing, self-esteem, emotion, motivation, cellular and molecular biology, and most recently on political psychology and democracy (American Behavioral Scientist).  Her recent article was part of a special issue of six articles on State Crimes Against Democracy (SCADs) published in the February 2010 edition of American Behavioral Scientist.
    And while this was a presentation related to the 911 events she describes a very interesting phenomenon which helps explain John Key’s enduring popularity how it’s maintained and why they can get away without debate and why they most probably will win the next election without any substance to their policies.
    Here is the link. Enjoy or despair as the case may be!

  19. randal 19

    another oxymoron. National never has a policy as such. National only have one policy and its bash the poor for psychological satisfaction and graba s much as they can from the pubklic purse to pay for their insatiable desire for goods and stuff to make themselves look good in front of the peasants.

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