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Policy Summary: Labour v National

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, March 25th, 2008 - 24 comments
Categories: election 2008, labour, national - Tags: , ,

The Sunday-Star Times has an interesting list of the policies the election will be fought on and where the two major parties stand on them. Here’s the article in summary, see if you can spot the pattern: 

KiwiSaver
Labour: Set up KiwiSaver, added government and employer contributions. Half a million Kiwis have now joined.
National: No final policy yet. “There will be KiwiSaver, and there will be a government contribution,” is all Bill English will say.
 
State asset sales
Labour: Stopped sales. Bought 80% share in Air New Zealand, and rail tracks. Seeking to buy back the railways.
National: No final policy yet. Would do partial floats of some assets, would sell the rail network again, refused to comment on whether National would sell off government shares in Air New Zealand.

Working for Families
Labour: 400,000 working families, three-quarters of all those with dependent children, recieve payments. Many pay zero tax, or get a tax credit.
National: No final policy yet on whether scheme will be pruned.

Industrial relations
Labour: Strengthened workers’ rights with the Employment Relations Act. Has raised minimum wage each year.
National: Final policy not yet announced, but says it will “refine” the ERA. Has ’90-Bill’ during which new workers can be fired at bosses’ will without reason Does not support rights of employees to request flexible work hours
 
Student loans
Labour: Interest-free loans.
National: Has reluctantly signed up to the policy too.
 
Paid parental leave
Labour: Expected to announce further extensions
National: Has consistently opposed the scheme, but Key says the party will retain it. No policy yet on extensions.

Twenty hours free childcare policy
Labour: Nearly all 3-4 year olds get 20Free.
National: No policy yet on early childhood care and retaining 20Free
 
ACC
Labour: Retain ACC.
National: No final policy on whether it would still open ACC to competition, nor rule out sale or dismantling of ACC.

State sector
Labour: Growth in core state sector is justified.
National: Says it would save $500m over three years by capping core bureaucracy at current levels.
 
Cheaper doctors’ visits and prescriptions
Labour: Cut fees for visits to the GP and prescriptions.
National: ‘Frankly, it’s a market’
 
State housing
Labour: Income-related rents for state housing tenants. State housing stock has been growing.
National: State house tenants would be allowed to buy their homes. Would not increase number of state houses.

24 comments on “Policy Summary: Labour v National ”

  1. monty 1

    Excellent – no reason for National to release their policy yet – They will release policy on a timetable that suits them – rather than Labour. Saying that I would expect National policy to reflect the general theme of more self reliance with help for those who need it (as opposed to Labour who want all people beholden to the state.

    And when we are at 50% in the polls and a clear 17 to 21 % points ahead, why give Labour oxygen.

  2. IrishBill 2

    monty, they don’t have policy. Or at least not policy they can put in front of the public. They thought they could run the entire campaign as a PR exercise but now, having got offside with the media, they are scrambling to create palatable policy and design a campaign strategy to avoid the hotspots. I doubt the emergence of Douglas helps.

  3. Steve Pierson 3

    monty. why is it all about appearences with you? why don’t you want to have an informed debate where the parties put their policies on the table with plenty of time before the election, giving time for commentators, polticians, and ordinary people to discuss the attributes of the different options, and then voters can get the information they need to make a good decision.

    Why is it you think releasing policy would give Labour oxygen? isn’t the premise behind that that National’s policies will be unpopular and give Labour soldiy ground to criticise National? Why are you so supportive of a party whose policies (if they have them) are so bad yo don’t think they should let the public know about them?

  4. mike 4

    With 8 months to go before the election National are holding there line until it really matters. Labour are desperate (lastest Morgan poll more bad news for them) and are trying to roll out ‘big’ policy but the NZ public are not listening.

  5. monty 5

    At present the left are screaming because Nats are holding back on Policy (and policy is still being developed). Labour did exactly this in 1999 and I congratulate National for having the patience to do so now. In the meantime, National continue to maintain a huge lead in the polls which suggests that no matter what, Labour are buggered. The extreme left agenda that Labour have implemented over the past few years is slowly poisoning NZ (note the numbers leaving the country) and therefore National need to be careful about which policies to maintain and which can be safely dumped. As you are aware it is very difficult to take away something such as interest free student loans – or WFF – but that does not mean National was correct to object to such pork barrel politics in the first place.

    Of course the other reason for the delay is because National need to understand the state of the Nation’s books because there would be nothing worse that making a promise which has a major financial implication and then finding that the leaders had lied about the state of the finances much as happened in 1990 when Labour were kicked into opposition.

    So I for one (and obviously about 50% of the country) remain comfortable that National are holding back on policy until the election. You never know Labour may complete it’s self destruction before then and the election will be National’s at a cakewalk.

  6. dave 6

    Since when have we had 20 hours free education/childcare forteh majority of our 3/4 year olds?

  7. IrishBill 7

    Mike, that poll is out of date. I can assure you that National are not “holding the line” on policy but have been caught short after expecting to cruise to victory. If you expect a raft of election-winning policy at the last minute you are living in false hope.

    Monty, I’m not surprised you think the Labour party is running a “far left” agenda. It fits well with your other flights of political fancy.

  8. randal 8

    rogerdouglas had an agenda in 1984 and he didnt tell anyone about it so in my opinion they Nats have ahidden agenda too which I think most people with more than a passing interest in politics will be aware of. It will take the form of an attack on working people as they are the only sector that can be exploited with the least resistance under the onslaught of computer capitalism in this brave new world.

  9. monty 9

    so lets look at these individually

    1. Kiwisaver – Vitally important to the country and National will need to come up with something – National will retain Kiwisaver. A bit of tinkering around the edges – maybe to encourage people to participate

    2. State assets sales – partial floats an excellent idea – no good reason for government to be involved in railways or other transport networks. – Purchase back of rail is a crazy idea and no one has yet justified why Government needs to own a rail system. A good idea would be to divert the assets into the Kiwisaver where they can remain for the benefit of all NZers. Partial floats bring about better and more efficient governance.

    3. WFF – why do people on $100K plus require (or want) welfare – what we want (and I am in this category) is the government the hell out of our lives. Retain for those who need it (or restructure whole tax system) – why should my mother pay additional tax out of her pension for me to enjoy this welfare

    4. Student loans – National have accepted you can not take away interest free loans (even although it was pork barrel politics) but has incentivised people to pay back the loans early. Good common sense.

    5. Paid Parental Leave – why extend it – to do so would be port barrel politics – making more people reliant on the state is part of Labour modus operandi – again wh should those without children (or kids have left the nest) pay for those who want to have children.

    6. Employment relations – after nine years Labour want more change to this – at the behest of Sue Bradford and her extreme left communist agenda- but in the process make NZ even less competitive – no thanks. Needs to be refined by National to make more of a level playing field. Again Labour will promise more in their desperate quest for support – but reality is that most employers are good employers and if they are not then workers have the choice to leave and find someone who is a better employer. Labour consider employers the enemy – they are not.

    Time to do some work – essentially Labour play the game of more dependency on the state – but this has a cost in terms of competitiveness and productivity. National support Self reliance with assistance to those who need it the most. The country is now so sick of Labour, that nothing will save them the only question is how big will the defeat be and when is the election.

  10. monty 10

    Randal – in 1984 there was a snap election “sixssshh weeeekkkkks notice doesn’t giove theem mucchh chance either” Rob slurred.

    so why nearly 25 years later will National do the same. Reality is that in 1984 (as in 1990) the country was an economic basket case. Because socialist governments previously left NZ an economic basket case, why does that mean this socialist government will do so again?

    All the left have to hold onto at present is that there is no policy. And Irish Bill why should we take anything you say about National as even remotely correct – it’s not like you could ever bring any objectivity to a debate which involves the National Party.

  11. mike 11

    Irish, the poll I am referring to was in STT yesterday, how can it be out of date already? cannot find it on the sites yet. It had labour down 1 or 2 and Nats up.

  12. Steve Pierson 12

    “WFF – why do people on $100K plus require (or want) welfare” – the vast bulk of WfF families are on low incomes (the median household income is about $55K).

    Under very exceptional circumstances a family earning over $100K can get a small WfF payment. They have to have more than 4 kids and be earning less than $110,000. and even then the payment is small, less than $100 a week, whereas the vast bulk of families – who have lower incomes – get much larger payments.

  13. Tane 13

    Mike, poll measured (from memory) March 3-16. Haven’t put it up yet as I’ve been busy, not sure there’s much value in it now either.

  14. Tane 14

    Monty,

    If you think the government has been running an ‘extreme left communist’ agenda you’re so far gone that you’re not even worth engaging with.

    Just for some perspective, NZ is rated by the World Bank as the second easiest place in the word to do business. We also have one of the most deregulated labour markets in the world.

    All you do by pretending we’re living in a Soviet state is discredit yourself.

  15. Monty you are a dullard and a fool. Don’t expect others to follow you down your rabbit hole:

    1. National have said only that they would keep KS mark one. To suggest that scrapping mark two is merely “tinkering” is pretty much lying.

    2. You base this not on any facts but on prejudice. The facts don’t tally with your ideology though. Public ownership of rail works exceptionally well in Europe and Japan. Partial floats would effectively create PPPs and likely leave us with the risk and private interests with the profits as has happened in the UK (and pretty much anywhere the model has been used).

    3. Pretty much an outright lie.

    4. Early repayment bonuses will encourage speculative borrowing (borrow the money over a three year degree, bank it, pay it back to gain interest earned and bonuses). Also, the repayment bonuses only help those who can afford to pay back their loan in large chunks so once again the Nat’s are promoting policy to advantage the already well off.

    5. Our birthrate declined in the 90’s and like it or not it is the government’s business how many kids you have and it is in the interests of the country and the economy at the moment to stimulate population growth. It’s a pretty cold fact to face but procreation is an economic necessity and that’s what PPL is about.

    6. The World Bank rates New Zealand second in the world for ease of doing business – this survey includes labour relations. I can’t see how that’s extreme communism. In fact I’d say, to our shame, that we have amongst the most “flexible” labour laws in the OECD.

    My advice to you monty is to go fuck yourself. Your views are valueless and your posts are nothing but self-deceiving lies. If you really are so unhappy with government interfering in your life you should fuck off to the small government paradise that is the Sudan. Oh and take your freaky neocon mates with you. New Zealand would be a better place for it.

  16. monty 16

    Robinsod – No need to fuck myself – Labour have fucked me well and truely over already. I pay so much tax that it makes me cry – while Labour indulges parasites to feed off my tit. No wonder there are so many people leaving this country. National will move the country back into the true middle ground. People are so sick to death of Labour that nothing will save them now. National will bring back self responsibility and the country will celebrate them being in office. Your scare tactics are now falling on deaf ears. The 50% support that National now has is quite locked in mainly because the population are so desperate to get rid of Clark. Your time is up. In 12 months the country will be wondering why they never got rid of Clark and her corrupt Government sooner. (and when they are tossed out the problems that they are working so hard to cover up will be all exposed for the country to see.

    By the way – When is Wishart’s book “Absolute Power” coming out?

  17. Tane 17

    Wow, I think Monty’s finally lost it.

  18. Phil 18

    “Under very exceptional circumstances a family earning over $100K can get a small WfF payment. They have to have more than 4 kids and be earning less than $110,000. and even then the payment is small, less than $100 a week, whereas the vast bulk of families – who have lower incomes – get much larger payments.”

    It’s about $76 a week. But Montys point stands; why on earth is the state dolling out cash to someone on $100k with four kids?!?!

    My older sister and her partner are on less than half that income, with three kids, and gets a shade over $200 a week. Personally I’m all for a tinkering of WFF if it means we get rid of the nonsense at the top-income end, and split some of the return to tax cuts and providing more for those at the bottom.

  19. Labour have fucked me well and truely over already. I pay so much tax that it makes me cry – while Labour indulges parasites to feed off my tit

    Promise me you’ll leave New Zealand if Labour get another term.

  20. Steve Pierson 20

    Phil. I think the upper parts of WfF are too high too and could be removed (or allowed to be ablated with inflation). but monty’s position is to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  21. Leftie 21

    Monty said:
    “Employment relations – after nine years Labour want more change to this – at the behest of Sue Bradford and her extreme left communist agenda- but in the process make NZ even less competitive – no thanks.”

    I think we are very competitive from an employer’s point of view. After all they currently pay us around 30 percent less than workers in Australia.

    Monty also said:
    “but reality is that most employers are good employers and if they are not then workers have the choice to leave and find someone who is a better employer.”

    True, but only an option for workers at the moment. What if unemployment goes up as it did before 1999? People can be stuck with these minority bad employers who don’t reward any gain in productivity.

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