I’ve noticed recently that National likes to talk a lot about everyone else’s ideas, but it prefers not to discuss its own. Steven Joyce’s shout performance on The Nation is a good example. Why would that be?
First, National would rather point backwards to the global recovery than forward to the next three years. Yes, there has been a recovery. Yes, it has been pretty much all over the globe. Yes, patting yourself on the head for it looks a bit silly.
Second, the recovery hasn’t resolved many of New Zealand’s serious issues. Unemployment remains higher than when National took office. Child poverty, too. Home ownership continues to slide. We’re sliding towards a two-track education system. And so on.
Pointing to the recovery won’t fix those problems.
So what will?
This is where National runs into real trouble. Its forward-looking ideas are entirely insipid. Examples:
Last year’s ideas, BTW, weren’t any better: selling the family silver, bigger class sizes, and lower standards for property developers. Although, to be fair to National, they have had the good sense to start copying Labour on ideas such as paid parental leave and better support for young families.
This is the central challenge National faces. It has to dress up “riding the tide” as “having a plan.” Because the plans it actually has these days are dogs, and they know it.