We’re three weeks out from the election, and there’s something funny going on. National has hardly any policy out.
Parties typically go into an election with a pretty comprehensive lineup of policy covering a very wide range of issues.
National have announced asset sales, welfare reform, youth minimum wage, some more RMA tinkering, some tiny, tiny law and order policies, and KiwiSaver auto-enrolment. That seems a little on the light side, given that they are proposing to govern the country for the next three years.
Their Policy page on the website is cleverly designed in a little brick pattern so that it doesn’t look so empty http://www.national.org.nz/policy.aspx.
Even the minor parties have more policy than they do.
At the rate at which National like to abuse urgency in the House, their programme won’t keep them busy for more than a few months.
Contrast with 2008, when they had all sorts of things going on. Tax cuts, National Standards, 90-day trials, the Treaty of Waitangi settlement deadline, Foreshore and Seabed law review, boot camps, their modified ETS, RMA changes, broadband promises, etc.
Then after the election they added the Super City, three strikes, mining on Schedule 4 land, raising GST and preparing to sell off parts of ACC. If you believe the polls, National is set to govern alone, so there will be no deals done with smaller parties, making their few policies look even lonelier.
So, what are they going to be doing for the next three years?
Not a hell of a lot, according to them. But that sounds too much like whistling innocently and hoping that no one will ask them any questions.
The economic environment is looking like it might get a bit ‘denimic’ in the coming months, as the glow from the Rugby World Cup wears off and the European crisis hits the fan.
Have they run out of ideas? Nope. To a rightwinger, there is always more that can be cut or sold.
It’s more likely that they have run out of politically palatable ideas.
So, what’s it going to be? Three years of doing SFA, or are Kiwis going to get some big surprises foisted on them about six months after the election?