Show me the policy

Written By: - Date published: 12:05 pm, November 7th, 2011 - 51 comments
Categories: election 2011, national, privatisation - Tags:

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?

– Blue

51 comments on “Show me the policy”

  1. I agree, I think we’ll all be in for a shock if they win.

    • Hami Shearlie 1.1

      Track record would agree you are right! Prepare for JK to become the most hated prime minister ever within one year of gaining office!

      • queenstfarmer 1.1.1

        He already is, by the far-Left. Which, naturally, coincides with him being the most popular PM ever with the rest of the population.

        • Kaplan 1.1.1.1

          Ah sorry but I think there is a while to go before he matches Helen Clark for overall popularity and longevity.

          • shreddakj 1.1.1.1.1

            Helen nearly won 4 terms, if John wins his second term, there’s no way he’ll get a third. You actually have to, you know.. Help the country to get voted in again. I just hope that IF National win, the honeymoon period with the MSM will finally come to an end, so Kiwis take their blue-tinted shades, their ear muffs and their blinkers off.

            • Tigger 1.1.1.1.1.1

              John Key could eat a baby on air and I wouldn’t be surprised. I suspect his poll rating would also go up because people would say the baby had it coming.

            • The Baron 1.1.1.1.1.2

              What was “nearly” about 2008?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                The split between the vote for the left and right. Come on, please try and keep up!

        • Lanthanide 1.1.1.2

          I think Muldoon is the most hated PM ever. So far.

          • shreddakj 1.1.1.2.1

            Bolger and Shipley would rate pretty high on that list too wouldn’t they?

            • Fermionic Interference 1.1.1.2.1.1

              Shipley yes right up there with Piggy.
              Although Bolger seems to hit a gentler more caring note compared to Shipley or Key.
              Especially over the last year I’ve had discussions with people who feel Bolger really wasn’t all that bad compared to his cohorts, ie Shipley, Richardson, etc.
              Only my opinion, so feel free to disagree it’s all relative and personal really.

          • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.1.2.2

            Hated …now . At the time he had a very high personal popularity

        • Ianupnorth 1.1.1.3

          Just shows how stupid some people are then, buying into the myth of the poor boy that did good.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.1.4

          Are you saying a Muldoon type personal popularity is a good thing

          Careful what you wish for

      • bbfloyd 1.1.2

        i think “hated” is not a term that can accurately apply to prime ministers in new zealand…. the term i would use is “respect”, or lack of… certainly muldoon, and the national party of the time inspired a lot of anger, and passionate disagreement as a direct result of the reactionary, populist, and basically dishonest methods of governance.

        david lange inspired a similar reaction when first fromted for the great traitor, then pulled the rug out from under the govt once the penny had dropped…

        jim bolger was always viewed as the least offensive spokesman for the new right/corporate cabal dominating nationals caucus, having been emboldened by douglas’ spadework….

        shipley was quite simply, a symptom of the utter lack of real philosophical and intellectual vigour present in the national caucus.. so can be viewed as irrelevant on most issues…

        when i consider these past leaders… norman kirk….kieth holyoak… micheal joseph savage… etc…..the yardstick that ,to me, is the relevant one is “how much respect does this person inspire?”..

        i would put forward the opinion that by any accurate, and historical perspective… micheal joseph savage has to stand out as the most important, and effective prime minister of the last century… possibly ever.

        when i think of john key… his utterances since being thrust into prominence… the actuality that has ensued … i see parallels with the populism and dishonesty of the muldoon years…this time in support of an agenda that is known to be more about exploitation than anything relevant to real governance…..

        yet even knowing what it is that key has been selected to divert us from, i can’t admit to “hating” him on a personal level….

        what i can readily admit to is a deep, deep, contempt.. contempt for the craven, shameless, and utterly sociopathic mindset required to be able to represent what can only be, (and what will be looked back on as) insanity gift wrapped for the masses…

        each one of these men inspire a level of respect… what that level is, i would guess, can be how much you “love”, or “hate” each one..

        • seeker 1.1.2.1

          Is abhor too strong a word ?

          I dislike lying and manipulation so much that having experienced Key and his misleading and untruthful statements for the last three years not to mention his objectionable throat slitting gesture, I now only have to see or hear him to almost feel physically nauseated.

          To me he is the epitome of untruthfulness, he is the essence of the ‘lying smarmy,politician, the promise anything to anyone he perceives as celebrity and the arch bearer of false witness if it furthers his own cause. A man of very little principle. It is difficult to respect such a man bbfloyd, sorry.

          NB I do think others are behind many of his unsavoury actions and utterances- but he allows himself and his deceitful skillset to be used.
          This I feel is very, very bad for New Zealand. And as for policies National have never had them, neither in 2008 nor now, just sound bites seemingly made up as they went along, no comprehensively planned policies (unless you countACTS) . And even if they found some, under this man who could believe them?.

      • The Baron 1.1.3

        Within one year of gaining office was two years ago. And then he was ranked as what, the most popular ever?

        What is even the point of your comment? “Lolz everyone ages him – shhh I don’t watch the news, so am a bit out of touch about what over half on NZers think”?

        Slow clap on about three different levels here.

  2. Hilary 2

    Don’t forget they are going to decide about the SAS in Afghanistan after the election and depending on what NATO tells them to do.

    And there are also the large cuts still to come to the public service. That will have severe flow on effects in many areas such as health, education and the environment.

    • marxbrother 2.1

      Like the rest of their ‘policy’ but it’s big business that tells them what to do there.

  3. queenstfarmer 3

    Parties typically go into an election with a pretty comprehensive lineup of policy covering a very wide range of issues.

    We do not live in typical times. E.g. it is not typical for a Govt to put out a “zero-budget” in election year. Normally it is a taxpayer-funded lolly scramble of sorts, to varying degrees by party.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      A zero-budget that was all predicated on avoiding sovereign debt downgrades. Oops.

      National have already announced that the operational spending allowance for the next 3 budgets is $800m per year.

      So seems like this “zero-budget” was all spin and bluster with no real substance.

    • marxbrother 3.2

      Firstly, there is no such thing as ‘typical times’ just typical conservative government of by and for the minority self interest group called the rich. This non- government is simply a recycled version of an 80’s neo-liberal, let the market sort things out bunch of corporate lickspittles. Sadly, enough NZ voters either don’t care enough to change things, don’t understand enough about how a government such as we have leaves everything up to the market and therefore gives up any semblance of a mandate, or actually believe this is want we need now.
      The current state of the world economy has been brought about as a result of a free-market neo-liberal approach to both politics and economics; the nonsense belief in ‘trickle down’, in benevolent corporations, the fallacy that all public ownership is bad and all private is good. In Greece we have an obscene situation where the European and internaional banks are dictating to a sovereign nation with a deomcratically elected government, what they should and should not spend money on. No wonder the ordinary person on the streets of Athens has had enough. Those of us unfortunate enough to live in Christchurch can definitely confirm that letting the market sort things out does not work. It is time for a new way for this world and I am certain that looking backwards, like National/Act do, is going to be proven to be the wrong way. We need progressive ideas not conservative ones that have been proven time after time not to work.

    • mik e 3.3

      Now the National are even lighter on policy no asset sale because the price of assets being sold will be to low.This was always the case a cash flow business like the energy companies is worth far more than even the $5to$7billion dollars That National were going to flog it off for.
      NOW where is the MONEY
      Show me the money MONKey

  4. stever 4

    Perhaps they are going to say: “You voted us in, so you gave us a mandate. And you did that even in the face of us saying little about what we would do. So, in many areas you gave us a mandate to do what we judge as best. Therefore, we will now do this, and this, and this…., and because you gave us a mandate when we hadn’t ruled these things out, we’ll do them, you have agreed.”

    So, they don’t need to tell us, during the campaign, the nasty things in store, using this line of thought.

    They can simply say “Well, we didn’t say we would not do these things (we didn’t mention them, in fact), and you now say you don’t like them, but that’s tough. We have our mandate.”

    This makes it so important that where they have been silent they are pressed for answers.

    And perhaps someone should ask the question “If you are silent on something all the way through the campaign, shouldn’t we as voters take notice of this and, for our own protection, assume the worst about what you have planned?”

  5. Lanthanide 5

    “National is set to govern alone, so there will be no deals done with smaller parties, making their few policies look even lonelier.”

    Key has already said, that even if they win a majority they will do a similar supply/confidence agreement with UF, Act and MP.

    Because they might need allies in 2014.

    • They’ve already eaten their allies though. If Act get in this election with 2 seats, they’ll either be gone in 2014 or only have 1 seat. Same thing with MP, Hone is going to take Te Tai Tokerau, and if Labour takes back any of the other Maori electorates the Maori party may also fade into irrelevance. But you knew all that already =)

      • Lanthanide 5.1.1

        I wouldn’t count the far-right out. If Act implodes, I expect the Conservative party to gain momentum.

  6. randal 6

    there is only one policy and that is loot the public purse and piss off. Kweewee wont even stand up for his government and kiwisaver. Why cant the government offer its own savings scheme?
    No. Then it would be impossible for the market to steal from its depositors like the recent events. The market wants you r money and they want to keep it and this government wants to get in bed with those people.

  7. Daveo 7

    Some of those “policy” bricks link through to press releases. Jesus. The media better hold these buggers to account.

    • Jim Nald 7.1

      Those policy bricks look quite alarming – they separate the 1% from the rest of us and keep us out!

  8. anne 8

    Most media sources are now under key and national’s control and any critism is frowned on and not allowed,so all media report ‘dear leader’ in a favourable light,the right questions are never asked of key and his lot,but it is insisted of the labour party,while the media carry on lambasting
    goff,is this a democracy or a dictatorship in drag,silently owned by key.
    Key’s answer to child poverty is “national standards in schools and victim’s rights” huh whats that
    got to do with a slice of bread?
    English has the crass idea that he knows the economy and is financialy literate,however 3 downgrades say he isn’t, corruption in the scf when terms and requirements were changed by english to help scf investors and nat mates from loosing too much,a meeting with investors where they were told they now have a crown guarantee,costing tax payers $2b+,why is this not bought up by the media,there are so many instances of his pilfering,another is changing his business interest in a once held family farm,where he doesn’t live,changing the farm from sheep to dairy,followed by a payment of $300-$600 thousand to fonterra and the meat industry for advertising and promotions costs,while he still claims $900pw accomodation benefit,supposedly because his ‘home’is in dipton,he has a $1m home in wellington,his wife is a doctor,his kids go to uni there,there is such a large amount of questionable actions by this nat govt that should be investigated,but it seems most of nz is in love with key ):

  9. Peter 9

    The above statements just show if you don’t like Key – you don’t like Key – if you do like Key – you do like Key. If you don’t like Key you will trawl through material until you find some items that prove your point – if you do like him you will do likewise.

    I like Key at the moment and I like most of the team he has put in place, and I like the way he demands that they do their job. I do think they could do more in a few areas and I expect they will do more as the economy picks up (assuming it doesn’t go in to a meltdown in Europe). I expected to see less policy from they this election – as they had a lot in the last period as this article notes – you do realise we only have governance periods in practise of 2.5 years which is quite short. Personally I have 5 year plans at a minimum and they guide my day to day, month to month detail.

    Also note it is only 2.5 to 3 years since the world suffered a major correction the impact of which the whole world is still feeling – putting some countries on the brink of collapse. It seems there were very few countries that didn’t suffer so much – Australia being one of them – but even they are having their problems now with a two speed economy.

    Most of labours policy of significance except for the short term borrowing will take place in about 2 or 3 whole elections time and so I can wait for another 2.5 or 5 years before bothering with them.

    On that other topic – I am just about to sell my one major asset and diversify into several different asset categories – so I guess you can figure my thinking on the shared ownership – and diversification of our asset portfolio. I am at that time of life where I also don’t want to drastically increase my borrowing to do so.

    So National will have my 2 votes this time and if by some chance Labour gets in I can always exercise my third vote as I did when they last got in – i.e. where to pay my taxes.

  10. Ianupnorth 10

    By the way, this thread is mentioned in the Herald! http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10764342

  11. Roy 11

    I think their policy can be summed up as “smile, wave and lie”.

  12. fender 12

    National don’t come up with ideas, certainly nothing sane people are interested in.
    I’m betting English will return from U.S. with instructions from the Tea Party as to where to go from here.

    • tc 12.1

      They seem pretty good at claiming others ideas as their own, like voting down labour private members loan sharks bill but then recycling it as their own policy during the campaign.

  13. randal 13

    the media in this country are infantilised along with most of the population. all they care about is brown nosing people who MATTER and getting overseas trips with the PM.
    talk about poodles.

    • tc 13.1

      Yup wonder what cushy number espinoza has lined up in TVNZ after such sterling service to the cause, a few more dodgy moderations at the celebrity debating show, some fluff on the night with fellow sycophants Holmes etc and jobs done.

      Just checkout Oz and the qantas grounding, Abbott was asked if he knew beforehand, he avoided answering, was pulled up and reasked the question, replied by not answering. Now shown in full you’re left in no doubt as to the fact he knew as he refuses to answer and you hear the question twice….now that’s how media does its job and polly do theirs but the truth is pretty obvious.

      Unlike here where they either don’t ask the question or avoid repeating it if they don’t get a direct answer.

  14. randal 14

    yes well anyone who listened to the chrislaidlaw show on sunday morning will have heard all sorts of bushwa from a cuninglinguist from Victoria University about why new zealanders cant answer the question. a. they are gutless. b. they are ignorant c. they are liars d. they are congenitally unable to tell the truth.

  15. Salsy 15

    Rumour has it Key will manufacture a crisis and raise GST to 17% … Key will deny, Goff should get him to stake his job on it.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1

      No. How about we ask National party candidates to take the pledge? That way when the mendacious wretch slithers off to Hawaii his enablers will still carry the can.

    • The Baron 15.2

      Ooooh a rumour from an anonymous blog commentator without even a clue as to it’s source?! Solid gold! I heard a rumour that JK is going to raise it to 29% myself ;)!

      Chasing down these sorts of excellent ideas is exactly what Labour needs to do of it wants to win. Thanks Salsy!

      • One Anonymous Bloke 15.2.1

        Speaking of rumours I heard John Key promised Bronagh several years ago “no more than two terms” as PM – if the rumour has any truthiness he’ll be planning to resign at the opportune time anyway.

  16. The Baron 16

    It’s a bit lame how everyday someone from the left/Labour tries to reappropriate one of Key’s sayings.

    Show me the money worked because it was well timed and appropriate to that moment of the debate. This headline, and the other what, dozen?, attempts to regurgitate that line as a weapon, are just plain naff.

    Cant be fucked reading the post, because it’s probably just more of the same ad nausem dribble that the other rips on that saying have even.

    But regardless – here is a sign that the battle is already lost. National pushing the agenda even on what language is used, and you spazs fighting rearguard over the crumbs. Just lame, lazy campaigning all round.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1

      Biting and trenchant critique reminiscent of the intellectual giants that used to populate the right. Any chance you guys can stage a come-back and get rid of the ideological true believers that have so destroyed your credibility?

      Slap upside the head to my lefty siblings 🙂 The Baron has a point.

    • (A different) Nick K 16.2

      “Can’t be fucked reading the post”

      Sadly a lot of voters feel the same way about understanding anything about the what the next three years are going to look like with a National government. Bit rich to call people lazy when you don’t have the attention span to read a 370 word article.

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