No sensible analysis could conclude that the Labour-led governments of the last 8 years have been anything but excellent for New Zealand. As you know, we’ve seen unemployment plummet to record lows, wages rise at record rates, more spending on public services, interest-free student loans, 20Free childcare, the buyback of the rail network, the end of Telecom’s monopoly, the end of the Employment Contracts Act, a shift in focus to environmental issues that never existed under National, paid parental leave, four weeks annual leave, record growth, civil unions, the end of legal child-beating, lower crime rates, higher reporting of domestic violence, the end to large secret donations in politics, more investment in infrastructure, a big cut in government debt, better future planning through Kiwisaver and the Cullen Fund, and tax breaks for families, for business, and for individuals, to name but a few.
It’s a great record; one Labour and its allies are justly proud of. But a party can’t rest on its laurels and voters won’t elect governments on their record. What Labour and the Greens both need to do is present their vision for New Zealand. they need to be positive and forward-looking.
Our world is entering difficult times. Our civilisation is based on cheap energy from hydro-carbons which are running out as well as poisoning the planet. Labour and the Greens both need to show that they have the vision, backed by practical, positive initiatives (ie spending, not taxation) that will get us through the transition to a low-carbon future with as little pain as possible.
National doesn’t have a clue in this respect; Key’s ‘vision’ is just empty puffery. Labour and the Greens can both do much better. People know that things are going to be difficult in coming years, they want serious and competent leadership to get us through. Labour and the Greens must show they can provide that leadership by outlining in positive terms what their vision of a sustainable New Zealand looks like and how they will get us there.