Matt McCarten‘s no syncophant as he sums up why Labour’ week was so good in the HOS:
“Since John Key was elected leader, National has had a dream run. Helen Clark must have been despairing over the endless own goals her colleagues have been providing to their political opponents… I can’t think of many weeks that there hasn’t been bad news for Labour.”
National’s conference was supposed to be “the unofficial launch of its coronation to victory… Apart from Key and Bill English looking a bit dorky, New Zealanders would have the subliminal message that the Nats are ready to govern.”
While views on the fallout from cocktail-gate vary, Matt opines that, “the revelations by the three senior Nats have put its campaign strategy at risk.” Add this to the tax cuts plus borrowing package, with its shades of Muldoonism, and Labour has more ammunition for the election than anybody thought possible just a short while ago.
Lastly, Matt suggests that the Peters saga favours Labour. “National’s unwillingness to nail Peters has meant the muck is not sticking to Clark.” And, come time for post-election horse-trading, Peters “will remember National was trying to shaft him. If NZ First is returned, I’d put money on him going with Clark.”
It won’t take too many good weeks for Labour for this to be a real possibility.
Deborah Coddington offers the insight that:
“In my experience it’s the well-off, in general, who have the most disgusting behaviour. The rich are different not just because they have more money but because many of them have less grace.”
Sadly, she doesn’t make the link to the attributes that the capitalist system rewards. It’s not exactly a revelation… didn’t someone once say something about the rich and eyes of needles? In the same vein, Fran O’Salivatin’ also writes about Rod Petricevic, who features in Coddington’s column. Petricevic is portrayed as a dubious character, but sui generis. Crap, ethical behaviour in capitalist commerce is a continuum, not bipolar.
In the SST, Rod Oram assesses the Nat’s announced economic policy. He finds it “troubling” :
“… the men who are potentially the next prime minister and deputy made scant reference to the fast-changing world and New Zealand’s role in it.”
Some of us have been noting for some time that there’s been plenty of talk from the Nats about closing wage — now after tax income — gaps and the like, but precious little announced that would materially assist improve NZ’s productivity levels.
Spending a little more on infrastructure won’t do it, note. As Oram says:
“An extra $500 million a year of spending will be only a small improvement on the already very large increase the current government has made in infrastructure investment; and National is promising to spend $1.5 billion on fibre optic cable, which could be wasteful or crowd out private sector investment, according to some telecommunications players.”
The impact here of the current global financial crisis should be at the forefront of out minds right now, says Oram, along with “the opportunities for us to earn a much bigger living in global markets.”
Oram outlines responses to recent recessions in order weigh National’s apparent insouciance, and explores some of the contradictions in National’s policies. My pick of the weekend’s reading.
[Update: Lynn Prentice at The Standard writes at greater length on Oram's piece.]