Archive for July 28th, 2008

No quick end to Peters saga in sight

July 28, 2008

Helen Clark has just said what I thought would have been bleeding obvious.

She does not think it’s “remotely likely” Winston Peters’ would resign as Foreign Minister, and even if he did the Government “would not be affected”.



July 28, 2008

Well, it took two and a half months to get to 4,000 views. Now it’s taken a little under four weeks to get to 10,000.

I really enjoy the debates that we have here and look forward to many more. Thanks.

It doesn’t add up

July 28, 2008

National’s latest policy announcement — that it will keep Working for Families — is notable for two reasons.

First, it confirms that Labour-lite strategy positioning that has clearly been to National’s advantage in garnering public support.

It is a great irony that, despite the Government’s tenuous position in terms of public support, National has had to borrow so much of the Government’s policy in order to regain the voter support it lost during the 1990s. It is interesting in this respect that so many of the policies they have borrowed have been those designed to ensure social fairness.

This is consistent with the point that I have been making that social equity issues were critical to voting choices after the ravages of the 1990s, and that NZers have banked the progress made in this area since 2000, but that they are not prepared to revert to the neo-liberal policies that caused so much pain for vulnerable NZers.

National, no doubt with a little help from Crosby-Textor, seem to have come to exactly the same conclusion. This leaves me conflicted. It is clever, election-winning stuff. And if they are to win the election, it is comforting to think that they have learnt the lesson well enough not to embark on any ACT-style madness this term or next. It doesn’t appear that they harbour quite the sort of secret agendas that they did last time (refer The Hollow Men).

Yet, Key’s past utterances still leave open the possibility that he and they might revert to type. And even if they don’t spring another neo-liberal nightmare on unsuspecting kiwis, chances are they’ll let what’s left of what we used to call the “welfare state” slide. Privatisation of ACC, health and so on by stealth.

Today’s announcement is also important because there really isn’t the money for this tax credit scheme, other elements of the current Government’s programme that are being retained (Kiwisaver, Kiwibank, interest-free student, expenditure on the Railway system, etc) and tax cuts to impress. And, without borrowing to finance tax cuts, confirmed this morning. And especially not in the context of a deteriorating economy.

It doesn’t add up.

Something will have to go. What?