Party dif­fer­ences

Waikato Times - - COMMENT&OPINION -

There have been some quite su­per­fi­cial com­ments in the me­dia at how sim­i­lar the poli­cies are of the two main par­ties in this elec­tion.

Some claim that the con­test is about per­son­al­i­ties. That says a lot about how the me­dia see things. So much eas­ier for jour­nal­ist not to have to deal with poli­cies.

From my read­ing of things, this is not the case.

Two big dif­fer­ences stand out and they are ones that Jacinda Ardern an­nounced in her first two days as leader and which set the polls rac­ing ahead for Labour. They are:

Charge on wa­ter use by com­pa­nies bot­tling for com­mer­cial use. Op­posed by Na­tional.

In­ves­ti­ga­tion into a cap­i­tal gains tax. Op­posed by Na­tional.

Then we have many other po­lices on which they are quite apart:

Ban on for­eign res­i­dents buy­ing res­i­den­tial prop­erty. Re­sisted time and again by Na­tional

Limit on im­mi­gra­tion. Na­tional has had a hands off pol­icy.

Ban on pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ships for pub­lic ser­vices such as hos­pi­tals and pris­ons. Na­tional per­sists with th­ese.

More sup­port for rail trans­port. No chance of that with Na­tional with Si­mon Bridges, min­is­ter of mo­tor­ways.

Much stronger ac­tion on river wa­ter qual­ity. Cap on dairy cow numbers. More state hous­ing. Open­ing of the Pike River Mine.

Well, how is that for a start? In this elec­tion we most cer­tainly do have a choice.

Rus­sell O Ar­mitage


poverty), hous­ing and home­less­ness, bud­get­ing, sen­si­ble trans­port (not the sa­cred cow of ex­press­ways), pollution have all come un­der stress re­cently. Then, sud­denly, in the space of a few weeks, there is enough dosh for prac­ti­cally any­thing you can think of. Well, pull my other one.

Tar­gets are set or in­sisted on by bul­ly­ing in­ter­view­ers that the gov­ern­ment have no hope of meet­ing. One hun­dred thou­sand chil­dren be­ing lifted out of poverty is now set in stone as both par­ties ap­pear to have ac­cepted the tar­get. Well, good luck with that one. With all of so­ci­ety’s set­tings point­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion they are go­ing to need a mas­sive dis­rup­tion some­where in the sys­tem to be able to af­fect that many chil­dren. And pre­sum­ably they will need a large num­ber of trained peo­ple to make any­thing hap­pen. They must be hid­ing be­cause ev­ery­body I see cur­rently work­ing in this area seem to be over­worked al­ready. Why do I have this vi­sion of mil­lions be­ing wasted on ini­tia­tives that throw up more prob­lems than they solve.

Maybe we need a new Min­istry of Silly Prom­ises to sort out the dopey ones from the ones that we ac­tu­ally need, can af­ford, and may ac­tu­ally ful­fil their prom­ise.

Ge­off Or­chard


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