Labour has hit back at Key's speech yesterday with some hard numbers. Take a look at the revenue vs. expenses numbers under Labour and National. This should not be news to any journos out there especially those who have been around for a while. But it might be news to some voters who have decided that National are better 'economic managers'. They view Labour as 'spenders' all the while forgetting that under National the economy hasn't really grown and life hasn't really improved. I wonder where they get those ideas from?
How has our 'future' been brighter in the last 6 years? A few months ago I blogged about whether Labour was focusing on the 'wrong issue'. I didn't think they are before and I don't think they are now. I think the polling on Labour policies are generally very positive but John Key is a better messenger (read: politician). Politics is not as much about policy as it is about politics. (You thought I was going to say 'personality' didn't you?) No, I don't think it is about personality. Yes, John Key has the right personality that resonates with Kiwis so the National Party uses it to its advantage. I'd say that Helen Clark was as far apart from John Key as you can get but she was the Prime Minister for 9 years. Political parties need to identify their strengths and leverage it with the public. That's good politics. Harping on and on about John Key's personality or trying to mimic it futile. That's his strength, find your own.
As Mr. Parker points out, spending might have increased under Labour (but revenue was also high under Labour) and
"In the last five years of Labour we introduced Working for Families, interest free Student loans and Kiwi Saver – all paid for out of growth. None of which National has repealed."
This is the key point. National has not repealed any of the 'progressive' policies that require government funding. What they have done instead is curb down on our civil rights and our rights as employees. They have removed regulations to make it easier for large corporations and harder for the average working person. They have given Kiwis reasons to move overseas and oil industries to move in to our pristine country. They have done so with a 1 vote majority in Parliament. A 1 vote majority does not a mandate make. That's the actual poll of actual voters from the last election. I'm so tired of hearing about National shepherding us through the recession and earthquakes. In responses to these tough situations, I wanted some bold policies. I've spent most of my twenties waiting for the 'brighter future'. My generation wants a government that actually responds, creates, innovates, motivates - not just one that shepherds us through softly softly.
(Ain't nobody got time for that.)
DC has made some key mistakes in the media in recent months and Key has managed stay above the mistakes of Judith Collins and Amy Adams. The polls reflect that. Labour has some really hard working, interesting MPs. They need to stop reading from the 2005 script and start engaging in 2014 politics. They need to harness the strengths of the caucus - charisma of some, intelligence of others, communication capabilities of some, the ability to talk about bad news of others, the caring side of some, the tough-love side of others. Those 800k people are still looking for a party to vote for. Labour has interesting policies on housing, power prices, and child poverty that would be relevant to those 800k people.
While Key laughs it up, Labour should be talking numbers. The numbers are actually on their side.