Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Signs of nothing

John Key, leader of the conservative New Zealand National Party today released seven election whorings hoardings intended to win them the election. It was very convenient for me, because it’s high time I said more about the parties as we enter the real election campaign.

The actual seven signs, critiqued:

1. Balance The Books Sooner – Well, that’s a worthy goal, isn’t it? I suppose a sign can’t provide any details on what programmes they’ll cut to make that happen, but since they’ve ruled out any tax increases, they’re obviously planning on cutting something.

2. More Exports, More Real Jobs – Another worthy goal, and again they offer no specifics. They didn’t accomplish this in the past three years, so…

3. Rebuilding Christchurch – Well, duh! No one’s opposed to that. But how are they going to pay for it? Their absolute refusal to even look at the Greens’ proposal for a special levy for Christchurch shows that they probably don’t have a clue how they’re going to pay for the rebuild, nor have they considered the economic impact of increasing fees and levies.

4. Tax And Welfare Incentives For Work – Their tried-and-true “can’t the poor eat cake?” response to everything. They’ve already zapped the poor and working poor with increased GST, given tax cuts to the rich and super-rich, while cutting services that poor and working people need and cannot afford without government funding. Because of their track record over the past three years, this sounds like they mean to raise taxes on mainstream New Zealanders even farther than they already have, while cutting services even more.

5. Building Roads, Rail And Fast Broadband – This government has an obsession with roads, rather the opposite of the Greens who are repulsed by road construction. The National Party won’t invest in public transport at all, and will do everything in its power to stop local councils from doing so, because they don’t think that’s a proper role for government. This is probably behind their half-hearted support for the broadband infrastructure.

6. Less Debt And Lower Interest Rates – Okay, this is getting really silly: There’s no way they can deliver on that promise. New Zealand’s credit rating double-downgrade, combined with the ongoing global financial/credit crisis means that inevitably the cost of borrowing will go up. The government elected in November may very well be forced into stimulus spending, and that probably means not reducing the debt as fast as the rightwing wants.

7. Staying Strong On Crime – This is another of their age-old slogans that panders to the fears of National Party supporters. And, like all the other slogans, it doesn’t really mean much. If anything, it probably is just part of their general agenda against the poor.

Let me be clear: There was no way the National Party would win either of my votes, even before they announced these silly signs. Still, they certainly don’t do anything to draw me in or make me want to even consider their party. The one positive thing I can say about them is that they’re not as disgusting, awful and divisive as their 2005 signs under Don Brash were. Well, that’s something, I guess.

The election is Saturday, November 26.

1 comment: