Thursday, March 15, 2012

A tale of two speeches

David Shearer gave a big speech this morning, which supposed to set out his agenda as Labour leader. Sadly, it was the usual vague waffle - aspirational, positive, but completely empty of detail, designed to make the listener feel good but communicating nothing. Oh, there's some pointers - Shearer wants to "make that [100% Pure] branding a reality" and grow the economy by building a smarter New Zealand - but its all kittens and apple pie, and there are no specifics. Even his comment about keeping the capital gains tax is non-committal and caveated. Which I guess is what happens when you throw away all your policies after every election loss and start again with a blank sheet of paper.

What I want to know from politicians is what they plan to do in office. Shearer fails that test. Verdict: come back in a year or two, when you actually have something real to say.

Meanwhile, on the proverbial other side of town, John Key is telling us what he plans to do, announcing a reshuffling of public service deckchairs, and promising to add 2,500 more people to the dole queue. The former just seems to be an exercise in change for the sake of it, and its hard to see how glomming together such disparate ministries as Economic Development and Immigration is really going to help (and creates problems with the agenda of the absorbed ministries being driven by economic development - which isn't such a good idea, and why we separate things in the first place). The latter will mean a further erosion of public service capability, compensated by a rise in expensive consultants, and will contribute to the current austerity-induced recession. If this is the government's plan for the next three years, then I hope its over soon.