Monday, September 09, 2013

Hope for Labour

David Cunliffe is currently leading the polls to be Labour's next leader. And he's promising a bit of a shakeup:

At the Wellington meeting of the leadership campaign on Saturday, attended by about 600 party members, Mr Cunliffe said the union support would be rewarded with "radical" employment law changes.

This would include industry-standard employment agreements, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour within 100 days of forming a government, giving the "living wage" of $18 an hour to core public servants, "and rolling out [the living wage] as we can afford to after that".

The Employment Relations Amendment Bill, currently before Parliament, would be repealed "by lunchtime", Mr Cunliffe said.

"That's bedrock David Cunliffe social democratic Labour policy. That is going to happen."

He promised party faithful a visible change in tack from the current government. "The Labour Party I lead will be a true red Labour Party, not a pale blue one."

Its good to hear, especially in the context of his previous "you bet" on whether he would raise taxes on the rich. Labour's biggest problem is that in recent years it hasn't offered anything different, instead continuing the same NeoLiberal policies which have immiserated us with a few cosmetic tweaks around the edges. And as a result, their core supporters have simply stopped voting, or switched to the Greens. A Labour party which actually offered change might reverse that trend.

Meanwhile, I expect we'll see another sniffy Herald editorial about the "dangers" of offering us peasants real choices about policy direction any day now.