Monday, July 27, 2020

Filling the policy void

So far, this has been a relatively policy-free election campaign. The government has been trying to keep a low profile, on the basis that anything they say will only piss someone off, so better to say as little as possible. When its not knifing its leader, National has promised roads, roads, and more roads, but nothing else. NZ First has made empty noises about Tiwai Point, but not actually said what they'd do. Nobody cares about ACT. But the Greens have stepped up to fill the policy void. We'd already had two hefty announcements from them, on wealth taxes and energy policy. And now they've released a 50-page policy document of their priorities in government, intended as a starting point for future coalition arrangements.

The actual policies are short, with the crunchy detail presumably to be provided in other documents as necessary. At the same time, its clear what they want to do, and it shows a coherent direction to their party. And there's a lot here that Labour should like, if it wants to do things beyond sitting on their arses and collecting their salaries next term. More sick leave. Default / opt-out union membership. Job creation and investment. Tackling poverty and the housing crisis. Plus of course climate change and decarbonisation - the big challenge we need to meet if we are to have a future.

Of course, being able to do any of it would require them to have some leverage, and that's looking unlikely on current polling as labour won't need them. But hopefully that will change, and we'll see a truly progressive government next term, rather than a bunch of essentially status quo managers.