Some people (me, for example) are always wanting politicians to produce quality policies, and are therefore eternally disappointed because it so rarely happens.
In the lead-up to an election, the hope that opposition parties will release sensible policies to justify their election is normally dashed because they don’t want to give too much away.
That’s why Don Brash’s Orewa speech early this year was so refreshening â€“ whether you agree with his views or not, he was brazen enough to lead a policy direction instead of occupying the usual opposition position of criticising the incumbent & offering no solutions.
He’s carried on round the country giving policy leads, though generally not on the same scale as his Orewa race speech.
Dr Brash said today the Government kept suggesting National hadn’t released any policy, or was holding everything back until the election in 2005.
Politics in reality
Below, I’ve run Dr Brash’s outline of policies released so far. But first, his open comment on how politics works â€“ a comment which politicians don’t normally emit, even though they know every man & his dog knows it’s true:
“While the Beehive is keen to see the rest of National’s policies â€“ to either borrow them or attempt to neutralise them â€“ most New Zealanders with an ounce of political understanding will understand that some key policy announcements must be held back for election year.”For all opposition parties there is a temporary cost in this: for a short period of time, public opinion will reflect the awareness of current Government policy judged against caricatures & misrepresentations of National Party policy. That is just the reality of politics. I will be dealing with these misrepresentations in the coming few months.”
Comprehensive package to come
Dr Brash said the party would release more policies this year. Then, towards the election, it would unveil “a comprehensive package of measures designed to take New Zealand forward through the next 2 decades.
“These policies will stop New Zealand incomes falling behind the rest of the world and help us catch up, while addressing the rampant political correctness which is stopping this Government dealing with:
entrenched welfare problems
an education system failing far too many of our children
vicious recidivist criminals being released on parole to prey on the community, and
a Treaty industry that is out of control.”
Current policy sketch:Treaty/Maori, Put an end to the Treaty grievance industry & to race-related political correctness, abolish separate Maori electorates and ensure that all New Zealanders have the same rights before the law.Law & order, We stand on the side of victims, not criminals. We will recruit & resource additional police, record the DNA of all convicted criminals, abolish parole for all violent & repeat offenders, and change the Proceeds of Crime Act to help the police deal more effectively with gangs.Tax, An initial focus on tax relief for low-to-middle income working people, particularly families, a cut in the corporate tax rate from 33% to 30% to at least equal the Australian rate, and a steady reduction in the top personal income tax rate.Superannuation, An absolute commitment to maintain the age of eligibility & the level at which superannuation is paid (relative to the average wage) for those aged 50 & above.
But I have also signalled that any government, regardless of the existence of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, will have to have a discussion with the public about the age of eligibility by 2020 to ensure the viability of the scheme through the balance of this century.
But ours will be a much wealthier society by mid-century and changes, if any, would be small & gradual â€“ New Zealand Superannuation will continue to be available to all New Zealanders.Local government, National is pledging to work with local government to reduce costs for ratepayers. We propose establishing a joint working party between Local Government NZ & an incoming National Government to review the full range of local government legislation and to reduce the cost to ratepayers.Transport, National will remove the regulatory & political roadblocks which are creating gridlock in our cities. The consents process must be speeded up, and that requires reform of the Resource Management Act â€“ National will introduce the appropriate amendments within 3 months of taking office. National will simplify the agencies responsible for roading decisions, and move over time to put the funding of the roading network on a sound basis.Industrial relations, National will restore the balance between employer & employee and loosen the union stranglehold that is stifling productivity. We will repeal legislation that stops our most capable workers on individual contracts from negotiating a better deal than their co-workers who belong to a union.Environmental issues, National will not impose a carbon tax on New Zealand businesses when that would put them at a disadvantage against our main international competitors.
New Zealand is involved in the first commitment period of the Kyoto protocol until 2013. We will review future participation at that time, in light of the developing scientific understanding of climate issues. National is committed to the conservation & protection of our unique environment.Energy, National will change the law to give electricity lines companies the ability to generate more power than regulations currently allow. That will increase investment in the energy infrastructure which we need for economic growth.
National will also fix the Resource Management Act to ensure new generation capacity isn’t held up by frivolous objectors. National is committed to ensuring transparency in billing for electricity consumers. This will allow people to see what actually makes up the cost of their consumption each month, and will ensure that electricity retailers are honest about the reasons for any price increases.Welfare, National will end the cycle of welfare dependency. We are exploring options for “work for the dole”. We want to restore the work test for those on the DPB when their youngest child reaches school age and we want to work on getting down the number of women who refuse to name the father of their child â€“ often for purely financial reasons. It’s simply not fair to working New Zealanders.Education, We have to ensure every child leaves school able to read & write, no matter what their parents’ income or where in the country they live. We want a system that allows good teachers to be rewarded and we intend to end the culture of waste on low quality/no qualification courses.Websites: Don BrashNational Party