robson on politics
a weekly newsletter from Matt Robson MP Deputy Leader of the Progressive Party
U-turns must be based on principle to succeed . . .
It has been a very interesting week in politics. Don Brash has reversed all of the arguments National previously advanced against making the income taxation system more progressive! Dr Brash now says any government he leads will mimic our progressive government's proposed financial support for low-to-medium income families.
National needs now to embrace all the other good work of the progressive government - like our industry training strategy and everything being done by Investment NZ, Trade & Enterprise and the Foundation for Research Science and Technology to encourage new sources of productive investment leading to high quality jobs.
National also needs to remember the lessons of our political and electoral history. Dramatic U-turns only deliver electoral returns if based on principle and conviction. In other words, it won't work unless it is real.
. . . just ask Mike Moore If Dr Brash is in doubt he should cast his mind back to the desperate promotion of Mike Moore to the leadership of Labour weeks before the 1990 election.
He was presented as the guy for the battlers after arrogant policies transferred strategic New Zealand-owned assets to foreign-owned, job-shedding oligopolies.
Those private firms proceeded to use their dominant positions in local markets to siphon-off our national wealth overseas in the form of inflated dividends achieved by under-investing in our nation's infrastructure - passing the tab to the next generation.
In the late 1980s, Labour's policies saw our current account deficit mushroom, our unemployment skyrocket and the welfare dependency phenomenon was born.
The real battlers of New Zealand weren't fooled for a moment by Moore's promotion because they knew it was a poll-driven event which didn't address the underlying causes of the real battlers' disgust and exasperation with an unlistening and panic-stricken administration. But Labour wasn't trashed in 1990 only because of the content of its policy betrayals after the 1987 election. It was trashed also because of its elitist, "There Is No Alternative" (TINA) mantra used to bully and silence anyone that disagreed with the programme it was railroading into law regardless of public opinion.
Progressives in government The Progressives' key contribution to the coalition government is to push hard for principled and practical policies. We don't do U-turns on policy or principle but we're pragmatic about the best delivery mechanisms for our principles because we let evidence get in the way of our prejudices.
Four Weeks Annual Leave for all workers, Kiwibank, paid parental leave, effective regional and industry development, a strong and consistent anti-drugs stance: These are policies the Progressives have ensured are the record of this coalition government for over four years since 1999.
Without us, these things would still be on Labour's "To Do One Day In The Future" file.
Ironically, Labour's initial reaction to these progressive policies promoted by its coalition partner was often negative. Labour would have very little to take to the public in the next election had it not backed down on its initial hostile-to-luke warm response to Kiwibank, four weeks' annual leave, paid parental leave, meaningful regional development policies, and a strong anti-drugs position.
An independent Progressive Party is needed in the next Parliament to continue to keep Labour's feet firmly on the ground every time there is a frightening poll result. Our achievements: http://www.progressive.org.nz/modules.php?name=Sections&op=viewarticle&artid=15
Other happenings this week
Jim Anderton continuing the battle at a successful meeting
of anti-drug workers.
My call for more National party U-turns.
The new Spanish PM bringing combat troops home from
Iraq and why that means the world needs better leadership to
Ways to use benchmarking to lift the performance of the
economy (simply put, by comparing your business with similar
ones and making improvement to match or better their
The opening of the Marlborough Wine Research Centre, a
regional partnership initiative for a key industry.
And National's spokesperson showing a complete
disregard for the rule of law.