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Labour admits it's losing policy debates

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party Deputy Leader

20 May 2006

Labour admits it's losing policy debates

National Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee says a Labour Party paper on the language it uses admits that National has the upper hand in policy debates and says Labour should talk of taxes and welfare as 'investments'.

The May 2006 paper is by Clare Curran and is entitled 'Language Matters - Setting agendas, taking charge of the language'.

"The paper recommends reframing debate on important issues so that taxes are called 'investments' and welfare dependency is rebranded as 'investing in people's future'," says Mr Brownlee.

"They are acknowledging in this paper that they are on the wrong side of the debates on the big issues and they are attempting to change their language.

"It's interesting to note that the paper talks about 'investment' - precisely the language Helen Clark and Labour attempted to use to describe the Budget.

"It's also interesting to note that the paper does not talk about changing policies but about changing messages - in other words the spin.

"The problem with that is it's all talk and no action.

"Labour is admitting in this paper to being in a poor position with the public on all the issues that National has campaigned on - from lower taxes to welfare dependency to one law for all.

"The public are on National's side on all these issues.

"Perhaps the greatest irony in the paper is that the author states she drew on US linguist and scientist George Lakoff and US Think Tanks.

"I guess talking to the Americans is okay for Labour, but it's not okay for anybody else," says Mr Brownlee.


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