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Future Lefts – 17 Days to a Labour Government

Future Lefts – 17 Days to a Labour Government
Vol 3. No. 3.

10 July 2002

:: Contents ::

Editorial – Why Labour should win again
National plays in the mud
Labour's tertiary policy good news for students
Boagabulary


:: Editorial – Why Labour should win again ::

1. We keep our promises.
2. We have better leadership.
3. We can run a stable government.
4. We deal with issues, not personalities.
5. We have a positive vision for New Zealand.

And, I'm happy to say, that's just the beginning.

Welcome back to Future Lefts, which has been absent for some time. Work and political commitments on the part of writers and editors past has led to service which could best be described as “intermittent.” But fear not, because we have returned.

It has to be said, too – what a time to return! An incumbent government has not enjoyed the current level of popularity since Labour was returned to power in 1938. With seventeen days until election day, and an Opposition dedicated to ineffective gutter politics and avoiding the issues, it seems reasonable to assert that Labour will lead the next government, once the votes are counted on Saturday 27 July.

On every front, Labour outclasses the major opposition party. We have better leadership. We have better policy. We’re better at running the economy. We deliver lower unemployment. We keep our promises. We are consistent.

And those are just the start.

It is a long time since a Government faced an opposition so divided and at odds. ACT is constantly critical of their partner's proclivities towards the centre. New Zealand First stands for policies that are anathema to the other two right wing groups. Their aggregate support in the opinion polls has not climbed above 40% in the last two years, leaving an average 20 point gap between left and right.

It's a wonder they don't pack up and go home – but wait, maybe they have. The country boy from Dipton launched a ferocious attack on a weeks-old issue on Sunday night last, and it has bit him badly. Don't believe us? Why else would he have stopped talking about it? The chances are National's crawling in the slime and the mud will cut their already dismal poll ratings even further.

Helen Clark never proclaimed war on the "forces of conservatism" in Tony Blair’s dramatic style, but she might as well have. With a poll on Monday showing National at 14% in the "most intelligent electorate in the country" (thank you Richard Prebble) [nb, that's Wellington Central], and polling nationwide below 25% in most polls, things are looking bleak for National's leader and her spokesman, Farmer Bill.

Voters have a very simple choice on July 27th. They can either put Labour in a position to govern as a majority, or they can create a less predictable coalition, with a range of hues in prospect. Unsurprisingly, Future Lefts prefers the first option. With Labour you know what you're getting.

Till next week,

The Editor.

:: National plays in the mud ::

In a fit of desperation, National tried on Sunday to get some traction by making personal attacks on Helen Clark. Monday showed why this was adopted – the new Dominion Post in Wellington published a poll (albeit in Wellington Central only) showing National's support at a ridiculous 14%.

Future Lefts has several theories about why the opposition chose to launch their attack:

- their leader and her spokesperson were having a bad hair day; - the two above-mentioned persons wanted to find some excuse for pulling 300 National Party activists out of their campaigns for an entire weekend, so they decided to get as much attention as possible; - leadership rumbles emerged in the caucus after the dismal first week's campaign, so their leader thought a punchy speech would help unite the party behind her and her spokesperson; - he read the wrong speech, written instead by feisty Young Nats chair Grant Tyrrell after too much of his favourite Canterbury Draught.

The attack petered out after it became clear public reaction was shaping up negatively. With the issue having been previously aired and resolved, only the media and the political elite even took the attack seriously. English showed even he understands this, by backing off as fast as possible on Monday, saying that "other issues" had suddenly become more important.

Future Lefts' view is that this will later be seen as a defining moment in the 2002 General Election campaign: the week when English lost it, Nats were briefly pleased, and their polling began to sink even faster.

The question now is simple: how low will they go? Which Labour politician will be attacked next?

Will it be Jonathan Hunt, for signing a bottle of wine? Will it be Lianne Dalziel, for speaking at one too many Grey Power meetings? Will it be Phil Goff, for smiling once too often? Will it be Judith Tizard, for having fantastic hair?

Actually, it's a bit beyond understanding why you would choose to take on your highly popular opponent on her strongest point (Leadership), and do so in a tacky and crass way on live television.

At least, it's beyond understanding to people who understand politics. But if you think National understands politics (or in fact anything), do send us an example, a case study even – future-lefts@younglabour.org.nz is waiting for your email!

:: Labour's tertiary policy good news for students ::

In summary:

Labour will widen eligibility for student allowances, as well as continuing to prevent fee increases.

National would let fees start rising again, and their debt-write-off scheme would not even cover the higher fees they would charge.

Detail:

Labour will widen eligibility for student allowances as a priority in its second term, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said at Labour's tertiary policy launch on Tuesday 2nd of July.

Launching Connecting with Our Future, Labour's tertiary education policy, Steve Maharey said the government wants to reduce the need for students to borrow from the student loan scheme by progressively raising the parental income thresholds so that more young people become eligible for allowances and fewer need to borrow in order to live.

The policy also includes plans to introduce scholarship and bonding arrangements to address recruitment and retention issues in key professions, and a focus on professional development for tertiary teachers and researchers.

"Tertiary education is now much more affordable as a result of our fee stabilisation and fairer loan scheme policies. Students are now much better off than they were three years ago.

"78,000 borrowers have benefited from the removal of interest for full-time and other low-income students, saving on average nearly $900 each last year. Fees have been frozen for two years and we increased the per student subsidy by 4.5% in the budget so that they be held again next year.

"In the policy announced today we've made it clear that we want to continue to make progress for students. In addition to allowance changes, a policy of tuition fee maxima will bring ongoing certainty to students and their families about the cost of study.

"We will work in partnership with industry (and/or the relevant government portfolio) to introduce scholarship and bonding arrangements to address pressing recruitment and retention problems, such as those being experienced in the health sector.

"This term Labour has set in place an ambitious set of tertiary education reforms to ensure the system can undertake the nation building role we need it to. Our policy for this election signals that a high priority, in implementing New Zealand's first Tertiary Education Strategy, will be to support and develop tertiary staff.

"In government we have done what we said we would do. Our policy making style has been inclusive, and it has been transparent. Labour reaffirms its commitment to working with internal and external stakeholders to build a world-class tertiary education system," Steve Maharey said.

Labour also later attacked National's response to the student support issue.

"Their policy is like all of National's for this election - full of sloppy thinking and loaded with the failed ideas of the past," Steve Maharey explained.

"Despite being very expensive National's debt write-off scheme would miss more than half the students completing qualifications each year. The policy is costed on the 35,000 students who complete degree and post-graduate qualifications annually - but it ignores the other 45,000 students who finish diploma and certificate qualifications.

"These students often pay similar fees, so where is the rationale for ignoring them? Over two thirds of Maori completing qualifications each year finish diploma and certificate courses so these students will see nothing from this policy.

"National has also ruled out continuing Labour's fees stabilisation initiatives which has already saved students an average of $1000 each tuition costs this year. Fees rose by around 14% a year when National was last in government in the 1990s, so within five years the impact of its debt write-off scheme would be totally eaten up by rising fees.

"Students have indicated that greater access to allowances is their top priority, yet National has explicitly ruled out any moves in this area," Steve Maharey said.

Commentary:

Future Lefts applauds the Government's realisation that student support is a major issue. Future Lefts has long argued for student support to be universal, and we believe that beginning with raising thresholds is a good step in the right direction. Maintaining the current fee freeze, and ensuring loans remain interest free while studying, will continue to ensure education becomes more affordable under Labour.

:: Boagabulary ::

From a notoriously funny source, we pass this wisdom unto ye:

Boagabulary - A lexicon of useful words frequently used and recommended by the president of the National Party. E.g. "focussed", "winning", "election". They are characterised by being mutually exclusive.

In Boag - Consistent with the fashions worn by Michelle Boag

Boagan - A larrikin; unsophisticated young male who votes National

Boagus - That which is false, pretending to be otherwise. E.g. A donation from the Enterprise New Zealand Trust to a political party, masking its true origins, might be described as Boagus

Boageyman - John Slater

Boaggie - A dance favoured by delegates to National Party conferences. Not to be confused with-- Boagey - That which gets up your nose.

Boagart and Bacall - Famous transsexual Hollywood couple

Boagged down - Unable to pursue goals because of workload or distractions. E.g. "The party's campaign faltered because it was Boagged down explaining itself to the serious fraud office."

Boagay - What Ms Boag will receive when she steps down from the presidency of the National Party.

Boagainvillea - A sturdy vine with purple to violent pink flowers which conceal sturdy lethal thorns – favoured in the arrangement of Boagays (Ib)

Boagger! - An exclamation of dismay or irritation when something goes wrong – often because of lack of planning or foresight. The basis of an excellent series of TV commercials. E.g. "On being told in the midst of an election campaign that the SFO is investigating campaign gifts, the President shouted, 'Boagger!'"

Baroag - A style of heavily detailed and decorative architecture that followed High Renaissance and is sometimes now used to refer to heavily, or overly worked design. Much favoured by those In Boag

Boagat - Past perfect subjunctive of Beget, as in, "Oh, that we had Boagat another leader."

Boagel - A thick round slice of wholegrain bread with a hole in the middle, favoured at Party fundraisers.

Boagies and Widgies - What Party members never were. Disaffected youff of the 1950’s who loitered around milk bars, drank Coca Cola, listened to Guitar Boaggie and wore stove pipe jeans (boys) and skirts with many petticoats (girls). The raiment was characterised by violent fluorescent colours and new synthetic fabrics. Some commentators see links between the fabrics and colours of the subculture with those In Boag

Boaggle - To be astounded or amazed, as in, "Party faithful boaggled at the selection of eighties wannabe Sue Wood on the Party list."

Also...

Mind-Boagling - Adj. of information presented in such a way that a sequence of events or clarity of motivation becomes impossible to ascertain.

Boalger (var. Boagler) - Aspiring National Party Prime Minister

Boag Constrictor - Political snake-in-the-grass

Feather Boag - Faux fur lapels favoured by National Party President

Boag People - Supporters of Tau Henare who drifted from Party to Party and have now been admitted to National.

Boag Lady - These days to be seen down in the dumps.

A-Boag-ryphal - Adj. Of tales told when reminiscing about the brief regnum of a party president.

Boago-sticked - The state of suddenly finding yourself without a seat.

Boag 747 Captain - New look Party Leader. Takes over from Shipley of State and Great Helmsman.

Boagtox - Wonder drug developed from the rabid bio-toxin Boagtulism. Boagtox, applied under the skin of political parties removes or neutralises atrophied members, muscle-bound rumps, wrinklies and scar tissue.

Ms Boagangles - Inspirational anthem of new look party; no matter how down-trodden, jobless, or disabled you are, you can always pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

Boagarde - A flint-tipped spear for rapid and painless despatch of the unwanted, also known as a 'dirk.'

Boagysoxer - Young Nat

Beef Boaguignon - Gourmet dish of dismembered members' members.

Boaghemian - Describing a dissolute lifestyle involving booze, late nights and dinners with Bill Clinton.

Boagdacea - Warrior queen of a dying race

Boagside - (As in Boagside Stall) Fundraising device.

Broags - Sturdy winter-weight shoes useful in rough country or trampling over weedy growth.

-- Editor: Jordan Carter president@younglabour.org.nz

Any submissions, feedback etc, should be directed to the Editor.

While this newsletter is a mouthpiece of Young Labour, any views expressed here are not necessarily those of New Zealand Young Labour, or the New Zealand Labour Party.

Find more from Young Labour, or subscribe to Future Lefts, at http://www.younglabour.org.nz.
(c) NZYL 2002


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