Robson-on-Politics July 26 2006
Robson-on-Politics July 26 2006
And National's answer is...
"National" has held its annual meeting and laid out its schemes to win the next election.
The narrative, reported verbatim in deadpan seriousness by the mainstream media, is to promise more government funding for special needs children; more funding to raise teacher-pupil ratios, more on police, more on mental health services, more on the Justice System; more government agencies, a Ministry of Infastructure no less, more funding to combat the effects of drug abuse etc. etc.
On the vital issue of what to do to dislodge the Lab-Progressive government, National's answer appears similar to the magic formula that well-served previous National leaders Holland, Holyoake and Muldoon: More Government Spending.
Amensia Alert! What about the $8 billion-per-year revenue cuts?
So, how does this much bigger role for government spending in the economy tally with all those front-page, large banner headlines, especially prominent ahead of election and budget times, which the media had so monotonously recorded, day-in/day-out, in which National promised to cut government revenues by $8 billion a year via across-the-board income tax cuts?
You won't find the answer from your advertising maximization-focused newspaper, radio or TV cash-generators. These are, after all, not platforms for national dialgoue. Yesterday's headlines, like today's, aren't meant to help us understand our world: The headlines and stories exist to increase audience ratings for the adverts that are intersperced with those short, snappy, litterally headline grabbing "news" puffs.
But the reality is that National's promises contradict each other: The revenue cuts negate the new spending; The new spending negates the tax cuts. National and ACT are on track to again win around 50 seats and, when in a year's time, that becomes belatedly obvious to a majority even in the National caucus, well at that point mysterious headlines and stories will appear demanding only Don Brash's resignation will save the Tories for their fourth consecutive defeat.
So progressives have a job to do
The real issue, however, is not whether or not Labour will lead the next coalition government, but much more importantly whether the Left coalition's majority can be regained in the 2008 Parliament after we so carelessly lost it in 2005.
In the week-end, we put up billboards on public sites for our young, honest and reliable candidate for the Tamaki Community Board by-election, Tala Po'e.
The feedback we've received on the postcard has been excellent and there are more to be delivered this week as the postal ballot papers go out. Labour is pissed off with the East and Bays Courier front-page-with-photo item on its disgraced former Tamaki Community Board man with excellent NZLP connections - and if you read the story, you'll understand why.
I'm a lawyer, so people ask me about this Labour MP Field stuff
People have asked me what my legal opinion is of the behaviour of this Labour MP, the chap that Labour judged fit to be a minister. My reaction cannot be printed in this family-friendly newsletter. Of course I wish the Labour Party could find its spine and do the right thing, but then I wish Labour would do lots of things that it either doesn't or does belatedly.
Progressive pro-worker corporate tax cut would have been nice last April
I wish our Election 2005 policy, to cut the corporate tax rate to match Australia's and boost business investment in workers and research from April 1, 2006, had been implemented.
It would have been great to boost Kiwi job-creating companies' morale which is hurting due to the sky-rocketing oil prices caused by tragic and disastrous Middle East policies of Mr Blair and Mr Bush.
That pro-workers policy has, in the mainstream media at least, somehow managed to be hijacked by National whose election policy last year was in fact in favour of massive income tax cut bribes for potential voters - paid for by Japanese housewife and Belgian dentist lenders - with corporate tax cuts in fact stuck-on as an afterthought to be delivered in 2008 "if affordable," which of course they wouldn't have been had the Nat-ACT plan to cut billions in revenue from the aforementioned income tax cuts been delivered first.
TVNZ missed fantastic opportunity for interesting story
TVNZ had an opportunity-of-a-life time to ask that "potential Republican President" how he justifies all of his government's unfair trade barriers against our efficient, hard-working Kiwi farmers. New Zealand farmers, in fact all of us, would love to see on camera the expression on the face of any senior U.S. politician as they explain to us - looking us in the eye, as it were - how they like us very much but, you know, can't let us have a fair go.
Instead, the TVNZ coverage was pure fiction. It was about how our Foreign Minister had gone to Washington and somehow made an unforgiveable faux pax by interrupting a potential President's pre-prepared sound-bite about how the U.S. would like good relations with New Zealand and that we too, like Jordan, Morroco, Oman and a few other tin pots, might one day dream of our very own "free-trade deal" that is neither free nor fair to Kiwi farmers.
Dr Rice says it is all about birth pains
It isn't only the New Zealand National Party that cares about "Freedom, Independence, Choice and Personal Responsibility." There has been media coverage in the Middle East of comments about these very things made by U.S. Secretary of State, Ms Rice, and in particular her view that "the plight of Lebanon is part of the birth pangs of a new Middle East".
Why Progressives hate war and a new Middle East
Watching the tragic dismantling of societies with the assistance of expensive, imported weapons is repulsive to progressive-minded people. You can't help notice that six out of the eight so-called G-8 economies are also listed in the top eight weapons-exporting economies (only China and Israel make the top eight arms exporters list without being in G8, while out of the G8, just Japan and Italy aren't in the top eight list of arms exporters).
There is another reason why progressives oppose war and that it is that war reinforces the forces of reaction on all sides which squeezes the available space for the Parliamentary progressive Left. Here are links to parties elected to promote universal human rights, access to health and education services for all, and a meaningfully new Middle East.
Palestinian National Initiative (Al-Mubadara):
Democratic Left Movement (Lebanon)
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, isn't a parliamentary party, but it is a non-violent direct-action group committed to a new Middle East.