Gareth Morgan, Director of Gareth Morgan Investments
The shift at mill that Labour engineered last week really is the limit.
The point they choose to miss is that the reason for the widespread political disaffection manifest in the undecided vote has nothing to do with who is PM or Minister of Finance. It is a dilemma for people over what are the appropriate economic policies that NZ should be pursuing at this juncture. After three years of partial Rogernomics, followed by three years over which even that has been attenuated, the economy has been propelled into a rolling recession. Why most people “don’t know” is because they have to decide whether the best thing for NZ, and more importantly the best thing for them, is to proceed to unadulterated Rogernomics, or to give the whole experiment away as a bad joke. It is economic policies that are at issue here, not who is selling them. Whether the head of the PM is elongated, rotund, or square really is irrelevant.
The importance of presenting a comprehensive policy umbrella not only seems to be escaping the Labour members in their final days, but it also is given little importance by the National Party leadership. Rather than offer an alternative that is credible, National is offering a confused plethora of policy platforms in a bid to present something for everyone. This shotgun approach to electoral seduction is proving to be a cynical success for the circumstances that besieged voters find themselves in. Everybody wants to go to heaven, but naturally nobody wants to die. National promises hard times for nobody- policy prostitution probably, but a sure fired political winner over an electorate craving for high times again. The lie- that on their announced policies, 3% growth is probable, will linger and ultimately liquidate Bolger’s leadership.
There are too many people who genuinely don’t know what the appropriate direction for policy from here is, for the election to be a true test of policy alternatives. The political parties have both become an amalgam of confused and contradictory policy proposals that reflect fully the bewilderment gripping the electorate. Maybe this offers a short term victory for complacency and consensus politics, but the low voter turnout will reflect the dissent we have for more “muddle through”.
The time will come again when NZ will endorse a government which represents a set of firm economic and social policy reform measures. But that time is not 1990. A six year breather is in prospect, propelling the days that Kiwis become the poor white trash of Asia ever nearer. Even annexation of hotels and golf courses by our foreign creditors is not yet sufficient to rekindle an urgency for policy reform any more. Tomorrow’s another day, she’ll be right.