The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

We won't get fooled again?

A funny thing happened on the way to being in Government (or not). It seems that National have forgotten that their party has internal policy processes.

Since John Key's elevation to the leadership he's made a number of announcements and references indicating a significant policy shift. This creates some confusion for back-room boffins like myself, when Key makes speeches indicating a move away from Don Brash-era policies like a timeframe for abolishing the Maori seats, focusing on the issue of climate change (which Key and other leading figures considered questionable not that long ago), not to mention endorsing a nuclear-free New Zealand. Did National squeeze in some remit voting between Brash stepping down and Key opening his mouth?

Now please don't think I don't want National to talk policy. I definitely do - not only so that voters can see what National would do in power, but also because I think it's an important part of democracy that the Opposition not only criticise but also put forward alternatives.

But in the wake of The Hollow Men and the insight that gave into National's policy processes prior to the 2005 election, you'd think Key would be trying to distance himself from the perception that National are more Decepticonz than neocons. By changing policy himself, by media statement and speech-making, he is signalling that National is still a party which will change policy not via it's own, long-standing democratic processes, but to suit political whims.

I'm also a little perturbed by National's approach to industrial relations, which Jordan has already blogged about, as has the gossip. Key has said that they wouldn't shift away from the ERA as the key piece of legislation, however continuing to endorse Wayne Mapp's 90 day probation legislation suggests that National would still want to make some radical changes to employment law. Simply saying that they'd keep the ERA isn't honest enough if they intend to gut it or pass other legislation that nullifies much of it.

So is it a case of meet the new boss, same as the old boss?


George said...

I particularly liked Key's quote - 'we haven't argued for some time that we would go all the way back to the Employment Contracts Act, largely because the Employment Relations Act is 85 per cent a rewrite of the Employment Contracts Act anyway'

If I said that I'd be met with outraged responses from Labour supporters - the fact that Key agrees with me is disturbing confirmation...

Span said...

Yeah some people get confused with the whole gradual improvement thing - better does not equal best!

Thanks for your comment George.