The Labour Party Caucus is being held this week in New Plymouth and while they collectively have much to cheer about their incredible Covid response (until Omicron breaks out) their list of domestic achievements are woeful.
Labour didn’t expect to win 2017 and they didn’t expect to win a majority in 2020, this means they had no real strategy on how to force the public service into actually implementing policy.
With no clear strategy on how to force transformative change, Labour have languished and failed to do anything meaningful beyond keeping us safe from Covid.
It’s just not enough.
Here are their appalling failures:
Poverty & inequality crisis:
Despite most Kiwis supporting larger welfare payments, we get pittance from Labour instead…
The Greens and ACT have both condemned the Government’s increase to welfare payments – but for very different reasons.
July 1 marks the day a raft of social development initiatives announced during Budget 2021 will come into effect, including a $20 increase to main benefits per week – a change that’ll impact hundreds of thousands of Kiwis on the dole.
So sure, cheer about that 1.4% like it means something but don’t pretend it actually does.
I’m getting a tad sick to death of listening to Jacinda and other apologists from this Government tell us with straight faces that lifting 30 000 kids out of poverty is somehow a meaningful response to the poverty crisis.
It is not.
Look, even if, and I mean IF, they actually do lift 30 000 kids out of poverty (and I say IF because we saw how their promises of jobs from the Provincial Growth Fund were a joke) so even IF they lift 30 000 kids out of poverty, that still leaves a staggering 190,000 children in poverty!!!
You can’t boast about saving 30 000 kids while leaving 190 000 behind and still ask for a pat on the back!
This isn’t leadership, it’s capitulation.
If only we could put in as much effort lifting children out of poverty as we do on middle class tax breaks for electric cars, a billion dollar bike lane and hate speech legislation.
We hate beneficiaries so much that a crumb is sold as a mountain.
The first baby steps of this new Government was to endorse a racist drug law, rule out a wealth tax, rule out lifting benefits before Christmas and refuse to mandate 10 sick days now.
Labour have bewilderingly however locked us into a vast debt trap to fund trickle down economics by printing billions and instead of loaning it to the Government to rebuild our infrastructure, poorly funded public services and refund our welfare state, Labour have green lighted it going to corporate banks to fuel property speculators in the hope the newly inflated paper wealthy spend that false sense of prosperity in the real economy to help the little guy.
Once again Labour use free market mechanics to try and fix a housing market wrecked by neoliberalism. KiwiBuild has become KiwiSpeculate!
If only Labour’s NeoKindness could help beneficiaries, renters, prisoners, the working class, kids in poverty, first time home owners & cannabis users the way it helps property speculators.
The final watered down meaningless bullshit that has been agreed to is a shocking nothing as the entire species faces an unprecedented omnicide from catastrophic global warming.
Vacant promises that aren’t enforceable is only a win to the oil industry.
We will hit 2.7°C with current policies, 2.4°C if all Governments met the 2030 targets.
That is an abysmal failure of collective will and represents the longest suicide letter in human history.
It’s not James Shaws’s fault that the rest of the planet is still only paying lip service to the adaptation required to mitigate against the enormous threat global warming poses, so it would be unfair to blame him but the sophistry of NZs position to do the least possible while pretending we are manifesting something meaningful feels like James taking our cow to market and returning with 3 magic beans.
We are all like, ‘James, where’s the cow’, and James excitedly tells us he’s got these 3 magic beans and we all punch James.
COP26 has been a failure, if this was our last chance, then we have failed. The political spectrum can’t operate when the wealthy polluters own the capitalist system exacerbating the problem.
Prison reform crisis:
The Prison population is dropping, fewer prisoners are in rehabilitation, more are committing violence in prison and recidivism rates are still above 50%.
The only trick Labour adopted when they took over was existing legislation National had simply ignored that allowed low level prisoners to serve their sentences at home under home detention rules.
The problem was under National, they didn’t bother actively helping prisoners fill in the paperwork to apply for it. The first thing Labour did was force Corrections to help the prisoners fill in the paperwork, and that is the only reason the prison muster fell.
It’s still the same old underfunded violent and corrupt prison system it always was with the same counterproductive policies.
Prisoners still have to admit guilt before they can access rehabilitation, which leads t fewer accessing it.
The prison environment is still too toxic to heal.
We are spending $1.7b on a prison system that is producing men more damaged than when they went in.
Sadly there are no votes in healing damaged men, only punishing them.
Medicinal cannabis crisis:
Right after the referendum which showed almost a majority demanding cannabis law reform, Little killed off any cannabis reform and landed us instead with bullshit medicinal cannabis rules that only serve a billionaire while crushing the local medicinal cannabis industry.
Patients seeking medicinal cannabis now ARE WORSE OFF after Labour than before it!
Minister Little has the audacity to blame the industry which either suggests Andrew is either lying or grossly misinformed!
I am free anytime to explain to the Minister why he is wrong.
Labour have inadvertently set the medicinal cannabis industry up the way they have set the super market duopoly up. Labour have allowed the big pharma segment of the NZ market to write rules that exclude the smaller players which has led directly to the impasse we have now.
A framework that only the big pharma segment can pass through while fucking over medicinal cannabis patients as well as the wider industry.
Labour deserve nothing but contempt for their medicinal cannabis failure and if the Greens had any strategic brain they would make a legal market part of their agreement to form a government in 2023.
So what to do?
The Government’s set piece legislation this year are TVNZ/RNZ merger, Public Health reform, 3 waters and Hate speech legislation. Each will create risks, each will create little hope in peoples day to day lived challenges.
Food inflation, mortgage hikes and economic down turn caused by external global shockwaves are not going to feel much better knowing Radio NZ will get another $20million each year!
Labour must have more of a message than ‘endure’, they must offer a real hope as people continue to struggle and that hope can be articulated in a new State backed supermarket chain to smash the $22billion per year duopoly.
It can’t be socialism when the Commerce Commission is calling for it!
Labour must have the courage to step into the market and force regulation when the market warps into a monopoly or duopoly!
The idea of cheaper food costs as prices rise is the perfect hope generator in the lives of voters Labour must reach out to.
Many will argue that Labour doesn’t need a surprisingly radical idea like a state backed 3rd player in the Supermarket industry. They will speak the whispers of the velvet gloved Wellington Mandarins who will tell the Caucus that steady and safe wins the day. They will point to Key and Clark midterm who coasted as evidence of playing it safe.
I think that argument misses the far bigger reality that NZ right now is not the same safe environment of midterm Key or Clark and that any trigger could cause enormous backlash.
Labour have to promise hope to voters wallets or lose the bank to National and ACT.
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