Thursday, 30 August 2007

What's wrong with copycat policy-making?

I've heard pundits say quite frequently that National is doing the right thing by playing what Mike Moore called "a vacuous political air guitar" -- refusing to release policy until much closer to the election for fear of what blogger Insolent Prick calls "copycat policy-making from the government in retreat."

This is a
view that freely promotes the notion of peddling all sizzle and no sausage, just in case someone steals your sausage.

I have a question for those who share that view:
What the hell's wrong with copycat policy-making?

What's the point of political activism? You're either there to change country for the better (in your view); or you're there to get a comfortable berth, a job for life and your feet under the Treasury benches.

If you're genuinely in politics to change the country for the better, then having another political party pick up your policies is a good thing, right? If you do have policies and you genuinely believe they are great for the country, then you'd be only too pleased if they're picked up, by others right?

But that's only if you're not just there for reasons of politics and power lust. It's only entities such as this who would complain about "copycat policy-making," isn't it?


  1. Heartily agree PC. Well said.


  2. Taking something from another party and doing something useful with it is a good thing.

    But doing the Labour trick of taking another policy just to remove it from debate is another, particularly if nothing is done with it, or the original intent is butchered.


  3. That wasn' tmy point, PC. The real issue is Labour having no sausage, and stealing other people's sizzle to make it sound like they've got a better sausage.

    I've got no problem with the Nats sharing policies with other like-minded parties. That's good, and necessary to get the policies implemented.

    But what we have here is a governing party on the ropes, that will do anything it can to get reelected, including promising things that are vastly unaffordable. Even Labour with tax cuts is still a Government that attempts to grow the public sector and bribe its cronies with public money.

    Despite what you say, Labour and National are very diffeferent parties. Labour believes in maximising the size of the State to further its own ends towards socialism. National believes in reducing the size of the state, and encouraging private enterprise. If you see National drifting away from its core principles, by all means hammer them.

    But given that the post of mine you linked to hammered the Nats for being so waffly around paid parental leave, it's a bit disingenuous for you to infer that I'm an apologist for Labour-lite policies.

  4. IP, you claimed, "National believes in reducing the size of the state, and encouraging private enterprise."

    I wonder if that's really true?

    I wonder if you could list the top ten most substantive ways in which National proposes to do that?

    PS: I enjoyed your hammering the Nats for their pathetic capitulation on paid parental leave. I wasn't suggesting you were an apologist for Labour-lite policies -- God forbid! -- just that you'd conveniently kicked off my thoughts on what you called "copycat policy-making."

  5. If you do have policies and you genuinely believe they are great for the country, then you'd be only too pleased if they're picked up, by others right?

    Not if such copying raises the probability of the copycat and not you being elected next time, thus destroying the oppotunity to enact all your ideas the copycat does not want to copy.

  6. PC:

    I respect your unreserved apology that I am not an apologist for Labour-lite, despite your earlier inference that I'm an apologist for John Key. John Key doesn't need an apologist. I'm a champion of the guy.

    On your substantive point, I simply don't agree that it's a good thing if copy-cat policies are adopted by your enemies.

    I draw the distinction here. Personally, I don't care in the slightest if there is a party to the right of the National Party in Parliament. Actually, I welcome it. I do believe that the work of the Libertarianz, and Act--and it's hard to say this without sounding patronising--strengthens the National Party. National needs to have people pushing the envelope, and keeping them honest.

    But I do think there is a distinction between National picking up policies from its friends, who want to push New Zealand in the same general direction that National does--away from socialism, and towards individual responsibility--and advance notice to the Labour Party about National's intentions. Labour has run out of ideas. It will do whatever it can to retain power. Lower taxes, with sustained high government spending, is exactly the kind of prescription for economic disaster that Labour is prepared to give New Zealand, if it means its ministers retain their privileges around the Cabinet table.

    Let's face it. Labour's mission, in the long term, is to create a socialist state. You cannot, even in your most vehement, Labour-lite rant, proclaim that is the intention of the National Party. National's principles are actually pretty closely aligned to yours. Where the Nats and the Libz differ is over the time frame.

    John Key has more chance than anybody of his generation of politicians to make a major mark on the political landscape: to change perceptions about the role of the state versus private enterprise, and to improve New Zealanders' views about what they can do without relying on state support.

    I embrace that, and I actually think you probably do as well.

  7. What actions has Key promised that will reduce the size of the state? Most of the time he just seems to cheer on Labour, or can't take a firm stand against a Labour initiative (e.g. Kiwisaver, paid parental leave)

    It's fine to say that National seems "bluer" than Labour, but words are cheap (and Key isn't even giving us decent words!)

  8. National has not reduced the size, power and burden of the state. On previous occasions when they were on the treasury benches they increased the size and power of the state.

    The National Party has been and is a party of socialism. They folow a conservative version of that ideology and have never wavered from it. Labour lite is an apt description.

    And as for the person who claims that Libertarianz and National share the same principles, merely disagreeing over timeframe to implement them,... that's false- a lie. The differences are stark.

    National Party PM Bolger once famously explained that he had no principles, only operating according to political expediency. He indicated the rest of the party were no different (which their actions certainly bear out). Nothing much has changed. The advisors and policy makers are all the same people.

    The Libertarianz Party operate according to a philosophic system of thouight. It's known as Objectivism.

    Suggest you read up on what the Objectivist system of thought is about prior to making such idiotic statements in future. Try Prof Peikoff's "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology."


  9. I am going to keep having babies since both National & Labour are going to support the 12 months paid parental leave.

  10. Paid to screw eh? That's what whores do.


  11. IP, you missed this question from Peter...

    "I wonder if you could list the top ten most substantive ways in which National proposes to [Reduce the size of the state]?"

    So, put your policy where your mouth is. What, for starters, are ten substantive ministries that a National government will close down? Women's Affairs? Anything? What are ten laws that National will repeal to make New Zealand freer? Will I be able to allow smoking in my own bar under national?


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