This year's early political football is shaping up to be sixteen to eighteen year olds. Problems with literacy, numeracy and youth crime have become so obvious even the politicians can't ignore them. They labour, however, under the delusion they can fix them. Both red team and blue team have a plan, one they hope will cement their place on the treasury benches, whatever its effect on the young people they're purporting to help.
Weaning young NZers off their cradle-to-grave welfare expectations is far more important than any other 'lesson' dreamed up just to capture election-year headlines. And what headlines. At a time in youngsters' lives when the most important lesson they can learn is independence, John Key's 'Plan Blue' is for the state to either coddle them or shackle them -- or have them sent to boot camp. Helen Clark has just announced her own response this morning, which in all respects is even worse. Plan Red is this: no-one under voting age should be allowed out to work.
It beggars belief. Each election is an advanced auction of stolen goods. This election, they're coming for your children.