John Key's National Party announced the first wave of their strategy for Election Year 2008 yesterday: they're going to outflank Labour on the left. In 2005 Don Brash's National party called interest-free student loans "an irresponsible election bribe." Yesterday Key's Labour-Lite endorsed the irresponsible election bribe, and added a further ten percent. Story here.
2008: the year of the 'me-too' election.
UPDATE 1: It's said that the interest-free student loans policy would be "too difficult to unpick." Not at all. As a few commenters here have suggested -- and as has been Libertarianz policy for some time -- all that's necessary is to sell the loan agreements off to whoever wants them, at whatever mark down bidders think is workable. Let them "unpick" what should never have been knitted in the first place.
UPDATE 2: Speaking of centrist mush ... on the back of John Boy's nine questions to Helen the other day, SOLO's Lance Davey has ten right back at him. Just to remind you, John Boy's original nine questions were:
- Why, after eight years of Labour, are we paying the second-highest interest rates in the developed world?
- Why, under Labour, is the gap between our wages, and wages in Australia and other parts of the world, getting bigger and bigger?
- Why, under Labour, do we get a tax cut only in election year, when we really needed it years ago?
- Why are grocery and petrol prices going through the roof?
- Why can't our hardworking kids afford to buy their own house?
- Why is one in five Kiwi kids leaving school with grossly inadequate literacy and numeracy skills?
- Why, when Labour claim they aspire to be carbon-neutral, do our greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at an alarming rate?
- Why hasn't the health system improved when billions of extra dollars have been poured into it?
- Why is violent crime against innocent New Zealanders continuing to soar and why is Labour unable to do anything about it?
Good questions all, but as I pointed out the other day, John Boy has no more answers than Helen does -- so as Lance says, given National's well earned reputation as Labour-Lite let's ask:
- Why, after eight years of Labour, have we heard National whine about high interest rates - but never once offer a plausible alternative solution? Not once.
- How exactly would the gap between our wages, and wages in Australia and other parts of the world stop getting bigger and bigger under your stewardship, if all you are offering is Labour-Lite?
- How will tax cuts be either affordable or practical under your regime, given how scared you are of the dreaded "P" word (privatisation), your unwillingness to countenance serious steps to roll back the welfare state, and no meaningful plans whatsoever to cut government spending beyond "attacking waste" -- which every opposition party since time began promises, but none ever elected ever achieves?
- Do you recognise that with grocery and petrol prices already going through the roof, your stated goal to "reduce carbon emissions" to an even greater extent than Labour will send the price of groceries and petrol even further skyward?
- Are you aware that in several recent reports the blame for high housing costs was laid squarely at the feet of over-regulation? Do you remember who it was that introduced the worst of these regulatory laws, the Resource Management Act? Since you weren't in the country then, let me remind you: it was National. Or who administered it without change for nine years and two elections? Let me remind you again: it was National -- and, for five of those years, National's present environment spokesthing Nick Smith. "Far reaching environmental legislation" Smith calls the RMA.
- Do you realise that one in five Kiwi kids who left school under the last National Government left with grossly inadequate literacy and numeracy skills as well? Do you know that nothing tangible has changed on that score since your own sorry stewardship? And why, under your own proposed regime, will four in five New Zealand children still be forced to endure indoctrination by the state at the factory schools responsible for NZers' grossly inadequate literacy and numeracy skills? And why are the so called 'educationalists' responsible for that tragedy not already on your hit list?
- Why does National buy into the nonsense of man-made Global Warming anyway?
- If the health system hasn't improved when billions of extra dollars have been poured into it, will National dare do the right thing and work to privatise health? Or will it keep flogging the same die-while-you-wait horse?
- What would your government do, John, to fight the causes of violent crime? With most of those responsible for violent crime having been scarred with illiteracy caused by the state's factory schools, what do you propose to do about that? With the modern rise in violent crime having been largely congruent with the time that the unwanted children of DPB recipients came to adolescence, what do you propose to do about that? What do you propose to do about the police spending more time doing over innocent people for driving fast -- or smacking their kids -- or defending themselves against violence -- than they in addressing real crime? For arresting and incarcerating more and more New Zealanders guilty only of victim-less crimes, when so many real criminals and real crimes with real victims are left un-addressed? What will you do about all the anti-individualist and quasi-socialist statist busybodies that infest your own party (people like Jaqui Dean, the daft bint crusading against any "think of the children" cause thrust under her ignorant, self-serving nose) and about all the soaring state interference at the personal level of what you can, can't, must and should not consume, do or think? What will you do to end the nannying?
- In short, what exactly will you do to work towards your party's purported goal of minimising the government and keeping them out of our lives?
Any further questions? Any chance, do you think, of any plausible answers -- any at all -- either now or in the months to come?