You can read it here. From a communications point of view it is pretty patchy. The opening anecdote and call back to it at the end ‘[New Zealand] will be a place that’s good for lambs’, are amusing, but conflict with his message that we need to move away from primary produce. And the slogan: ‘a new New Zealand,’ is so terrible it almost passes through some sort of marketing event horizon and becomes acceptable. But the rest of it is fairly well written.
The big announcements, and my comments:
- Labour will probably keep the Capital Gains tax and probably ditch the $5000 tax free threshold, both of which seem sensible.
- Shearer cites Finland as an example of a small country that transformed itself into a wealthy knowledge economy. So catching up with Australia is out. Catching up to Finland is in.
- Shearer wants to focus on education to achieve this transformation. Meh. Finland does have one of the best education systems in the world, but ours is only a few points behind it.
- Shearer wants to focus on teachers and hold failing schools to account. Sure, whatever. The main problem with our education system seems to be our problem with child poverty manifesting itself through the education system. Finland also has one of the most comprehensive welfare systems in the world, with state supplied child care up to the age of seven, and the second lowest rate of child poverty in the OECD (old New Zealand is 22nd out of 34).
- Shearer promises to be a radical leader who will oversee massive transformation of the New Zealand economy. I guess politicians have to say things like that, but it always sends shivers down my spine. We’ve had an awful lot of radical, transforming governments and it hasn’t worked that well for us. I’d like a government that brings about incremental change that leads to real, sustainable growth, not more radical transformation.