The period from 2008 to 2011 was a horrible time for the New Zealand left. The Goff led-Labour party stumbled from one bafflingly stupid blunder to another (Remember the time they published their confidential donor list on the internet? Remember when Goff died his hair orange before a big speech? Remember Chris Carter’s coup?) interrupting them only to jump on Labour’s Red Alert website and demand to know when the New Zealand public was going to ‘wake-up’ and put them back into government. The public sent them what seemed like a very clear message: that they didn’t want incompetent fools running their country and Labour received its worst election result ever.
Jump forwards to 2014. This week started out well for Labour. Big policy launch on Monday. National were cautiously dismissive of the ‘BestStart’ policy, then went nuts on Tuesday presumably after seeing the overnight polling figures. ‘Labour’s policy was too expensive! The country couldn’t afford it! Besides, National was already doing it! Except for the stuff they weren’t, which they might! Hey, everyone: how about a referendum on the flag????’
They should have held back on the flag thing. By yesterday it was apparent that there was a huge error in the policy as Cunliffe announced it in his speech. Via TV3:
Labour leader David Cunliffe has admitted he got a key detail wrong when announcing his $60-a-week baby bonus policy.
Mr Cunliffe said in a speech on Monday that 59,000 families would get the bonus for a full year, but the actual number is closer to half that.
The baby bonus debate hit question time today with all the focus on that key line in his State of the Nation speech.
The fine print reveals 26,000 parents will be ineligible for six months because they get paid parental leave. This means only 33,000 will get it for the full year.
TV3 political editor Patrick Gower thinks this was done intentionally to mislead the public. Maybe, I guess, but political parties don’t really work like that. What’s far more likely is that the people who designed the policy didn’t write the speech, the speech-writer didn’t fully understand the policy and there was no process in place to fact-check it before the leader delivered it.
Then there’s the Facebook thing. Labour’s revenue spokesman popped up and told TV3′s Tova O’Brien – one of the best political reporters in the country, based on her ability to get politicians to say moronic things live on camera – that a Labour government might ban Facebook.
The phenomenon of online multi-national corporations undercutting domestic businesses and wiping them out because domestic companies pay tax and Facebook, Apple, Amazon etc don’t is a huge problem facing governments around the world, but if little old New Zealand tries to address it unilaterally we’ll just be the stupid little country that banned Facebook. Labour took a day to reverse their position.