Is here. The opening lines:
Today I want to talk about two paths that lie before us as a country.
Each offers very different directions and different choices.
This cliche always reminds me of the start of Woody Allen’s Speech to the Graduates:
More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.
It is a bad speech (‘grow the pie’, ‘get the economy firing on all cylinders’ and a subtle implication that Shearer was somehow responsible for the death of Paul Callaghan). Apparently it was very well delivered. The main policy statements are:
- Labour will give Reserve Bank tools to manage the exchange rate
- Labour will invest in research and development
- Labour will introduce a Capital Gains tax
- Labour will enroll everyone into KiwiSaver
- Labour will raise the minimum wage
- Labour’s government procurement will favor New Zealand companies (new, I think)
- Something rather unclear to do with supporting teachers
The big new announcement is the housing policy. Labour will build 100,000 low cost homes (over ten years) financed through the sale of $1.5 billion dollars in ‘Home Ownership Bonds’. (Let’s have a sweep on how many times over the next few weeks Shearer and David Parker will insist through gritted teeth, ‘It’s not raising debt, it’s selling Home Ownership Bonds.’)
The other new announcement is the ‘Healthy Homes Guarantee’ so that landlords have to ensure that their properties are insulated and heated.
Well, they’re pretty good policies. Although it occurs to me that developing left-wing policies is pretty easy in 21st century New Zealand. You just look about for the top dozen-or-so catastrophic market failures, pick one, think of the most blindingly obvious solution, and there’s your policy.
Like I said last week, I don’t think a good speech should be enough to justify Shearer staying on as party leader. Giving a well-received speech at a party conference is pretty much the lowest bar you can possibly set for a politician. Can he defend and sell those policies over the next few months? If he can there will be no reason for David Cunliffe’s caucus colleagues to support a leadership change. Senior Labour MPs have been leaking to the media that they’re going to try and deal to Cunliffe next week, which is only going to re-alienate the party.