I truly would like the new government to succeed and get at least another term. I really like the mix of a young urban positive female leader coupled with an older wily rural Maori male deputy. They offer yin and yang, a mix of experience, audiences and viewpoints. Compare that with the young leadership team bleating from Negative National, BUT there are a few worrying things about our coalition government, not the least being the mess they are making of what should have been a relatively easily explained Capital Gains Tax proposal.
Here are a few of the worries that you might not have noticed.
Labour campaigned successfully on Housing as a big issue which National kind of ignored, so why, oh why did Jacinda appoint a Minister of Housing and Urban Development then overload him with Transport, another really big portfolio. Phil Twyford seems relatively capable, but in truth there isn’t anyone in Parliament who can do justice to these two and not surprisingly Phil is drowning. Relieved of Transport he can probably get back control of Housing and get the progress that he has promised. If he must have two portfolios, the obvious one to go with Housing is Building and Construction, currently in the hands of Jenny Salesa who seems to be making no progress at all in simplifying our ridiculously complex building code. Indeed, you have to wonder why Housing is separate from Building and Construction. Please, Jacinda fix this now!
Transport is the big rural issue and National are making inroads into rural voting based on unachievable promises like the supposed four lane highway to Whangarei. Labour seem blissfully unaware of this assault on them and haven’t bothered to point out to the cargo-cult in Whangarei waiting for this road to arrive, that even at the current rate that National had promised to extend the so-called Holiday Hiway, it will take another 58 years and an extra $6bn to get there. NZ needs a new and effective Minister of Transport thinking about the whole country, not just Auckland, someone capable of more than their current load, such as David Parker, Shane Jones or even promoting Michael Wood. Please Jacinda, do this now!
The recent micro storm about the alleged conflict of interest by Shane Jones just being in a room at a marae up north, was really a training run for the Nats in preparation for a much bigger conflict squabble involving the Green’s Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter and the light-rail to the airport, which is a fairly flakey economic project at the best of times. Please Jacinda, take evasive action now!
Then the Capital Gains tax issue has best been summed up by Jane Clifton in the latest Listener where she points out Labour’s 8 point plan to make a mess of it and hand the advantage to National. Not one word from any experienced credible house builder who already pays capital gains tax to balance the discussion. Please Jane Clifton, talk to your partner, the Speaker of the House!
Then there was the issue of low confidence from Business NZ, which is actually a group of overpaid Chief Executives, most of whom have very little ownership skin in the game, which produced a panic response of forming a business advisory council headed by the CEO of the state airline, Air New Zealand of all people. He seems to have been chosen to head him off from joining the National caucus, rather than any understanding of real business in NZ, which is actually a host of small enterprises, many of which make more money under Labour, if only someone would point that out to them. Air New Zealand isn’t doing as well as promised and can’t even run a viable service to Kaitaia or Whakatane when small under-capitalised airlines like Barrier Air and Chatham Air can. Labour need a small friendly team of business owners who get what the government is up to and who can be a base for their business-free caucus to talk things through with. The Chair of the Labour party is probably best placed to put this into action and it needs to be soon.
Lastly, Labour have our most experienced PM, in the form of Helen Clark hanging around with not all that much to do, and who has the wisdom not to put herself forward and look like she is muscling in on Jacinda, but please Jacinda, at least have a few quiet cups of tea with her.