In a very recent blog I had some fun about what politics will throw at us this week. I suggested that Mr Key would have something up his sleeves to divert us from some of the other pressing issues.
I now propose that his ‘To-Do list’ announced this morning, very much fits the bill. His list represents a bit on a conundrum though. Yes, I agree with his targets for many of the issues on the list. Who can argue against increased levels of immunization for young children or for higher participation levels in early childhood ‘education?’
Just how is he going to achieve this with his ‘slash and burn’ methodology? The only way he can do that is to pay the people working in those industries less. That unfortunately is more than on the cards in the education sector.
Take his target of reducing the numbers in our prisons; laudable but not possible under a government embarking on finding ways to reduce spending in the areas that would make real changes and have the flow on effect of increasing the employment of would-be prisoners. He and Bill English have shown that they want the fiscal knife wielded rather than employment creating policies.
We know that to cut future spending on our prisons, we need spending on relevant social services and employment creation now. I have seen little evidence of policies that would contribute in those areas. The very idea of increasing those schemes (without simply shifting the expense around, much like the old ‘Titanic chairs’ story) is foreign to Key and English--- the very thought of it must set their hands trembling.
Key also has ’benefit reform’ in his sights. He wants to move people from various benefits into employment. We have heard this from them many times over recent years. The question once again needs to be asked---‘where are these jobs coming from? Employment possibilities simply do not grow that quickly, without policies that support that growth. They cannot pluck these jobs out of some imaginary ‘cloud of enhanced business growth.’ I doubt any Government can, especially with so much pessimism coming out of Europe and the USA. Maybe he thinks that China alone will fuel enough opportunity for NZ exports industries to fly us above the troubles of much of the world.
Once again, I am in favour of many of his aims, but it is interesting that his ‘To-Do’ list comes at a time when nearly everything else he has uttered has been shot down by the growing opposition to his Government.
As an afterthought I would point out that Mr Cameron ion the UK also has the beneficiaries in his sights. Watch that story.