Audrey Young points out that Labour’s promises aren’t worth the paper they were printed on

Audrey Young, who has been quite the cheerleader for Jacinda Ardern, has finally spat out the Kool-Aid after the budget.

She points out just how few of Labour’s election promises are being honoured: Quote:

National isn’t saying Labour should have spent less, nor is it saying it should have spent more.

National is essentially saying you’d have thought it would have been a more radical budget going by Labour’s promises.

But when the main complaint from the left and the right is it should have been more radical, Labour can bat that away easily enough.

A more sustainable line of attack is coming from National’s former education minister Nikki Kaye. She has been listing Labour’s election promises in detail and wondering what happened to them.

It may seem bread and butter for the Opposition to cry broken promises but Labour is staying strangely quiet. It doesn’t say that it will implement the long list of promises over the three-year term.

Because the fact is many of Labour’s election promises no longer have status as promises unless they were mentioned in one of four documents.  

If they were not mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, were not part of the 17 policies in the 100-Day Plan (which have already been implemented) or got a mention in New Zealand First’s coalition agreement or the Green Party’s confidence and supply agreement, they are no longer promises; they are just Labour policy, sitting on a shelf.

Some ministers have not yet caught up with that. Some have continued to say in media interviews that X or Y policy will be implemented during the three-year term because it was in the manifesto.

Labour’s Fiscal Plan developed before the election has no relevance in terms of commitments.

The partner agreements were largely New Zealand First and Green Party policies. And in those documents, only one Labour policy was negated – water rental for farmers.

In effect, Labour’s new manifesto is the Speech from the Throne, which is largely short on specificsthe reverse of Labour’s previous position where it had copious amounts of detailed policy, none of which got implemented.

Education is one of the few areas in which sums of money were promised in the Speech from the Throne – the $6b of new spending over four years.

The promise of $8b extra in health services over four years is not mentioned in the Speech from the Throne.

That doesn’t mean it is not going to happen. But we won’t know by the next election because it is a three-year term, not a four-year term.

And nor does it mean that policies not mentioned in the four documents won’t be implemented. That is possible if they get enough support.

Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson suggest this reduction in Labour commitments is just a fact of MMP when having to accommodate other parties.

Most of the 17 policies in the 100-Day plan, including the Families Package, were Labour’s and will costs $5.5 b over four years.

But it leaves Budget 2019 and Budget 2020 wide open. End quote.

Essentially, under MMP, promises made in manifestos are worthless. They are pretty much a fraud on the voters. All parties are guilty, but those in government can at least be held to account for failing to deliver. Plenty of Winston’s promises fell away, and plenty more of Labour’s.

Weasel words and excuses aren’t good enough. Promises are promises unless you are a politician making them, it seems. Then they are only really considered a statement of possible intent, with little to no likelihood of them being implemented.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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