We (on the Left) often talk about how badly we need a change of government (which we do) and as long as we can get rid of John Key and his crony sidekicks, then NZ will be all the better for it. As much as I dislike how the National Party has governed NZ, I don’t see a simple change to the Labour Party as a remedy. In fact, I can understand why, as John Armstrong points out that ‘National likens [David Cunliffe] to the political equivalent of a Roman candle which, after shooting a series of spectacular balls of fire into the air, will fizzle out‘. Although, I’d go further and say that the analogy applies across the board to all parties.
After watching The Four Horsemen documentary (for the second time), I agree with the underlying premise that because the problems we face are systemic, the sense of hopelessness we feel is not resolved by simply replacing one part of the system with a different part of the same system instead we must change the system (Note: I have probably oversimplified the argument, so I highly recommend watching this extremely insightful documentary).
The Labour Party have talked about their intentions to effect great change delivering prosperity and a fairer distribution of wealth. Yet, the policies offered do very little to counter the prevailing debt and environmental crisis facing not just NZ but the global community.
In response to David Cunliffe’s live streamed interview on The Daily Blog, Deirdre Kent (New Economics Party) writes that Labour policy will not create jobs because ‘expensive social welfare programmes, a complicated and burdensome tax regime with a very regressive GST and a money system which perpetuates the status quo will see to that’.
While the Green Party may act as a balance on Labour policy and will most certainly encourage an emphasis on sustainability, the fact that neither party is willing to reform our tax system shows that the change needed will not be born under a Labour/Green government. That being said, it’s even less likely to occur under a National/Act government since the necessary reforms affect the wealthy business owners and financial elites that constitute a large proportion of the National/Act voting base.
Note, I do not believe that increasing taxes at the top threshold or that introducing new taxes while retaining current taxes is reform. Any attempts to woo the public with either ‘taxing the rich pricks’ (standard Left proposition) or ‘reducing taxes for all’ (standard Right proposition) are relics of the roman candle variety – spoken to inspire with very little effect on the real issues.
Unless we start discussing the real problems: tax, money, resources and democracy and advocating for the changes necessary, not just the changes that wont cause much fuss, we can’t really expect much to change for the many in NZ following the 2014 election, irrespective of who wins.