2 Nov 2008


These comments from THE STANDARD sum up the points voters should consider in making their choice on Saturday.

Closing arguments

Six days to go. Here are the five big issues that I am finding can turn swing to the Left. There are others as well (see our Standard line series) but these have been effective points in my experience. Over the next few days, you’re bound to find yourself talking to people who are planning to vote National or ACT. Try out these arguments on them

ACC. The fact that ACC is so widely used, there are a million claims a year, makes it an important issue. Despite its faults, ACC is a world-leading system and people depend on it. Private insurers can collapse and have every incentive to avoid payouts. National wants to privatise it, Labour wants to cut its cost, reducing car registration by $80 and employer levies by 20%. Nobody wants ACC privatised, not business, not the medical profession, not legal experts, and, most importantly, not ordinary people. Nowadays, when I hear someone is going to vote National or ACT, I just mention they want to privatise ACC and it’s usually enough to switch them to the Left. Why Labour hasn’t made more of this, I don’t know.

Kiwisaver. 850,000 people have joined Kiwisaver so far, and that number will soon reach one million. Chances are good a swinger voter you talk to is either in Kiwisaver, close to someone who is, or planning to join. If National gets into government, every Kiwisaver would be worse-off, even after you count National’s tax-cuts, because they’re going to cut Kiwisaver in half. Rather than your employer putting in the equivalent of an extra 4% of your income into your Kiwisaver, National would reduce that to 2%. That will cost every Kiwisaver hundreds of thousands of dollars over their career. By cutting Kiwisaver, National would also cut domestic saving, meaning we have to borrow more from overseas.

Tax. National’s tax cuts are less than $10 a week more than Labour’s for most people. Many people actually get smaller cuts from National - if your income is less than $24,000 or $44,000 if you get Working for Families, you get larger cuts from Labour. The only people who get big cuts from National are people like John Key on really large incomes.

Trust. After all these years, the only ‘trust’ issues they have on Clark is that she once signed a picture for charity that she hadn’t painted, her drivers drove really fast one time, and her billboard picture is ‘too nice’. These are not substantive issues, they have no bearing on whether someone can be trusted to govern. National tries to hide its policies and its senior MPs have broken Parliaments rules. They have a track record in government of low growth, high unemployment, lower wages, higher crime, and running down public services like health and education. National always has been and remains the party of the wealthy; they cannot be trusted to act in the interests of ordinary Kiwis.

Experience. Key’s business experience is not an asset in the current economic conditions. He has no experience running an economy. In fact, his economic experience is making money doing exactly the kind of deals that have led to this financial meltdown in the first place. One of the guys who got us into this mess is not the kind of person to lead us out of it. In Clark, Cullen, and the other senior ministers, we have a very experienced team with a record of low unemployment, high wages, high growth, and stable government.

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