The Dom Post editorial today:
When David Shearer became Labour leader at the end of last year, he touted himself as a fresh face for the party and promised a “fresh vision for New Zealand”. So far, his face has barely been seen by most of the voting public and his vision, if there is one, remains hidden from view. …
By contrast, Mr Shearer has yet to tell voters in any great detail how, if at all, a David Shearer-led Labour Party is different to the one under Mr Goff. His stated vision of a “clean, green and clever New Zealand” is so platitudinous as to be almost meaningless. It would have some resonance if Mr Key was advocating a dirty, polluted, dumb New Zealand, but he is not, and nor is anyone else.
Mr Shearer needs more than a slogan to make a real impact in what is after all a contest of ideas. Where does he stand, for example, on Labour’s promise to extend the in-work tax credit to beneficiaries, a reckless policy that undermined the party’s claims to fiscal responsibility and which alienated many of the workers it claims to represent? Or the plans to remove GST on fresh fruit and vegetables, introduce a capital gains tax and raise the age of retirement?
I think Shearer has done the right thing by not rushing things. The election is two years and nine months away. However he does need to start laying some pegs into the ground. My suggestion would be that in the next six weeks he does a major speech where he outlines the values that will drive his policies, and announces a couple of Goff era policies he is dropping, and maybe one new policy of his own.