Small gives first blood to National

writes at Stuff:

Chalk up the first round of the political year to National.

Not just because John Key’s “state of the nation” speech delivered some actual news, in the shape of a revamped apprenticeship scheme (albeit using recycled money), against a rhetoric-heavy but news-lite offering from David Shearer.

More to the point National has grasped the early initiative by revamping the warrant of fitness regime and signalling an end to daily postal deliveries, two decisions that take another step into the 21st century.

The WOF decision will be popular, despite the self-interested protestations of the motor trade lobby.

Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges was on the right side of the voters, and Labour risked getting on the wrong side by not giving its unequivocal backing.

Yep it was clearly a sensible decision, and smart oppositions should know they don’t have to disagree with the Government on everything.

Where Labour does have momentum is over their popular housing policy, although Shearer missed a trick by not using his keynote speech last Sunday to flesh out more detail. …

But Labour can only ride the wave for so long. Soon it will need to bring some more specifics to the table if it wants to head off National’s attacks.

Tossing around promises to deliver affordable houses at an “average” cost of $300,00 across the country, or confident assurances that prices will come down if developers can build in bulk, can only go so far.

Perhaps its promised “housing conference” will do the trick but that is still below the horizon.

At some point – and that time is fast approaching – Labour will need to give some concrete examples. If not plans, locations, land prices and costings, then something akin to proof if it wants to wrest the initiative back off National.

I await the concrete examples with great interest.

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