Labour has just released the final draft of their policy platform, for adoption by their annual conference.
It is meant to be a high level document that sets out their principles, and the manifesto must be consistent with it. Despite, this they have managed to make it 60 pages long!
There’s a lot in there I can and will comment on, over time. But the part which I think is the most newsworthy is their policy platform on equality which reads:
Labour believes that social justice means that all people should have equal access to social, economic, cultural, political, and legal spheres regardless of wealth, gender, ethnicity, or social position. Labour says that no matter the circumstances of our birth, we are each accorded equal opportunity to achieve our full potential in life. We believe in more than just equal opportunities—we believe in equality of outcomes.
People need to reflect on just how extreme this is. They are saying that New Zealand must have equality of outcomes. Everyone earning the same, working the same, maybe even weighing the same.
There is a philosophy that proposes equality of outcomes. It has been trialed in numerous countries, and failed in all of them. Without being melodramatic – it is communism. Their basic principle was that a doctor should be paid the same as a street cleaner.
This is the fundamental divide between centre-right and well hard left. Equality of opportunity is goal that almost everyone agrees with and aspires to. Equality of outcome is, well nuts. Name one country that has equality of outcomes – unless it is equal misery.
Their explicit commitment to equality of outcomes, is significant for what they see as the role of the state – which is basically unlimited. If you believe in equality of outcomes, then every single policy that involves state intervention can be justified so long as it leads to more equal outcomes. A party which has said that their binding policy goal is equality of outcomes, sees no or little room for choice. If people make bad choices, then that leads to unequal outcomes – so they must be protected from those bad choices.
I think it is great that Labour have come out and said that they do not believe in equality of opportunity alone. It is another step to the hard left, that helps make them unelectable. New Zealanders do not believe in equality of outcomes. They believe in people being able to get ahead by hard work, and dedication. I can’t wait for the election debates when David Shearer has to get up and say that Labour’s core belief is equality of outcome, not just equality of opportunity.
And while this is a draft, this is a draft signed off by Grant Robertson and the Labour Party Policy Council. Under Labour’s rules it will, if adopted, be binding on the Labour Party. Caucus will not be able to come up with policy inconsistent with it. This shows the same sort of thinking as came up with the man ban – a classic example of Labour’s fixation with equality of outcome, over opportunity.