Ralston on National

Bill Ralston has some advice for National:

For example, National has a somewhat doctrinaire policy of lifting the cap on GPs’ fees.

That’s hardly a vote winner, especially when former Health Minister Pete Hodgson was able to beat his chest that had halved of the cost of a GP visit, which was boosting the health of New Zealanders who no longer delayed going to the doctor.

National needs to learn the basic rule that anything that puts money in people’s pockets is good, anything that takes money out is bad. It’s hardly rocket science but, apart from cuts, the Nats don’t always get it.

Incidentially there isn’t really a cap at the moment, but that’s a debate for another day. Ralston’s point is well made.

John Key did hit the right note on law and order this week, for once not bungling a policy release. National is promising Tasers for the police, another 1000 frontline cops, tougher bail laws, better protection orders, compulsory DNA tests for criminals and a hardline approach to gangs. That will impress an increasingly jittery middle New Zealand.

Yes it was a smooth release.   Much relief I am sure 🙂

But the big issue for Ralston is interest rates:

National’s finance spokesman Bill English is also right on target when he hits on high interest rates. Michael Cullen came out on Friday saying, somewhat disingenuously, that he wasn’t planning an “election-year lolly scramble”. English struck back correctly pointing out that the Government’s $4 billion over-spending in the Budget was keeping high.

He quoted an bank report that says, “the biggest losers in an inflationary environment are middle- to low-income households”. That’s the kind of message he needs to push, because high are crucifying voters in the mortgage belt of the major cities.

have been a major factor in Australian elections.  They haven’t been much of an issue in NZ for a while, as rates have been relatively low. But they could well be a big factor in 2008.

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