Colin James on Key and Broadband

A typically thoughtful column from Colin James:

So Key wants voters, especially those under 45, to contrast big plans for broadband against buying back the trains. There is a century-and-a-half between the two inventions. …

But that misses the electoral purpose. That is, as one party notable put it, “to establish the character” of Key as bold and imaginative – investing in infrastructure for an unimaginable future – and to contrast that with a business-as-usual Clark. …

Over time, however, National’s general thrust presumes Labour has reached a high tide with its redistribution of the fruits of strong economic growth – that there is not much more to do – and that from here on, once the economy gets back to 3 per cent growth after the current slowdown, the fruits should go to cuts and investment in and education to lift productivity.

So Key’s focus will not just be on cuts but on a bold restructuring of the system. …

This week Key stole a march, and he will now bang away on that drum for the next six months, counting on hard times generating eager and hopeful buyers for his promise – and for the meat in the policy.

Clark and Co will try to get the electoral contest down from Key’s atmospherics to the earthbound realities of experience and knowledge where they claim the advantage as dusk draws in on the economic boom.

For now, however, the window shoppers are quite taken with Key. This week he started the hard sell: come and feel the goods, was the invitation in his big bang.

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