Nine to Noon Politics

Today’s politics segment with Laila Harre, Matthew Hooton and Kathryn Ryan was a very interesting lesson. I enjoy it because both participants are willing to praise MPs from the otehr side of the spectrum, and disagree with MPs from their own side.

I found Laila Harre’s words today very interesting, especially as Laila has been a Minister in a Labour-led Government and is the head of the reasonably militant National Distribution Union:

I have to say sitting through the summit, I found it difficult to imagine the Labour Party under Helen Clark really taking a risk like that which was to give a group of people an open brief in a very public way to propose some ideas and solutions. …

I don’t think there was ever a willingness [by Labour] to take those kinds of risk. … Labour’s objective at the Knowledge Wave conference was to keep it as tight as possible.

I actually felt that in terms of my political experience anyway this was the first time I personally been engaged in a genuinely tripartite process at a New Zealand level … I’ve never seen anything looking like that in New Zealand.

That’s generous praise. It shows that you can disagree with some of John Key’s policies but praise him for his leadership style which is very different to what we have had in the past.

Both Hooton and Harre praise the national cycleway proposal.

Hooton also ripped into borrowing $2 billion a year to stick into a savings fund. Harre declares she has never been much of a supporter of the Fund as future superannuation provision will always depend on economic health of country. Says it is a no brainer to suspend contributions.

Hooton also says the 2010 and 2011 tax cuts should not occur if we still have large deficits. I think it all depends on how large the deficits are, and how sucessful one has been in clipping low priority spending. At this stage, it is very premature to be making declarations, as Matthew does, about the future tax cuts. The time to decide would be early 2010. And from my point of view suspending or cancelling the tax cuts would be your last resort – only if the deficit was on a track to disaster.

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