With the National Party grassroots still reeling from the unexpected onslaught of the Jacinda effect, Bill English needed to pull something out of the bag at his campaign launch.
English did that with a promise to give every kid a chance at learning a second language and an expansion of his Government’s flagship national standards scheme – national standards plus.
His promise that parents would be able to keep up to date with their child’s achievement on their mobile phone is something that will resonate with middle New Zealand and draws a line in the sand between National and Labour, which plans to scrap the student assessment scheme.
Labour want to return to the days where parents get no clear information on how their children are doing. They’d rather kids continue to fail, than actually point out when kids are below the desired level of literacy and numeracy.
English also hit the mark with his promise to put more resources into maths and digital leaning, and to give every child a chance at learning a second language – though there was a sense of policy on the hoof when English was caught out being fuzzy on the detail.
We are in a globalised Internet connected world. Maths, digitial and languages are all important parts of the future.
The sight of nearly 3000 National Party faithful drumming their seats to that theme should have given euphoric Labour supporters cause to pause and respect that their opponent is anything but down and out, and still far from on the ropes.
I didn’t attend, but those who did say it was the largest campaign launch they can recall.