What's worth fighting for? The Government is making the case for what it's fighting for. National just wants to fight.
I'd fight for people to be able to afford to put food on their table. I want equity for all people. I want a system of justice where the same leniency that is afforded rich people is given to poor people. I want us to take climate change seriously and actually do something about it. I want society to provide opportunities for everyone so that we all have the same likelihood of a comfortable and meaningful life.
I want my politicians to fight passionately for these things. So my voting record over my adult life reflects this. My core value is that we should all do what we can to help everyone get the opportunity to live their best lives.
You may have a different set of values. You may not believe the things above are worth fighting for, or you may believe that there is a better way to get the same outcomes that I want. You might think that all taxation is theft. Or you might think that it's not the responsibility of the state to provide you with opportunities, that we make our own fortune and so the government needs to stay the hell out of the way.
You could genuinely believe that centuries of oppression of Māori, of women, of other marginalised groups, has had no impact on their standards of life now. That we're all effectively starting from the same place and so one law for all is a fair policy. You might believe, despite current research to the contrary, that tougher sentences are a great deterrent and lead to lower crime rates. That the prison industrial complex is a great thing because it locks away the "scum" of society and provides jobs and a boost to GDP instead of institutionalised racism, a means to repress those at the bottom of society and a failure by just about any measurement.
If you asked the Prime Minister what her and her Government's values were, I think she and I would have a lot of cross-over. It's no big conspiracy that a lot of the values I espoused, she is also passionate about. I'm a left wing columnist. She's ostensibly a left wing Prime Minister.
For example she says that one of her main drivers as a politician is to help lift children out of poverty.
It's a National embarrassment that we have so many children and their families living below the poverty line, living in houses that cause them to experience illnesses that are completely avoidable. We should be ashamed that so many go to school without food in their stomach and return to a home without books to read, while the shoes they wear have holes in them.
This Government is attempting to address these problems from the bottom up. It's not giving wealthy people more money in the hopes that those dollars will slide down to those at the bottom. It's trying to help those who are most in need.
The Government changed rental standards so there must be a reasonable standard of insulation and heating. We're human beings. At a bare minimum, the building we live in shouldn't be a direct threat to our lives.
There's extended paid parental leave and a family payment so that when you have young children you get a wee bit more in the hand so you can afford more food, or more books if you're short. Or shoes.
As part of the Zero Carbon Act the Government is establishing a Carbon Commission that can help transition us to a zero carbon economy, because Climate Change is a direct threat to our existence and we have to do something. And anything is better than the nothing we've done.
National under Simon Bridges doesn't really have any obvious values. Social conservatism is clearly an ideology of Bridges, he voted against letting gay people get married and he's opposed to liberalising our abortion laws. But other than social conservatism his sole value seems to be attacking everything that the Government proposes or does without having an actual plan to fix anything himself.
This seems to be a trait of National. John Key was horrible at actually fixing real problems but talked a good game. This Government attempts to fix real problems but talks a horrible game.
National's nine years in Government gave us a legacy of obscene levels of homelessness, a health system in crisis due to underfunding, schools that have rotten buildings and a complete and utter lack of activity in dealing with climate change. Then as a parting shot of incompetence, Steven Joyce as Finance Minister claimed that Labour had an $11 billion hole in its election manifesto. A claim roundly rubbished by everyone.
On MediaWorks' The Nation over the weekend, Simon Bridges said he wanted the people of New Zealand to trust National with the environment as much as they trust National with the economy.
I can assure him that I do.