I'VE been getting a bit disturbed by the random "policy" pronouncements from the Labour Party lately.
Its "truck off" policy, banning trucks from the fast lanes of motorways, is supposedly touching on the traditional values of Kiwis, who like to head away from the city on holiday, but get frustrated by slow-moving trucks.
Admittedly, it's hard to relate this idea to Wairarapa - we don't have dual carriageways or motorways - but my experience on travelling in New Zealand is that trucks don't generally hold you up. If anything, it's usually the opposite. Trucks might be restricted legally to 90km/h, but frankly most truckies are pretty good at holding 100km/h or more.
But my main beef is I would like to hear policies from the Opposition party that are a bit more big-ticket and meaty. Policies that only make life fractionally easier for an average citizen, like the idea of being able to overtake a truck on the fast lane, are of no use at all. It just smacks of point-scoring.
Generally, drivers can come to their own solutions. What we need to hear are policies to resolve issues New Zealanders can do absolutely nothing about. We have societal problems which require leadership at central government level. The Labour Party has picked some of them (housing, paid parental leave) and it's hard work, but there are valid policies to be had.
I appreciate it's hard work trying to sound better than a National government that may have peaked, but is now getting a slip-stream ride from the inertia that is the easing of the global recession. A cheerful complacency keeps governments in power. It's not really apathy, just a basic contentment that things are generally ticking along.
And John Key isn't really doing anything wrong. It feels like a good government. They've had a rough ride with education, but survived the Novopay debacle, and National Standards. There have been a few embarrassments, sure, notably with Judith Collins and suggestions of conflicts of interests with business dealings in China. But I see no hint of a looming used-by date. I believe governments gradually move towards an expiry date, in the perception of the voters. People get fatigued with the old and want something new. Which is why governments also tend to get voted out, rather than oppositions being voted in - another obstacle for the Labour Party.