My values are Labour values.

I want to help build a stronger, more caring society. I am passionate about Dunedin, and I bring considerable energy and wide experience to the task of representing this electorate.

My diverse work background has given me an understanding of the economic and social levers that can be pulled to achieve meaningful change.

Please read some of the discussions included here. I welcome your comments.

- David Clark

What would Labour do differently?

People sometimes ask what the main differences between Labour and National are.  I’m no independent commentator – but I’m still happy to share my opinion.

Differences in 1/ founding and philosophy, 2/ recent actions, and 3/ current policy –  give three useful starting points.  These differences flow into contrasting styles of presentation.

1/ Founding and philosophy. 

The Labour Party was born out of the workers’ rights movement.  Labour aims to represent the interests of all citizens.  Striving to ensure equal access to health-care, education, and legal representation, is important to Labour.  So too is building a strong and sustainable economy, and justly distributing its benefits.  These values, important to unions and churches, were also important to the founding of the Labour party.

The National Party claims to reward ambition; to this end they introduced a ‘tax-switch’ last year.  If you follow their logic, the switch involved middle and lower income people paying enough extra GST to fund large tax-cuts for the wealthiest citizens.  They claim to focus on individual responsibility and personal freedom of choice.  John Key said earlier this year that living on a benefit is a lifestyle choice

2/ Recent actions.

Labour governments tend to support public services such as hospitals and schools.  The last Labour government introduced Kiwibank and Kiwisaver, and lifted thousands of New Zealand children out of poverty through Working for Families.  The same Labour government grew the economy for New Zealanders by 25% over its nine years.  And began to address inequalities through cheaper doctor’s visits and income related rents for state housing.

National governments have failed to grow the economy as much as Labour has.  They have also increased inequalities and cut funding to public services.  They sold Contact Energy, which has generated $1.5 billion in profits since;  most of this money has gone off-shore.  Now they want to sell more of New Zealand’s state assets. They have announced that they will reduce government contributions to Kiwisaver, and make cuts to Working for Families.

3/ Current policy.

Labour has already announced a number of election priorities.  Among these are policies that will help those who are struggling – a minimum wage rise to $15/hour;  first $5000 earnings will be tax free.  There are policies that will generate opportunities and wealth for our country – restoring early childhood funding that was cut; restoring adult education cuts; and, not selling state assets that return money to government for schools and hospitals.   As you’d expect, more will be announced closer to the election.

National have focused on cuts to the public sector.  They’ve announced cuts to government Kiwisaver contributions, and they say they are looking at modest cuts to Working for Families.  Continuing to afford tax cuts for the wealthiest New Zealanders has involved the Government borrowing about $300 million per week on our behalf.  They are putting us into debt.

Presentation differences.

National tends to be a bit cagey about its priorities, using words like ‘ambition’ and ‘choice’ without spelling out exactly what they mean.  It needs to be careful how it says things because its corporate backers may have money, but they don’t have many votes. John Key said he’d look at selling Kiwisaver, but then later ruled it out when public opinion was clearly against it.  He said he wouldn’t raise GST, but then he did.  For a window into how the National Party operates, read The Hollow Men or watch the DVD.

Labour has a history of saying what it is going to do, and then doing it.  This is easier for Labour because most citizens can see it is set up to operate in their interests.


2 comments on ‘What would Labour do differently?’

  1. 17 May, 2011

    A good write up on the differences between the parties, and quite accurate in my opinion. I just hope this message gets through to all NZ’ers for the election, because I think just one more term of National Government will be the end of the NZ I love so much. We seem to have lost some of our traditional values where we based our society on caring for others less fortunate than ourselves, jobs for all, and owning our key industries and assets ourselves. Good luck to Labour at the next election, good luck to NZ as a country, and here’s hoping we are smart enough collectively to see exactly what you’ve written here as true and get rid of National.

  2. 17 May, 2011

    Well put, David.

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