Labour Party policies or values would have to be the weakest of the major parties and here is why. They don't even profess to represent anything. I looked around their webpage and could find no hint of principles or values. Just a lot of reactionary slogans and placards. Phil Goff is really doing a poor job. Based on Australian precedent, we might expect a late change in leaders, and this new leader might just benefit from the 'honeymoon period'. It is hard to see how that could get them the leadership though, as John Key makes the better presentation. He is very believable as a leader. All that Phil Goff can do is criticise him from being 'too pretty'. Hardly a winning argument.
What we can garner from the Labour Party website is the party's:
1. Opposition to privatisation: This strikes me as silly for several reason. Everyone is well versed with the value of privatisation in terms of resulting in better service, more vibrant corporate activity and innovation. It avoids constraints of the enterprises capital expansion. The only reasons to retain their investment is: If the asset is not fully valued. The stronger argument though is to avoid a conflict of interest, i.e. Non competitive practices, market participant and regulator. The problem is less of a problem given that the government's participation is largely passive. My concern is the structure of the privatised industry is more critical than whether the players are private or public. Basically, the argument is over the wrong issue.
2. Fairer tax system, increase jobs: There is a real difficulty creating jobs in NZ, so its hard to see how a 'fairer tax system', i.e. higher corporate and progressive income tax structures are going to increase jobs. In fact, it is likely to be an incentive for more NZ'ers to leave the country. That would mean fewer jobs. The idea of taxing $150,000 incomes at 39% would force people to adopt corporate structures again to reduce their tax. The notion that this would cover a GST exemption for food strikes me as nonsense. Unless they means test it??
3. Taxes on capital: NZ has no tax on capital gains. This is actually an appealing policy for immigrants coming to NZ, who can leave their assets offshore. Labour is looking at adopting a 15% capital gains tax. Given that much of these assets have been acquired unfairly, strikes me as a reasonable source of income, even if the expenditure is unreasonable.
What you realise with Labour is that they cannot even get their web marketing together. There is this site Our Own Future and Labour Party. Its poorly conceived, and is that all they can say about policy. How uninspiring. I swear that is the only policy I can see details on. It seems to be a global Labour Party trick to pull policy out of the hat at the last moment to avoid controversy or accountability.
I frankly think that they might be on a winner with a capital gains tax. Not because I want to see a capital gains tax, but simply because land, the principle source of asset, is a system of extortion. Land speculation does not produce anything and means working people are effectively subsidising the landowners easy lifestyle. I support property rights, but only insofar as they apply to 'improvements', not land. Land was acquired by grant or subsidy; and later-day citizens are being extorted when they buy it.
Frankly, they would drop the GST, adopt a capital gains tax, and adopt a $5,000 tax free exemption. Its currently $2500 I think. I am actually expecting Labour to do better than the polls suggest. I think I'd prefer Labour based on these policies.