Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Clark 1, Key 0.

The 2008 election wrestling season is underway after Honest John Key and Our Great Leader Helen gave 'state of the nation' speeches on successive days, and result is John Key and National still don't look ready to govern.

'Boot Camps' (although that's not how Key described them in his speech) is a tired old idea that is more suitable as the centerpiece of Winston First's election campaign than that of a potential governing party.
In Germany, a teenager was sent to an outsourced 'boot camp' in Siberia as it was a far cheaper option, perhaps Key could work out a deal with a struggling Pacific Island economy to run 'boot camps' there, in a similar way to which John Howard used Nauru to imprison asylum seekers.

Giving a 'discount' or 'voucher' for tertiary education to school drop-outs is a little insulting to the majority of students who work through the secondary school system and then face massive fees at the tertiary level. It gives the perception of being rewarded for bad behavior. The proposed system also seems easily open to corruption and unaccountability despite Key's assurances otherwise.

Labour's proposal on the other hand seems far more inclusive and perhaps even 'ambitious', rather than being an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff, an integrated apprenticeship system can engage the students before they get frustrated and drop out of the system, and of course it will help a large number of trade students, the vast majority of whom are not 'trouble-makers' and would not benefit under National's policy.

Which is the actual better policy for New Zealand means little compared to the reaction of the general public and the influence it has on the election, but I think Key's policy needed a bit more oomph to keep it in the minds of the average voter, perhaps packaging it with a populist issue like raising the drinking age to 20 would have worked better.

The funny thing is even if National wins the election, they'll end up implementing this Labour policy on apprenticeships in some form anyway.

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