At their most recent conference Labour leader David Shearer, under immense pressure from both inside and outside the Labour Party, announced a keynote policy which promises 100,000 new homes to be built over the ten years following a Labour Party electoral victory in 2014.
The response to date, with a few exceptions, has been divided according to two positions. The first is that Labour’s policy is a rebirth or reaffirmation of the principles of the first Labour government. The second position is that Labour is simply announcing an unaffordable election bribe, and that the policy is simply middle-class welfare and an example of big government. Both positions are analytically superficial.
In a New Zealand Herald DigiPoll survey released on January 10, over 70% of respondents approved of Labour’s promise to enter the housing market to build 100,000 low-cost homes over the next 10 years, with only 26 per cent disapproving.
This is portrayed as being a return to old-Labour values, a line in the sand ideologically with the National Party. However, below that hark back to the past, much of what Labour has presented is more aligned to a modern neoliberal perspective than a social democratic framework from the past. Read the rest of this entry »