Labour loses the New Zealand election

I was going to try and write a longish post about the New Zealand election but I saw this post from Gordon Campbell which I thought covered most of what I wanted to say. I did have a handful of additional points that I wanted to add though.

I’m not that excited about another three years of the John Key led National Government. My reasons for this are mostly that I have been turned off the slick and sleazy appearance of their leader John Key but additionally:

  • they don’t really appear to have any policy
  • their economic “good-management” seems to be based on New Zealand coming out of the global recession, rebuilding Christchurch and a boom in dairy prices, none of which they can reasonably claim credit for. All of these effects are dwindling by the day.
  • the lack of any depth in the National Party talent pool as a credible leadership contender in the future
  • the Cult of Key where good soundbites trump policy

However at the height of an economic boom, any sort of change in government was unlikely. This was compounded by the Labour and Green parties both looking to raise income tax and a capital gains tax without clarly explaining why these are necessary.

As a “hard-working New Zealander”, I can see that the government’s books are coming into surplus, why do we need more taxes? Especially a capital gains tax. In my eyes a capital gain is aspirational. I’d like to own a house and see its value increase, and plough that money into a bigger house later on. A capital gains tax is not a vote winner in New Zealand and it is not a panacea for rising house prices.

I can certainly see some benefit in taxing capital gains but pushing a policy of tax increases when everything is going well is a difficult thing to sell to the electorate and doesn’t help to diminish the “tax-and-spend” image of left wing parties.

I think this policy alone cost them dearly.

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