Matters Of Debate | Issue 6

Matters Of Debate | Issue 6

That We Should Regret The Current State Of The NZ Labour Party

This column is written by the Otago University Debating Society, which meets for social debating every Tuesday at 6pm in the Commerce Building

Affirmative, by By Old Major

The current Labour party sucks. They don’t know who they are or who they’re meant to be representing. To be a major party you need to have a broad policy base that can appeal to a range of voters. Labour is failing to do this. They’re currently flip-flopping around on issues like a pair of broken jandals. Last election they wanted to raise the retirement age; now they don’t. They wanted a capital gains tax; now they don’t. Let’s not forget their little racist gaffe when they conflated people whose surnames sound Chinese with foreigners. Because, presumably in Andrew Little’s mind, all New Zealanders look like him.

They were the party that negotiated a free trade deal with China, the first of its kind, and they were also in government when the TPPA talks started. Now they’re purportedly against it, although if they were elected tomorrow it’s unlikely that they would back out of it. Why? Because they know that it’s important for a small country like NZ to have access to global markets. That’s why they’ve embraced free trade deals in the past and why people like Phil Goff and David Shearer have publically come out in support of them.

Many people, and probably more than the 25 percent that voted for Labour in the last election, would like a centre-left government. Problematically, Labour doesn’t know if it wants to be that type of party. They don’t even seem to know what they stand for. Currently they seem to be just floating policy ideas, on the off chance that some of them will resonate with the electorate. It’s hard to tell if they will actually stick with their free tertiary education policy and their idea of a Universal Base Income. Labour just isn’t trustworthy.

It’s not just bad for Labour that they’re shit. It’s bad for the country. For a democracy to function well, it’s important that there is a strong opposition who is able to hold the government to account. Labour is failing to do this. And you can’t just blame the media for being part of some kind of right wing conspiracy. When Russell Norman was an MP the media would go to him for comments on government policy, and he would present alternative views in an intelligent and powerful manner. The current Labour party is uncharismatic, failing to engage with voters, failing to create good policy, and failing to hold the government to account.

Negative, by Squealer the Pig

Labour is doing well. The party is currently in a rebuilding phase, with new talent filtering into leadership positions. The Labour party is also committed to the future of New Zealanders and is willing to create tough policies that will protect what is important to us. It’s part of the Kiwi dream that if you work hard then you should be able to buy your own home. However, the Auckland housing market is dire. Ordinary New Zealanders are unable to buy houses because foreign investors are buying up all the properties. The same thing goes with our farms, which are being snapped up by people from overseas. New Zealand should be, first and foremost, for New Zealanders. The current government is failing to protect ordinary Kiwis who are being driven out of the housing market.

Labour is committed to the future. The free tertiary education policy will give everyone the opportunity to do further study. This will allow people to get the skills they need to be valuable members of a productive New Zealand future. It will also mean that students won’t leave university with such a crippling burden of debt and will be able to buy a house and start a family when they want to.

Labour is also a fit party to form a government. John Key shouldn’t be representing New Zealand overseas. He is a creep who thinks that it’s just a bit of a lark to pull a female’s ponytail. The office of Prime Minister should be dignified, and John Key is a disgrace. Labour is committed to diversity and representation. A few years ago the party bravely started a discussion about implementing an affirmative action that would require a proportion of the party’s MPs to be female.

The Labour party is on an upward trend. They’re looking to the future, and not just the future of the rich and privileged, but the future of every New Zealander.

This article first appeared in Issue 6, 2016.
Posted 11:45am Sunday 10th April 2016 by Otago University Debating Society.