Andrew Dickens: We need details from politicians, not slogans

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Monday, 2 September 2019, 3:37PM
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives at Kaitao Intermediate School for her school lunches announcement. (Photo / NZ Herald)

They say the devil is in the detail but there’s a pretty big devil in a lack of detail too.

But we seem to be living in an age where details are redundant and to be actively avoided if you’re a politician.

We saw it last week with Jacinda Ardern’s school lunch policy. She did a great job of saying Feed the Kids.  And no-one is going to say feeding kids is bad.  But when I asked how are schools going to feed kids her answer was that that was up to schools.

No details on sourcing food, on menus, on allergies, on facilities.  Just we’re going to feed the kids, let someone else worry how.

We’ve had that with yesterdays announcement of new government policies on cancer.  We have some sort of agency, we have some cash.  But when asked how they’ll improve things the detail is missing.  How will it ensure that more radiologists and radiotherapy machines are in out of the way places? Who knows.

It’s populist politics these days. Shout a slogan and pray no-one digs deeper. Build a Wall, Lock Them Up, Make America Great. Don’t ask how.

 

John Tamihere is doing it. Build a Double Decker Bridge. Freeze the Rates. Sell the Water. Just vote for it we’ll sort out the details later.

Simon Bridges is doing it. Build Roads. Drop Tax. Fleecer in Chief. The other day he talked about screwing the scrum and I couldn’t figure out what scrum he was talking about and what way it was screwing.

Then there’s Jacinda Ardern. Feed the Kids. Stop Climate Change. Drive an EV.

Slogans have always worked but to swallow a slogan without questioning the detail is to be taken for a ride.  So as the election season starts this October with Local Body Elections and continues next year with the General Election can I just say my slogan is Stop the Slogans.

Treat us like grown ups and don’t keep the detail from us.  We can take it, politicians.  Can you?

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