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Mike Hosking: Can Labour deliver on these policy promises?

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 22 Aug 2023, 9:24AM
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Mike Hosking: Can Labour deliver on these policy promises?

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 22 Aug 2023, 9:24AM

I cannot for the life of me work out why the Government is deciding to legislate to make all schools teach reading, writing and maths the same way.

We have the best education system in the world turning out kids fully equipped to deal with...oh wait, no we don’t.

That’s right; our standards in the aforementioned areas are slipping and have been slipping badly for years.

Attendance in the first place is a major. Kids leaving without NCEA Level 2 is alarming and kids leaving with no qualifications at all is even more alarming.

The teacher shortage is beyond a joke.

The endless meddling with the curriculum around Te Reo is infuriating. All in all, one of a Government's key areas of performance is education and it's in a dire state.

And yet, or maybe because of that, we get yet another announcement about the magic that will be created if only you give them another three years.

In that is the trick here.

Normally after two terms a Government has a record that speaks for itself. This one does too, but just not the sort of record you can talk about.

So in order for you to be distracted from that record they are averting your attention with a big bag of shiny, new stuff they hope will suck you in.

My rule of thumb is simple - first term you bag the previous lot and install your changes.

In the second term the changes come to fruition and you get a third term simply by saying "look what we've done works".

A Government is basically judged on three key things - the economy, the health system and the education system.

On those measures, you can see why they are desperate because every one of them has, and is, going backwards.

Not that they will find out, but trainspotters might remember the problem for a three term Government looking for a fourth, i.e the John Key government. You run the risk of looking like you’ve run out of ideas, complacency sets in.

For this lot there is no such pressure.

Their ideas are either not delivered (think Kiwibuild and light rail), bogged down (think Ten Waters and the RMA) or complete failures (crime levels, violence and recessions).

Therefore, you've got a twofold issue on new promises.

One is they are only announcing them to side-track you and the second is that given their record, why would you think they could deliver them anyway?

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