It’s a big day today for both John Key and Andrew Little.
A bigger day for Little, given he’s been around five minutes, and has a lot of spade work post the election to do.
But the 'State of the Nation' speeches are a chance to make a point, get a headline, and leave an impression.
Little talks this morning to a business audience. He’s got to somehow convince not only them, but the 70 plus percent of New Zealanders that didn't vote for his Party, that he’s got ideas that can make this country sing - hard work given the country is already singing.
But so far I like what he’s about. He looks confident, he looks like he knows what he’s talking about. He’s avoided disaster, he has something that both Shearer and Cunliffe didn't appear to have, and he’s got three years to gel with enough people to make him a contender.
But don’t dismiss John Key’s job either. With six years under your belt complacency and arrogance are always close for long term Governments. Lack of ideas is another issue, as is controversy.
I don’t think you can accuse National of lack of ideas, especially given today’s speech is about flicking state houses off cheaply. There is logic to the idea, but it also needs explaining, given there is no lack of people who don’t like it.
But the big upside for Key is he has capital, he has a mandate. Today’s announcements aren't surprises; they were part of the campaign.
So we've had every chance to look at what they’re about and react to them, and if you follow the logic of what National’s trying to do with state housing, Labour will have trouble countering it.
Given Labour’s state housing policy for years now has been little short of a disaster, the queue for state housing is a mile long. The state doesn't own enough homes for people who want them - never has, never will.
Labour’s answer has always been for the state and state alone to provide state houses, even when those state houses were filled by people for life whether they needed them or not.
The stupidity of that defies belief, especially as the queue grew with genuinely needy cases.
National got rid of the state house for life, and not a moment too soon. But the queue is still long.
The answer? Take the houses that don’t fit, are in the wrong places, are worth a fortune because of the land, and mix it up a bit. Sell one to build two. Give a contract to a social service provider to fill the gaps, act a bit entrepreneurial.
Simple question: If you need housing assistance, does it really matter who the landlord is, as long as you get the help you need?
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