Lurching Left Won’t Work

This week 51 year old David Cunliffe appointed 55 year old Matt McCarten as his Chief of Staff. In a move I don’t recall having seen before in the New Zealand political scene, there was a press conference and he was introduced to the public.

Anyone who’s read Matt McCarten’s columns at the Herald on Sunday over the past couple of years knows he’s definitely of the left and for the left. But where this pair of baby boomers are going wrong is that they’re missing the reality that young people – a non-trivial proportion of non voters where Labour’s only true opportunities lie – love the ideas the left talk about but balk when they realise that lurching left means no iPhones and higher taxes on top of student loan repayments.

The structural reforms that started in 1984 may have had some negative impact on some New Zealand households. But rolling them back wouldn’t solve any of the “problems” the left sees with 2014 New Zealand under a John Key government #rockstareconomy.

Similar rates of income inequality and wealth inequality despite very different implementations of structural reform across OECD countries implies there’s a broader story that needs to be discussed.

“Best Start for Children” is so far from the sorts of discussions this country needs to be having about work, job polarisation and the fact that hundreds of thousands of people have skills that aren’t worth much because #robots.