The unofficial 2008 election campaigns have begun. The polls all suggest that the Labour party are going to take a hammering, and that the Maori Party could take all the Maori seats.
For many working people, no matter what Chris Trotter or Matt McCarten say, the small gains and reforms under 9 years of Labour rule are little to write home about – Working for Families is a taxpayer funded subsidy for employers paying low wages, unions still do not have the right to strike outside of very limited circumstances, housing is unaffordable and public transport is a joke.
UnityBlog wants to kick some ass. We're throwing down the gauntlet to our readers to come up with some Vision Thing.
What policies would you guys like to see the left fight for this election? What would your dream left ticket look like? And as the Greens accept only market based mechanisms to climate change, are they a real option for left wing voters anymore?
Here's some ideas to get the debate rolling!
(1) Free public transport throughout NZ. Massive investment in rail and free busses- an emergency Monbiot style "system change, not climate change" programme.
(2) Free tertiary education for all. Cancel all student debts immediately.
(3) A Micky Joe Savage style emergency housing programme. Rent control, New York style.
(4) A minimum wage of $20 per hour. Huge tax cuts for the working poor, funded by taxing the rich (until they bleed!). A massive extension of union rights and power.
(5) Free broadband for all- jack the NZ network up to Korean standards.
There you go. Five juicy demands to form a maximum minimum programme!
The fact is that in factories and offices all over the nation, people are pissed off with the Pepsi/Coke choice they are offered. National now accept most of Labour's tiny reforms, and Labour accepts neoliberalism's poverty wages, controls on union power and free trade agreements.
Many who previously looked to the Greens and who are worried about the train crash approaching via climate change, are deeply saddened that they now accept carbon trading mechanisms. Yet anger at house prices, low wages, arrogant bosses and corrupt politicians is at an all time high...
The centre cannot hold. It's time for a New Left. Tell us what you would like it to be.