Politics should be a contest of ideas. Increasingly it’s becoming more and more focused on tactics and personalities. More column inches have been devoted to analysing whether Labour’s tax policies have moved our poll ratings than have been devoted to detailing what the policies actually are and whether they’re a good idea or not. Plenty of publicity has been given to John Key’s Rugby World Cup forays, much less attention to the fact that under his watch unemployment has sky-rocketed and the cost of living is rising at the fastest rate in over 21 years.
But that’s the reality. We can complain about it, or we can get out there and redouble our efforts to promote the ideas we believe in. I want to be part of Labour government after this year’s election because I think we’ve got the best ideas for turning our economy around, giving hard-working Kiwis a break, and securing a brighter future for our country.
I hate comparisons between politics and sport, but there is one analogy with sport that I do find useful from time to time. In politics, as in sport, it’s important to “leave it all out on the field”. We compete fiercely with our opponents, we think our ideas are better, and we think we’re better able to manage the challenges we face. But we should never forget that our opponents are also driven by decent intent, however misguided we may think that they are.
Nobody is entitled to power, or to claim ownership of a particular constituency. In a democracy, it’s a right that has to constantly be earned. Likewise, I think it shows total contempt for voters to declare the electoral race all but run before the starting whistle has even been blown. There are still three months to go before polling day, and I, along with my colleagues, intend to campaign for the ideas and values that Labour represents right up to the last hour. This one is too important.