New Zealanders are increasingly aware of the huge social, economic and environmental problems facing this country, yet the new Labour-led government seems unwilling to respond with the type of big, bold actions required. Victoria University political scientist Bryce Edwards says Labour has welded itself to a policy of fiscal conservatism, preventing it from making the necessary investments.
Even before it had started, Labour and the Greens' big announcement on being fiscally responsible had been a PR triumph.
It will be steady-as-she-goes vs a pledge of being a safe pair of hands.
For the convenience of subscribers, here's my weekend column in which I argue the Government should use its strong balance sheet and low borrowing costs to make millions of dollars in social investments that save everyone billions in the long run.
Prime Minister John Key has opened up the possibility the Government could campaign on the promise of tax cuts, saying there was room in the Budget outlook for surpluses after 2014/15 to give some sort of relief for middle-income earners.