Both Labour and National need a good 2019. Both parties struggled during 2018, for different reasons. Labour, in government, suffered one too many scandals that they would have liked. Meanwhile, Simon Bridges’s National leadership was being questioned less than six months into his tenure, and that’s not even mentioning the Jami-Lee Ross saga.
And as the political year begins, both parties have had experienced contrasting starts.
Labour was forced to back down on its interim KiwiBuild targets today, as rather than building the targeted 1000 houses by July 1, the government is only expecting 300 to be completed by then.
Their target of 10 thousand houses over the next decade does remain rock solid, though.
On the other side of the political spectrum, National leader Simon Bridges has promised “rolling tax relief”, and intends to link tax brackets to inflation. This would stop “bracket creep” where you get pushed up a tax bracket thanks to inflation even if you aren’t necessarily earning more.
Finance minister Grant Robertson and most of the left have questioned how National could afford it alongside their other ambitious policy goals such as their debt plans, paying teachers more, and making new roads.
But, to the average voter, Labour has started off the year by admitting they can’t build 1000 houses this year, meaning more housing crisis, while National has started off the year by promising less and fairer tax.
National has started off 2019 right. Labour hasn’t.