Bad enough that the National Party led by Simon Bridges is still aiming to run a modern economy with a package of ideas – tax cuts, de-regulation, small government – that were fashionable in the late 1980s, but which became discredited over a decade ago, given how bank de-regulation caused the Global Financial Crisis.
This week though, National has proved it is still stuck in a social time warp as well, by releasing a package of welfare policies ripped from the headlines of the 1970s.
Too bad. It would make for healthier politics if had a modern, fresh-thinking conservative party on the Opposition benches. Evidently, we don’t. Solo parents – the vast majority of whom are women – would have their benefits cut under National’s proposals if they failed to fully immunise their children. Not only would such a proposal penalise the children that it pretends to protect, it also ignores whether vaccines are readily available, and easily affordable to access. Finally, it effectively blames people on low incomes for an immunisation problem not of their making.