Jeremy Corbyn’s left wing manifesto points to an alternative for Labour that could help it beat the Tories. Naturally, New Zealand Labour’s finance spokesperson thinks that such polices would not be popular in New Zealand.

WHEN JEREMY CORBYN was first elected leader of the UK Labour Party, a former leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, David Shearer, wrote on his Facebook page that the kind of polices that Corbyn was advocating would make Labour ‘unelectable.’

His deputy leader, Grant Robertson, also had a negative assessment of Corbyn’s approach. Robertson, now Labour’s finance spokesperson, declared that policies that were popular in one country would not necessarily be popular in another.

Now that we know something of what’s in UK Labour’s election manifesto, lets take a look at just some of Jeremy Corbyn’s polices that Grant Robertson says would not be popular in New Zealand.

Grant Robertson says that it would not be popular in New Zealand to create at least one publicly owned energy company in every region, with public control of the transmission and distribution grids. Nor would it apparently be popular to introduce a ‘emergency energy price cap” that ensures that the average energy bill is maintained at an affordable level.

As well, a ’winter fuel allowance’ will be introduced for people on low incomes. Clearly, as wise Grant Robertson suggests, such a policy would be a vote loser in New Zealand.

Grant Robertson also says that substantial new funding for the health system could not be countenanced by the ‘Budget Responsibility’ agreement it has made with the Green Party. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour intends to spend six billion pounds on the National Health Service, funded by increasing income tax for the highest 5% of earners and increasing tax on private medical insurance.

Great Robertson says it would not be popular to campaign for a genuinely free education system. Jeremy Corbyn says it would be "cradle-to-grave learning that is free at the point of use" from early years to adult education. It would include the abolishing of university fees. Another likely vote loser for Labour in New Zealand!

Great Robertson says that progressive reforms to welfare would not be popular in New Zealand. This includes the ending of such punitive measures as benefit sanctions.

Grant Robertson also says that creating a National Investment Bank would also be unpopular with ordinary New Zealanders. The bank would oversee a substantial infrastructure spend over the next decade.

On the issue of housing – which Labour intends to make a lot of noise about this election -– Grant Robertson says that it would not be popular to commit itself to a massive state house building program over the course of its first term in government. UK Labour says it would build a minimum of 100,000 council homes over the course of its first five year term in government.

As well, Grant Robertson doesn’t think there would be  much support for Labour reserving “thousands of more low cost homes” for first time buyers. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour would also reserve a minimum of 4,000 state homes for people with "a history of rough sleeping.”

Great Robertson also says it would not be popular to provide people with some housing security by making three year tenancies the norm, with an inflation cap on rent rises.

"Our manifesto will be an offer, and I believe the policies in it are very popular, an offer that will transform the lives of many people in our society," says Jermy Corbyn. 

And despite the usual hostility from the usual suspects to Labour’s manifesto, from the Blairites, the business sector and the corporate media, the manifesto has been favourably received by the British public.

Corbyn says that Labour intends to create a fairer, more prosperous society for the many, not just the few.” He went on to declare that Labour’s manifesto is all about ‘“re-writing the rules of a rigged system”.

Obviously this is more radical and unrealistic nonsense from Jeremy Corbyn. Aren’t we all lucky the New Zealand Labour Party has as its finance spokesperson the eminently more sensible Grant Robertson?

We’re winning with Grant Robertson!


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