National has just announced plans to require private landlords to insulate their rental properties. The plan doesn’t go as far as opposition parties would have liked, but it seems clear that National has been forced to intervene in a market that it would have preferred to leave well alone.
Credit needs to be given to Labour for forcing action on this issue. Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has been a thorn in the side of the government, and is landing hit after hit on the hapless Nick Smith. National has also been forced in recent months to announce a partial capital gains tax and has made tentative moves towards regulating property speculation by foreign buyers.
Labour has policies that are popular, even if the polls tell us that Labour has about as much chance of winning the next election as Pam Corkery has of winning a dance competition. But these recent policy wins suggest that Labour is actually making some progress. Just not in an electability sense.
Labour may be a disorganised and almost bankrupt rabble, but goddamn it if that disorganised and almost bankrupt didn’t just slap the government in the face.
But maybe that’s the strategy here. Maybe someone in Labour has decided that they can’t realistically win another election. Maybe the best they can hope for is to extract concessions from the government on important issues such as housing.
If that’s the case, then we all need to get in behind this strategy. Let’s let Labour stay electorally weak, and focus instead on pressuring the government on various issues. Let’s have another round of discussions on unity and leadership, and whether we are left or right or centre. That will really fuck us. And then when National decides our policies are too good to stay our own, we’ll let them get away with thieving them, because our activists will be too busy arguing about what the fuck “Labour values” even means to mount any sort of resistance to this theft, and this will encourage National further, and they will steal more and more policies, and soon we will have a Labour government by stealth, and we will have WON!