It says something about the speed with which the Shearer camp threw together the affordable 100 000 homes in the wake of the manufactured leadership coup that the numbers are as wonky as they are on their KiwiBuild policy.
A 5-story apartment complex in Massey, Papakura or Manurewa doesn't seem nearly as wondrous as it did at the Labour Party conference. Labour should be talking about 4 bedroom apartments in the central city and a mass build up of 3-story density on roads that already have a built up infrastructure like Dominion Road, but they aren't. They are talking about homes on the fringe of Auckland. That is a large let down from what was promised and gives National the edge when pointing out Labour haven't done their costings properly.
The problem for National is far larger than point scoring Labour's haste in launching their housing policy. John Key has told NZers for 4 years what Government can't do, but by 2014 voters will want to hear what Government can do.
In speech notes that could have come from Cunliffe, Shearer set the tone for bigger Government by pointing out that the free market hasn't worked and needs realigning by the active hand of Government as opposed to the vagaries of a failed free market that is locking Generation X and Y out from ever owning their home.
The lack of policy detail is probably a realization from the haste of the previous one that Labour need to do their homework first. Shearer is acknowledging that this economic crisis requires a different approach than the neoliberal one, the question still remains why it has taken him so long to articulate this.
How far David Parker will be allowed to transform the economy to one that doesn't slavishly worship free market principles still remains the main issue for progressive voters leading into 2014.
That Bill English has been left to attack Shearer shows that they don't want to give the issue of house affordability any oxygen and they certainly don't want to have a philosophical debate about the role of Government post a free market crash. What we can expect from National is not a defense of their record because their record shows more poverty while the rich got richer, what we can expect is attacks on Labour, the Greens and MANA.
Expect Key's fear mongering use of 'Labour, the Greens and MANA' to jump 457% this year.