As Parliament resumed for 2009 on Tuesday, it was obvious the new Government wants voters to believe it plans to be busy, The Dominion Post writes. Within days, the House was debating just some of the raft of law and order bills it campaigned on, and yesterday began the process of almost wholly repealing the pernicious Electoral Finance Act.
The act, to which the former prime minister was wedded, brought only grief to Labour in the runup to last November's election. Now, it turns out, new Labour leader Phil Goff, who believes it was a mistake, his No2, Annette King, whose job it was to defend it in Parliament, and their colleagues will vote for its repeal.
Ministerial loyalty to a party leader is one thing; cravenness is another thing entirely.
The National-led Government, probably tempted to leave the act in place so that it, too, could frolic on a tilted playing field in 2011, has decided to forgo that pleasure and will do the principled thing consult widely, with groups including other political parties, before new electoral law is enacted.
Of course, there's always the hook; you would expect nothing less from a leader writer as the merits of the projects are contemplated:
A degree of smoke and mirrors is evident here. Some of the ideas were already in play under the last government, but that is not to diminish their worth, particularly since their start dates are to be advanced. New Zealanders must be kept in paid work if employment here is not to emulate the train wreck already apparent in Britain and the United States, and threatening Australia.
The Key-English package was presented in less dramatic terms than those being used by US President Barack Obama, whose talk of catastrophe if his initiatives are not adopted by legislators is at least partially aimed at discomforting Republican senators, who will not want to be blamed if they reject exhortations from the new resident of the White House.
Here, Mr Key and Mr English indicate there is more where Wednesday's plans came from, should it be needed. They have, of course, a Budget to craft. At the same time, they are in something of a cleft stick spend too much and they will attract more attention from Standard & Poor's, which last month downgraded the foreign currency outlook. Spend too little and gloom descends further.
Both are acutely aware that their first term will be judged by how deftly they handle the crisis this country cannot hope to avoid.
WE concur with the last sentence. We are hardly neutral observers, it must be noted, but we are encouraged by what we have seen from Key and English to date as they strive to strike a balance. We hope they succeed.