Duncan Garner: Labour, National need to put out new policies as election draws closer

OPINION: This is what I call the phony war: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the newly anointed Opposition leader Judith Collins shadow-boxing for control of the ring. It's intriguing.

Collins had barely got the job, and there was the Prime Minister holding a press conference about COVID management.

What do they say? Never waste a crisis.

Just as Collins was finishing her 346th interview in the space of 12 hours, Ardern popped up, choosing to reheat the real crisis - reminding us at a strangely early 10:30am briefing that we ain't out of this COVID crisis yet.

Oh no, no, no, no - and all things going badly, we could go into regional lockdown like Melbourne.

The message: remember what I am doing for you here.

Politics, Collins, the election - blah, blah, blah - talk to the hand. I'm far too busy to even think about those things, Ardern inferred. I don't believe you.

She even went as far to say she now accepts it's election year.

Yes, Jacinda, it's every three years - and it's not a case of whether or not you accept it.

But hang on, raising the prospect of regional lockdowns in New Zealand - where did that come from? I thought we were winning the war on COVID?

In the Prime Minister's own words from last week's party conference, it's about jobs, jobs, jobs.

So where are those plans? Where's that follow up speech? It's much harder isn't it?

Here's my criticism.

If it's about jobs, jobs, jobs, we need more than an empty, vacuous slogan - and both parties are guilty of this. Saying "jobs" and "economy" doesn't make anything happen. We need to see your plans and ideas - now.

There is drought on new policy from both parties.

I'm not voting on how well Ardern handled the crisis, that's now banked. I want to know what these parties are offering for the next three years.

Labour, are you going to tax us more to pay for the cost of COVID? National, if you're going to spend less - what goes? 

Enough about yourselves, what about us?

I can barely name a policy anyone has put out in recent weeks and in 66 days, we go to the polls.

They will release all the policies much closer to election time to limit scrutiny. We are pawns in their game.

Stop playing silly games with us - while you shadow-box, we are jelly-wrestling with what you stand for. Give us something meaty to consider.

Duncan Garner is the host of The AM Show.