Excellent post, Rob. And I am glad that you acknowledge that the current Nat government has had to swallow a number of rats (from its perspective) due to the success and popularity of the previous Labour government. John Key said WFF was "communism by stealth" when in opposition, and yet he is too scared to do away with it. ACC privatisation was tried a bit, but has been rolled back. The recent 'sale' of Kiwibank to another crown entity is symptomatic of a party that would love to flog SOEs to the highest bidder for ideological reasons, but whose internal polling and common sense tell them that the centre-left orthodoxy that our assets are best served by keeping them within public control is right. Even David Farrar was deeply suspicious of the raising of benefits in the last budget.
If the centre-left decline was due to a collapse in support for our policies I would be more concerned, but it isn't. Labour's best strategy at the moment would be to egg on Key and see how socially and fiscally liberal he is prepared to go. It means there is less to roll back when we return to government, and it is storing up a huge ideological stoush on the right when Key eventually goes.
Great post, Rob. I'm sorry to say that despite thinking of myself as a 21st century man who believes in gender equality and equal pay, I probably could shoulder more of the responsibility and 'quality time' needed with my children. It's even more important when both parents work.