Comparison of the Clark Labor Government with the Key Government

Topics: Sociology, New Zealand, Neoliberalism Pages: 8 (2186 words) Published: March 1, 2015
Compare and contrast the social policies of the Clark Labour Government (1999-2008) with those of the Key Government (2008-present)

Key Government has many similar ideas as the Clark Labour Government. In order to compare two different governments, we need to know the context of the whole society including economy, politics, culture, international environment. The problems and needs in these society, the causes of diverse problems, the ideology and value of different governments and policies they promote are also significant. In this essay, we are going to discuss the similarities and differences of policies between the Clark Labour Government and the Key Government from the aspect of ideology.

Social Policy
Social policies, are mouthpieces of the government to present what they really concern and externalize the guiding ideologies that they believe. Social policies can be defined as “actions that affect the well-being of members of a society through shaping the distribution of and access to goods and resources in that society” (Cheyne, O’Brien & Belgrave, 2008, p3). They including engagements of housing, health, education, employment, social security and so on. Chambers and Bonk (2013) also claim that social policies are to tackle diverse social problems. They are influenced by what kinds of economic context of the society, what individuals and social groups need, what kinds of theories and ideologies guiding the government, what constitutional and political systems operating, and what kinds of outcomes and drawbacks of the current policies (Cheyne, O’Brien & Belgrave, 2008).

Moreover, the interactions between theoretical perspectives and social policies are of great significance for comparing and contrasting two different governments. Theoretical perspectives, as guidelines of decision-making for the government, are conceptual models for social policies. Social policies, reflecting the gains and losses of various kinds of social groups, are perceived as the embodiment of theoretical perspectives.

The Clark Labour Government was called “a classic example of the development of Third Way” (Nolan, 2010, p99). The Third Way can be defined as “a new form of political economy that seeks to provide an alternative to both neo-liberal and traditional democratic polices” (Cheyne, O’Brien & Belgrave, 2008). Obviously, the Third Way is not a simple mixture or compromise of neo-liberalism and social democracy. It is complementary that collects the advantages of both neo-liberalism and social democracy and then tries the best to prevent their drawbacks. Nolan (2010) also mentions that the Third Way is a concept of “Middle Way” that walks between Old Left which emphasizes on social equality and justice and New Right that acknowledges the efficiency and effectiveness of market.

The Clark Labour Government as a representative of the Third Way put emphases on four values and four goals as Jordan(2000) proposes. All human beings have rights to receive equal opportunities in their daily life and to ask for assistances when being in need; everyone has rights to pursue individual freedom and political liberty; all people have their civic rights with their civic obligations and can be included in society; and all citizens are empowered to pursue quality of life. Four goals along with these values contain that the government invests in social services; citizens exercise their rights with corresponding obligations; the government provide employment opportunities for citizens to enhance their independence; and the government offers assistances for the one who is really in need (Jordan, 2000).

This theory was used by Tony Blair the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 , and in New Zealand it had been promoted by Helen Clark from 1999 to 2008. The Clark Labour Government believed that they can promote social equality and justice while chasing choices and freedom of individuals. So...

References: Bennett, P. (2012). Welfare reform legislation to be introduced. Retrieved from
Chambers, D. , & Bonk, J.F. (2013). Social policy and social programs. United State
of America: Pearson Education
Cheyne, C., O’Brien, M., & Belgrave, M. (2008). Social policy in Aotearoa New
Employment Relations Act, No. 24. (2000). Retrieved from
Key, J. (2012). Mixed ownership: More savings opportunities. Retrieved from
Key, J. (2013). Key notes: Improving public services, getting results. Retrieved from,-getting-results.html
Nolan, M. (2010). Classic third way or before its time: The New Zealand labour
party in local and transnational context
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