The Government, far from missing the point of the Opposition’s criticism about the Eastside project, has actually hit the nail on the head. This is because the Opposition are NOW calling for rental housing on that site when as recently as the last general election they did not commit to this themselves in their own manifesto.
The point is that the GSD Opposition are simply playing to gallery. They did not identify the Eastside for this category of housing when they were in Government, neither did they do so in their Development Plan, neither did they do so in their own proposals for the Eastside, neither did they do so at the last general election barely nine months ago.
All that the Government has said, is that when an Opposition behaves as if it were all things to all men, it is inevitable that inconsistencies and contradictions will be exposed. This is what has happened with their statement on the Eastside.
It is also jumping the gun somewhat to be critical of something which has not even materialised. It may be that the Government receives proposals for rental housing on the Eastside or it might not. The process does not close until September and nobody knows what will be forthcoming at this early stage.
Moreover, the Government was returned to office in October, on the basis of a manifesto which sets out what its policies are. The Opposition is perfectly free to agree or to disagree. However it must understand that the Government was elected by more than double the votes of the Opposition, to implement those policies, and not the views and the policies of the Opposition.
Everybody knows that there is a release of properties into the Government housing rental stock with every development of affordable or elderly rental accommodation. Indeed, the Chief Minister has already made it clear in Parliament that this requirement for rental homes would be clearer once the sale of hundreds of affordable homes currently underway have been completed. The Opposition is putting the cart before the horse.