I had heard that National’s internal polling was showing they were becoming vulnerable on social equity issues. For some reason New Zealanders are coming to think of them as a government that looks after its rich mates at the expense of everyone else (who would have thought it?)
My assumption was that they would use the budget to institute a few small third-way polices and then spin them out for PR value. I’d picked food in schools and some kind of housing subsidy.
What I wasn’t expecting was that they’d implement policy that kicks people out of their state-houses while privatising stock, jacks up the price of petrol, and continues to choke the economy, then simply claim that this was a budget that helps “vulnerable Kiwis”.
I kid you not. Bill English, sat there on Q+A yesterday and claimed that his budget, the one that continues to reward the rich and kick the poor, is part of some master plan to return to egalitarian New Zealand. From what I can make out he’s basing that on some kind of trickle down argument – you know, the kind of argument that has been used to back divisive and economically damaging policies for the last thirty years.
The thing is, I don’t think this opposites day approach to political communication will ultimately do National any good. Because, despite this government’s arrogant belief otherwise, Kiwis are smart enough to know when they’re being straight-up lied to and will vote accordingly.