Broken promises

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, May 28th, 2009 - 27 comments
Categories: budget 2009, election 2008, national - Tags:

National have already broken lots of pre-election promises and policies.

So much for broken promises of the past. Today in their budget National will break plenty more promises. The big one of course is their often promised tax cuts. But there will be more.

Here’s a game you can play at home.. Check out this big list of National’s pre-election promises. Keep track of how many they break in this budget, and in the months ahead…

27 comments on “Broken promises”

  1. vto 1

    You sound surprised mrs guest post. Which would be surprising in itself. It’s what governments do. The public knows this and simply gets a glazed look whenever it happens. All the more reason to halt the ever-expanding bubble of central government. Something the left should take on board.

    • Mr Magoo 1.1

      vto I have to agree with you in the local context. Apply your statements to National governments more harshly and to others less so. ACT would be more likely to actually carry out its policy no matter what than national – there is a certain evil honesty about them I have to at least tip my hat to.

      This government’s entire election plan was to promise their butts off, play down the recession warnings and then come to a “realisation” after the fact and roll back all their big ticket promises. This was their strategy last time also, which IrishBill has pointed out.

      Labour/greens/etc called them on it before the election. People of course ignored it because they mistook tax cuts for lotto winnings or something.

      You can tell they were lying by the fact that they did not change their original policies after learning about the recession and simply invented new (completely false…as usual) spin to justify them. (which almost all credible business commentators disagreed with – and no, herald commentators/opinionists are NOT respectable sources…)
      It is well understood that permanent tax cuts for the wealthy are one of the LEAST stimulatory things you can do for an economy. As a side benefit, its secondary effect is to increase government debt or reduce government spending. The former hurts the country more generally long term, the latter reverses the stimulatory benefits of the tax cuts entirely with interest.
      Here is a table with a random example I googled of what I am talking about. Similar figures and such can be found all about the place:,682215,682360

      Yet billy boy can be quoted saying the bog opposite all over the place. I believe he used the word “perfect” a lot when describing his polcy. What would have been “better than perfect” would be what he aussie’s did as in a one time payment.
      What would have been “perfecter still” would have been giving all beneficiary and hard up families supermarket vouchers. (something WINZ already does sparingly)

      It was disingenuous and it is hurting our country. Now it SHOULD be a joke.

      However the laughable truth is that people are now praising National for rolling back their future fake tax cuts because of the damage they would do?!!?

      It is enough to send someone mad I tell you….

  2. IrishBill 2

    Sorry vto but you are wrong. However the perception that breaking promises is what governments do has become widespread since the emergence of the New Right and their thirty year campaign for “small” government (I use inverted commas because almost unfailingly the size of the government isn’t the issue for the New Right so much as the size of the share capital gets from it).

    You may want to check this link and the research behind it:

    It seems the last National govt was the worst promise-breaker. Maybe this lot are looking to beat their record.

    • r0b 2.1

      – 4th bullet point link is broken – has “” not “”
      – 5th bullet point seems mangled

  3. vto 3

    Well you have a kind of a point IB but whether it is breaking promises or simply charging off and doing as they wish with no mandate etc, the actions are the same. Muldoon easily sits in that camp, which was well before the “new right”. It should also be borne in mind that the ‘new right’ arose from the left.

    Perception and reality are tricky bedfellows, however it is clear that that is what the public think of govt. Evidence – the standing of politicians in surveys (next to car dealers / real estate agents / bankers / insert you favourite non-favourite here).

    The public have no great expectations of those in govt. Well that is perhaps not quite right – at election time they all live in hope of the great new hope, but after some time in office it is all back to the same old same old. This govt certainly seems to be slotted into that same slot that’s for sure.

    And it was the same with the last govt – recall the calls of ‘where’s the mandate?’ re the anti-smacking law for example.

    It would be very wrong to continue (as it has the last 30 years and more, despite calls for smaller govt) to concentrate power in the hands of ANY organisation, especially one which is already the largest in the land. Power is better spread around. Which is generally what the ‘new right’ call is about, perversely. Giving the power back to the people. The left takes it and concentrates it. The right wants to give it back to the people and spread it around – and no matter what you think of Wodney, that is what he generally rambles on about.

    some bits of 2c..

  4. IrishBill 4

    No vto, the right want to transfer it to vested interests. And your assumption that government is the most powerful single grouping in the country is also wrong. Since the neo-liberal revolution of the 4th Labour government international capital has a much more powerful position in NZ than government does.

    • vto 4.1

      IB, sure transfer to vested interests is a bogey that the right has to deal with (lest the right dies a death). But the bulk of the right (from the centre outwards) have no desire for that type of transfer whatsoever and will and do resist it (evidence – losing votes to the left when it is perceived to have happenned). And they would rather the power is given back to the people and away from wonks in welly.

      Re international capital power. That is not an organisation. That is a group of, um, things that together do have an effect on the country. A significant effect. But in actuality they dont have such power – the power is spread within that grouping of international capital, each exercising their own action independently of each other. It looks like power but that is only because of the effect of many many similar actions – the appearance of a herd of wildebeest moving and swaying with the seasons and plains, if you like. Not power as such, just an effect that has the appearance of a power.

      I was referring to organisations. And, getting all pedantic, the govt’s power does in fact exceed the power of such a loose grouping. Hugely. Obviously. Govts do from time to time hobble the likes of international capital with things like restrictions of movement of capital (and then the herd stampedes and does all sorts of damage unfortunately).

      The government is the most powerful orgainsation in the land. Hence it must be monitored very closely. Especially when the govt tries to further concentrate its power – example, state funding of political parties.

      • vto 4.1.1

        Actually, a little more on that IB.. note US govts actions over the years in breaking up other organisations with excessive power (or even power that threatens govt in a minor way). example, Standard Oil

        • Pascal's bookie

          Oh yes, big oil got broked up real good. Back in the day. Since WWII of course, big oil, big pharma, big agriculture, and Wall st, pretty much let the US govt know who is boss on a regular basis.

          And it’s interesting that you think these things threaten the govt, rather than the people, but there you go.

          • vto

            Your point P’s B? In fact the US is a good example of where the power is spread throughout. And look how well it works – stable and prosperous (please save any further cynicism). Power is spread, within govt, between the executive, the judiciary and the um, whats the word for the elected, with each having power over the other, unlike NZ where it is concentrated in the executive. Power is also spread of course through other groups / groupings such as business, military, voters, religious groups, minorities, majorities, the list goes on. All compete etc, but my point is that power is spread and it leads to stability, and also it seems to prosperity.

            Perhaps compare with nations wjere power is concentrated – NZ, Fiji, Russia, etc.

            I just don’t understand why the left has abandoned the “Power to the People” call.. It is today “Power to the Government”.

          • Mr Magoo


            stable? example?


            where do you start? I will save further cynacism because this is such utter rubbish it is not worth the effort.

            Let’s just start with comparing our government and economy to the US. How are we at all comparable on any level??

            They are not a good example of anything to do with this country. Their entire framework is based on completely different premises and held up by completely different foundations.
            we are not an oil currency
            we are tiny
            we hold monopolies on almost nothing
            we don’t heavily influence how other (significant) countries are run that supply us
            no major countries are dependant on us for anything

            And that is before you start considering what the US is a good example of…

            The US has been agreeing that it has not been a good example and their economy is in tatters. This statement has always been a joke, it is just that now it SHOULD be more obvious than ever…

          • vto

            sorry magoo how was my post not correct? my point is highly specific. not some generic ramble such as yours.

            i knew it would be pointless positing such on a blog like this with all its attendant blinkers blindspots and bozos.

          • Pascal's bookie

            Vto, thanks, I agree with much of what you say, but we disagree on interpretation perhaps. I haven’t the time to explain why and how at the mo.

            But just quickly: The branch that you had trouble remembering, the legislature, is the one that is supposed to control the purse, declare war and write the laws. They are the only branch in the US system that is democratic, and is the branch that represents ‘the people’ most directly’.

            And yet, ironically (and I’m not drawing any meaning from this) it’s the one people have most trouble remembering. Why is that? They are the branch that has been neutered most ruthlessly.

            Ask yourself who has benefited most from the US’s expensive wars since WWII, paid for by the people and their great grandchildren. I put it to you as a question. All those 100’s of billions since 2001 alone, with so little oversight it’s ridiculous. Has the taxpayer benfited? Or perhaps other interests. Whose interests was the govt acting in? Was it the left or the righth driving?

            You cite the break up of Standard Oil as an example of the govt being in charge. In the century plus since then, I suggest the roles have reversed.

          • Mr Magoo

            Actually vto your statements were VERY generic. Actually your statements were all broad sweeping generalisations and conclusions at the highest of levels. (i.e. I love the US and how it works thus the idealogy and structure must be great in all cases)

            In fact I believe my comment was that the comparison was ridiculous because EVEN the most generic comparisons are so far out of whack the specifics are not even worth talking about.

            But I am probably wasting my time explaining this to a right wing troll…or whatever the opposite of your irrelevant insult of my post was.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2

        You’re delusional vto:

        All the parties on the right (excluding Labour) have an authoritarian bent.

  5. serpico 5

    And who is the biggest employer in New Zealand? Gummint I think?

    Moderation is a tool to silence.

    [lprent: If that is directed at me, then you are wrong. It is a tool to control lousy behaviour that disrupts discussion. Read the policy. ]

  6. r0b 6

    On the tax cut promise, Brian Rudman has done an excellent piece, National steels itself to squirm. Before the election, English promised of National’s tax cut package:

    “National has structured its credible economic package to take account of the changing international climate. Our tax cut programme will not require any additional borrowing.”

    A few days later, Mr Key launched “a tax package for our times” that is “appropriate for the current conditions”. He said it would require “no additional borrowing, or cuts to frontline services to fund it. There is, in fact, a small saving to be made, of $282 million”.

    Somehow, cutting taxes dramatically was going to increase government income. On December 16, Mr English was up in the House confirming “National will not be going back on any of those promises, as we fully costed and funded them“.

    The Government is now making out some economic thunderbolt has suddenly hit New Zealand and thrown their pre-election calculations out the window.

    But even economic ignoramuses like myself knew a global crisis was nigh. The experts had been saying so for long enough.

    National never honestly expected to deliver:

    Almost since the day they were elected into office, National’s leadership has been softening us up to the likelihood they’ll renege on their key election promise – a $4 billion, three-year programme of personal tax cuts. …

    In the commercial world, such an obvious breach of promise would be actionable in the courts. Unsurprisingly, the legislators that draw up the laws to protect us from the business wide-boys carefully exempt themselves from similar sanctions.

    It was all just an election bribe. There ought to be a law against it…

    • vto 6.1

      r0b, completely agree re this …

      “In the commercial world, such an obvious breach of promise would be actionable in the courts. Unsurprisingly, the legislators that draw up the laws to protect us from the business wide-boys carefully exempt themselves from similar sanctions.

      It was all just an election bribe. There ought to be a law against it ”

      And it is further backing for my contention that power should not be concentrated in their hands.

      • r0b 6.1.1

        Do you have an alternative system to propose vto? Anarchy? Genuinely interested in what you think the options are…

        • vto

          Ha ha, anarchy has its own symmetry but can be a little dangerous.

          I just get very wary of the less savoury aspects of the human character, especially when exposed to any levers of power. It seems we can’t help ourselves we humans.

          The current system in NZ imo has many many good features and a few not so good. Simply finetuning and amending the existing system has to be the best way to deal with the flaws. The concentration of power in the executive is one example where it could be improved – say by enshrining some sort of Bill of Rights (not just legislation) so that the executive is subject to a form of judicial control and the legislature has some limits. This dilutes the power. Another amendment may be the greater use of binding referendums – again it dilutes and spreads the power.

          So my solution would be along those sort of lines – amendments to dilute and spread power. No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. You know, power is the greatest aphrodisiac. People often go on about business people and their lust for money. From my own experience few such people actually lust after money – for most it is the power that is the draw (after they have a bit of money to get started). Keen eyes need to be kept on the power positions within a society.

          What you think?

          • r0b

            I agree in principle, not anarchy, refine the current system. We would probably disagree on detail, and I’m not sure what you mean by “some sort of Bill of Rights (not just legislation)”. I don’t want to tangle everything up with more fat cats – more judiciary, second house etc, just a mess.

            I favour state funding of political parties (all secret money banned), longer terms for government but no polly can serve more than two terms, bans on concentration of media ownership and a much more active and investigative media (including state funded) to keep the system honest, more formal use of referenda, and perhaps some form of emergency referendum where 60% of the population can demand an immediate election (or a regular check, like a public version of the confidence votes in parliament). But I’m just wittering off the top of my head in a hurry here, haven’t thought this through.

      • vto 6.1.2

        There is a law against it r0b, it’s called the Fair Trading Act. Just need to amend the definition of trade to include politics. “… misleading and deceptive conduct in trade…”

        edit – woops, that was meant to slot in about 12noon

        • Pascal's bookie


          I’ve often fantasised about having QC’s put the party leaders through a televised, live, under oath grilling during the campaign. Have a basic set of standard questions, three follow ups allowed on each. If they dinnae follow through once in power they have to defend theyselfs agin perjury and some sorta breach o’ faith charges. If there are extenuating circumstances for not following through on what they said, fair enoughski.

          Also, and too, experienced qc’s acting on some sort of warrant from the supreme court mebbe a little more correctly motivated than a numpty journo trying to squeeze a gotcha out of them before the ad break in 9,8,7…

          • gargle

            And here’s the rest of us thinking you fantasised about taking it up the chuff from Mr Ed.

          • Pascal's bookie

            Geez, whatever rocks your boat gargle. Just don’t tell me about it ok?

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