Columnists slam Key’s lack of plan

Written By: - Date published: 4:14 pm, February 13th, 2010 - 110 comments
Categories: gst, john key, Media, phil goff, tax - Tags: , , , ,

Tracy Watkins awards the first week of Parliamentary politics this year to Phil Goff, and points out that it’s as much due to his and Labour’s much improved performance as it is to Key and National’s shambolic, over-promise, under-deliver governance.

“It is rare for an Opposition leader to be gifted such an easy ride out of the starting blocks. No wonder Mr Goff was mopping his brow by the end of his speech. Over in National’s camp, meanwhile, there must have been plenty of hand-wringing.

A hike in GST (yes, it has only been flagged at this stage, but it is unthinkable that Mr Key would float the idea only to yank it) gives oxygen to Mr Goff’s “for the many, not the few” narrative, given that the corresponding tax cuts will disproportionately benefit the rich, while the lowest-paid will probably come out even at best…

So National’s job is to sell a rise in GST as good not just for the economy but for households. But that is a tall order when it can’t even put dollar figures to its compensatory tax cuts. As a Fairfax survey this week showed, people are open to the idea of paying higher prices, so long as it is accompanied by tax cuts”

The critical thing here is the last part “so long as it is accompanies by tax cuts”. The reality is always going to be that low and middle income Kiwis (and remember the median income is about $28,000) are not going to be getting tax cuts out of National. They’ll be lucky to get compensation to break even. All the rest will be going into tax cuts for the rich.

“So it is not an impossible sales job. But it won’t be until the Budget, still three months away, that National is ready to fill in the blanks. The danger in the meantime is that expectations over the size of any corresponding tax cuts will get out of whack with what is actually possible.”

I’m still waiting for my ‘North of $50’ tax cut. I don’t see people falling for another con-job.

“The spin ahead of Mr Key’s speech was that he would launch his second year in office prepared to take the sort of risks that last year’s global meltdown denied him.

Unfortunately, the hype ran ahead of the speech… the speech was panned as lacklustre and timid

All the Key camp’s Big Tuesday hype succeeded in doing was leave the talk of a big, bold economic plan trailing in the wake of the reality”

Naitonal has no plan to lift economic growth. Fiddling around with tax rates sure as hell won’t do it, even the Tax Working Group doesn’t claim that. Behind the hype, this is a do nothing government with no plan to fulfill its ‘aspirational’ promises.

John Armstrong makes similiar points:

Exactly who and how many really stand to benefit big-time from the proposed reduction in tax rates – and how much spin-off there is for National in the process – are the big questions.

Someone on $70,000 would receive about $21 more in net terms. Someone on the average income of around $50,000 will get an extra $12 – about the same as they would have got under National’s earlier plan. Those on $30,000 will get barely $3 more.

And someone on the Prime Minister’s salary will get $500 a week while a full-time worker on the minimum wage won’t get enough to cover the increased GST on their family’s food bill.

Key’s concept of fairness, however, seems to apply only horizontally

He wants to reward rich tax cheats by cutting the tax of all rich people. Middle New Zealand is invisible to him.

Labour’s Phil Goff probably cannot believe his luck. Key and English have gifted him and his finance spokesman David Cunliffe the opportunity to fiercely differentiate their party from National. It puts Labour on the side of the many who look like not gaining very much, while National is seen as aligning itself with the few who will gain a lot.

Labour is already defining the debate as tax cuts for the rich paid for by the poor.

There is grumbling in the Beehive that this is simplistic sloganeering.

I can hear the Nats whinging now: ‘don’t tell them we’re ripping them off to give ourselves tax cuts, they won’t vote for us if they know’

Armstrong doesn’t forget that this was supposed to be a growth plan, not a tax cut money grab:

By any economic measure, the master plan released by John Key this week for galvanising New Zealand’s productive sectors can be criticised for failing to be really bold.

It could be more accurately criticised as invisible. Just as the Jobs Summit had no disernable effect on joblessness, Key’s growth ‘plan’ won’t alter growth one iota.

Finally, Fran O’Sullivan nails it:

On Tuesday Key made the cardinal political sin of over-promising and under-delivering. He promised a bold economic programme would be unveiled in his opening statement to Parliament.

Instead, we got a money grab for the rich. Reinstatement of R&D spending that National cut less than a year ago, and the re-announcement of about 50 existing items of spending, many of them from Labour’s time. Nothing bold, more like a limp flag of surrender.

110 comments on “Columnists slam Key’s lack of plan ”

  1. 350ppm 1

    On RadioNZ’s Focus on Politics this afternoon, Key took a stab at Labour’s “chewing gum” tax cuts and was just plain lying about the cuts most NZers might get under National’s half-baked plan:

    • Pascal's bookie 1.2

      I like how he explained that the main idea behind lifting GST and lowering income taxes is to incentivise saving over going out to restaurants etc.

      A few minutes later he responded to the idea that raising GST in a dodgy time for the economy might be the opposite of a stimulus, (ie reducing demand), by saying that he thought it would do the opposite, because the income tax cuts would mean everyone would feel like they had more money in their hands and they’d go out and spend it.

      The host didn’t call him out on the fact that Key apparently thinks his main idea behind the policy is in conflict with what he thinks will happen.

  2. Mac1 2

    Have you listened to the entire broadcast?

  3. Mac1 3

    So we get to do the work, eh? Research, lad, research.

  4. Clipbox 4

    4:40, He says Australia’s top tax rate is 30c when its actually 45c

    • Did he intentionally lie or was it an honest mistake?

      • Clipbox 4.1.1

        I don’t think you can make a 15c honest mistake

        • kiwiteen123

          no I suppose not… He may have been confused with another country or something. did the host correct him?

          • mickysavage

            He is either incompetent or a liar. In either case he should not be our Prime Minister. Helen Clark was so much better.

            Do you remember her or was she before your time?

          • illuminatedtiger

            Always making excuses. Your dear leader must be proud!

          • Mac1

            Kiwiteen, did you ever meet Helen Clark? Or Moore? Or Palmer? Or Lange? Or Rowling? or Kirk?

            I’ve met them all. When I was about your purported age, in 1969, I met Kirk at the StudAss at Canterbury Uni. I didn’t believe that he could withstand American pressure, so I asked him, “Can you withdraw NZ troops from Vietnam (as you say you will)?”

            He looked at me, and I can still recall the quizzical look he gave me, and said, “Of course I can.” In the term of the 1972-75 Labour Govt, he did just that.

            I had the same directness from and trust in Helen Clark. You know not of what you speak, laddie.

            • kiwiteen123

              Are we not allowed to have an opinion on someone because we haven’t met them?
              Are we not allowed to vote for someone because we haven’t met them?
              That is the nature of Central-Government and NZ rules do not prohibit people from voting for someone we haven’t met.
              I don’t know why you want to restrict freedom of speech!

              • Mac1

                Cripes, take up archery, laddie. That’s a long bow you have just drawn. You must take me through your adventures of logic…. sometime.

                You dissed Helen Clark, but you have not met her. I have. Your opinion, unfounded as it is, does not come within an arrow’s flight of what I have seen, heard and read about.

                Back to the butts, laddie.

              • Am I not allowed to have an opinion on Clark?

              • Draco T Bastard

                Am I not allowed to have an opinion on Clark?

                You have the wrong opinion of Helen Clark. I suspect this is from the lies that you have been fed and that you have uncritically believed.

              • No opinion is “wrong”. It just differs from others.

              • the sprout

                i can see why you might want to believe that

              • illuminatedtiger

                Christ he probably thinks Helen Clark is Luke Skywalker’s lesbian father. That’s the kind of hate campaign National launched against the women (literally).

              • @tiger
                Don’t troll. Don’t attack me.

              • Draco T Bastard

                No opinion is “wrong’.

                When an opinion contradicts fact, as yours does, then it happens to be wrong.

      • Mac1 4.1.2

        Ever heard of intellectual rigour? Try it.

  5. Clipbox 5

    Nope he didn’t.

  6. Shona 6

    The tax rate in oz on $180,000 is 31.2 cents in the dollar every dollar earned over $180,000 is taxed at 45c in the dollar.( so Key was being misleading and inaccurate)
    The big difference between ozzie and nz tax rates is where the bulk of the wage earning population is $35,000AUD pays 8 cents in the dollar and no GST (grab, snatch and take ) on staple food items.In NZ they would be paying 19.3 cents in the dollar and GST on everything including Rates. An annual income of difference of $3955 or $76 per week.11.3% gross income more in the hand per week.
    If you don’t have time to listen you shouldn’t be commenting KT You really are a lazy little twat aren’t you ?

    • RedLogix 6.1

      It’s kind of repetitive linking to this graph… but when you take into account the full costs of social security in terms of PAYE tax, complusory employee and employer contributions (which a simply a form of indirect taxation)… then NZ is a very low tax country.

      Only Mexico and South Korea are lower.

  7. bobo 7

    kiwiteen123 are you an auto-reply bot or mistaken the comments section for your twitter page?

  8. Much as I support the right of freedom of speech and the desirability of robust debate Kiwiteen’s comments are driving me around the bend.

    He asks people to prove things when he has no proof that what they are saying is not true. His comments remind me of discussions I had with others when I was aged 9.

    He sabotages threads and this is either because he is really stupid or it is sophisticated sabotage.

    Can he at least be put into moderation with a requirement that his comments are at least coherent?

    [lprent: I’m starting to lean towards it. But even teenagers sometimes grow up…. ]

    • Just because I ask someone to prove something doesn’t mean I don’t think it is true.
      I believe in a robust debate and find it good to have all angles represented by all people. Micky obviously does not.
      I find Micky annoying. That does not mean he should be banned.

      • mickysavage 8.1.1

        But KT you do not create a robust debate, you stifle it. You keep requiring people to prove what they are saying is right when you do not have the slightest shred of evidence that it is not right.

        You read an argument, adopt a diametrically opposed position and then state it without the slightest shred of support for your position.

        This is not “robust debate”, this is “really stupid”.

        You should have some facts behind you before advancing a position.

        • kiwiteen123

          Your last comment contradicts your first.
          I believe in a debate where people present strong evidence on both sides.
          Before deciding what side of a debate to take I look at the evidence. If there is not sufficient evidence, I ask for more.

          • mickysavage

            Your last comment contradicts your first.

            Er no it doesn’t.

            Before deciding what side of a debate to take I look at the evidence. If there is not sufficient evidence, I ask for more.

            No you don’t. If it is a left wing idea you dispute it without proof.

            I am sure that back in the 15th century your ancestors refused to accept that the earth rotated around the sun.

            • kiwiteen123

              I’m sure that back in the 1970’s you were a global-cooling alarmist.
              You said “you should have some facts behind you before advancing a position”
              You said “you keep requiring people to prove what they are saying is right”
              You can’t have it both ways

              • I’m sure that back in the 1970’s you were a global-cooling alarmist.

                Er no I wasn’t. Do you have any proof or do you form strong conclusions without proof. How do you know I was even born back in the 1970s?

                You said “you should have some facts behind you before advancing a position’


                You said “you keep requiring people to prove what they are saying is right’ You can’t have it both ways

                It is not both ways. You should have facts behind you before you advance a position. You should also have facts behind you before suggesting that others are not telling the truth. Both propositions are completely reconcilable.

              • The Voice of Reason

                It’s hypocritical to demand a standard of proof from others you aren’t willing to provide for your own position, Teeny. Put up or shut.up.

              • How do you know that my ancestors thought that the sun revolved around the earth.
                You don’t.
                “you should have some facts behind you before advancing a position’
                I asked for some proof. That does not mean that I don’t believe 350ppm is lying.

              • How do you know that my ancestors thought that the sun revolved around the earth.

                Wild stab in the dark. Bit like most of your comments.

                I asked for some proof. That does not mean that I don’t believe 350ppm is lying.

                No it means you are an idiot. You challenge points of view when you have no proof that the point of view is wrong.

                This is a really important post and we have spent 80% of the comments debating your commenting style. Is this a success for you?

              • A) This is not an important post.
                B) I did not start the debate.
                C) So your “rules” apply to me but not you?

  9. big bruv 9


    Since when have you supported the idea of free speech?

    You were one of the EFA biggest cheerleaders.

  10. Big bruv

    You were one of the EFA biggest cheerleaders.

    Sure was.

    I am a strong supporter of free speech. The really expensive speech the EFA tried to regulate is a different case.

    I prefer there is a level playing field rather than one tilted in favour of the wealthy and their supporters.

    BTW what did the EFA stop anyone from saying?

  11. Richard 11

    Can you believe it – Kiwiteen hasn’t blogged for over an hour. Must have been bedtime.

    • Still up.
      I just choose not to make silly comments on important posts.

      [lprent: Incorrect. You tend to put comments on posts that you don’t understand. In this case the post was about a significant shift in the political columnists thinking from the sycophantic chorus last year. We’ve been watching these people since the site started. ]

      • Armchair Critic 11.1.1

        Maybe the subject of the post could be discussed, then. Whaddya think?
        I reckon the Big Tuesday speech was pretty underwhelming and that it hasn’t been a particularly good week for the government. You?

        • kiwiteen123

          Bad week for the Government.

          • BLiP


            Taking the sum total of your contribution to this site over the last wee while has left me with the the sickening feeling I imagine your poor mother endures every time she climbs into the bio-hazard suit required to transport your sheets from the bedroom to the washing machine. The level of intellectual firepower, the mind-numbing inanity, and try-hard failure at humour leads the sane person to the inevitable conclusion that the sole reason for your existence is to act as a life support system for a cluster of pimples.

            With only your best interests at heart, can I suggest that you have chosen the wrong medium in which to strut about like Cock of the Week. You are are far more suited to something like IRC where thoughtless rapid fire responses are required to maintain your position, where little, if any, consideration is given to spelling or punctuation, where there are endless flame wars, and where your contribution is, unlike here, nowhere near as prominent as a big turd in a soup bowl. There you will find like minded creatures to support and encourage you, as well as provide the social needs you seem so much to be seeking.

            After you’ve spent a few years there, maybe even after you’ve got an education – (don’t study economics, please; its too much like Scientology) feel free to return. If you must, drop in every now and then and make one or perhaps two thoughtful comments. By all means, maintain your weird little site and writhe in giggling amusement at our follies and ineptitude. Otherwise, please, just shut the fuck up.

            haere rā

          • illuminatedtiger

            Is this “kiwiteen123” representative of the general intelligence of the Young Nat of today? John Key should be worried.

  12. logie97 12

    @Blip 1048

    Hallelujah. Long overdue! I am sure that casual visitors to The Standard must be unimpressed that commenters pay attention to this tiresome child. ( The only positive for this site might be that it ups the “hits” every time the Teen comments.) It is a shame “it” cannot be dumped into permanent moderation. Perhaps if we ignore it, it might go away.

    • lprent 12.1

      There are few enough people actually interested in politics in NZ at more than a merely casual (how does it affect me) level. My guesstimates are a max of 10k people in a population of 4 and bit million.

      I hate to discourage anyone even the young. I suspect that the toleration level here is higher than elsewhere.

      • logie97 12.1.1

        don’t want to labour a point. A casual visitor (e.g. person new to political blogs) can become a regular visitor and ultimately contributor if the quality of discussion is worth reading.

        I know that coffee break discussions often get around to “blogs” and a common comment about two prominent right wing pages is that they cannot be bothered with the discussions because of the inane and foul contributions.

  13. Jim Nald 13

    It’s becoming wearying to observe the Govt’s shambles mixed with shenanigans 🙁

  14. Santi 14

    As a right-winger, I found John Key completely out of his depth as Prime Minister. He’s nothing but a timid version of the socialist Helen Clark, whom at least had the courage to lead her party.

    Key is lazy, aloof and detached from reality. He relies on spin doctors, P.R. machine and Farrar, his lackey and sycophantic blogger.

    One year later Key has talked a lot and delivered bugger all.

    • the sprout 14.1

      well said Santi.
      on Q+A this morning everything he said was smeared in a thick gobby layer of KY.
      you just get the impression he’s lying through his teeth

  15. henry olongo 15

    Can you bar this kiwiteen 123 troll? She’ll fail pols 101 if this keeps up.
    Clearly her motivation is to derail any interesting debate on a relevant issue, Put her out of her misery so she can go back to facebook and deborah cone hill style lightweight fantasyland lolling.

    [lprent: Have a look on OpenMike today. ]

  16. Maggie 16

    Its taken a while, but does this mean Tracy hasn’t got a crush on John any more?

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