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Commentators damning of Key’s visionless speech

Written By: - Date published: 5:46 pm, February 9th, 2010 - 97 comments
Categories: Economy, john key, national/act government, tax - Tags:

Bernard Hickey: He had a chance to follow up all the talk of real reform to create a ‘step change’. He had all the experts under the sun from inside and outside of government telling him he needed to do something. He commissioned reports. He talked a good game. Today he did nothing. He did worse than nothing. He shut down the debate.

He is accepting the poverty and the hopelessness that is often attached to the working poor in rental accommodation. He is saying tough. My backers own property. We won. You lost. Eat that.

He has finally shown his colours. He is a mediocre leader without the vision or the ability to change New Zealand. He is a seat-warmer who is too scared to scare the masses. He is saying he wants to get re-elected. How uninspiring. How pedestrian.

He is saying he is a not a real leader. He is saying he will follow his followers.

Bill Rosenberg: National has missed an opportunity to make significant changes in our tax structure and create jobs. “The Prime Minister glosses over the steep rise in unemployment revealed just last week, and his statement does precious little for those out of a job or whose jobs are at risk,”

Russel Norman: “The honeymoon is over for John Key’s Government but sadly most New Zealanders won’t be able to afford a divorce lawyer.” He says National is intent on digging New Zealand into an economic and environmental black hole, and raising GST will only hurt low and middle income Kiwis.

John Armstrong: John Key’s promised quick march towards economic nirvana still looks like progressing at little more than a crawl. On a measure of boldness, John Key’s 23-page statement to Parliament scores about four out of ten.

Brian Fallow: Tax, the prime minister proclaims, is a powerful lever for the Government to boost the economy’s performance. It’s a pity then that instead of grasping that lever he is proposing to just crook his little finger around it. Business is unlikely to be blown away by the boldness of the vision outlined in today’s agenda-setting speech. Indeed the average thistledown would not be blown away.

I’ve just finished reading Key’s full statement. The National MPs seems very impressed with the fact is is 9,000 words long. Well, who said you can’t waffle for 9,000 words? There is very very little in the statement of any detail. Certainly nothing that would begin to close the gap with Australia. According to Labour, it includes over 50 re-announcements of existing spending and policies, including many that Labour put in place. Still waiting for the great leap forward.

97 comments on “Commentators damning of Key’s visionless speech ”

  1. Russel Norman is not exactly an un-biased commentator.

  2. Santi 2

    shonKey is an empty vessel, an illusion, nothing but a pathetic Prime Minister. The Tories should (but will not) roll him.

  3. Jim Nald 3

    I am quite bemused by how John Key’s policies, or lack of, will close the gaps (NZ-Australia, productivity, etc) that he campaigned for. The latest announcement from his gap does little to provide confidence.

  4. Anne 4

    @ kiwiteen.
    outofbed is right. It’s “wun”. I know, because I did 6th form English ummm… many years ago.

  5. Marty G 5

    the ‘wun’ issue reminds me, for some reason, of the simpsons episode when the police come to the door for bart and marge yells ‘run the like wind’ pronouncing as in ‘wind up a clock’

    ‘what?’ she says ‘i’ve only ever seen it written down’.

  6. Pascal's bookie 6

    On Campbell Live key swore that someone on 40k will get 500PA in tax cuts. Also talked about aligning trusts and top income rate, that somehow morphed into a cut from 39% -> 33%.

    So if the 33 rate doesn’t move and they abolish the 39, and the lower rate drops enough to give 40K earners 500 PA, GST goes up, as do benefits, WFF, and super… I’m not seeing Mr and Mrs average wage earner getting their north of fifty dollars a week.

    • felix 6.1

      Five hundy a year? That’s only ten bucks a week innit?

        • felix

          Not much, innit?

          • wtl

            If you spend more than ~$500 a week, that $10 will be wiped out by the GST increase:

            $444+12.5% GST = ~$500
            $450+15% GST = ~$510

            • wtl

              that should $444+15% GST = ~$510 in the second line, naturally 🙂

            • Pascal's bookie

              Key reckoned the 500 a year would cover it.

              He reckoned something like:

              $40k – 10k tax leaves 30k. You’d spend about 200 a week on rent or mortgage (hah!) leaving he reckons about 20k.

              Even if, he says, you spent all of that money, (bloody wastrels!), the increase in GST would be costing about 500 a year. Which is what he promissed someone on 40k will be getting.

              That’s from memory, with master bookie (3) vacillating in my ear between whether a pirate robot would be better that a spaceman builder. That discussion was making more sense, so I may have got some of Key’s math screwy, but it’s pretty close to what he said.

              captcha: jobs (not mentioned)

              • felix

                Guess it’s been a while since Key had to pay any rent or mortgage, eh?

                And it’s pirate robot, no question. Way too many gravity issues with being a spaceman builder.

              • Pascal's bookie

                I was leaning that way too, but himself pointed out,
                loaded with condescension, that

                “Dad. Spaceman Builder can make pirate robots”

                Which is a fucking good point.

              • RedLogix

                And you still haven’t added in what happens when the bastard landlord knocks on the door and bangs the rent up 20%.

                (Median rent = $320pw) * 0.2 = $64 pw increase.

              • felix

                That is a fucking good point.

              • batgirl

                Gst isn’t payable on rent.

              • RedLogix

                Gst isn’t payable on rent.

                Nothing to do with GST, and everything to do with a massively decreased cash flow due to the proposed changes.

              • wtl

                GST is payable on rates though. Which will make up a portion of the rent. Plus what RedLogix said.

              • QoT

                Master Bookie should get a gold star for that one.

              • blacksand

                fuck off he should; it’s irrelevant whether spaceman builder can make pirate robots – he still _isn’t_ one. Pirate Robots all the way.

  7. Fisiani 7

    So National will not pursue a radical change then.
    No ACT slash and burn
    No Labour tax and spend spend spend

    No more tax or long term benefit bludgers

    Improvements in health education and law and order

    Sounds like a great year ahead

  8. rodel 8

    The sad thing is that average kiwis think (and say) ‘ AW…. He’s not doing a bad job is he?
    ” Oi quite like wot he’s doing.”.Key knows that.
    How do we combat that spin, those lies?

    • Pascal's bookie 8.1

      The group of punters Campbell Live had watching the speech were pretty unpleased.

      • kiwiteen123 8.1.1

        Most punters would be unemployed though. Not a fair sample.

        • Pascal's bookie

          There was (from memory) one beneficiary, a retired person with investment property, a small business owner, a middle income earner with mortgage, a middle income earner with freehold home, and a minimum wage earner. It’s probably up on their site if you care to look.

  9. MikeG 9

    National used to accuse Labour of being Focus Group driven – this “statement” shows that National are simply being driven by Curia polling.

  10. Blue 10

    Hmmm….PM with no balls.

    I admit I actually thought he would do something this time. He’d got everyone softened up for some major change. People were expecting it. Everyone was primed and ready for a big shake-up.

    Then along comes nothing….again.

    I always thought there was a limit to how long you could be a do-nothing, don’t-scare-the-horses PM. After all, if you don’t do anything, why even be PM?

    It’s not like he needs the money.

  11. big bruv 11

    So we raise GST then hand over that extra revenue to dole, DPB and WFF bludgers, It just does not make any sense.

    Meanwhile we continue borrowing a billion dollars a month.

    Key really is a gutless sod, today was the day to signal vast reductions in government spending, today was the day to get our economy back on track, today was the day to let every parasite in NZ know that their days of sponging off hard working Kiwis was over.

    Get your act together Labour people, this idiot needs to be taken down or forced to the right, at the moment you are letting him have the middle all to himself, and as we all know, he who holds the middle wins the elections.

    • RedLogix 11.1

      What a miserable outlook on life bb!

      New Zealand is already a very low taxed country, with stingy low wages (even if you cut PAYE to zero they would still be lower than Australia’s)… and a mean tightfisted welfare system as it is.

      And you dream of slashing this even further!!

    • Akldnut 11.2

      big bruv you arsehole.

      I work my arse off 52 hrs a week and I get WFF.

      Who the fuck are you to call me a bludger or a parasite you fucking dickhead

      • kiwiteen123 11.2.1

        now, now…
        Calm down.
        Two wrongs don’t make a right.
        I’m sure you work very hard. You know that.
        We don’t need to know.

      • big bruv 11.2.2


        Who am I to call you a bludger?

        I am a bloke who has worked hard all his life, I am a bloke who is not poor but nor am I rich, I am a bloke who takes personal responsibility for my family and my circumstances.

        But because of the WFF vote grabbing benefit I am also forced to work to help raise your kids and your family.

        Like it or not you are a bludger, you take money from me and many other hard working Kiwis because you have not been able to manage your own affairs, those of us who have not had any more kids than we can afford are being penalised because people like you think it is my job to fund your lifestyle.

        • Akldnut

          You can get fucked you moron
          You don’t know shit about me or my circumstance, if you did you would swallow your keyboard in shame for what you’ve just written.

          It’s good you’ve worked hard all your life, I commend you for that – so have I.

          It’s good you don’t have shit loads of children – neither have I

          As for not managing my own affairs – you don’t know shit so should stop making generalisations.

  12. Roger 12

    “He has finally shown his colours. He is a mediocre leader without the vision or the ability to change New Zealand. He is a seat-warmer who is too scared to scare the masses.”

    What do you mean by ‘finally’. His colours have been obvious from day one. The only thing that has finally happened was people like John Armstrong and others at the Herald have removed their rose tinted glasses and subsequently stopped writing love sonnets. The tax policy presented is weak and shows that he just backs off from real issues like the overinvestment of property at the expense of the share market. I guess it will take someone else to lead the country properly.

    • RedLogix 12.1

      The tax policy presented is weak and shows that he just backs off from real issues like the overinvestment of property at the expense of the share market.

      No sane person touches that den of insider trading thieves politely known as the NZX.

      • Pat 12.1.1

        And no sane government will introduce a land tax (and get re-elected) so Hickey’s wet dream is over.

      • Roger 12.1.2

        So true, just ask the Hanover investors, sadly it would take a heck of a lot more than tax reform to steer people away from property.

  13. Zak Credo 13

    John Key is a great – yeah get this, great – political capitalist.

    Plus he clearly understands something you don’t. Taxcuts is internal, debt repayments external. Internal plusses gotta pace internal minues. Debt servicings won’t go away and just holding payment patterns means, not least, no internal free loading.

    My pick is how he and the Finance Minister will keep balancing their act for enzed first and foremost. Sure, mebbe lose some political cred but doing the correct thing is the real deal.

    OTOH the real deal for National is not talking too much about what they are actually doing. And the sooner you catch onto that – it’s an old style – the better.

    • RedLogix 13.1

      Plus he clearly understands something you don’t. Taxcuts is internal, debt repayments external.

      Not what you righties spent 5 years screaming at Dr Cullen when you demanded he stop debt repayment and cut taxes.

      • Zak Credo 13.1.1

        THEN.. NOW..

        So how come you dive backward? You wish, or what?

        Oh, and no, five years ago, not me!

  14. I am watching Key’s speech again and the body language is appalling. He is facing away from the speaker and the opposition. He is gaunt. He does not know his lines and is reading from notes robot like. He is obviously nervous. He looks pale.

    The slogans spill awkwardly out of his mouth.

    He promises more mineral exploitation but looks really uncomfortable doing so. He is advocating that we mine our reserves.

    He wants to “unleash” something. He also wants to irrigate Canterbury.

    Is this our superman PM?

    • BLiP 14.1

      You can tell his heart really isn’t in it any more. This running the country malarky, it’s all just too hard much like hard work for him.

      Why doesn’t he just fuck off.

    • felix 14.2

      He looks really uncomfortable throughout. The reason seems clear: He’s got his backers to one side demanding the slash and burn hard-right agenda they paid for, and his middle NZ voters to the other waiting (not so patiently any more) for the $50 tax cuts they voted for and he’s too scared (not allowed?) to move either way.

      He’s impotent, afraid, and completely fucked. He just wishes it was all over so he can get his knighthood and fuck off to Hawaii or Dubai or wherever he plans to drink himself stupid for the rest of his meaningless, hollow, life.

      He’s making Goff look better and better all the time.

  15. maybe the PM job was just a stop gap til he gets his knighthood, but that hinges on whether he can deliver more dosh into his backers pockets via tax cuts and crippling the workforce

  16. Roflcopter 16

    Until Goff puts “money on the table” and clearly defines in monetary terms what the alternative is, the country isn’t gonna change.

    The speech was weak, but just sitting there howling about it isn’t going to be enough to move people. In fact, Goff and the rest of the crew howling about it is what makes this speech a winner in spite of it’s lack of depth.

    The budget is an opportunity for Goff to really show the alternative, quantify it in dollars, not rhetoric, and the people can decide for themselves.

  17. BLiP 17

    Perhaps a sign some of the trolls might understand – following Key’s speech, the New Zealand sharemarket slumped more than half a percent. Aspirational, or what?

    • Lanthanide 17.1

      That has more to do with the slump in the US sharemarket than Jon’s speech, which lets face it was so middle road as to not scare any horses; nothing that should impact the share market positively or negatively.

      Yesterday the dow jones dropped below 10,000 for the first time since November in a drop of just over 100 points.

  18. Aren’t you forgetting roflcopter who tips the balance of power?

    Like do you honestly think after the elections that the maori party, given a mandate are gonna get into bed with Key again ?

    He’s fast running out of blankets and baubles.

  19. Adrian 19

    Some of us, but mostly the journalists have missed something. The lower paid i.e the 40k examples (and bennies) are being promised tax cuts that neutralise the GST rise, but everybody over 70k looks like getting a large bonus ( this is what Phil Goff was alluding to). So where’s the money coming from for the upper end tax cuts. There’s not that much money in closing off rental property depreciation, apparently 2008 was an exceptional year for extra rebates and the 150-200mill isn’t normal. The sums don’t add up. I also remember that when GST went from 10% to 12.5% prices went up by a shit load more because less scrupulous producers and traders were able to sneak prices up and the Govt got the blame as most people can’t, or can’t be bothered doing the mental arithmatic and don’t spot the rip off. Say a spike of 5% inflation = interest rate lift = higher mortgages etc = more bloody misery. What we saw today is not the full story, something fairly serious must be being hidden. P.s Spaceman builder by a long chalk, no more lifting, no more dropped hammers, OSH and ACC happy as…end of story.

    • Pascal's bookie 19.1

      The sums don’t add up. I also remember that when GST went from 10% to 12.5% prices went up by a shit load more because less scrupulous producers and traders were able to sneak prices up and the Govt got the blame as most people can’t, or can’t be bothered doing the mental arithmatic and don’t spot the rip off

      Funny how everything is still priced at the $X.99 and $Y.95.

    • Lanthanide 19.2

      Yes, the commentators on National Radio this morning were saying that there is about a $1.5-1.6b shortfall between the $3-4b in personal tax cuts promised and the new revenue generated from 15% GST and no more depreciation on housing.

  20. I go with what Adrian says in the first few lines above.
    Gst goes up to say 15% so when then balance that of by giving tax cuts neutralizes the increase in gst. To be any advantage to low and medium income nz’ers tax cuts would need to be more than 2.5%. So based on this assumption, the governments tax take could be less.
    I’m not a tax account and and as yet Key who has had about six years to say anything constructive, but anything i have heard today leads me to believe that the total tax take will drop.

  21. I think what disappoints me the most about John Key, is that after something like six years in opposition and 12 months in Government still talks in riddles.
    Goober Key has no aspirations of his own that i have seen as yet.
    I will stick with my predictions that i made in the later part of last year, which was by the end of his and Nationals 2nd year they will both be in serious trouble and their rating plummeting.

  22. Mark 23

    The rise in GST surprised me a little however the deveil will be in nthe detail of the proposed tax custs. I expect the low paid will be harder hit as GST by its nature is a naturally regressive tax.

    The depreciation move on property is sensible. There is something inherently wrong with a system that allows an investment class to grow to 200 billion + and generate negative taxable revenues.

    The speech overall would rate a C+. This may improve once the detail is announced but at present just strikes me as an opportunity missed

  23. vto 24

    Well I was expecting something more. Disappointing.

    Bottom line – govt’s tax take from the public of NZ per annum is unchanged. Just moved around a little. Whoop-de-doo.

    The more things change the more things stay the same

    Watch the economy slowly sag this year.

    There aint nothing going on. The manufacturers are doing tough sales. The public have very tight grip on wallets. Housing is sagging again as we speak and will stay down. The band-aid stimuluses around the globe are being exposed as just that.

    Don’t mean to be gloomy but that be mine 2c at the mo.

  24. Bill 25

    Keeping the poor at least as poor as they were before in absolute terms and much poorer in relative terms. Successfully selling the whole thing as fair. Aspirations of an apprentice con man and full time bag man.

  25. Nobody seems to have understood exactly what is needed .
    We need to increase the tax intake. If we are to enjoy a high standard off living ,top education and a world class health system then we need to pay more tax ,its as simple as that. Now the trouble is how do we do that. I believe that we start raising the tax of the rich ,for years they have just not paid their fair share but have still enjoyed the priviledges and state services. There are other ways of increasing tax and these need to be debated . What about this transaction tax mooted by Jim Anderton ? Let drop this unfair duty free system ,if that aint a con nothing is . If we want a civilised decent society then we have to raise taxes , the problem is how.?

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  • Government commits $600,000 to flood recovery
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