Good politics is meeting or exceeding expectations. Good spin is setting expectations.
Key and English have put a lot of effort into setting expectations for the budget. (2000 Kiwis a week a probably wishing they would put effort into protecting jobs). The fruits of which will be this, if everything goes well for them:
English announces tax cuts cancelled because economic conditions are as bad as we knew they would be months before the election. He will suspend or slash contributions the Superannuation Fund that gained a billion dollars last month. There will be other cuts too. Hidden away.
He’ll say it’s necessary to avoid a credit downgrade.
Nevermind that only one ratings agency, S&P, has even suggested we might get a downgrade in the future if things go bad. Nevermind we are rated by Moody’s to be a better credit risk than the US and UK.
Hopefully, for the Tories, the media lap it up. Especially when S&P, oh so conveniently, announces the same day there will be no downgrade.
Cue reporter standing outside Parliament: ‘well, English and Key have done what they had to do. They’ve avoided a credit downgrade’.
Nevermind that a credit downgrade was no more a real threat than Don Quixote’s windmills*.
Key and English have convinced the media the windmills are giants. They will be lauded for bravely seeing off the threat.