Today Phil Goff’s question to Key is:
“Does he agree with the statements in the House by his Minister of Finance on 16 December 2008 that ‘Yes, I can confirm that National will not be going back on any of those promises, as we fully costed and funded them’?”
His angle is obviously going to be that National hadn’t really costed its tax cuts, they were just hollow promises to get into power, and National’s dropping them is a betrayal of the voters’ trust. Which is all true.
But the problem is that Labour opposes those tax cuts. It’s pretty disingenuous to then go and criticise the government for dropping them (yes, even though National made disingenuous attacks regularly, even though there’s a neat angle). It just jars too much to succeed as a meme when it’s coming from Labour.
The other problem is that Key will simply respond “we’re in a crisis, we’ve got to do the responsible thing”. The polls show voters already understand tax cuts are unaffordable. Far from looking like Key’s betraying the voters, Labour is just inviting him to look pragmatic.
This should be a good period for Labour – National’s handling of the economy has been abysmal, there’s a Black Budget coming which will give Goff a chance to lay out Labour’s alternative vision, and there’s the supercity issue – but they’ve got to get their act together.