Whenever John Key is asked to explain how he will fund some new spending or his still secret tax cuts, he says â€˜we’ll cut waste/rein in spending’ and the only example he ever gives is ‘we’ll cap the core public service at 36,000′. This, he claims, will save â€˜$500 million over 3 years’ or $166 million a year (= 0.25% of government spending) and that will pay for whatever Key happens to promise that day.
Problem is, Key has promised to fund projects with this money so many times it is now, in the words of Labour’s Wellington Central candidate Grant Robertson, ‘spread so thinly it’s transparent’.
Key has promised to spend the $166 million on:
– tax cuts ($3 billion each year minimum)
– national education standards for schools (tens of millions)
– a new prison (hundreds of millions)
– boot camps (tens of millions)
– administering a Victim Compensation Levy (at least $5 million)
– school or trade training for 16 and 17 year olds (tens of millions)
Has Key discovered a way to spend $166 million thirty times over? Or is he going to use it to invest in magic beans and golden egg laying geese?