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Key’s future gets shorter

Written By: - Date published: 7:03 am, May 31st, 2012 - 60 comments
Categories: budget2012, education, superannuation - Tags:

Budgets allocate money not just for 1 year, but for the next 4. When National says its putting $511m into education, that’s actually $128m a year over 4 years (less than inflation). So, it stands out like a sore thumb that National has promised to limit teacher loses at 2 per school for only 3 years. After that? Seems like Key doesn’t expect it’ll be his problem.

David Shearer: Can he and his education Minister give parents an assurance that school staffing entitlements will not be further reduced after the end of the third year?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: We will work our way through that in the fullness of time. But what is interesting is that there will be an election and quite a number of Budgets before then.

In other words, ‘it’ll be your problem, David’.

It’s a bit like Key’s attitude to superannuation. He’s not going to be around by then, so what does he care? Fran O’Sullivan skewers him:

Any competent Government has already foreshadowed the necessity to lift the age of eligibility for Government-funded superannuation, or is at least debating the various policy options in this area.

Focusing on the “here and now” at the expense of the long-term may be a winning policy in forex dealing rooms, or within companies that are focused on posting top-notch quarterly results. But as Key – and sensible company boards know – the piper ultimately has to be paid. Maybe not on their watch but on someone else’s.

While Key continues to deny reality, Shearer is discussing how it could work, including the possibility of extending the medical retirement provision in Labour’s 2011 superannuation policy down to 60. That would recognise that some people are physically buggered even before 65 while desk jockeys are able to continue to work to an older age.

The contrast comes down to the simple reality that Key no longer expects to be Prime Minister beyond 2014, while Shearer has to be thinking of governing for at least 2 terms, which takes us to 2020.

The polls back Key’s pessimism. The latest Roy Morgan confirms the trend – Labour+Greens = National, which is at a three and a half year low of 44%, and the Government confidence number is at the lowest level under National. There’s nothing on the horizon to turn that trend in National’s favour.

And, of course, National has always been about the short-term while Labour plans for the future (remember when National wanted to splurge the 2000s surpluses on tax cuts while Labour salted them away for a rainy day?).

 

60 comments on “Key’s future gets shorter ”

  1. It’s a bit like Key’s attitude to superannuation.

    There’s no doubt Key’s intransigence is a problem for National, and for the country. But there are other party problems on Super too.

    David Shearer suggested addressing it cross party (bouquet) but in a budget criticism (brickbat). It has to be cross-party, but it needs to be de-politicised.

    Shearer also suggested manual labourers should qualify for super sooner. So the Maori Party say that Maori should get it sooner too. Shorter life expectancy and all that.

    Using that logic, should women be eligible for Super later than men?

    • Um really silly comment Pete.  I suggest you don your flack jacket because some people will be really pissed with your suggestion.  Or are you trying to derail the thread?

      • Pete George 1.1.1

        It’s a serious attempt to provoke thought. Age of eligibility exemptions (picking shorter lifers) is highly problematic. The whole super debate is difficult – but we need to have it.

        I’m proposing an all-party approach to dealing with it. But I think it also needs to be driven from outside parliament.

        I’d like to see as many blogs as possible de-politicise the super issue, promote a wide discussion and push for a lasting solution.

        • Kevin Welsh 1.1.1.1

          Funny how your ‘serious attempts to provoke thought’ always end up with people being directed to YOUR blog. How about you provide your thoughts on the matter on THIS blog, and you might gain just a little credibility.

          • Pete George 1.1.1.1.1

            I actively comment across a number of blogs. It’s not the done thing to post everything everywhere, it’s common blog practice to post parts and cross-link to detail, if you look you’ll see that’s what Eddie’s done on the post. I also link from other blogs to The Standard.

            What’s unusual is your obsession with criticising the method rather than commenting on (or ignoring) the issues.

            • Jackal 1.1.1.1.1.1

              The question is one of people being allowed time at the end of their lives to appreciate the things they’ve worked for.

              The problem here is that life expectancy for Maori is shorter. Until the things that cause Maori to have shorter life expectancy are addressed, then we should have a system that still allows them enough time at the end of their working lives to enjoy the fruits of their labours.

              I don’t think this applies to a persons sex, as it’s not so much a socioeconomic situation that causes woman to live longer… It’s a biological trait. Social engineering around such things is usually not appropriate.

            • bbfloyd 1.1.1.1.1.2

              It’s still bullshit whichever way you choose to justify it little pete…. you are starting to become a real pest…..

              • bbfloyd

                Oh, i get it now…..Little pete is just sulking because his other hero(johnny sparkles) made an unedifying spectacle of himself with his petulant, whiney answers…the questions had nothing whatsoever to do with shearers attempts to get this pseudo government to act sensibly on an important issue….

                how old are you really little pete?

      • The Baron 1.1.2

        Oh noes, head prefect Greggles doesn’t like what you have to say again, Pete, which means he has is knickers in a bunch all over again because he only wants to hear from other fanbois.

        Please get your hand off it, Greg. Public blog means diversity of opinions – if you wanna hear only applause, stick to your own shithouse blog.

    • Carol 1.2

      Please keep up, PG. The gap between life expectancy for males and females is narrowing:
      http://socialreport.msd.govt.nz/health/life-expectancy.html

      Between 1985–1987 and 2007–2009, life expectancy at birth increased by 7.3 years for males and 5.3 years for females. As a result, the gap between males and females in life expectancy narrowed from 6.0 years to 4.0 years over this period.

      Based on this trend, by the time any change to retirement age is enacted, the gap is likely to be negligible. There’s no evidence this wouldn’t happen, so there’s not enough evidence on which to base a gendered difference in retirement age.

      And there’s probably going to continue to be more differences based on ethnicity and physicality of jobs than ones based on gender.

      • Shane Gallagher 1.2.1

        Yes… but how is it more discriminatory to adjust for ethnicity and not for gender? Life expectancies will be different for poor Maori females compared to rich Pakeha females. However a woman who worked as a nurse all her life – which is a very demanding, physical job – should be able to retire earlier than one who has had a cushy office position all her life, given that all other variances are equal (race, background, wealth, education etc.). Teaching teenagers is a hell of a lot more stressful than lecturing at tertiary although the actual work is similar in many respects.

        So… we need to come up with a formula of some sort that will take a lot of this into account. And it will not be perfect. And it would have to deal with the complexities of multiple careers. For example a bunch of my friends have gone to work in the building industry now that they are in their late 30s early 40s after working in other fields until now. They love it – but it will make working out when they get super complicated.

        The nation needs to have a conversation about this but the way Labour has proposed to do it is not great. It is great for the boomers – but for me as a Gen-Xer I am not impressed and neither am I impressed for son’s sake. It will imbed intergenerational inequity.

        • Pete George 1.2.1.1

          Thanks Shane, you’re on to it.

          Once you start to try and pick categories it gets very complicated, and I suspect unworkable – or at least unfair.

          The nation needs to have a conversation …

          That’s the critical thing – as much input as possible is required to find a sustainable long term solution. That means putting political differences aside and working on it together as much as possible.

          Whatever the result some will probably think it’s unfair, but at least it will have come out of a fair process.

        • Foreign Waka 1.2.1.2

          I belief the fairest option would be counted working years plus any years lost due to sickness and health issues and child raising years up to 3 years of age per child. The total of these years should be pegged to i.e. 42-45 years (can be adjusted by consensus). This would apply to any and everybody. This way a person starting work when they are 17, for whatever reason and most likely in a physical job, would retire at the age of 59-63. A person studying until 21 would retire at age 63-66. The upper maximum age should be 67.

    • Eddie 1.3

      Shearer was suggesting people who are physically buggered should be able to get super earlier. That just seems sensible to me. They would go on the invalid’s benefit now anyway.

      • The Baron 1.3.1

        Sounds Greek to me. Labour starts buying off different interest groups on the promise of earlier retirement and we end up with an even larger super bill.

        Single age of entitlement thanks. If you’re buggered too much to work, then there are specific benefit regimes for that. Why otherwise start assuming that every brickie needs to retire at 60?

    • risildo 1.4

      How can it be cross party and **De-politicized.**

      Could you explain this as I am lost in this statement you make.

      You post **cross party consensus**,

      I ask you how can it be not politicized.?

      You are not have one without the other as you state in your post…

      Please refrain of make fun of my English I am getting better 🙂

      • Pete George 1.4.1

        All parties should work together on it without trying political pointscoring.

        • mickysavage 1.4.1.1

          The parties who are trying to use this for political advantage are National and UF for refusing to do anything about affordability.  The brave principled parties are Labour and the Greens for actually talking about the issue and proposing changes which are unpopular but will improve affordability.

          It is all very well talking about “political point scoring” but you should take it up with the coiffured one.  And you should stop hinting that all parties are to blame.

          • Tigger 1.4.1.1.1

            Exactly MS. And in a year or so the public will come around and realise Labour’s idea is necessary and sensible and those speaking against it will suddenly do a U-turn.

          • Enough is Enough 1.4.1.1.2

            Labour is fiddling with the issue by proposing putting the age up by a couple of years. That is bullshit.

            It is affordable to have all retire at age 65 but the tough decsion restructuring the tax system.

            we can afford it if the 1% pay their way.

            The party for workers should be standing up for the right of workers to retire at 65. How do wepay for this. 50% tax on incomes over $150K

        • mike e 1.4.1.2

          pompous git yeah why isn’t the unbalanced follicles holding key to account when the super costs will have doubled in just ten years

    • chris 1.5

      Link whoring again I see.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.6

      Universal Income.
      There, fixed it for ya.

      We really don’t need complex laws defining who can retire early and who can’t, we just need to ensure that those who can work can do so while paying proper taxes and those who can’t due to whatever reason aren’t dropped into poverty.

  2. risildo 2

    I do not seen it political pointscoring at all.

    It is going to increase in costs for the persons paying the tax

    I see as being necessary.that is if you are to believe the cost will increase to what they news people report the television

    I understand there is some who collect the super annutation and also work?

    I see it reported on television and in the facebook, some also own properties which they rent to people and also collect super annution as well.. (The red line is not correcting the mistake :()

    This is not greed?

    • Roy 2.1

      Yes, collescting super when you are still working is greed. Yes, collecting super when you are also raking in money from investments is greed. Unfortunately, they are both legal practices. That’s why I support means-testing of superannuation. Australia practices means-testing of superannuation; why shouldn’t New Zealand? As it is, we pay full superannuation to extremely wealthy men like Bob Jones and Don Brash just because they are over 65.

      • Chris 2.1.1

        I agree with your point – there definitely should be some form of means testing for super. One point though Bob Jones has said (to David Farrar awhile ago) that he doesn’t actually take the super as he doesn’t need it.

        However I expect he is a very very small minority in that respect.

        • Roy 2.1.1.1

          I didn’t know that, thanks for the correction. I wonder how he refuses it?

          • deuto 2.1.1.1.1

            You have to actually apply to WINZ to get super; it is not just paid automatically once you reach 65. So presumably, Bob Jones has not applied for it.

    • Murray Olsen 2.2

      My opinion is that if super were means or income tested and the top tax rate went up to something reasonable, there would much less of a problem. I would also like to see a contributory scheme, as pioneered by Big Norm and used in Australia. As things stand, I get absolutely sick of pensioners who whinge about bludgers whenever they come back here to count their investments and wait for their next trip around the world.

  3. vto 3

    Well, in investment terms that Key is well familiar with, it is time to short Key.

    Betcha English has.

  4. Bunji 4

    Key’s lying is pretty horrendous in your parliament link Eddie.

    Key: “… the performance of New Zealand students on average did not change between 2000 and 2009 when it came to reading” (very particularly reading, not maths or science)
    Trevor Mallard: “I seek leave to table a Programme for International Student Assessment report, which shows that 15-year-olds’ reading in New Zealand went from fourth in the world in 2006 to second in 2009.”
    Even on his skewered statistic we’ve improved to second in the world. Maybe those 6000 teachers did make a difference after all?

    and:

    “David Shearer: Does he stand by his statement to Radio New Zealand National yesterday that as of Tuesday morning he had not had anyone specifically raise the issue of class sizes with him?
    Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes.
    David Shearer: I would like to table a number of letters addressed to John Key and copied to me expressing a great deal of concern about the increase in class sizes.”

    • What really gets me is this is such an obviously manufactured crisis.  Key must know this.  But he and his henchmen are willing to lie through their teeth and do not seem to be embarrassed in the slightest at what they are doing.

      NZ’s education system is superb, especially when you consider what it costs to run it and any one wanting to fiddle with it for political advantage needs to have their head read.  And spinning that there will be an “improvement in teacher quality” by increasing class sizes and doing away with specialist teachers who perform a really important role is bizarre in the extreme.

      You really get the feeling that this lot do not give a stuff and are willing to wreck the education system for political gain.

      Shame on them.  Shame on them.  Shame on them.

      Grrrr … 

      • ianmac 4.1.1

        And of course the Specialist Advisory Services in Art, Science, Music, Maths and Reading were itinerant specialists but were closed down a couple of years ago. Hardly noticed by parents or politicians.

        • mickysavage 4.1.1.1

          Aye they destroyed the infrastructure that really boosted professional standards for teachers and now they claim it is a problem that needs to be fixed.

      • tc 4.1.2

        ‘Shame on them. Shame on them. Shame on them ‘

        and the MSM also Mickey who have stood by time and again and allowed the CT driven spin to dominate the argument with the bait and switch tactics as they pathetically go for the ride and never take it to this bunch of lying sods.

        I have collaeagues in the Oz media stunned at the ineptitude of our lot and envious of all that juicy material the NACT produce that’s never used.

      • Jackal 4.1.3

        Our schooling system is good but it could be improved. That’s not really the point though, as it’s the way in which National is going about restructuring that’s the problem. Instead of basing their decisions on evidence they’re playing to people’s misconceptions, and ostracizing a large chunk of the public (teachers and parents) at the same time.

        National have done the same thing with other sectors of the community, and eventually they will belittle nearly everybody in some way to try and point score with propaganda. As a result, the support for the destructive policy direction of National is dwindling… and even more of our skilled workforce is moving overseas.

        Bring on the snap election.

        • Richard McGrath 4.1.3.1

          Is that you, Todd? I agree with your comment about the skilled workforce emigrating. Thinking of doing it myself in the near future. How can you say no to work that pays triple the income one can earn in NZ?

      • BillODrees 4.1.4

        Follow the money.  
        Treasury want to cap the cost of Education to keep taxes down and to fund pensions.
        They needed to give their Masters a story to sell larger class sizes.
        Act and the Maxim Institute were providing some covering smoke: the premise behind the Charter Schools hype is that the current system is flawed. 
        Treasury, not MoE, do “desktop” research i.e. Google.
        Hey Presto, there is a way to improve educational performance while increasing class sizes.
        A new wet-behind-the-ears Education Minister and a lazy PM get sucked into the hype.

         That is why we need a strong opposition spokesperson: good work Nanaia Mahuta. Keep kicking ass. 

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.5

        And spinning that there will be an “improvement in teacher quality” by increasing class sizes and doing away with specialist teachers who perform a really important role is bizarre in the extreme.

        I’m pretty sure there will be a decrease in teacher quality as the best teachers decide not to put up with the BS any more and leave.

  5. DH 5

    I really can’t see the point in raising the retirement age as some kind of solution for the super problem, which is an increasing population of retirees exceeding the economic growth required to pay their pensions. All it achieves is to delay it a few years. It doesn’t make the problem go away, the numbers retiring will increase at a similar rate whether the age is 65 or 67. People used to retire at 60, raising the retirement age to 65 hasn’t solved the core problem.

    Some people have gotten a bit obsessed with the ‘boomer’ thing & seem to be treating it as a one-off problem that will go away when the boomers all die off. NZ’s population has almost doubled since the boomers were born, we’ll get a whole lot more retirees after them.

    IMO it’s well past time we admitted we can’t afford to pay super to people who don’t need it. Everyone seems to be dodging the issue of means testing which I find odd, especially from the left who I thought would be a bit pissed at seeing the wealthy collect super when so many low income people are struggling.

    • vto 5.1

      Yes, means testing is the elephant in the room.

      Perhaps one of those people receiving super who doesn’t need it but thinks it is an entitlement, if there is one around these Standard parts, could outline the justification for it. It would be useful to know the arguments in justification.

      Anyone?

    • KJT 5.2

      At the risk of seeming to be a stuck record.

      A guaranteed minimum income replacing all social security/social insurance solves the problem.

      And a lot of others, including child poverty.

      Certainly I believe the idea, that everyone is entitled to enough to live on, in our society should not just apply to those over 65.

      If that is not possible, then I do not believe means testing is a good solution.
      It costs more to implement than the amount gained and it is too easy to avoid.

      According to the IRD half of our wealthiest people do not pay taxes can claim social welfare and other allowances such as student allowance for their children and WFF.
      I know a few that certainly do.
      Including a businessman and a couple of cockies who were rather bitter about the periods their kids did not get student allowance. Because they had to declare their real income, for a tax year, to get a bank loan.

      Ending legal tax dodging entities such as trusts would help broaden the tax base and catch tax dodgers.

      • DH 5.2.1

        Well it’s certainly not true that it costs more to implement than the amount gained. 2011 household income survey showed 27,000 people over 65 had an income greater than $77,000 and that’s with all the tax dodging we already have going on with people hiding assets behind trusts. That’s about $500million in super being paid just there.

        But your comments do point to why means testing is being avoided. In order for it to be truly effective the tax dodges would have to be closed off and too many vested interests with political influence don’t want that. The wealthy aren’t bothered about losing their pension, it’s the unravelling of their tax dodges they’re afraid of. It’s much more preferable to penalise the poor who have no assets & will just have to work an extra couple of years.

      • rosy 5.2.2

        +1 A guaranteed minimum income is the way to go.

  6. Roy 6

    I did see one inane argument somewhere that if people knew that their super would be cut if they already had plenty of money, they would not bother saving their money. However, it doesn’t seem to work that way in Australia.
    It seems to me that the failure to means-test means that wealthy people can hoard their money and leave it to their heirs, rather than being required to spend it to support themselves, which means that generation by generation, wealthy families will get wealthier and poor families will get nowhere. In my more extreme moments I think there should be 100% death duty over, say, $500K per heir or heiress. If you’ve made megabucks in your lifetime, you can leave $500K to each child or niece or nephew or whoever, and after that, the state takes it all.

  7. Tom Gould 7

    Eddie, any idea how much $10-20m is against the relevant teacher salary bill? Parata seemed to be saying this money they dragged out of the contingency fund would fix the problem? But it doesn’t seem to add up. If teachers get $70k then $20m buys about 280 of them. With standard overhead, maybe 200 of them. Is that enough to bridge the gap between losing 2 on average and losing 6 on average? Maybe I have missed something?

  8. Sam Hall 8

    Pete George. Link informative. Destination.

    ANAL REGULATED BLOG.

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    well his toupee slash hair weave is…

  10. North 10

    Just watched that fraud Potato Parata on TV One News:

    “We are very focused on the explicit choice we’ve made to invest in quality teaching practice and professional leadership because that has the biggest effect on raising student achievement…….”

    FOR CHRIST’S SAKE (yes, I am shouting, of moderate intelligence I’m pissed off being LIED at and treated with CONTEMPT by a shallow, lipsticked potato)………will someone SERIOUSLY qualified in education PLEASE challenge her. Her spin is to say that no matter what the ill-consequences of increasing class numbers, all will be well IF TEACHERS LIFT THEIR GAME. So Te Minita on orders from Key is raping our childrens’ future and blaming the teachers.

    The old story, shift the goalposts and blame the practitioners. They did exactly the same in Legal Aid and what a shambles we now have there. Ask any District Court judge.

    So what does TV One do ? – focus on comments from Gary Sweeney and others about how teachers intend to react. THAT IS NOT THE ISSUE ! The issue is that Potato Parata is talking shit and showing contempt for New Zealanders. She is telling us that the car with less gas in the tank will go further than the car with more gas in the tank. And if it doesn’t then it’s not her Potato fault, it’s the fault of the inept, unprofessional teachers.

    She’s a disgraceful, dishonest, bullshitting cow who likes to be the flash girl “Minita” scootin’ round Sydney in the $1,400 for 2 days limo. No wonder she’s known up North as “Heki Pirau” (Rotten Egg) Parata.

    There must be heaps of serious educationalists out there who can give the lie to the central issue – INCREASING CLASS NUMBERS HURTS KIDS’ EDUCATION. Why can’t she be challenged on that precise point. When the public understands that Key and Ms Lady Potato will be held to account.

    Alternatively perhaps we should short-circuit the whole debate and get John Key to stick his own mincing neck out – if increasing class sizes is so “neutral” then get him to require King’s College to increase its class sizes. The educational equivalent of security for costs in the civil law suit if you like. Don’t hold your breath. Basic morality doesn’t apply to the 1%.

    • Carol 10.1

      Maybe you should have watched TV 3 news instead? – it focused on the protests at Parata’s speeches today, and ended with her limping off home (the final shot in the TV report was of her back as she limped off down the hallway) with a “sore back” after a “bruising day”.

      http://www.3news.co.nz/Sector-revolts-against-teacher-cuts/tabid/370/articleID/256294/Default.aspx

      The Education Minister knew she had a fight on her hands – but now it is turning into a war.

      The Association of Intermediate and Middle Schools says its relationship with the ministry has completely broken down, and in an unprecedented move, teachers, principals, trustees and parents are all preparing to fight her together, to stop cuts to teacher numbers.

      • North 10.1.1

        Yes, I’ve been trying to avoid TV One because the inertia of tuned to One leads me into the rubbish of “Everyman” Sainsbury and his sycophantic arse-licking of just about everything on the Right.

        That said, it’s not really a matter of teachers’ gripe with “the Ministry”……..those poor fullas do what they’re told. It’s Potato decides the shape of the chips. She must be personally challenged. She’s a dangerous, self-promoting, ignorant thing who fires Key’s bullets.

        Kids of the ordinary aren’t really that important. That is gross social engineering and they muttered on about Helen.

      • Dv 10.1.2

        ‘ unprecedented move, teachers, principals, trustees and parents are all preparing to fight her together, to stop cuts to teacher numbers.

        This the FIRST time that I can recall that ALL sectors have joined together.

        I think we are in for an interesting few months
        Both the PPTA and the NZEI are well organized and have a lot of by in from the teachers.

    • mike e 10.2

      North funny how National complained about closing the gaps policy now they are quite happy to have one set of rules for Maori schools ie no cuts and no standards testing.
      Funny how hik parinha limped out of parliament today! stress to much to many reporters asking to many quality questions.

      • North 10.2.1

        Charter schools ? No standards there mate.

        “Gawd, can’t fuck with commerce !”

        And if your meaning is no intereference at Maori schools……… have a little think about Moerewa.
        And have a little think also about the state schools in South Auckland and elsewhere with a high percentage of Maori (and PI) students.

        Lady Potato Parata might’ve had a hard day today but circusmaster Key will pat her on the head tonight, hand her Crosby Textor Day 2 Instructions, she’ll smear on the new lippy in the morning, Choice ! – all ready to go.

        This is governance is it ? Disgraceful !

  11. North 11

    Carol…..just clicked the link to the TV3 coverage of Te Minita Lady Potato Parata.

    I’m truly amazed at the relative “nothingness” of TV One’s coverage.

    Goodbye TV One News……..you’ve been bullshitting me for years !

  12. jack 12

    I watched Key’s anwers in Parliament. They are either “no” or “yes”, attacks Labour or lets the speaker protect his inept answers to opposition. One time I saw him sarcastically yawn as if he had nothing to worry while being protected by Smith. about while most in New Zealand are working hard to keep their heads above water. This guy is arrogant as hell, the real John Key. He’s, lets see what is the worse thing I could call him, he’s a……I know, he’s a Merryl Lynch derivative trader, the lowest of scum around.

  13. Richard McGrath 13

    Not as short as Shane Jones’ future, I wager, not that Key and his government don’t deserve to go too.

    Unlike Mr Liu, Shane Jones did have his organ harvested, in a hotel room, with the aid of taxpayer funded porn videos. As a taxpayer, I couldn’t be happier with the events of the past 2 weeks.

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