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?).