This week marked the first anniversary of Chris Luxon’s reign.
And on the day itself he did something which should cast severe doubt on his ability to actually become Prime Minister.
That day he chose to announce that National would stick to its policy of increasing the retirement age to 67. But when asked what the rate of payment for a single person on Superannuation was he was unable to say what that was, even to hazard a guess as to what it might be.
This is rather surprising.
It was not a case of an attempted gocha question which Adam Bandt had the perfect response to.
This was a core feature of the policy, what will kiwis lose by the change. Presuming there was a briefing paper it was probably the third bullet point down. This is how much someone relying on National Superannuation receives.
It is also one of those facts that people should know anyway. The amount is broadcast yearly and forms a major part of Government expenditure.
Based on the current rate a single person living alone would lose $48,152 in Government assistance.
And what was Luxon’s response when this was pointed out to him? Absolute gibberish.
But he said the amount and how they survived off it was a different issue.
“That gets us back to economic mismanagement in this country and why we need a strong economy that drives into higher wages and creates more wealth so we can actually afford to support people in a better way.”
The incident highlights how out of touch Luxon is with the way that ordinary New Zealanders live. And news that he receives about the same amount per year from the Government for renting an office to himself highlights how out of touch he is.
Luxon’s super blooper was the sort of event that would normally attract wall to wall coverage for a few days. But it is clear our partisan media including this guy ignored it for all of their worth.
But it highlights a major problem for National.
Luxon is brittle, he is not across the detail and there is an increasingly strong impression that he relies on overblown rhetoric as opposed to proper analysis to justify National’s policy positions.
I am not surprised that his preferred PM ratings are so bad.
To his credit he has instilled discipline in National’s caucus.
The question will be can he improve New Zealand’s impression of him. Somehow I don’t think so.