National still won’t say what they’d do

Written By: - Date published: 2:41 pm, May 21st, 2008 - 9 comments
Categories: bill english, economy, john key, kremlinology, same old national, workers' rights, youtube - Tags: , , ,

Seemingly content to coast along on the “time for a change” sentiment, the National Party are still refusing to offer any substantive details in major policy areas: government debt, work rights and retirement savings.

English ended up sounding like a broken record on Agenda a few days back. His stock answer was ‘I can’t tell you that until we’re closer to the election’ which is really just a continuation of National’s “small target” election strategy. They’re aiming to minimise risk until the last moment, and having the public know what their policy is in areas like industrial relations is a real risk. There are some rats that Key’s big business backers just won’t allow him to swallow.

In the interview below, English refuses to say what their target is on government debt. What we do know is that National wants to borrow more. If they lift debt from 18.5 per cent (where it is currently) to the 25 per cent they’re talking about, that’s an increase of $10.2 billion. Kiwi taxpayers will have to find another $600 million or so per year just to cover the interest. There seems little doubt that National means ‘increased debt’.

Nor would English come clean on his party’s industrial relations policy. Espiner questions him on National’s plans for “more flexible” employment law, alluding of course to Wayne Mapp’s now infamous ’90 day bill’ which would have allowed the most vulnerable workers to be fired without recourse after three months in a job. English wouldn’t say but presumably that proposal’s still on the table. It looks like National still means ‘less rights at work’.

He wouldn’t give any details on retirement savings either but English tellingly revealed that while KiwiSaver would be retained it may not be retained “in the same form”. It’s no secret that the Nats are under pressure from businees to water down KiwiSaver by reducing or scrapping employer contributions. So despite the fact they won’t say what their intentions are, it looks like National also means ‘crippling KiwiSaver’.

Contrary to Key’s pitch that a change to National means “all of the stuff you like but none of the stuff you don’t” it looks like what might actually be in store is a renewed assault on workers’ rights, a crippled KiwiSaver and increased National debt. It’s a pity they won’t just follow ACT’s example: come clean and let the public decide for themselves.

9 comments on “National still won’t say what they’d do”

  1. mike 1

    National will release policy we it see’s fit not when you demand it.

    There is plenty of time before the election – just because Labour went early with their “Big Plans for NZ” does not mean the Nats have to bare all when the left start panicking

  2. Lew 2

    Yeah. As I argued in another thread, there’s no reason for them to do so while their polls are going along fine. Eventually one hopes that the electorate will start to demand policy.


  3. Scribe 3

    There are people saying National should have released more policy. Others say National can’t release policy until after the Budget, because they won’t have forecasts, other fiscal information etc.

    Often the same people say both of those things in different weeks, depending on what message they want to send.

    I’d say you can’t have it both ways, but…

  4. Matthew Pilott 4

    Scribe – it actually depends on whether the policy is economic (such as a tax cut) or a non-economic policy (I.e. 90-day bill, privatisation of ACC).

    So yes, you can have it both ways here.

  5. dave 5

    National ‘bare all’. Yeah I agree, time for a change of undies.
    I think the Kremlinology approach is correct. We can write the script for Key for the next few months. First, how cover up your past as a currency speculator who then made millions from the rising NZ dollar and now cries crocodile tears for the poor suffering from rising costs and company closures. Its obvious that Key is backed by big business and will rip into the poor to line the pockets of the rich. No prizes for working out ‘who’ he will do.

  6. Archon 6

    Dave, did you know that currency speculators can make money out of falling dollars as well? You may have to come to terms with the fact that currency speculators will continue to make and loose vast and small sums of money while the NZ dollar rises, falls and stays absolutely still.

    I heard key will actually put policies in place whereby the rich eat the poor and big business will make handbags and wallets out of their skin for export.

    As for the release of policy – Yawn. This is the new message? Slippery Key didn’t get much traction so we’re going to beat him into submission with a lack of policy release?

    Labour needs to release policy to get themselves out of this ditch they are dying in. National doesn’t – yet. Why should they show their cards now? Very few people care about the election right now. FFS, we’ve got till October so you guys might want to calm down some.

    By the way, I’m looking for the post where the Standard slammed Labour for not immediately offering an alternative to National’s Fibre plan. I recall Cunliffe saying something about it being a terrible “back to the future” plan. I bet he gets a shrill earful from the Standard each day for not stating exactly in which way he would do it differentlyt. After all, Labour wouldn’t be holding anything back for “closer to the election” would they?

  7. randal 7

    we know what the national agenda is; dominate for pleasure, extort for profit, i.e. smash the unions, screw down costs, cronyism for their mates and hoping to peculate enough in one term to allow them to retire to the south of france where they can pretend to be nobodies.

  8. dave 8


    My point was that Key bet on the dollar going up, as he knew it would given the bias of NZ monetary policy. He would have lost money if it had gone down. He is a good gambler but then he’s an inside trader isnt he. The corollary of his parasitism is the wasted lives of workers whose jobs and incomes he helped ruin.
    One thing the rich never do is eat the poor, it is the prerogative of the poor to eat the rich. Of course the rich have been known to tan the hides of the poor and no doubt Key would gut the unions.
    I’m not demanding that Key divulges his policy. He’s an opportunist. He’ll wait to see which way the wind is blowing (a la Lyndon Hood). So far his big moves are to do 180 turns on privatisation, weather and monopolies. But then we need a change right? The only reason he gets away with this crass crap is the 100% toady monopoly media barons who spin our lives away.

  9. If you want to know where the Bankers party Nationals loyalty lies watch this documentary called “Money as debt”.
    Watch this documentary about the history of the banking elite:

    I hope you realise that The extra debt the National party wants to saddle the NZ people with is just another form of taxation of the ruling banking elite.

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