When is a promise not a promise?
More specifically, why can John Key get away breaking some promises and not others? He pays the appropriate lip service to promises:
“We campaigned on some key and core commitments and we’re not going to break those promises to New Zealanders. … where we specifically campaigned on something then I’m not going to break my word,” Key says.
There are clearly promises that Key doesn’t think he can break. On raising the age of super:
But the National Government disagrees and is refusing to debate the idea all because of John Key’s pre-election promise not to change any of the entitlements and payments of New Zealand super if he does, he will resign.
There are promises that he tries to break, and backs down when he is caught:
Key’s assurance last Friday that the bank will remain 100 per cent Government-owned followed two weeks of increasing confusion about National’s stance on asset sales … Digging through the archives, Labour has found nine separate examples before the last election of Key ruling out one way or another National selling Kiwibank under his leadership.
But then there are “promises” that Key breaks with impunity. Tax cuts “North of $50” after the election. Not to raise GST. The promise to support the Royal Commission on Auckland. The promise to ‘keep 99 percent of the current Employment Relations Act’. The promise to have high standards (“one strike and you’re out”) for his government, too, while we’re at it. And many more.
So when is a promise not a promise? Clearly for the Nats the promises themselves are irrelevant, and major factor is the assessment of the damage sustained when the promise is broken. In the case of the current attack on workers the Nats believe that they will sustain little political damage. It is up to the unions and the workers to show them that they are wrong.