Regrets? I’ve had a few

Written By: - Date published: 11:57 am, June 3rd, 2008 - 24 comments
Categories: same old national - Tags:

Is Don Brash trying to help or hinder John Key? A revealing couple of articles (a news story and a feature) in the Sunday Star Times in which the former leader – full of self pity and self loathing in equal measures by the sound of it – says his two biggest regrets were supporting the war in Iraq and not pursuing a harder right-wing agenda when he was riding high in the polls after the Orewa speech:

First up, he thinks he should have announced new policy on the most politically dangerous of all policy areas superannuation. His plan was two-pronged a gradual lift in the age of entitlement from 65 from 2020, and cancelling superannuation for those over 65 who worked. The sweetener would be that when an over-65 finished working, their super would be actuarily adjusted to be paid at a higher rate, compensating for the years of lost payments. Brash says change is still needed to control the ballooning superannuation bill for baby-boomers. “I have long felt that as we live progressively longer, some government is going to have to do something about superannuation,” says Brash.”

Don Brash allowed himself to be steered into safer middle ground; a position that John Key occupies way more comfortably. But I’m not sure Key will have been entirely thrilled to see National’s true agenda for New Zealand’s old people laid out quite so bare.

24 comments on “Regrets? I’ve had a few”

  1. insider 1

    why is raising the super age a “hard right” policy? Seems to me it is a technocratic response to what he sees as a looming imbalance in earners and beneficiaries. It doesn’t appear an overly ideological view.

  2. I love that he thinks he should have run more rightwing.

    He didn’t win because he was seen as too rightwing by the people. That’s the correct lesson and it’s the lesson that National has learnt.

    That’s why this time they’ve chosen a blank slate as leader and run him as more of a centrist than they did Brash.

    Of course, when push comes to shove a National government would still choose the rightwing policy options, and it will take the opportunity to push right wing changes whenever an excuse arises. But you see little hint of that from Key, whereas Brash was clearly very rightwing.

  3. “cancelling superannuation for those over 65 who worked” & what is wrong with this as a policy ? Surely national superannuation should be only paid to those who need it ?

  4. Bryan, insider. So, you’ll be voting ACT, not National then?

    Because English says they won’t change super even though they want to.

    Also, superannuation was set up with the promise that you paid extra tax in through-out your working life, then come retirement age you get your return for that investment. Changing super would be breaking a huge promise to voters.

  5. Those kinds of changes to superannuation would disadvantage those who can’t work after 65, often for very good reasons (eg health, caring for dependents). It would also soak up a lot of the volunteer time that currently keeps many organisations going. And yet again this would be a policy that seeks to unfairly blame those who aren’t in paid work, and make invisible those whose work is unpaid.

  6. Scribe 6

    Eddie,

    The story talks about those changes to Super as Brash’s policy, not the National Party policy in 2005 (and it certainly wasn’t the policy they put to the electorate), so I think it’s a stretch to say what Don Brash thought privately is now National’s policy, and to opine that Key should be concerned it’s out in the open.

    Steve,

    Because English says they won’t change super even though they want to.

    Can you point me to some comment along these lines, or are you doing the same thing Eddie did? You know, saying Brash 2005 = National policy 2008, despite what the party’s finance spokesman says.

  7. SP: of course I will be voting Act 🙂

    “superannuation was set up with the promise that you paid extra tax in through-out your working life, then come retirement age you get your return for that investment” surely SP until the introduction of the Cullen fund we have had a purely ” pay as you go” model for funding national superannuation i.e. current taxpayers funding current super annuitants ?

  8. Monty 8

    I have long struggled to understand why a retired person with an extraordinary personal income (and there are many plus 65s who fall into this category) should draw a pension while the young people with families struggle to pay the mortgage and keep food on the table for their family in part because of the taxes they pay to support wealthy poeple drawing a pension. For example Jim Anderton draws a hefty ministerial salary of $200kplus. I would be surprised if he does not have substantial private sources of income. And he would get about $20k pension per annum from the state (funded by tax-payers.) money he simply does not need.

    Can you leftie socialists please explain to me (other than he paid tax all his life) why he should also draw a pension from the state at the cost of the aforementioned struggleing family. To me that does not make sense.

    I am now 44 , but by the time I retire I expect to have a private inccome of about $100,000 per annum. If I work that will be double. Why should my kids (and people even worse off than them) pay a heap more Tax as a young struggling family while I use their hard earned money to supply petrol to my boat?

    Never have I heard a logical answer for this – and surely helping the young family would be more important to a socialist government that helping a “rich prick” such as I intend to be?

  9. Monty: given National Superannuation has to be applied for surely you could simply not apply if you feel you don’t need it ?

  10. Bryan. In practice we had pay as you go but the promise was ‘you pay tax now, you’ll have super when you retire’

  11. Monty 11

    I will take any money on offer because I am a money hungry capitalist who desires to be a rich prick. I am well on the way to acheiving this objective, with savings for superannuation being about $3,000 per month. I also intend to work as long as I can but only as I enjoy the type of work I do and can get well paid for it. –

    But still no socialist has answered the original question (probably because they are incapable of giving an answer) – So I’ll ask again – when families are struggling, why should they pay additional tax so that retired rich pricks who do not need the money can have even more money – surely you socialists can provide a well debated answer (not the you paid tax while working)

    or is there no answer?

  12. Dan 12

    I have the same sort of surprise as I had when Douglas put his hand up to say he was willing to help in this election. National needs Douglas like a hole in the head, and the notion of Brash resurfacing saying “nearly made it”, “if only”, etc. must be scaring not only the Hollow Men in the background of Key, but more the moderate Nats who have a Holyoake view of the world. The lack of any Nat policies makes it more clear than ever they want to bluff their way to somewhere close to Brash and Douglas.
    So New Zealanders want change……but to that lot! Never.

  13. Monty. People paid for their superannuation through their taxation through their working lives. They’ve been promised a pension in return for those taxes, there is a moral contract here and any government who breaks it will feel the wrath deservedly.

    Superannuation has been tinkered with once – the gradual rise from 60 to 65 over the course of a decade (half a year per year)that came from the National/Labour Superannuation Accord in 1991 (Labour had it moderated from a more extreme National version, National got concensus and, so, political safety).

    Would have sucked to be 55 in 1991- you were 5 years from getting the pension but it was 10 years before you were old enough to get it.

  14. But still no socialist has answered the original question (probably because they are incapable of giving an answer) – So I’ll ask again – when families are struggling, why should they pay additional tax so that retired rich pricks who do not need the money can have even more money – surely you socialists can provide a well debated answer (not the you paid tax while working)

    Because it punishes those who cant afford an accountant to hide thier income in a manner that avoids means testing.

  15. Julie 15

    So is this thread proof that killinginthenameof and Monty are the same person? Or is that old news?

  16. Ari 16

    Because Monty, (and sockpuppet?) the superannuation is supposed to have been paid for by previous tax, not current tax.

    Also, what if struggling families need the superannuation later too? Sometimes it’s not an either/or. I maintain that reasonable progressive taxation can easily deal with cost inflation for lower-income earners and with reasonable supperannuation too.

    Finally, confiscating superannuation from those who are working… encourages them to keep working. Which Julie has already nicely addressed for you.

    If you want any more than that, then I’m afraid we’ll just have to agree to disagree on whether you’re owed a different answer or not.

  17. Lew 17

    Julie: All it’s proof of is that KITNO can’t demarcate quotes properly. He is one of the nominal socialists to whom the question is directed.

    L

  18. M 18

    Maybe if those struggling families did not have to pay superannuation for the rich pricks like I will be they could get on top of the costs of living and put some part aside for superannuation. It is crazy that a person such as Anderton claims his pension, while there are struggling families paying too much tax.

    I am talking about people with substantial incomes – not a mere $60-$70,000 (rick prick status according to Cullen) but rather those with incomes of over $100,000 such as Anderton. Surely there could be a formula to reduce the superannuation as income climbs over the $80,000 level.

    $80k plus the pension should provide a comfortable retirement for a couple who have typically paid off their home, got investments producing the income (and / or a salary) and have no dependants.

    You know this is wrong – but the real reason is that this issue is a political hot potato. This Labour Government is too cowardly to do anything about it. And of course there is the Winston factor. Well it is wrong and you know it is wrong. Otherwise someone would have been able to provide a reasonable explanation. In the meantime I look forward to a retirement funded by struggling labour voting working class factory workers who can ill-afford to keep me in a manner i have become accustomed to. I will think of them as I fill my boat with premium petrol which has just cost one of the aforementioned people his weekly tax bill (and more).

  19. Dan 19

    Killinginthenameof, where are you? What additional tax for struggling families? It is the right who wants to screw the poor and hide their real incomes.

  20. vto 20

    I always thought Brash’s biggest regret should be giving the Orewa I speech too early. Too early. Would have won him the election if he had placed it more ‘conveniently’ within the electoral cycle.**

    **note, author does not necessarily endorse or approve of any views on which opinion is expressed

  21. randal 21

    neither of them have the essential ingredient and that is heart

  22. Phil 22

    If you follow them down the yellow brick road, you might find a brain.

  23. Millsy 23

    I didnt know that NZ super was mandatory for retirees.

  24. Julie 24

    oops, thanks Lew!

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