With expectations about National’s tax cuts justifably very high (thanks to National talking them up for nine years), National is suddenly trying to change course. John Key, who has promoted tax cuts as the solution to doctors’ strikes, the wage gap, and petrol prices along with every other issue facing this country, is now saying tax cuts will be just a part of a bold economic package that would lift us out of recession.
So, what is this economic package? Well, there’s tax cuts, of course and.. um… oh and minor modifications to the RMA.. and and minor modifications to the ETS… no more civil servants, well, maybe a few more… and, yeah, borrowing for a couple of roads (which the industry doesn’t have the capacity to build any faster than they are already).. oh and don’t forget more fossil fuel power plants. Hardly visionary. Hardly actions that will have large immediate impact.
Even National’s most fervent allies, like the Independent, are tiring of National’s inability to match its rhetoric with real policy. They, of course, want National to outline a bold right-wing economic agenda. And that is the direction National would head in government; the Independent reports National MPs are promising to announce more right-wing policies after the election. That doesn’t placate business who want guarantees of a rightward shift now but National can’t make such promises in public yet. First, it has to secure a blank cheque from the voters.
[In fact, the only significant changes to the economy that National has announced are in work rights. Under National, your work rights wouldl be weaker. With the balance shifted in favour of the employer, wage increases would be smaller. National would also let the minimum wage to be eaten by inflation as they have every other time they’ve been in power. In economic terms, that would mean a bigger share for business owners but lower consumer demand.]