In Phil Goff’s shoes, would I promise to reverse National’s GST hike, even knowing that National might leave me in a position where that isn’t possible?
If I was an unprincipled character, yes. In fact, it would be a classic John Key move: make a rock solid promise, then break it a year later claiming new information (which he had at the time he made the promise), get applauded for being a pragmatist.
That’s exactly what happened with National’s 2009 tax cuts, you’ll recall.
But a principled person can only say one thing and that’s what Goff is saying: ‘we don’t want GST to go up, we oppose it completely. If National does put GST up, when we become government we try to see if it is affordable to reserve it but it will depend on whether that is responsible given the government’s finances at the time’.
It’s a funny old world when political commentators on the Right, who supposedly are all about accountable government, will pillory a politician for being straight up with the public, rather than telling them what they want to hear with no intention of following through.