My my, things are turning quickly for John Key. We now have the first sighting of the red flag term “the beleaguered PM” in the mainstream media. Recall that in 2008 Key promised not to increase GST, and now he is proposing to do exactly that. 3 News (Duncan Garner) summed up:
So Mr Key has been left looking sheepish and defensive over the GST pledge from 2008. He was squirming all afternoon using semantics to explain what most voters might consider a flip flop.
The Prime Minister could have taken a different approach saying, â€˜that was then, this is now’ or â€˜the tax experts have reported and change is needed’. But both excuses now appear to be too late for the beleaguered PM.
Garner is spot on. Key tried to squirm out of his flip flop by playing cute with semantics, and it didn’t work. He would have been much better to brazen it out, as he did when he cancelled his (“North of $50”) tax cuts. Too late now. Nor is Garner the only one using this kind of language. At time of writing the front page of Newsroom reports:
Revenue Gap Doubts – Uncertainty about how the taxman will raise enough cash from the property sector to help fund up to $4 billion of tax cuts is dogging the Government’s pitch for restructuring the tax system.
The mystery of where the (“fiscally neutral”) $4 billion will come from is a topic for another day. For now, it is the language of a government “dogged” by uncertainty, and a PM “beleaguered” by controversy, that marks an important – and long overdue – turning of the tide.