John Key doesn’t stand for anything in particular. He prefers political expediency, being popular, not scaring the focus groups too much. He is so ill defined that, famously, he “can’t remember” his position on the defining political event of his youth, the 1981 Springbok Tour. Consequently he doesn’t make many firm promises, doesn’t like to commit himself. I wonder if this is the reason that Key is so manically determined to stick to one of the few clear promises that he has made, not to rase the age of eligibility for Superannuation. That one promise has become too important to him.
This is turning into a disaster. A disaster for the country, which needs to be preparing now for financial challenges that could tear us apart. A disaster for individuals, who need to know what the future holds, and to make their plans accordingly. You don’t need me to supply a dozen links on this, everyone knows by now that population demographics make Super in its current form unsustainable.
The public are overwhelmingly in favour of change, as Duncan Garner reported yesterday:
Voters call for superannuation age rise
A 3 News poll shows two out of three voters want John Key to break a policy promise, and raise the age from which New Zealand superannuation payments can be claimed – from 65 to 66, or even 67.
The Prime Minister is refusing to have the debate – so the country is having it for him. In a special 3 News Reid Research Poll of 1000 voters, 63% say yes push the age up to 66 or 67 from the year 2020 – or even earlier and just 37% say no don’t do it. But remember the Prime Minister has promised not to touch it.
The irony of it all is that Key would almost certainly get more credit for addressing the Super disaster than he would get blame for breaking a promise. Opposition parties would hardly be in a position to criticise him for doing what needs to be done*.
We don’t usually call for politicians to break their promises, but this was a promise that should never have been made. Once again Key is proving that, while he may be a PM, he certainly isn’t a leader.
* Thanks to commenter Tangled up in blue for the quote I was looking for on this:
Key said he would resign rather than raise it, but Labour leader David Shearer the issue should not be politicised.
“If he was to change his mind on superannuation we would not politick on it. We would sit down and have a genuine cross-party discussion that I think would lead to a good solution for New Zealand,” Shearer said.
A very constructive position from Shearer, and Labour has called many times for cross party talks.