Tracey Watkins writes that National is pissing off important constituencies and Labour’s messages are resonating:
There may not be any sign yet of the Government closing the income gap with Australia but there are certainly signs that the squeeze is starting to go on to ordinary Kiwis.
Not only is there no sign of the gap closing, it’s widening by every measure (wages, GDP, unemployment)
The sharp end of all that talk about belt-tightening and trimming “waste” is emerging and we are hearing the first warning rumblings from the likes of Grey Power that, whatever they giveth (in this case their vote), they can also take away. Given the lengths John Key went to for the ultra-powerful grey vote, this will be cause for some unease within National’s camp.
Key promised the world to everyone, he has failed to do anything for anyone except the wealthy elite.
a [GST] rise to 15 per cent from 12.5 per cent will hit those on fixed incomes the hardest and the Government’s assurances of compensation all round are being treated with healthy scepticism. This is only natural, since what seems like a neat solution in an academic sense to the Tax Working Group’s call for a more competitive tax environment is likely to hold less allure the further down the income chain voters are. Labour’s line that the GST rise is nothing more than a thinly disguised tax cut for the rich, paid for by the poor, appears to be resonating.
Messages work best when they are true and when the public can see they’re true. Anyone with any common sense can see that if you raise GST and spend most of the money cutting taxes for the rich then middle and low income Kiwi families end up worse off. People are against GST increases because they know it’s a wealth transfer from the many to the rich few in disguise.
the crunch hitting home at Radio New Zealand and the Conservation Department may cause surprisingly few ripples among the man or woman in the street….And many businesses have been forced to adapt why not DOC?
I can’t agree with that. The Save RNZ Facebook group now has 7,000 members in just over two days. And the conservation estate is not just some abstract valued by urban liberals, it is a big part of provincial life, and vital to tourism. DoC is not a business, it is the guardian of our natural treasures for this generation and the ones to come. A lot of natural conservatives are concerned about conserving the natural state of our conservation lands.
On the Government’s spending cuts forcing DHBs to reduce home help the elderly: “the policy seems senseless, as well as insensitive, given that a few hours’ home help seems to be a vastly cheaper option than putting up the elderly at expensive retirement facilities. Like adult night classes, chopped for savings of just $13 million, the Government seems to be buying itself a fight with a significant chunk of voters including the sons and daughters of all those elderly stay-at-home voters for what seems like chump’s change in the grand scheme of things.”
This is a government that is willing to sink $50 million into a cycleway with no business case, will chuck a billion at Whanau Ora (which no-one can even define), can rustle up a hundred million or so for its stupid national standards experiment, and has billions for motorways that will produce less benefit than the cost, but cheap cost-effective programmes get the slash for ideological reasons.
Governments are rarely undone by one big thing – death by a thousand cuts is the more common fate. And it all hangs on whether voters continue to believe in the grander plan. So the budget will need to do a better job than has been done so far of explaining the big picture.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that National’s plan was ‘get elected’ and there’s nothing to follow it up, except PR stunts and silly announcements that come to nothing (cycleway, party central, whaling ‘plan’) as Smiling John bounces from cloud to cloud, and, in the background, ministers quietly pay off favours from National’s mates. There is no ‘big picture’ for the economy.
Because today’s grumbles are just the tip of what looks like a very large iceberg ahead.
Things are turning sharply for the Government. We’ve all felt it in the last few weeks. You can see it in the changing tenor of the rightwing blogs and the media. The latest Roy Morgan poll gives some early hints with the government confidence rating taking its sharpest fall since National came to power. The way is open for Labour to show itself as a government-in-waiting with a genuine commitment to the needs of the many.