It seems Audrey is inhaling the Koolaid through a P pipe

This week may prove to be one of the most important turning points in election year.

Bill English took a big political gamble on raising the pension age and may have sent a crucial number of voters into the arms of Winston Peters.

Labour elected the standard bearer of Generation X and Y, Jacinda Ardern, as its deputy leader, a move which may have rescued Andrew Little from the doldrums.

And the Maori Party’s bid to regain most of the Maori seats took a new twist with King Tuheitia endorsing Rahui Papa in Hauraki-Waikato against his cousin, Nanaia Mahuta.

Each of the events this week has the potential to change the outcome of the election but the most potent issue is superannuation, even though the increase from 65 to 67 would not kick in for 20 years.

Not that English is showing any indication of the risks involved in the decision.

In his welcoming comments to guests at a caucus party at Premier House on Thursday, he said he had been harangued by an audience in Kapiti that day [Chamber of Commerce as it happens] for his super policy being “too soft”.

Of course it is too soft.  It’s mean to be a policy that isn’t a policy.  One that another seven governments get to tinker with.  

His attitude to super – and his style as a new Prime Minister – can be explained by his homily at the same cocktail party which likened politics to plumbing.

Voters, he said, saw them both as a slightly dirty job that someone has got to do. “They just want you to be good at it, or they’ll get someone else to do it.”

English’s super move was not a response to fiscal crisis – the fact that the move will save as estimated 0.6 per cent of GDP in 2040 may be a desirable saving of $400 million but it hardly constitutes an essential response to anything like a crisis.

It was designed to make him look bold, decisive and forward-looking.

It was not designed to differentiate National from Labour or New Zealand First. It was designed to differentiate English from John Key.

Without a skerrick of support from other parties, English sees it as an essential element of his bid to create a sense of newness and momentum in a third-term Government that could otherwise be seen as tired.

I don’t know how he got away with it.  There are no working papers.  There are no requests from Treasury to work on various scenarios.  There is no clear and present danger to contend with.

He simply misspoke during a media interview and then there was a frenzy for the weekend to come up with something.

In the mean time, people like Audrey describe him as bold.

Decisive.

Forward-looking.

Audrey either just believes whatever Bill says, or she’s out of sources inside Cabinet that can tell her what really happened that Monday.

 

– Audrey Young, NZ Herald

 

 


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