A very insightful Espiner piece

Colin Espiner has a very insightful piece on yesterday’s speech by Cullen.  First he points out the the hype over the tax policy was greater than the substance, which was only two lines:

We will lay out a programme in relation to the next three year term in office and the longer term direction of change beyond that.”

Colin then astutely sense the contradiction between what Dr Cullen says, and what he is being forced to do:

I do wonder about his commitment to tax cuts, however. In a strangely schizophrenic speech at times, Cullen also says this: “Most people here today know that I am not convinced by the tax cut evangelism of my political opponents. They may talk up the transformative power of tax cuts, but underneath that spin what you will really find is a long-term goal of undermining the role of government in society and winning elections.” 

Um. So does this apply to Labour too? Or are its tax cuts aimed at increasing the role of government and losing elections? And if he is so opposed to them, why is he cutting taxes at all? (Answer: Because Helen Clark’s told him to.)

The hypocrisy of Cullen claiming National promises tax cuts to win elections is quite massive.  Because that is exactly what Clark and Cullen is doing. And trust me National’s desire for tax cuts has little to do with its electoral popularity.  That is just an added bonus.

But then Colin explores another contradiction:

Of more interest to me was another little announcement, on the funding proposals for a major new Auckland motorway project, the Waterview Connection. Cullen revealed that the Government’s preferred option is a massive tunnel, because it would be the least disruptive option. Oh, and because it goes straight through the Prime Minister’s electorate of Mt Albert.

It comes at a massive cost, around $2.3 billion, and Cullen announced that a steering group has been formed to examine whether to undertake the venture as a public-private partnership. (Given that most of those on the steering group are rabid fans of PPPs, I think I know what the answer will be.)

This is somewhat strange, given that just three months ago the Government was beating National around the ears for suggesting the use of public-private partnerships in infrastructure funding. Indeed, the now-departed Steve Maharey told me last October that this Government wouldn’t have a bar of PPPs because they were a discredited and unviable form of funding such projects in this country.

Indeed, just three months ago Labour was hysterically attacking PPPs as evil (despite passing a special law to allow them), and now they are embracing them again.

Consistency isn’t exactly a core value of this Government. And they don’t even have an election loss to blame it on!

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