Interview with Key

Assistant Editor Stephen Cook has interviewed John Key. Some interesting hints of future policy:

He alludes to the “comprehensive economic plan” has in store, which will revolve largely around tax cuts, “reining in the impact Government bureaucracy has on peoples’ lives” and a heavy infrastructure investment programme.

The investment in infrastructure will be welcome – there is a real need for more energy capacity, more transpaort infrastruture as well as better communications infrastructure.

Key also says there will be “lots of changes around education and law and order”, but won’t go into specifics apart from promising more power and resources for police, including Tasers.

“Drugs are changing the dynamic for police officers on the street now and the number of violent attacks is increasing,” Key says. “I don’t think there is any question the police need more resourcing. We like the idea of a ratio of one police officer to a certain number of citizens.”

Keys says South Auckland remains a troubling hotspot and National is committed to an “action plan” that “is pretty comprehensive around resolving the issues”.

Again, no specifics but Key says the policy – coming off the back of his “underclass speech” last year – will deal with “everything from education through to how we deal with young people going off the rails”.

“It is a very creative policy. You will see some out-of-the box thinking here,” Key assures.

Heh, hopefully more comprehensive that Winston’s bold pledge that he will get rid of gangs.

On the economic front, he accepts National’s eagerly awaited tax package will be the central and most important plank of its pre-election policy announcements.

Again, he’s not yet in a position to reveal just how much New Zealanders will get in their back pockets, or how National will fund the cuts.

“But Kiwis aren’t fools. They know the economy is slowing down. They know the options for National are reducing. They know Labour has been on a big spending binge and are clearly on a bender to try and leave the cupboard not only bare, but without shelves.

“That is going to make life more challenging for us and that is one of the reasons we are not going to over-promise. But we certainly have a tax plan that works and is affordable.”

I imagine we will see the plan very shortly after Clark sets the date.

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