The EU had a reception at the Backbencher last night, so lots of MPs and journalists there to chat to. The typical opening line from a National MP was “So about that B grade” while from Labour MPs it was “Unlike Annette we won’t use Farrar and respect in the same sentence unless there are some other words in between”
Phil Goff was there also, so I said I looked forward to him quoting me more often in future . Actually had an interesting chat generally on economic stuff, such as land tax. If Labour are bold they could consider proposing a land tax (tied to income tax reductions) for 2011. That could attract some support from economic reformers.
General consensus I got from pundits there was that there was definitely some good stuff in the Government’s work plan – in fact more detailed plans that most Governments announce in the PMs statement.
But what may trip the Government up is they misplayed the expectations game. Building the statement up as the “most important” one ever was a mistake, as was talking about it being a “step change”. Again, there is some good stuff there that certainly will help lift economic growth. But will the announcements alone close the gap with Australia? Of course not. But the rhetoric leading up to it, got expectations artificially high.
With the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better to have positioned the statement as a typical PMs statement – a general overview of the Government’s achievements and workplan, and then surprise the media and opposition when it turns out to have close to 30 specific initiatives in it.
As I said yesterday, I welcome the focus on growing the economic cake, not just how to split it up, and look forward to more details in the budget.
Reaction from others:
- John Armstrong – 4/10 for economic boldness
- Fran O’Sullivan – John Key deserves an A- for intent. But a mere D for the dreadful prime ministerial statement that buried a coherent economic agenda in a mass of confusion.
- Tax Working Group members seem happy
- NZ Herald editorial calls it a stutter not a step-change
- Bernard Hickey hits new levels of hyperbole
- Canterbury Employers call the package welcome but light
- Solid Energy is excited
- Colin Espiner gives it a pass, but with much more to do
- Tracy Watkins looks at the risks
- The Press editorial says it was lacking boldness
- The Dom Post editorial says it was a welcome focus on growth, not slogans