National’s Super problem

My Herald column is on National’s Super problem:

One of the reasons National got re-elected is they were seen as more fiscally credible than the alternatives. As European governments crumble under the burden of excessive government spending, deficits and debt, voters at home place great stock on fiscal sanity.

However the stance on is the chink in National’s armour. Labour will try and use this issue to portray National as going for the easy spending targets but unwilling to target the largest item of spending.

Labour’s pledge to increase the age of entitlement from 65 to 67 is a tactical policy to try and position National as fiscally irresponsible, and National is locked into a five year old policy pledge that leaves it incapable of responding. …

The lesson for both the current Prime Minister, and any future Prime Ministers, is to never ever make any pledge beyond the next term of Parliament. Doing so is both short-sighted and anti-democratic. Elections should be about choices. Policies should change as circumstances change. Our three year electoral cycle allows policies to gain mandates in a fairly timely manner.

The Prime Minister’s pledge to never allow any changes to superannuation during his tenure will continue to grow as a problem for National. They are fortunate that at the last election the fiscal credibility of their opponents was weak, and a debate stumble by Phil Goff fatally crippled them. In 2014 David Shearer may have succeeded in portraying Labour as fiscally credible, and then the superannuation pledge could become a critical issue. It would be ironic is a pledge which helped National win the 2008 election became the reason they lost the 2014 election.

This is probably the last post for today as I’m in meetings the rest of the day. Enjoy the weekend!

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