John Armstrong has some advice for Labour:
Labour, however, is consumed with slapping the “hidden agenda” label on Key and company. That tactic does not work if National’s agenda is the same as Labour’s.
Key is countering the hidden agenda charge bit by bit with trust-building promises. The first was his promise to resign as prime minister if National alters state-funded superannuation. His latest assurance is to promise to take a bill to Parliament to make it mandatory on governments to inflation-adjust benefit rates each April. This is code for saying National will not be repeating Ruth Richardson’s 1990 benefit cuts.
Likewise his belief in and “personal commitment” to the welfare state – made in the week that Labour was marking the 70th anniversary of the groundbreaking legislation underpinning it. Key’s endorsement flows from his state house upbringing. But such a hand-on-heart declaration from a National leader would have been unthinkable just a short time ago.
On top of these assurances, Key could not cut benefits even if he wanted to. MMP has put paid to such unilateral acts by one party.
This makes a nonsense of Labour’s scaremongering. But there seems to be little recognition of this rather large obstacle. So Labour keeps hammering the fear factor.
Maybe that should be Labour’s campaign theme – Fear Factor 🙂