Ralston on promises

Bill Ralston writes in the HoS:

The first 100 days programme was all about looking competent and appearing to honour National’s election promises.

Sadly, most of those promises were made in an entirely different pre-election economic climate when it seemed like we could afford them.

Still, Key seems determined to stick by those pledges even if it makes Bill English’s job harder when writing the next Budget.

As long as the Government doesn’t back away from its promised tax cuts it will survive even the blackest budget that English may have to devise.

In these times families are looking forward to even a small amount of tax relief and it is the one promise National cannot afford to break.

The Government can take a holiday on making contributions to the Super Fund. It can even axe the damn thing and nick the fast diminishing $12 billion to further boost the economy.

Most people won’t mind the loss of an abstract concept involving billions of bucks.

They will spit the dummy if they find the Government reneges on giving them that extra $20 a week.


There is of course a set of circumstances, where the out year tax cuts would be reconsidered. When everything else has been tried, spending reduced and the deficit still is unacceptably high, threatening the future.  The OBEGAL needs to be able to move back into surplus over time.

Bit what is pathetic is all the commentators and editorials demanding that the tax cits be surrendered immediately – before the Government has even started to make an impact cutting waste, reconsidering contributions to the Super Fund etc etc.

Even the HoS editorial today does the usual job of advocating they should go, and ignoring the reality that National’s extra tax cuts were fully funded by spending cuts:

It is almost dishonest, when people advocate that the tax cuts can not be afforded, without mentioning that National’s tax cuts were fully funded by cutting spending on KiwiSaver – something which actually will help reduce the impact of the recession as the KiwiSaver subsidies would have removed the money from the economy, while the tax cuts will see most of it spent.

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