John Armstrong writes:
Like the sands through the hourglass – it has taken just four short weeks for Jacinda Ardern’s “campaign of our lives” to become more akin to the The Days of Our Lives.
Labour’s Wonder Woman has found herself cast in a long-running soap opera – but not as a super hero. …
The tax was the early product of Ardern’s Brave New World – a world where she intends demonstrating Labour can make the hard decisions.
It took precious little time for Labour to back off the idea as fast as decency allowed. “Let’s do this” became “Let’s not do that”.
Let’s tax this – but later!
Of particular note has been her declaration that she will not shy away from tackling the “big generational issues”.
When it comes to such issues, they do not come any bigger or more vexed than the fairness of the country’s tax system and the affordability of current state-funded pension entitlements. With regard to the latter, she has gone Awol.
She has adopted John Key’s pledge to resign as prime minister were the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation to be raised under her watch. Likewise were there to be any reduction in current entitlements enjoyed by those who qualify for the state pension.
For someone portraying themselves as giving voice to younger voters, such a stance is an absolute cop-out. It is little short of betrayal.
What is strange about Ardern’s pledge is that there was absolutely no pressure for her to do so. Key’s equally bad pledge was made because Labour had made it clear they would run a fear campaign on superannuation, and his “I’ll resign” pledge was a necessary evil to prevent that.
But there was absolutely no pressure on Ardern to do the same. National had said it would slowly raise the retirement age. All Ardern had to say is that they planned no changes in the next term, kicking it for touch. But instead she stuffed up and said she’ll resign rather than ever let the age of superannuation increase. And as Armstrong says, this is a betrayl of future generations who will have to have taxes massively increased on them to fund keeping the age at 65.