Asset sales, the ever-widening wage gap with Australia, and the Kiwi exodus across the Tasman, feature on a list of National’s Top 10 Broken Promises, being released by Labour today.
“John Key has made promise after promise to the people of this country. Three years ago he was promising a brighter future, and he is still promising that,” Campaign spokesperson Grant Robertson said.
“Promising the world is easy. But if you do that you have to deliver on the promise at some stage. John Key has failed to do that.
“We know times have been tough and there have been the double tragedies at Pike River and in Christchurch. But, just as with his conversations with John Banks, he is not being straight with New Zealanders about what has happened to the promises he has made to them”.
“One of his first promises, in 2007, was that ‘a fundamental purpose’ of a National Government was narrowing the wage gap with Australia by growing local wages. The wage gap with Australia has increased by an average $32 a week.
“The same year, he stood in Westpac Stadium in Wellington and told Kiwis that every year the same number of people the stadium held – 35,000 – left New Zealand to live in Australia. As Prime Minister he would give people a purpose to stay.
“Since John Key became Prime Minister 100,000 people have left for Australia.
“His record regarding asset sales is no better. Here he is in October 2008: ‘I am not interested in selling assets – I'm all about building assets’.
“Well, we all know what’s happened to that promise. The money from the sales has already been banked by National and work is already underway inside Treasury to get the sale process going.
“It seems there are a lot of issues that John Key and National do not want to talk about at the moment. Included among those are his promises on the issues that are affecting all New Zealanders.
“While New Zealanders are waiting for that, Labour has a plan to secure New Zealand’s long-term future, keep our assets and ease the financial pressure on struggling low and middle-income families,” Grant Robertson said.
John Key’s 10 Broken Promises
The promise: “National is not going to be raising GST. National wants to cut taxes, not raise taxes … what I am saying is if we do a half-decent job as a government at growing our economy I am confident that won't be happening”. (Source: Stuff, 10 February 2010) http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3311679/Key-no-GST-rise-video-emerges
The reality: GST was increased to 15 per cent.
The promise: “That would be a fundamental purpose of our Government, to narrow the wage gap between ourselves and Australia, and to grow local wages in New Zealand.” (Nexus, Waikato University, Issue 13, 3 Jul 2007)
The reality: The wage gap with Australia has increased by $32 a week.
The promise: We're here today at Westpac Stadium. It holds nearly 35,000 people. And believe it or not, the equivalent of this entire stadium - and more - leaves every year to permanently live in Australia … I'm convinced we can give them a reason, and a purpose, to stay in New Zealand. And that's why I want to be New Zealand's next Prime Minister. (Source: John Key, Ambitious for New Zealand – Meet John Key DVD, 27 November 2007) http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0711/S00545.htm
The promise: “We’ve got an agenda which is about the economy, it’s about building opportunities, it’s about stopping 80,000 people leaving a year to other parts of the world”. (Source: TV3 Sunrise, 27 August 2008).
The reality: 100,000 New Zealanders have left for Australia under John Key.
The promise: “I personally guarantee that we will give families financial certainty by continuing all Working for Families payments at current levels”. (Source: John Key’s Commitment Card 2008)
The reality: Budget 2011 cut over $400 million from Working for Families by reducing payments through changing abatement rates and thresholds.
The promise: “I'm not interested in selling assets – I'm all about building assets”. (John Key Speech, My Key Commitments to You, 12 October 2008) http://www.johnkey.co.nz/archives/504-SPEECH-My-Key-Commitments-to-You.html
The promise: “I personally guarantee that we will maintain and build New Zealand’s asset base by … not selling Kiwibank or any other state-owned company”. (Source: John Key’s Commitment Card 2008)
The reality: National is already spending the money from the asset sales and Treasury has already hired Australian investment banking firm Lazard Pty as an adviser on the asset sales.
The promise: “I have no intention of being a Prime Minister who tackles only the easy and convenient issues .. But I can tell you that dealing with the problems of our growing underclass is a priority for National, both in opposition and in government”. (Source: John Key Speech, The Kiwi Way: A Fair Go For All, 30 January 2007) http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleID=9215
The reality: The underclass has grown with 32,000 more children living in benefit dependent households over the past 3 years.
The promise: “Under National, KiwiSaver members will keep their current KiwiSaver entitlements”. (Source: 2008 KiwiSaver – Economic plan: Enduring, affordable KiwiSaver, Bill English).
The reality: National passed legislation that halved the member tax credit in year starting 1 July 2011.
The promise: The cycleway would create 4,000 jobs. (Source: Radio New Zealand, 24 March 2009) http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/12890/labour-questions-govt-costings-of-cycleway
The reality: Only a fraction of that were created – 511 (Source: Question for Written Answer 6075 (2011), John Key, 3 August 2011). http://ourhouse.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QWA/d/9/0/QWA_06075_2011-6075-2011-Jacinda-Ardern-to-the-Minister-of-Tourism.htm
The promise: “We will retain all the existing subsidies and fee controls”. (Source: National Party Media Statement, ECE Policy: Your family – your choice, 11 July 2008, Anne Tolley and Paula Bennett) http://paulabennett.co.nz/index.php?/archives/33-Press-Release-ECE-policy-Your-family-your-choice.html
The reality: Budget 2010 cut ECE subsidies by removing subsidy funding rates for ECE services with 80-99% and 100% registered teachers.
The promise: “The Government would not embark on a policy of increasing GST unless it would benefit the New Zealand economy in the long term and unless it saw the vast bulk of New Zealanders better off”. (Source: John Key, Stuff, Key confirms GST increase being considered, 9 February 2010) http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3307911/Key-confirms-GST-increase-being-considered
The promise: “The bulk of New Zealanders should be either be no worse off or better off”. (Source: John Key, TV1, Breakfast, 26 January 2010)
The reality: NZIER released a report that found 60% of households are worse off after National’s tax switch. (Source: Stuff, Higher GST, prices eat tax-cut gains for most, 1 December 2010) http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/4407809/Higher-GST-prices-eat-tax-cut-gains-for-most
The promise: “This Government introduced a balanced package of tax cuts that were fiscally neutral”. (Source: John Key, Hansard, Question Time, 11 May 2011) http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QOA/a/5/4/49HansQ_20110511_00000002-2-Financial-Position-and-Savings-Prime-Minister.htm
The reality: Budget said the package would cost $465 million in the first year and over $1 billion over four years. In fact, it has cost $1.1 billion in just the first nine months. National is borrowing for tax cuts. (Source: Treasury, Financial Statement of the Government of New Zealand for the year ended 30 June 2011).