Monday, March 06, 2017

Opportunity knocks again

Six months out from the election, and Bill English is openly threatening people's retirement security:

Prime Minister Bill English has hinted at changes to the age of retirement.

Speaking on TV3's The Nation on Saturday, English said he would not continue with former prime minister John Key's commitment not to change the age of eligibility.

There was room for a "reset" around the superannuation scheme, which could mean a change in the retirement age or the way super was calculated, he said.

Cutting pensions (without affecting their own, of course) is something National have wanted to do for a long time - remember when they wanted to means test it back in the 1990's? To National, a superannuation scheme which largely prevents the problems of old-age poverty widely seen overseas isn't an achievement, its an expense, something which stops them looting tax cuts for their donors and cronies. So, under the guise of unaffordability, they push for slashing it - forgetting that its only "unaffordable" if you rule out higher taxes, and if you ignore the social costs - old people starving or freezing to death every winter - of not paying it. Because that's what happens overseas where people like Bill English have had their way: the elderly die, on a massive scale.

The good news is that Labour has finally flushed the 1%'s kool-aid, and is standing up for pensions again. Because that's what a left-wing party should do: protect social services. The question is whether they can exploit the massive opportunity English has just given them, or whether Labour muppetry will let National get away with it.