Labour leader Phil Goff is saying everything but the word 'compulsory' when asked about the party's pending savings policy, although he is giving strong hints that is the direction Labour will go down as it battles to be in a position to form a government after the November 26 general election.
Asked by media on Monday how Labour's savings policy was coming along, Goff pointed to both a compulsory savings scheme devised by former Labour Prime Minister Norman Kirk, but thrown out by National's Rob Muldoon in 1975, and the Australian compulsory saving scheme.
Goff has said previously that he would like to see a savings scheme in New Zealand that went further than KiwiSaver, which was universally available but not universally taken up by those in the workforce.
“I’d like to see the situation where you had a universal savings programme in New Zealand as soon as that could be achieved,” Goff told media at his weekly Monday afternoon press conference.
Asked whether the policy would call for a compulsory savings scheme, Goff replied:
“I’m not talking about details of policy until I announce it. I just think that if the Norman Kirk scheme hadn’t have been demolished by the Muldoon administration, this country would be in a much stronger position, as Australia is because of its policy.”
“I’m not talking about our policy until we release it, but what I am saying is I think what most New Zealanders would agree [with is], the destruction of the Kirk scheme proved to be hugely damaging to New Zealand, that’s the lasting legacy of the Muldoon administration,” Goff said.
(Updates with video of Goff)