Days to the General Election: 36
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.

Labour drags out John Key 'raising superannuation age' skeleton from opposition-days closet; National launches website for Labour's borrowing needs

Labour drags out John Key 'raising superannuation age' skeleton from opposition-days closet; National launches website for Labour's borrowing needs

By Alex Tarrant

It's getting dirty.

Labour and National were this morning getting down to some good ole mud-slinging as the November 26 election approaches.

From the opposition it was a skeleton from John Key's past and the comment the PM didn't have the balls to debate the big issues.

From the incumbents, it was the launch of a new website with a guesstimate of how much more a Labour government would have to borrow over the next four years if it gets into power and implements the policies it's promising.

'Come clean Mr Key'

Following a stint on National Radio this morning where he said the Prime Minister did not have the "balls" to debate the issue of raising the superannuation age, Phil Goff sent out a media release with comments made by Key in 2004 that pointed to support for raising the super age.

Labour yesterday announced it would implement the Retirement Commissioner's recommendation for the superannuation eligibility age to be raised by two months a year from 2020 to 2033 from 65 to 67. John Key has promised to resign before backing a policy that would see the Super age rise above 65.

"Why is John Key so afraid to front up? He should stop being glib and have the guts to debate the issues that matter to New Zealanders. He can't even get his story straight on the plan to gradually increase the age of Super," Goff said in the release.

“In 2004, he said: 'will lifting the retirement age by a couple of years in twenty years' time be all that big a deal? I suspect not. If anything it is likely to be welcomed by the majority of New Zealanders who recognize that increased levels of longevity inevitably means that any private capital they have squirreled away will need to be spread more thinly and last longer.'"

See the comment in the speech Key made in 2004.

“Now he suddenly claims it is a 'cruel joke' to gradually lift the age by a couple of years over 22 years. It's about time John Key told Kiwis the truth. What does he really believe? It seems he does actually agree the age should be increased but he doesn't have the courage to make the tough decisions," Goff said.

"He is also being contradicted by his own Finance Minister (Bill English) who says he thinks it is a 'legitimate debate'.”

'We'll owe our future, not own it'

It was then National Party campaign manager Stephen Joyce's turn to sling mud back at Labour, by announcing a new website administered by National with an estimate of how much more borrowing Labour's policies would require.

Labour's latest spending binge would leave Phil Goff borrowing an extra NZ$16.6 billion more over the next four years than is laid out in the pre-election fiscal and economic update, Joyce said in a media statement.

“Labour wants to borrow billions more at precisely the time when the world is saying no to more debt. They are trying to hide it by saying they will lift the Super age, but even if they did, there would be no savings from that until it starts kicking in in 11 years time in 2022,” Joyce said.

“So Labour wants to force Kiwis to work two years’ longer as a figleaf to cover for the reckless and panicked promises it has been making in the run-up to November 26. Make no mistake, Labour’s recipe would mean we would owe our future," he said.

The figures were laid out in a new website administered by the National Party and officially launched today, called

"Just yesterday we released figures showing Labour had reached NZ$9 billion extra spending over the next four years. Labour's spending commitments in its so-called 'savings' announcement would leave Kiwi taxpayers an extra NZ$7 billion in debt by 2015/16," Joyce said.

The website would be updated as new Labour spending promises were made, and there had been a number of changes already, he said. The website was "taking a deliberately conservative approach to estimating the cost of the spending promises that Labour has been making".

"We've generously taken an optimistic view of how much would be raised by Labour's vague new taxes, which include a capital gains tax, and a GST package, that not even Labour can explain," Joyce said.

"These estimates don't include a large number of smaller promises that Labour MPs have made over the past three years and we'd welcome public help where promises have been made and are not included in our estimates."

You can see the government's actual spending plan in our Budget 2011 section here.

And see where they're getting the money from in our Budget 2011 tax collection plan here.

Then compare that with Labour's new election policies in our Party policy section here.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


Excellent mud slinging.

Hey steven!


Hah! Got em.

Do we really need political parties ?

 The old fashion “Bloody Party Cock Fighting” begins and most people think it is fun – another spectacle after the RWC.

Why are parliamentarians (ministers) in this country allowed to underperform again and again hiding behind the face of their parties ? Why is the government allowed to make their own investigations ? Why are ministers allowed not to face the NZpublic/ NZmedia answering important questions of national interests ? An increasingly divorced relationship between the NZpublic and government. Questions after questions without satisfying answers. The underperformance of previous and current governments with severe consequences for our society - lead me to the question:

 Do we really need political parties ?

..and Alex why are you young people in this country accept, even support (see article) a political system, which isn’t working ? I think you have no idea what is coming – so please wake up the NZyoung generation !!!!!!!!

LOL....."Big Issues"

Put the Peak oil event / problem on the table and debate that...nothing else matters until that is delt with....anything else is buidling a castle on quicksand.....

No one will of course....


Just for you Steven,

The Great American False Dilema - Austerity vs. Stimulus.

"As tough as I can be on the economics profession, I actually think most economists understand very well how the economy operates. But here is the problem: Their understanding has been rendered increasingly obsolete by the emerging problem of resource scarcity and the resistance of our built environment to an easy or quick energy transition. In other words, economists typically no longer have a solution"

Here...have some humbug from John Armstrong:

 "...Labour has not only bitten the bullet, it has swallowed it whole in terms of policies that would boost investment in productive enterprises and - ultimately - deliver jobs."

"That would boost investment in productive enterprises"......really John....tell us how...

The pension age policy is a giant flip flop on a "committment" given by Cunny and Goofy in 09. Big disaster as far as low income workers are concerned...don't you think John!

The Kiwisaver compulsion policy just re routes the money flow and does nothing to prevent the currency debasement that will eat away the real value of the savings left after the fund managers have had their fill every year...year after year....

But that's not all from Armstrong...more humbug:

 "Coupled with the party's capital gains tax, research and development tax credits, and a monetary policy designed to take pressure off the dollar,"

The CGT is a scam demanding a CGT on private family homes, otherwise it would return less than the cost of chasing the gains. This stupendous 'own goal' dies the weekend Labour released it.

The RD tax credits have to be paid for by borrowing and National rid the country of this rort.

What's left John?..."a monetary policy designed to take the pressure off the dollar" they gonna do that while also borrowing billions more to pay for all the dumb policies.! That's billions more on top of the billions National have had to borrow to pay for mess left by labour after they wasted 9 years creating recession ahead of every other western economy......

and you want these idiots to be given another go.....! LOL

Bernard sinking his toe into JKs bum this morning..haha...not that Bh is wrong to poke away but he makes no mention of why both, indeed all political yobs in NZ always go with the policy of buying votes with promises....

This mess is a reflection of who we are....the pollies just take advantage of the voters. Who will change first....the yobs or the fools who vote them in!

I see no prospect for any change in the habitual 'me me me' culture engrained into the NZ way of life.

Break it down and you have some who believe nobody has the right to be better off than anybody else or to own any property what so ever, and that all should work their entire lives like ants doing as their political masters dictate.......................while at the other end of the bridge are those who see people as something to be exploited, destroyed if necessary and replaced with new cattle to be used and abused, while they the lords of all that is can collect massive incomes bloated with bonuses whether they are state bosses or corporate thieves.

Watch closely as the fatcats fill their larder in the directorship and corporate money grab round already underway...anyone for an fingerfood for the shareholders...maybe even a cuppa tea.


You're right that both parties are to blame.

That's why I wrote this in that piece this morning: "We remember the appalling earthquake, but most of this was to pay for middle class welfare measures that both Labour and National used during the 2000s to get themselves elected."


More here:



Your access to our unique content is free - always has been. But ad revenues are under pressure so we need your direct support.

Become a supporter

Thanks, I'm already a supporter.

Days to the General Election: 36
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.