Yesterday the National Party released the details of their confidence & supply arrangements with United Future and ACT, which give them the numbers to form a Government.
As well as bringing in charter schools, the arrangement with ACT also looks to impose a spending cap on the Government.
Commentator and analyst Keith Ng has done a very useful breakdown of the numbers. It’s well worth a read.
Check my numbers by all means, but with a budget that is explicitly fixed and exploding NZ Super costs, there’s not much room for ambiguity. This is not a cap. It’s not even a slow withering of the state. This is a substantive and perpetual cut.
How is it that Key can casually commit to this? Who the hell would swallow this satan-sandwich just to get John Banks in return?
This is the cynical part. He’s doesn’t actually have to swallow it. The law change will take place in two years, probably choosing the 2014 budget as the baseline, so there won’t be any actual cuts till 2015, after the election. It probably won’t be Key’s problem by then, and possibly not National’s. He even points out that future governments can abolish it if they want to. So, he’s basically setting a completely unreasonable promise in place to force future governments to renege on it.