Government unravelling at the seams | The Jackal

14 Mar 2013

Government unravelling at the seams

Today, TVNZ reported:

Senior Government officials are understood to be distancing themselves from a controversial car park tax that has sparked fierce opposition from business groups and unionists.

The proposal to extend a fringe benefit tax (FBT) of almost 50% to employer-provided onsite parking was the brainchild of United Future leader and Revenue Minister Peter Dunne.

The tax, which would apply only to workers in the Auckland and Wellington CBDs, has been widely described as petty and discriminatory.

Now National Party officials at the very highest levels are understood to be trying to shift the heat to Dunne, who is currently out of the country.

Talk about another National party PR disaster!

Being that United Future has a no surprises agreement with the National party, John Key and Bill English must have agreed to Peter Dunne's car park tax for it to be before parliament.

In fact Nationals Confidence and Supply Agreement (PDF) with United Future states:

Advance notification to the other party of significant announcements by either the Government or United Future.

Therefore it's safe to say that National did previously support the car park tax wholeheartedly... In fact along with Act they voted for it through its first reading, totally failing to raise any concerns about the issue, probably because they didn't realise at the time it would be so unpopular.

That was before a public backlash that subsequently initiated a strongly worded blog post from Cactus Kate, in which she asked a most poignant question:

Didn't John Key promise no new taxes?

Why yes he did, and in 2005 also pledged not to entertain any suggestion of applying new taxes to car parks. National supporting the car park tax through its first reading means the dishonest Prime Minister has once again broken his word.

Cathy Odgers' blog post in turn caused John Banks to come out strongly the next day against the new car park tax... However, the Act Party has now removed their "leaders" article, perhaps realising it doesn't look good to be attacking one of their own coalition partners.

Praise for Cathy Odgers doesn't come easily to me, but she's really outdone herself here... Firstly by encouraging the idiot John Banks to contradict himself and back track on supporting the car park tax, and secondly to once again show National up to be the duplicitous bastards that they are.

Today, Odgers follows up:

Peter Dunne has failed and Bill English has failed.  Spectacularly.


They are meant to represent the centre right and the far extreme left presently are upholding more principles of the right than they are.  It is not and never will be about the $17 million, it is about principles.

It is about principles and it presently appears that "Senior Government officials" are simply going to leave Peter Dunne blowing in the wind in order to avoid public criticism, after they knowingly agreed to the new on-premises car park tax... That backtracking succinctly shows the National party, and Act party for that matter, have no solid principles at all.

Perhaps them cutting Peter Dunne loose has something to do with his recent comments on how National has mismanaged some of their policy announcements, and the fact that United Future will be unlikely in a position to prop up any defunct neoliberal government after the next election.

Clearly all is not well within the right wings rank and file.