Saturday, March 13, 2010

ZenTiger Where's Roger Douglas when you need him?

The National Government is looking to end the free off peak travel for pensioners that came with the Gold Card. Naturally, Winston Peters, architect of the card, is furious. Maye he'll form a political party and woo the old age vote? Who knows, crazy things like that have been known to happen.

I'm actually more interested in what Roger Douglas has to say about this. This is Roger's opportunity to sweep in and demand that these "perks" are protected under contract, and not to be touched.

It was Roger Douglas leading the charge when MP's lifetime travel perks were threatened. A story about that published at the time said something like:
Hands off our Perks! say 140 ex MPs, fighting to keep their lifetime entitlements."Our conditions were set at the time for those members...and it's a contract between the Government and them which would be broken if it was changed by mutual agreement."
If that is the case then John Key either agrees and leaves the free off-peak travel for all pensioners in place, or he ends all MP perks as part of this rationalisation of money saving.

The nice thing about political blogging over a few years, is eventually all ones material becomes relevant again, and again and again. This recent attack on pensioners allows me to throw the whole "MP travel perks can never be taken" argument back in their faces. Now Roger and ACT have an opportunity to fight for pensioner entitlements, or agree to slash MP perks in solidarity, and win back the perk buster badge that earned Rodney Hide good political capital.

Either way, a great opportunity for ACT to get some press and build their profile, or the game may well fall to Winston. It's not as if he'll be starved for material. I see in other news, pensioners are going to be hit by National with taxes around savings. Throw in the GST increase, and potentially Land Tax where even their mortgage free home gets hit with new fees, and National could lose a significant chunk of their voting base. And in MMP, it only takes a 3% swing to prove significant.

And what do I think about the Gold Card and free off-peak travel? Well, in a choice between the government using tax payer loot on both MP travel entitlements and free bus rides for pensioners, the latter gets my vote. Let's get our priorities sorted, Ministers.

2 comment(s):

Psycho Milt said...

They're backing down in a hurry now. Must have noticed they were effectively handing Winston Peters a big stick and saying "Here's fun - why don't you beat us with this?"

ZenTiger said...

Yes, I noticed that after I posted.

It was a very quick back down, they must have realised $18 million a year is a small price to pay not to have Winston back.

Who said election spending is capped?

And wasn't it only recently there was a You-Tuber Video of John Key saying key wouldn't raise GST?

Perhaps he meant "wouldn't raise it by more than 2.5% per election cycle"?

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