The Nats had the chance to back away from their wage-parity with Australia promises back in February when Alan Bollard declared that it was impossible. Instead Key doubled down. I guess the Nats are telling themselves that the gap started to widen again in Labour’s third term (so it isn’t their fault) and that they’re ‘growing the broader economy’ and that wage increases will be a ‘lagging indicator’.
Every time National introduces new legislation it points out that they included the policy (or a vague approximation of it) in their election manifesto and thus they have a mandate from the people. My memory of the election is that they campaigned on an end to the nanny state, wage-parity with Australia and very little else. If they have a mandate for anything surely it’s lifting wages?
Given that it was the main platform of their election campaign I wonder how long they’ll be happy to let it lag before they produce policy to specifically address this problem. Or is that what the budget was supposed to do? Does shifting the tax burden from income to consumption mean that – in their minds – they’ve closed the gap?