Whatever the questions about the precise details of National's position on Kiwisaver, and Kate Wilkinson and Shane Ardern appear to have different views to their leader over what precisely those details should be, there are three things about National's position on Kiwisaver that are abundantly clear:
- they're going to keep it.
- there will be "no radical changes" to it;
- they could have killed it.
How could they have killed it when they're in opposition? Simple. They could have killed it at birth if they'd wanted too with one sentence delivered as unambiguously as they know how: "If elected, we will kill this bureaucratic mare's nest and return your money to you." Since signing up to Kiwisaver was a decision made by taxpayers based almost wholly on their expectation of the scheme's political support over its lifetime, the success or otherwise of the mare's nest was wholly dependent right from its inception on the degree to which people assumed it had cross-party support.
By announcing that they would deal to it as forthrightly as Muldoon once did to the last compulsory savings scheme Labour dreamed up, at a stroke it would have rendered Cullen's successor stillborn -- as I pointed out at the time. Instead, we're now encumbered with it, with all the impositions on small business employers that are now being more widely understood, all the implications for ongoing state control of capital markets that will become only too clear over time -- and the ongoing annual $2 billion cost of the Kiwisaver subsidy bill that John Key and Michael Cullen are forcing down taxpayers' throats.
Once again, we pay the price for John Key's 'me too.'