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English puts us on a slippery slope to Greece

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, November 15th, 2012 - 31 comments
Categories: bill english, Economy - Tags:

The amount we have to borrow from the rest of the world – because the high dollar is killing our exporters and allowing importers to undercut our domestic businesses – is due to hit $17b a year by 2016. Our current account deficit is already the 2nd largest in the developed world and will be hitting disastrous levels. But English says ‘don’t worry, if that happens, our economy will just collapse, Greece-style’.

Now, in fairness, English disagrees with all the forecasters, who say the current account deficit is heading to the 7% of GDP danger zone. His disagreement is based on… optimism:

Mr English yesterday told Parliament’s finance and expenditure select committee he believed the current account deficit – the balance between the country’s earnings and expenditure – would peak at 5 per cent or 6 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).Forecasts suggest it may go as high as 8 per cent. In September, the deficit widened to $10.1 billion, or 4.9 per cent of GDP.

Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove asked what Mr English knew that the International Monetary Fund, Reserve Bank and Treasury did not. “What do you base your prediction on? Evidence, data, crystal ball, best guess?”

Mr English said he was more optimistic than other forecasters, who expected New Zealanders to return to their high-borrowing ways.

I don’t think English himself is a forecaster, by the way. He’s not running forecast models personally, so what he says are guesses, not forecasts.

But what chills the blood is English’s justification for why the current account deficit won’t/can’t get to disaster levels:

“I don’t think the world will let us run 7 and 8 per cent current account deficits. I think you would get the kind of sharp adjustments that the textbooks tell you would happen in the exchange rate or interest rates. I think the world will punish us more quickly if it gets out of line.”

So, it can’t happen because, if it did happen, our exchange rate would suddenly plunge and interest rates would go through the roof. What English is saying is that we’re on the path to a Greece-style crisis but, for some reason, the markets won’t let that happen.

I guess we had all better join in praying to the market gods, because it’s clear that English doesn’t view it as his job to do anything about the fact we’re barreling at top speed towards a cliff.

(while I’ve been writing this, English has been on Morning Report shrugging his shoulders about the likelihood the economy is contracting and saying that there are no conditions which would make National change its failed economic policies. They really just don’t give a damn – as long as there’s public wealth for them and their buddies to suckle on, they don’t care)

31 comments on “English puts us on a slippery slope to Greece”

  1. Dr Terry 1

    Even prayer might be too late to save us! The point is “will the country ever recover from what is presently being done to it?”

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      This country has been through worse in its history and yes we will fight our way back against these Tories.

      • aerobubble 1.1.1

        How can a economy collapse when our banks are mostly foreigned owned, when the considerable debt are owned by the private sector to foreigners for their homes, what English means is if the economy collapses, the bubble bust will see foreigners lose huge wealth as kiwi families foreclose their businesses and mortgage sale their homes. Why would the foreign owners want that kind of pain on themselves and kiwis? Well, if they cannot themselves sustain their own debts….

        The great re-evaluation has begun, in order to walk you must first create imbalance, similarly a economy to progress there must first be distortion. Just as a runner who distorts to the extreme falls over, so our western economy has been led to it hitting the wall. Other runners, some who will have fallen over, will rise and take to the race again, but NZ will be last because its still believes that it can wobble and never fall over.

        And you can see why this false belief has taken hold, its not like we have much of an economy anyway, given are predilection for low fruit, primary exporting and short term capital gain farming.

        If we do fall it won’t hurt like the US falling, but therein lies the rub, the US like Japan are printing money, swamping the rich, wiping the smug smirks off their face, and reviving capitalism. Because that is what this is, the capitalist purge, when too many made too much worthless value and think they own the world, need the culling to overt the fiscal peril they have created.

        Why anyone with a brain cannot see the link between markets and the environment, climate, pollution, sprawling waste, is unfathomable to me, simple fact is as smart people audit the world they realize that the energy is more expensive, the costs to cleaning up after pollution is prohibitive, the potential returns of our existing car lifestyles put red all over the books, and are causing the markets to depreciate and write down huge accrued value in portfolios. If anything the low savings for retirement might actually be a godsend since it will force the older retiring boomers to vote for left wing parties who are inclusive and insure a social safety net that has some dignity.

    • r0b 2.1

      Ummm – fisiani – that isn’t evidence of how well NZ is doing at all. It is evidence that even in the most benign possible environment for our businesses – they still can’t make it!

      Conclusion: our business “leaders” are useless, and the invisible hand of the market is never going to rescue NZ. Time for a government to step up…

      • aerobubble 2.1.1

        If Fonterra could pasteurize its milk in china it would.

        • rosy 2.1.1.1

          Well it looks like China might try to do the next best thing (for China)

          Fonterra said it had been talking with a large number of institutional investors about its upcoming Fonterra Shareholders Fund offer but that it was impossible to know what their intentions might be until the bookbuild process for the offer was complete.

          The cooperative earlier declined to comment on a report out of Beijing that China Investment Corp was seeking a stake in the Fonterra Shareholders Fund.

          The Wall Street Journal said China Investment Corp was in talks with Fonterra about investing in the fund. The Journal said the Chinese sovereign-wealth fund sought overseas investments tied to China’s growth prospects.

    • Lightly 2.2

      it’s long been the case that that NZ has a loose regulatory system for business. That’s good but not an unalloyed good.

    • muzza 2.3

      Fiss – Great stuff champ, really clever!

      • fisiani 2.3.1

        You do not realise how culturally insensitive it is to call me by the wrong name. I forgive you.

  2. Zaphod Beeblebrox 3

    Interesting listening to Paul Keating talking last night (on ABC TV), where he was discussing the fact that the mobility of labour, capital and technology meant that GDP growth was moving back to where population exists. This he says means that India, China and Indonesia in particular would be the world largest economies in 20 years.

    His message to Aus and NZ- get engaged with Indonesia, India and China or see your GDP mirror your population!

  3. Herodotus 4

    Look what happened previously regarding our current accout James. Pity it was not an issue when “We” were in power and did not warrent any policy to correct. The only adjustment was a natural resposne to the GFC
    What English is saying is that we’re on the path to a Greece-style crisis- No we were on that in 2004 under Cullen????
    http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/keygraphs/Fig6.html
    “Our problem is one of success.” from English

  4. BLiP 5

    .

    If “the world” does decide to “punish” us with “sharp adjustments” then so should the New Zealand public do to Blinglish. Dreams are free, of course. No doubt English has a retirement job lined up for just when the shit hits the fan . . . Treasurer of the Planet Key Golf Club, perhaps.

  5. muzza 6

    Who are we borrowing from and what are the terms again?

    Bill really has had a moment of lucid honesty with his comment though – Translation – If NZ gets out of line, those who have owned us (on the low) for quite some time, are going to use their puppets (IMF, WTO etc), and some jiggery pokery magic, to put NZ down where they want it, and will then be taking off with what the NACT have not been able to hock off to them already!

    NZ has been in serious trouble, this is simply the comical musings of completely souled out individual, who has opening displayed his dishonesty, and eagerness to steal from the country for his own gains!

    Apply the same to 99% of those running our parliament, and the systems which govern us. See my post in open mike to understand the types of “arm twisting” I have referred to in various posts.

    The sell out, is the price, the costs to NZ’s people, immeasureable!

  6. Steve Wrathall 7

    Greece eh?
    -no requirement for anyone to actually work
    -untouchable public sector unions
    -Bloated public payrolls (1/3 of Greeks work for the govt)
    – massive mis-investment in public transport that then requires billions more in subsidies
    – 7 weeks of holidays, then more if you get sick during your holidays.

    The fact that this socialist paradise is ending in tears is unsurprising. But that doesn’t stop Labour/Greens from proposing a similar toxic recipe here, does it?

    • framu 7.1

      wrong

      as usual steve, your a tad simplistic and rely on slogans and tub thumping rather than analysis

    • aerobubble 7.2

      Greece is in the trouble it is because its elite would not pay their fair share of taxes. The question needs to be asked why capital gain free of tax is allowed to distort our economy and load kiwis up with debt (to foreigners). Greece (taxpayers), like Iceland (bankers) and Ireland (?) are now being joined by Portugal, Spain and Italy.

    • JonL 7.3

      You really do live in cloud cuckoo land, Steve. Simplistic rote bullshit without regard to the facts!
      I suppose you trot out the standard line about how everyone on the DPB is a solo 16 yo mum producing sprogs to support a lifestyle, and everyone on unemployment, is a lazy, useless scumbag, as well!

  7. Adrian 8

    We are about to be saved though with news that the Chinese Government wants to buy the Fonterra fund . Stupid bloody cow cockys!

    • aerobubble 8.1

      If I where the Chinese, I’d build a fleet of ships to dock at NZ ports and take the raw milk on board and process it on the way to China, a small Thorium nuclear power plant who be just the trick.

      • aerobubble 8.1.1

        Just if I were China I’d be using Chinese wealth to dislodge asteriods in the belt between Jupitor and Mars and crash them into Mars, grow the gravity, introduce water, to Mars. Hell if I were Japan I’d have a base remote non-human on Phobos and Demios by now.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1

          Just if I were China I’d be using Chinese wealth to dislodge asteriods in the belt between Jupitor and Mars and crash them into Mars, grow the gravity, introduce water, to Mars.

          Two things
          1.) There isn’t enough mass in the asteroid belt to properly Terra-form Mars
          2.) There is already water on Mars – enough to give it some serious oceans

          • aerobubble 8.1.1.1.1

            But… that’s where you’d start, with the asteroid belt.

            Second, it would be fun to watch them smash into the planet.

            As for water, I thought that co2 and methane plus life would turn into water and organisms.

            Anyway asteriods are not mostly water are they? the basic problem is greenhouse effect,
            mars doesn’t have a thick enough atmosphere and gravity to retain it.

            • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1.1.1

              But… that’s where you’d start, with the asteroid belt.

              You could start there but I’m thinking the Kuiper Belt may be a little too far to lug mass in from. Of course, some of those object are already on the way in so I suppose we’d just need to redirect them.

              the basic problem is greenhouse effect, mars doesn’t have a thick enough atmosphere and gravity to retain it.

              Mars used to have a thick enough atmosphere but it’s been depleted through the solar wind removing it due to Mars not having an magnetosphere. The lack of magnetosphere might have something to do with lack of mass as Mars’ is only partially liquid.

              • Exactly DTB, no iron/heavier metal core to “Drive” the planet.

                Adding mass to it’s circumference would slow it’s rotation.

              • Draco T Bastard

                The lack of magnetosphere might have something to do with lack of mass as Mars’ core is only partially fluid.

                Minor correction to improve readability.

        • PlanetOrphan 8.1.1.2

          Endanger the entire solar system would ya, I think I’d shoot ya for that M8!

          • aerobubble 8.1.1.2.1

            How would it endanger the solar system to remove asteroids already threaten Earth, which dislodge over time anyway and could fly into Earth. Just doing the feasibility study (the stage we are at) would produce information about how to alter the orbits of asteroids and so SAVE the Earth from such disasters. Why do you hate the Earth so much? The people of Earth? The children and families of Earth?

            • PlanetOrphan 8.1.1.2.1.1

              Increase the Gravity of Mars ?????

              You don’t know anything about solar orbits do ya bud ?

              And most of the astroid belt is not water, and DTB’s comment that it has enough water are wrong, it’s all been leached by lack of gravity as you said.

              And the asteroids do not threaten earth , if there ever was a meteorite that would approach earth, it happened a long time ago.

              It would take an extra solar system commet to dislodge any, which again would’ve happened a long time before now.

              • Draco T Bastard

                You don’t know anything about solar orbits do ya bud ?

                I grabbed an orbital simulator off the net and let it run for a few million years with Mars at double Earth mass and it didn’t alter any orbits significantly enough to worry about.

                And most of the astroid belt is not water, and DTB’s comment that it has enough water are wrong, it’s all been leached by lack of gravity as you said.

                Wrong, go read the links I provided.

                And the asteroids do not threaten earth , if there ever was a meteorite that would approach earth, it happened a long time ago.

                Wrong again. There are quite literally billions of asteroids and we don’t know the orbits of most of them. Quite a few of the ones we do know about do intersect with Earth’s orbit though.

                • aerobubble

                  Do our progeny a favor or two, turn Mars into a second Earth (as much as possible) ready for when the sun grows hotter and Earth is unlivable, and remove the threat of a Dinosaur asteroid end for humankind. The technology learnt, the lessons and experience may actually be the pathway to the stars, whereas sitting on our backsides wasting the one time use nonrenewable to beat up fantasy characters in a virtual world….

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    Andrew Little has reinstated Carmel Sepuloni as Labour’s Social Development spokesperson following the sentencing of her mother in the New Plymouth District Court today. “It has been a tough time for Carmel, but we both agreed it was appropriate she… ...
    23 hours ago
  • Government taking Kiwis for April Fools
    Many Kiwis will be wondering if the joke is on them when a raft of Government changes come into effect tomorrow, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “First is ACC and National’s unwillingness to end its rort of Kiwi businesses which… ...
    1 day ago
  • Time to show RMA housing affordability plans
    Labour is challenging the Government to reveal its plans to make housing more affordable through amending the Resource Management Act, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Labour remains willing to consider the proposals on housing affordability on their merits and… ...
    1 day ago
  • John Key now admits no broad support for RMA changes
    John Key has now been forced to admit that he never had the broad political support to gut the Resource Management Act, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods. “Cornerstone legislation such as the RMA should never be changed without genuine… ...
    2 days ago
  • National’s changes leave student bodies in chaos
    The chaos created by National’s scrapping of compulsory student association membership may force the 86-year old Union of Students Association to fold, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “National’s 2011 Voluntary Student Membership Act has left student associations with… ...
    2 days ago
  • Tragedy must be impetus for better training
    The Police Minister needs to explain why unsworn and inadequately trained custody officers were put in a situation of caring for a medically unwell prisoner on a busy Saturday night, Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Commenting on an IPCA… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government must be more transparent on investor state clauses
    The Government must be more transparent around the draft investor state dispute settlements in the TPPA, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which… ...
    5 days ago
  • Protect university staff and student voices
    The Green Party believes ensuring student and staff representation on university councils is important. National recently passed a law reducing the size of university governance councils while increasing the proportion of the members nominated by, guess who… Steven Joyce. The… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    6 days ago
  • C’mon Nick what’s the truth on the RMA
     “Nick Smith has got to fess up and tell us what is happening to his much vaunted RMA reform, Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods says.  “With just a day and a half to go before the polls open in Northland,… ...
    6 days ago
  • SSC salaries sink National’s spending spin
    Massive pay rises at the State Services Commission prove National’s claims of clamping down on spending in the public sector are simply fantasy, Labour’s State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. “Salaries in this one department are almost $70,000 more than… ...
    6 days ago
  • We can fix Christchurch and keep our assets
    The Christchurch City Council is seeking public feedback on its proposed 10 year plan for Council revenue and spending. This is probably one of the most significant 10 year plans ever to be written by a local council because of… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    6 days ago
  • Epidemic of serious assaults in our prisons
    Labour wants stab proof vests and pepper spray for all corrections officers to keep them safe from the epidemic of serious prison assaults that are occurring around the country’s jails, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “There have been five… ...
    6 days ago
  • Listen to the locals Hekia!
    Minister Hekia Parata needs to understand what consultation is, Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “It means you have to listen to what people say in their submissions and then be able to demonstrate you have considered their views when… ...
    7 days ago
  • Thanking our caregivers
    Let’s celebrate and thank our caregivers. This week is caregivers’ week. It’s a chance to acknowledge the thousands of women, and occasional other person, who are caring for the elderly and disabled in our country. They hold people’s lives in… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    7 days ago
  • Mana Post shop the best outcome for community
    Labour MP for Mana Kris Faafoi has welcomed the move to place the services from the Mana Post shop to a local small business. “This is the best outcome for the community we could ask for. All the vital services… ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour looks to put the tea back into entitlements
    Labour is moving to restore the rights of Kiwis to take tea and rest breaks, Leader Andrew Little says. “Within months of the Government’s Employment Relations Amendment Bill becoming law we are already seeing some of our largest companies, including… ...
    1 week ago
  • Desperate money grab to keep Ruataniwha afloat
    The Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company’s decision to borrow $4 million to keep the Ruataniwha project afloat is a case of throwing ratepayer’s good money after bad, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri and Napier MP Stuart Nash.   “This bridging… ...
    1 week ago
  • Roundup: UN finds it “probably” causes cancer
    At last the UN has spoken out against the widely-used weedkiller Roundup. The UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified glyphosate, the principle ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen. They also include as probable carcinogens the insecticides… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • World water day: eight rivers in one day
    Our photo journey started by the Waioweka (also known as Waioeka) River which flows from Te Urewera to Opotiki, and is surrounded by beautiful forest. The water looked great! Kopeopeo Canal It contrasted greatly with the Kopeopeo Canal near Whakatane,… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • We all benefit when education meets everyone’s needs
    As Dyslexia week comes to a close,  Dyslexia NZ have reminded us that around 10% of our citizens are dyslexic and are entitled to better support. One of their strongest arguments is that failure to provide identification and support for… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Big change starts small
    Today marks Race Relations Day in New Zealand. Race Relations Day coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  The United Nations General Assembly chose this day as it marks the day in 1960 when 69 peaceful… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Israel, Palestine and the question of statehood
    The knife-edge election in Israel complicates the Middle East situation, even more than usual. The Prime Minister-elect, Binyamin Netanyahu, is moving to form a government. Netanyahu has indicated that, during his term, a Palestinian state would not be established. That… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Christchurch transport goes backwards
    The Green Party has a vision of a liveable, accessible Christchurch with a sense of identity and strong connected communities. Instead, 2013 census figures released by Statistics New Zealand reveal a fractured community, and tell a story of frustrated Christchurch commuters… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Super Fund should divest $140 million in high risk coal
    The Green Party is calling on the New Zealand Super Fund to divest their $140 million investment in coal companies that are vulnerable to becoming financially stranded according to a damning new report from Oxford University. The Smith School of… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Learn to count with Mark Osborne: 0 + 1 = ?
    The adage about the first casualty of war being truth is one that might often be applied to the political battle for hearts and minds, and of course votes. A rather unfortunate example of this has been arriving in the… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Is it still a safety net when the holes are this big?
    Over the last few weeks I’ve been wondering how safe our income support system is for people, especially those with cognitive or learning disabilities. I’ve been trying to support a young man who was severely injured in a workplace accident… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika – protecting the Pacific needed now more than ever.
    Over the weekend thousands of Aucklanders flocked to celebrate our city’s diverse Pacific communities and cultures at the annual Pasifika festival and the Greens were there to join them. The Pasifika festival has been held every year for 23… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Sounds Stakeholders Seek a Sustainable Future
    It was heartening to see a large number of people who care about the Marlborough Sounds come together at the Marlborough Marine Futures’ forum in Picton on March 8. Fellow Green MP Steffan Browning, who lives in Marlborough, and I… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    3 weeks ago

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