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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!

  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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