web analytics
The Standard

How we got where we are

Written By: - Date published: 7:35 am, November 24th, 2011 - 39 comments
Categories: economy, employment, labour, national - Tags: , ,

I think it’s worth reminding ourselves that we had a choice at the last election between competent economic management and a bunch of hollow promises. We made a poor choice then, and every indication is that we’re about to repeat it. Perhaps if we consider the history of how we got where we are on the economy (updating a post from last year), there’s still time to avoid making the same mistake again:

Labour’s legacy

Labour left the economy in good shape in 2008. Treasury said so at the time in their briefing to the incoming government:

A stable macroeconomic environment gives investors confidence in the New Zealand economy as a place to invest. It gives New Zealand businesses a degree of certainty for making business decisions. Successive governments have done a good job of getting the New Zealand economy in a position where it can respond well to economic shocks. Low levels of public debt allow freedom to look through short-term cyclical fluctuations and there is room to adjust monetary policy to support demand.

Bill English said so too, on Dec 18 2008:

“I want to stress that New Zealand starts from a reasonable position in dealing with the uncertainty of our economic outlook.” “In New Zealand we have room to respond. This is the rainy day that Government has been saving up for,” he told reporters at the Treasury briefing on the state of the economy and forecasts.

Bill was still saying the same, in May 2010. The IMF agreed:

[New Zealand] was better placed, in terms of its starting point going into the crisis, than many countries. The basic nature of its banking system, the floating exchange rate, and low Government debt should stand it in good stead. … As well, “significant” stimulus from monetary and fiscal policy was happening, even if its full benefits had yet to be felt. “The average advanced country is starting with [government] debt of around 80 per cent of GDP,” Mr Brooks said. “New Zealand’s gross debt is around 20 per cent and in net terms it has positive financial assets. That’s important.”

Labour oversaw a decade of growth. According to Reserve bank Governor Dr Allan Bollard in 2008…

“We have enjoyed a decade of growth, the longest period of economic growth since the post-World War 2 era. Inflation has been low, averaging 2.2 per cent since 1998.

Labour paid off debt from the past, grew the economy quicker than comparable countries, stopped the widening pay gap with Australia, took unemployment to 30 year lows, alleviated poverty with Working for Families, and started planning for the future (and stimulating the economy) with Kiwisaver and the Cullen fund. That’s an economic record to be proud of.

2008 recession

For a variety if reasons – none of them economic mismanagement – the New Zealand economy technically went in to recession in 2008. Reserve Bank Governor Dr Bollard sums up:

The international financial crisis actually played little role in the early part of New Zealand’s economic recession. Rather, it was drought, falling house prices and high petrol prices that dragged New Zealand GDP growth negative over the first three quarters of 2008.

Despite being then caught up in the unfolding global recession, the resilient economy left by Labour recovered, and we were technically out of recession by the June quarter 2009. In other words the recovery was underway before the new National government’s first budget. National claim the credit of course, but we were out of recession before they even so much as twitched the reins of the economy. But National wasted the opportunity for a stronger rebound. Wasted it, because (unlike Australia) they had no idea and no plan for growth.

2008 election

It was obvious before the election that Labour both understood the magnitude of the global recession, and had a detailed plan and stimulus package ready for the economy. National, in contrast, was only focused on buying the election with irresponsible promises of massive tax cuts (a promise dropped as soon as their bums hit the ministerial seats). They had no realistic plan. John Armstrong summed up:

If actions speak louder than words, Labour was the winner on Day One of the official election campaign – game, set and match. In the fight over which of the two major parties is best at running the economy, Labour scored a significant tactical victory. …

Key’s earlier speech at National’s campaign opening in Auckland’s SkyCity Convention Centre said nothing new on economic policy. In fact, it said nothing new about anything.

If that was not bad enough, Labour was getting ready to lay out something really meaty just a few blocks away in the Auckland Town Hall. There, Helen Clark trumped Key by delivering the recovery package he had been demanding, including contingency plans to save jobs and the promise of a mini-budget in December. The upshot was that Labour looked like it was governing; National looked complacent and flat-footed.

The new National government

In the face of the worst global recession in decades, the incoming National government infamously went on holiday:

Govt’s ’100 days of action’ includes 28-day holiday

It was supposed to be “100 days of action” … . but the new Government’s urgent agenda includes 28 days of a skeleton holiday-time operation. Despite the global economic crisis, Prime Minister John Key is on leave at his Hawaii getaway and – as in past summers – other ministers have been acting as the lone “duty minister”.

Not that it mattered much, because there’s very little difference between Nats on holiday and Nats asleep at the wheel. They had no plan of their own, so they tried to claim credit for the outgoing Labour government’s economic stimulus. Superb reporting by Tim Watkin at Pundit caught them out:

The $9 billion bait and switch

National claims its $9 billion stimulus package is one of the largest in the world and will protect New Zealand from the worst of the recession. But much of package is in fact old spending re-announced, including most of the previous government’s 2008 Budget and the purchase of KiwiRail that National so vehemently opposed

News sites and radio bulletins today are full of the government’s $500 million infrastructure spending plans, as part of its $9 billion stimulus plan for the economy. What they’re not telling you how the government is cutting and pasting old numbers under new headlines to make itself look more pro-active than it really is. … In truth, it’s a bunch of already budgeted-for spending plans re-announced and labelled a stimulus package. …

Tim finally got the truth:

The truth about National’s so-called stimulus: not a penny more

… Yesterday afternoon I got an answer and an admirably detailed answer at that from Bill English’s office. The short version is this: Last December the government confirmed that its new spending combined with Labour’s already committed spending would total $9b over the next three years. Every spending announcement since the business tax reform, the new bridges and schools hasn’t been about new money, it’s merely been telling us how that $9b would be spent. While the economy tanks and the rest of the world commits hundreds of billions in new spending, New Zealand hasn’t changed its fiscal plans one iota.

Desperate to be seen to be doing something, Key came up with a talk-fest “Jobs Summit”, and his astounding plan to fight the global recession with a cycleway. How’s that working out again? National have now had three budgets, in economic terms all of them wasted. Or actually damaging. Oh and by the way, unemployment is still high and the wage gap with Australia is growing ever greater too.

Signs of recovery

Not because of but in spite of the bumbling National government, the battered NZ economy is trying to battle itself back to good health. There are occasional signs of hope. As usual the Nats are desperate to claim the credit. But none of the “green shoots” are due to the government. Here’s a typical example:

Rising commodities have supported New Zealand’s economic recovery over the past 12 months after it climbed out of its deepest recession in 18 years in the June quarter last year. Central bank Governor Alan Bollard said New Zealand’s trading partners had recovered faster than expected and this had filtered through to the country’s exports.

Thanks commodity prices! Thanks trading partners! No thanks National. Similarly:

The outlook for the financial system has improved over recent months, reflecting a recovery in the New Zealand economy driven by stronger trading partner activity and a sharp lift in the terms of trade, Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard said today…

Thanks terms of trade! Thanks again trading partners! No thanks National. But it’s not all down to international factors – consider:

Deficit Falls Further The Government’s deficit has decreased further, with the Crown’s operating balance for the nine months to March 31 coming in $2,006 million smaller than forecast at $1,327 million mainly due to gains on the Crown’s investment portfolios held by the NZS Fund, ACC and EQC.

Thanks Super Fund, ACC and EQC, or in other words thanks Labour governments (2001, 1974, 1947)! No thanks National. Overall our performance coming out of the recession was anaemic:

June 2010 rebound much slower than usual:

The Reserve Bank is expected to keep raising interest rates, despite figures showing a much slower recovery than seen in past rebounds from recession. … The pace of this recovery is only a fraction of other rebounds seen in the past 20 years, as the economy slowly picks up after the global financial crisis.

Expansionary Austerity

The reason that the recover in NZ is taking longer than it should is that the Nats’ economic policies are stifling it.  They think that the answer is for the government to cut cut cut.  Cut spending, cut jobs, cut everything (except their own pet projects of course).  This austerity is supposed to impress “the market” and “inspire confidence”, thus “causing growth”.  This theory, known as “expansionary austerity”, has a tiny problem.  It’s bollocks.  And it’s been shown to be bollocks in both the UK and the USA.  Here’s an example of us coming to the same realisation here in NZ:

Frozen family support blamed for economy

Reducing support to lower and middle income families worsens the impact of recession and contributes to the widening gap with Australia, Auckland University’s retirement think tank says.

The Retirement Policy and Research Centre investigated whether New Zealand and Australia’s economies have grown further apart since the global financial crisis.

Tax shenanegans

Many of the Nats’ economic problems arise from their irresponsible 2008 election bribe of tax cuts “North of $50″ per week.  While they broke that promise they did deliver some tax cuts.  This was supposedly in the form of a “fiscally neutral” tax switch, where Key broke another promise and raised GST to 15%.  But the tax cuts didn’t deliver growth, and they weren’t fiscally neutral at all. The Nats have borrowed $1.1 billion in the first nine months to pay for their tax cuts (most of which went to the already wealthy). This extra borrowing helped contribute to the credit downgrades…

Double downgrade = Epic fail

The Nats made avoiding a credit downgrade the litmus test of their budgets.  They failed, not once but twice, receiving credit downgrades from both S&P and Fitch.  That’s an international vote of no confidence in the Nats’ handling of the economy.  Here’s economist Bernard Hickey:

Ratings agencies don’t accidentally or routinely downgrade sovereign credit ratings. This is New Zealand’s first downgrade in 13 years. They matter. An ANZ study showed how previous downgrades preceded significant downward pressure on the currency and the economy.

No one should forget also that the government argued in the 2009 and 2011 budgets that its supposedly tough measures were designed to avoid a credit rating downgrade. This is clearly an ‘epic fail’ as the programmers might say.

Muddling through to PREFU

So the Nats have been just muddling through.  There’s no real leadership:

The John Key Government’s own growth strategy is a case in point. For example, the shambles over the mining strategy and the failure to put some ballast under the PM’s financial services hub project. Until recently, NZTE has been a relative shambles … the list goes on.

It’s unfathomable that a private sector operator like Key doesn’t put a few more skilled ministers alongside Steven Joyce and Tony Ryall to form a speed team to get major change bedded down.

After three years of economic crises, endlessly debating is no longer an option.

Sometimes they try pretending that they’re doing something – but they get caught:

Govt admits no new details in $17 billion infrastructure plan

UPDATED: Bill English has admitted the government infrastructure plan released today does not contain detail on any infrastructure project that had not already been announced over the past 2-3 years.

(And most of that, you’ll recall, was actually Labour’s work.)  No wonder that most businesses think that the government has no plan for the economy. But that brings us up to date, and up to the PREFU (Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Update).  Here’s one summary (and warning):

Grim forecast for New Zealand’s finances

After Treasury opened the books on yet another gloomy forecast, it is tempting to ask whether things could get any worse. Well, yes, is the short answer. In a case study presented by Treasury in today’s Pre-election Fiscal Update (prefu) as one extreme scenario, we are caught in a downward spiral that ultimately results in the Government being so bust it can’t pay its bills. …

And here’s Labour’s well researched summary of where we’re at in the run up to the election:

  1. Unemployment has increased by 50 per cent, leaving 157,000 New Zealanders out of work. 
    (Source: Statistics New Zealand, Household Labour Force Survey)
  2. 100,000 New Zealanders have left for Australia after he promised he would stop the brain drain.
    (Source: Statistics New Zealand, International Travel and Migration)
  3. Prices have gone up nearly four times faster than incomes over the past 3 years. John Key increased prices by hiking GST after promising not to.
    (Source: Statistics New Zealand, New Zealand Income Survey and Consumer Price Index)
  4. The first credit rating downgrade in 13 years and a double downgrade at that.
    (Source: Westpac, Weekly Commentary: Sign of the times, 3 October 2011)
  5. There are 60,000 more people on benefits costing an extra $1 billion a year.
    (Sources: MSD, National Benefit Factsheet and Monthly Benefit Data; and Treasury, Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update 2011)
  6. The wage gap with Australia has increased by $32 a week.
    (Sources: Statistics New Zealand, Quarterly Employment Survey and Australian Bureau of Statistics, Average Weekly Earnings, PPP adjusted)
  7. There are 55,200 15 to 24 year olds not in education, employment or training and the number of young people on the unemployment benefit long term has increased by over 700 per cent.
    (Sources: Statistics New Zealand, Household Labour Force Survey, NEETs and Hon Paula Bennett, Question for Written Answer 6058 )
  8. The economy has grown by just 0.4 per cent since John Key took office.
    (Source: Statistics New Zealand, Gross Domestic Product)
  9. National’s tax cuts for the most well off were supposed to be paid for with the GST. They actually cost an extra $1.1 billion in their first nine months.
    (Source: Treasury, Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand for the year ended 30 June 2011)
  10. The underclass has grown with the number of children living in benefit dependent households increasing by over 32,000 in the past 3 years.
    (Source: New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services, Vulnerability Report, Sept 2009 and Sept 2011)

Summing up

The last Labour government had an economic record to be proud of, and left the country well placed to weather the global recession. National squandered that legacy. They had no plan before the 2008 election, and they still have no plan to this day. All they can do is try and illegitimately claim the credit for every minor upward blip in an indicator, and watch helplessly as they fall further and further behind on every measure for their self appointed goal of catching up with Australia.

The Nats blame their multiple failures on the financial crisis, and of course it’s true that events have made things difficult globally.  But this was known before the last election. National promised us a fully costed plan and a quick recovery.  It didn’t happen.  Not this election they’re making similar empty promises (and telling similar lies). We shouldn’t make the mistake of believing them again.

We don’t need excuses, we need solutions.  We’ve tried National and so we’ve wasted three years. Time for a real government.  Bring back Labour!

39 comments on “How we got where we are”

  1. Wow epic post r0b.

    What more can I say.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Brilliant. New Zealanders in almost every walk of life are feeling the pressure from the non-management of this National Government. Even formerly comfortable middle class families have been turned upside down by job losses, or are feeling the encroachment of ever rising prices.

    The only people who have done well under National are the wealthiest 2% or 3% of people.

    Not good enough. Nov 26, National, ACT and Maori Party out and good riddance.

  3. Richard Watts 3

    I can’t say anything more either!

  4. uturn 4

    A Labour coalition outcome for this weekend is possible because National’s dreams are proven to be vapour and everything they propose is downsize, cut and cash up – more a liquidation plan than a management strategy. National have lost all faith in NZ to survive and they dismiss the value of people as trivial. It’s a dim view of life and people won’t connect to that.

  5. queenstfarmer 5

    Labour oversaw a decade of growth

    No, Labour squandered a decade of growth. We are still paying for that today.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      How? What would you have done differently?

      • queenstfarmer 5.1.1

        Labour was only too happy to preside over the biggest housing and finance bubble in our history, and sit back while property speculators used every trick in the book – legally – to avoid taxes (and make housing more unaffordable for the average kiwi, BTW). Labour did precisely nothing to control this. For 9 years.

        In contrast the current Govt made a number of important tax changes that have discouraged such speculation, as well as massively increasing funding to the IRD to chase the dodgers, which has resulted in many new prosecutions and increased revenue.

        So under Labour, the primary driver of the “decade of growth” was borrowing money from foreigners to buy houses off each other, and then borrowing more money on the unrealised capital gains that resulted. Labour was very happy to sit back and let this happen because it resulted in lots of revenue, which they splurged on unprecedented increases in public spending. The public sector “economy” boomed, but in the meantime the tradable sector – which actually brings money into the economy – went into recession.

        A decade of growth, squandered.

        • locus 5.1.1.1

          Strange logic from a right winger to argue that the ‘growth’ of the economy wasn’t kosher because it was based on a speculative housing and finance bubble – isn’t that exactly what kind of thing is encouraged under the freemarket capitalist ideology of the right. As for tax avoidance … isn’t that also one of the key objectives of the very wealthy and private sector.

          As for increasing spending in the public sector – fantastic! That helps to create jobs, get people off the dole, build infrastructure and improve society. Clearly not right wing priorities going by the achievements of this pitiful government.

          • queenstfarmer 5.1.1.1.1

            isn’t that exactly what kind of thing is encouraged under the freemarket capitalist ideology of the right

            The evidence shows it was encouraged under Labour, and discouraged under the current Govt.

            As for tax avoidance … isn’t that also one of the key objectives of the very wealthy and private sector

            I don’t know – seems to be a key objective of Matt McCarten’s Unite union. Avoidance can be legal or illegal. The question is how many opportunities for tax avoidance are created. Labour sat back and allowed all the exemptions and loopholes to be exploited, and in fact created many more by having a lower trust tax rate. National closed up a number of critical loopholes (though work is still to be done), and increased the IRD’s powers to chase the dodgers.

        • Maggie May 5.1.1.2

          It’s called business, and I bet National given the opportunity would have done it too, Labour did well for the country while they were in office.

          Labour never forced you to borrow from overseas banks to buy houses, in fact you could have borrowed from Kiwibank and kept the profits right here in New Zealand.

          Bet you did not do that, bet you borrowed from overseas banks so profits from your transactions goes offshore. You are part of the problem.

          Yes I changed to Kiwibank, profits from my transactions stay right here in New Zealand.

          • herodotus 5.1.1.2.1

            Maggie, no you were limitied to borrow off KB, as there are covenants that each bank has to follow eg as to the amount of reserves/deposits that are to be maintained as to what can be borrowed upon. Lending ratios, and if I recall corrrectly the Res Bank reduced these rations to make it possable for banks to lend more.
            There is also the costs to change banks, and with the lending wars that were occurring there was the Whats best for me with varying banks offering enticing interest rates.
            Also KB was not around when the bubble was starting to expand.
            And I doubt that under Nat there would have been a better outcome.

  6. Herodotus 6

    We have enjoyed a decade of growth, the longest period of economic growth since the post-World War 2 era. Inflation has been low, averaging 2.2 per cent since 1998.
    Yet we regressed down to be in the bottom quartile of the OECD rankings- When one of our major goals was to enter the top 1/2. Approx 1% or the anual growth of GDP is due to net immigration & much of the remaining growth was built on debt- And still touted as the solution – Consume/spend
    http://www.johnpemberton.co.nz/html/debt_graphs.html
    Interest rates highest ever – 5 times annual inflation (refer House affordability index)
    The continuation of building homes that are unfit to live in, but GDP will increase as we reclad and fix the problem that did not need to exist.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10768134
    The Kiwi dream of owning a house escaping realisation by many
    http://www.interest.co.nz/property/home-loan-affordability
    Re net debt does this not include the $12b of “Fraudulent accounting” of student debt as an asset from Q&A”WINSTON. Half is not being paid back. Let’s stop this fraud on their books which says it’s an asset ”
    Our issue was that there was an economic balloon being blown up waiting to pop (The EU still cannot come to terms re this).
    Our economy was and still is pyrite, but it looks like gold.

  7. Enough is Enough 7

    Anthony,

    With the election campaign all but over one wonders why Labour has not run a campaign reinforcing the basic premise of your fantastic post.

    I have always thought Labour’s simple message should have been “Are you better off than you were three years ago”. There are very few people who can say yes to that question.

    Instead we have had a some what disjointed message. We are not sure whether Labour are proud of the Clark years, or are trying to forge a new direction to the left of Clark.

    The core messages have been “stop asset sales” and “$15 minimum wage”, which to date have not worked. Yes they are important policies but there needed to be something more to excite middle of the road voters.

    I hope I am wrong but I think it was a poor campaign and after reading Anthony’s post it reinforces what a missed opportunity this campaign has been for Labour.

    • We the people of Labour are very proud of Helen Clerke’s achievments while in office and history is going to prove us right on that score. Just as history is going to judge John Key was a disaster for New Zealand.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        …and history is going to prove us right on that score.

        Nope, history is going to prove that capitalism is a failure and that the 5th Labour governments actions in supporting capitalism were, thus, also a failure.

        • muzza911 7.1.1.1

          “We the Labour people” – Ok look, get past the party politics, they do not serve your country at all. It is for the media, the corporate controllers, and for people who are not capable of thinking in anything other than 2d. They want you inside a narrow view of reality, it makes you easier to lie to…and of course by aligning yourself to only one party, it makes the job oh so much easier

          Wakey wakey….

  8. CnrJoe 8

    Woah r0b, I’m gonna get it bound

    I’m thinking the only way I can be sure John Key isn’t insane – pathological something (narcissist? psychopath? , to watch him last night…..the eye rolling, the dismission – to coin a word – of engagement……the sneering command of vaguely relevant sheaths of guessery numbers and projections…..) is the fact that ordinary commonsense people vote for him.

    It’s nuts and – is that us?

  9. locus 9

    Thanks r0b for a well researched and well presented post.

    In a few days we’ll see how many kiwis who voted for a change in 2008 appreciate just how badly they’ve been failed.

  10. anne 10

    This is the sort of posting that needs to be in the mainstream media,ie 3news,tvnz,herald etc,it
    would show those who see the nats and key as lilly white exposed for what they are,a bunch of ‘economic donald ducks’ paddling their way around and around the lake with no plan of how to get out of it, a rumour has it that key may be going to work for the goldman sach’s company,he has had two meetings with timothy geithner(not sure of spelling)
    We all need to make sure people get out and vote saturday,thats the only way we get this crowd out,before its too late.

  11. Max 11

    Another question that needs to be asked of National is, what have they done to fight climate change and ensure that NZ will have a healthy and thriving future?

    After all, the state of our environment underpins everything that our society is based on and, as a young person, I want to know that the world I grow to inherit will be a safe and sustainable one.

    Go to http://www.electwho.org.nz to find out what politicians think about the number one issue that will affect our future.

  12. Afewknowthetruth 12

    Anthony.

    Anyone caught up in the delusions of mainstream culture would think your analysis was ‘fantastic’.

    However, when we examine the facts we see that Labour did not do a good job at all.

    ‘It was obvious before the [2008] election that Labour both understood the magnitude of the global recession, and had a detailed plan and stimulus package ready for the economy.’

    Let’s be very clear here: the Labour government had been repeatedly warned that Peak Oil was about to demolish all longstanding economic arrangements and that the whole world was about to enter the period of upheaval that would be a natural consequence of the peak-oil induced never-ending depression. Helen Clark even went public on Peak Oil on one occasion, as deatiled by Robert Atack;

    http://www.oilcrash.com/articles/powr_025.htm

    However, she quickly retreated into denial of reality and went back to promoting policies predicated on economic growth, knowing that sustained economic growth was impossible. (I had had personally pointed that out to her as long ago as 2002! She didn’t want to talk about it).

    Instead of preparing NZ for the economic meltdown she knew was coming, Helen Clark continued with disaster-as-usual policies ( presumably as required by the international money-lenders and global corporations she was serving), and then got out of politics while to going was good.

    Michael Cullen was another Labour ‘clown/criminal’ who refused to acknowledge the facts. Indeed, he mocked and scoffed when Green Party belatedly began to highlight the issue of Peak OIl and the coming meltdown.

    http://www.greens.org.nz/oralquestions/question-oral-answer-oil-prices

    We have to face the reality that all supposed planning is done by beaurocratic clowns who haven’t got a clue about the real world and come up with idiotic numbers that support their ideology. They pass misinformation on to ministers who defend the nonsense in the public forum.

    http://oilshockhorrorprobe.blogspot.com/2011/11/huge-blowout-in-nz-oil-import-cost.html#more

    Cullen poured hundreds of millions of dollars of NZers hard=-earned money into various Ponzi schemes which decreased in value shortly afterwards, despite the very public warnings that markets had peaked in 2007 and would never recover.

    http://au.finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=%5EAORD&t=5y&l=on&z=l&q=l&c=

    He followed Helen’s lead and got out of politics while the going was good, and before he could be held to account. Straight inot a position created for him by his [corrupt] mates, I believe.

    We still have clowns/criminals of that era seeking re-election, notably Goff and Parker who are well-acquinted with the facts of Peak Oil, i.e. that it occured in 2005, but still persist in ignoring the whole issue: surely that makes them charlatans and liars, does it not?.

    We then come to the matter of abrupt climate change. Now anyone with a brain knows that we are on track for a largely uninhabitable planet by mid-century. The reports come thick and fast, and every new report shows the situation to be more dire than ever. Labour cannot pretend this issue has suddenly emerged; it has been looming since the 1980s and by the late 1990s thew writng was on the wall. As with Peak Oil, the Labour govenrment of Helen Clark effectively ignored the issue (though it did go along with some financial scams set up by financial speculators and parasites under the guise of emissions trading systems -an oxymoron designed to do nothing about the basic problem if ever here was one!

    Let’s be very clear here: nothing I am saying is in any way support for National. They have been provided with the same irrefutable information and, like Labour, have chosen to ignore it all in favour of political ideology and rorts.

    ‘The reason that the recover in NZ is taking longer than it should is that the Nats’ economic policies are stifling it.’

    No. The reason the recovery is ‘taking longer than it should’ is because the entire economic system is founded on frauds and delusions. The reason the recovery is ‘taking longer than it should’ is because recovery is mathematically impossible:

    http://news.silverseek.com/SilverSeek/1318263505.php

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY

    http://energybulletin.net/stories/2011-07-23/review-end-growth-richard-heinberg

    http://www.oilcrash.com/articles/wilson08.htm

    I do agree with you on this: ‘We don’t need excuses, we need solutions.’

    Unfortunately, Labour is offering a slight variation on the theme of more of the same.

    So we can look forward to more of this:

    http://au.finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=%5ENZ50&t=6m&l=on&z=l&q=l&c=

    and more of this:

    http://english.sina.com/technology/p/2010/0128/302222.html

    whichever band of denialists or combination of denialists gets into power after the election.

    • Afewknowthetruth 12.1

      Pardon the typos. The system crashed and I could not fix them.

    • Campbell Larsen 12.2

      *sigh* Not much a team player are you AFKTT?
      I wish you would help more and criticize less at this crucial time.
      The issues aren’t going away – your efforts to promote awareness around sustainabilty
      etc are laudable, but for gods sake man help us get the nats out.

      • Bored 12.2.1

        Rob / Campbell, I like you are busy trying to win it for the better side, and Saturday will be a very seminal moment in the imminent demise of our little slice of Pacific paradise should the Shonkster win.

        Having said that I think you might both bookmark what AFKTT references, put some cash on the outcomes he predicts at the TAB (without the expectation they will still be solvent enough to pay the certain winnings).

        My pledge is that I will rejoin Labour and work with them to see reality as it will be in the future post this election fiasco. Specifically to help them devise a “soft landing” plan that includes seizure by the state with no compensation of privatised state assets.

        • Afewknowthetruth 12.2.1.1

          Bored.

          ‘Specifically to help them devise a “soft landing” plan that includes seizure by the state with no compensation of privatised state assets.’

          One theory of economic collapse postulates that it will be impossible for overseas ‘owners’ to extract wealth once the international financial system collapses. Another postulates energy shortages will render globalisation obsolete and unworkable.

          I first put forward the idea of a ‘soft landing’ to Manukau City Council around 2004: they were not the least bit interested. Nor was the Auckland Regional Authority. It’s way too late now.

          It may be possible to oragnise a moderately hard landing as opposed to an extremely hard landing.

      • Afewknowthetruth 12.2.2

        CL

        Over the years I have repeatedly attempted to be a ‘team player’ as you put it, and have done plenty of leading.

        The problem is, most people want to be led ‘straight off the cliff’, rather than away from it.

        After I had spend nearly three hours ‘educating’ Andrew Little on the crucial matters of the times I was unable to do more because he decided his priorities were elsewhere and failed to turn up for our appointment, having piked out the previous week.

        Even as we leave ‘the cliff edge’ and start ‘falling’ as a society, most people are determined to maintian their delusion that they are standing on solid ground.

        Having tried everything I can think of -writing books, articles, websites, making speeches, TV, radio, standing for election, leading by example – I really don’t know how to overcome the ignorance and apathy that characterise NZ society.

        Let’s put it this way: The ‘Orcs’ have won every battle thus far.

        I suspect that my latest book will be the last before it all goes under.

        A tiny minority of people will learn the easy way. Most will learn the hard way.

        ‘help us get the nats out’

        I think you will find that I consistently attacked National for the past 30 years.

        However, if Labour are just the obverse face of the same coin…….

        When Labour stops playing the global corporation game, gets back to it roots and starts telling the WHOLE truth it might get more support.

        .

  13. r0b 13

    Thanks all for comments. Busy today with real world campaign – will check back tonight…

  14. ak 14

    Superb post r0b. And once again, when put alongside current polling, emphatically proving the disconnect between clear irrefutable analysis and the choices of the crucial swing voters.

    No rational and dispassionate person could ignore it. But that crucial one-in-thirty Swinger will never read it. And every three years he or she will “go with the flow” of whatever sound-bites and headlines a tiny unelected coterie has decided to print or broadcast over previous months.

    In the same way that they select financial products, hair shampoo, fast food and cars.

    Democracy NZ: government by the party with the advertising monopoly and the most successful, slipperiest, Salesman to Swingers. The best that Big Money can buy.

    Current SS gold pin winner: “Smiley” Keys, at Poorbashers ‘r Us, proudly sponsored by Fairfax, APN and Mediaworks.

  15. AAMC 15

    As much as I’d love nothing more than to see a Labour / Green govt next week, for many reasons, and see the Nats as the worst of what has driven our global economy off the cliff, I think Labour activists and supporters need to be honest about the giant ponzi scheme debt bubble that set the conditions for Labours 9 years of management.

    I’m yet to hear a labour politician overtly challenge the free market neo-classical orthodoxy publicly.

    We need an honest debate, and Indont see it coming from anywhere in this cold war lissing contest. And so the world burns…..

  16. randalranda 16

    national and kweewee claim to be the party of business.
    what they mean by that is they are accountants who only know how to cut costs and keep wages down.
    If they were any good then wages would be growing not declining.
    they wouldnt know an opportunity or an innovation if they fell over one.
    and they like kicking workers for the satisfaction it gives them.
    nice work if you can get it.
    turn the tory chumps out now.

    • AAMC 16.1

      Accountants who only know how to cut….

      They are devaluing our economy to face the unintended consequences of their naive globalization idea, we’ve given all our jobs to China and machines, and now that we’ve undermined our education, we’re competing with them for skilled work also.

      Chicago School of Economics will go down in history as the modern era’s most destructive institution.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.2

      Can’t even call them accountants any more as they’ve forgotten (or are purposefully ignoring) to count to the real costs.

  17. randal 17

    how we got where we are?
    kweewee and the boobies jumped up and down demanding a turn.
    with the ignoble assistance of TVNZ, radio squawkbak and the press they got it.
    now its time to turn them out and good riddance.

  18. deuto 18

    rOb, I want to add my thanks to you for this superb post. It really provides an excellent history of the events etc which led to the current situation. A pity it did not get into the wider media.

  19. In Vino Veritas 19

    “1. Unemployment has increased by 50 per cent, leaving 157,000 New Zealanders out of work. ”

    So well researched that no mention of the fact that between September 08 and June 09, unemployment went from 94,000 (4.2%) to 138,000 (6.0%) in the June quarter, a rise of 47%. Nice work Labour, I guess you forgot that your policies of the previous 9 years had a direct impact on unemployment in the first 7 months of Nationals first term.

    “2. 100,000 New Zealanders have left for Australia after he promised he would stop the brain drain.”

    To call it a brain drain is far fetched, just as it was far fetched for Goff to say in the first leaders debate that our best and brightest were fleeing to Australia. I think it was the statistician who gave Labour some of its stats, who commented in the Herald that it was mostly the unskilled and low skilled who are heading to Australia. Brain drain indeed.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Mainfreight ‘appalled’ by Government’s rail madness
    The Government has been given a serve by New Zealand-based international trucking and logistics firm Mainfreight which says it lacks a national transport strategy, and has treated rail badly, Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The company has told shareholders it… ...
    2 hours ago
  • National’s Health and Safety Reform Bill: less safety and fewer rights at...
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is embarking on a campaign to fight the changes that weaken the Health and Safety Reform bill. As part of the campaign the CTU has organised vigils with the display of 291 crosses… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    4 hours ago
  • All options need to be put on meat sector table
    Farmers must be given every assurance that all potential risks have been considered before Silver Fern Farms opens its door to foreign equity, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The ongoing saga involving the meat sector and amalgamation has… ...
    7 hours ago
  • Flag the referendum if 50% or more don’t vote
    Labour has moved to have the second flag referendum canned if the first attracts fewer than half the eligible number of voters, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “John Key has already wasted more than $8 million on his vanity project… ...
    8 hours ago
  • 90,000 cars reclassified in botched ACC ratings
    New figures obtained by Labour show the ACC Minister’s botched motor vehicle levy system has resulted in 90,000 vehicles having to be reclassified so far – at a cost of $6 million, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Nikki Kaye’s… ...
    11 hours ago
  • Brutal health cuts confirmed, crucial services suffer
    Chronic under-funding by National has seen the health budget slashed by $1.7 billion in just five years, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A report by Infometrics, commissioned by Labour, shows health funding has been cut in four of the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Meth ring under Serco’s nose
    The news that two Serco inmates have been arrested for helping to run a methamphetamine ring from prison should be the final straw and see their contract cancelled, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “National has stood by Serco despite… ...
    1 day ago
  • Ministers failing women and their own targets
    New figures showing just five Ministers have met the Government’s own reduced targets for appointing women to state sector boards is evidence National is failing Kiwi women, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The Ministry for Women’s 2015 Gender… ...
    1 day ago
  • Charges up for some as funding up for grabs
    A proposal being considered by the Government would see some people having to pay more for health care and district health boards forced to fight amongst themselves to fund regional health services, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Information leaked… ...
    2 days ago
  • Stop experimenting on kids
    The trouble with the Charter school model is that it is a publicly funded experiment on children. The National Government has consistently put its desire to open charter schools ahead of the safety of the children in them, ignoring repeated… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 days ago
  • Bank puts the squeeze on mid Canterbury farmers
    News that an unnamed bank in Ashburton has put a receiver on notice over financially vulnerable farmers will send a chill through rural New Zealand, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government needs to work with  New Zealand’s banks… ...
    2 days ago
  • Key is trading away New Zealand land and homes
    John Key yesterday admitted what National dishonestly refused to confirm in Parliament last week – he is trading away New Zealand’s right to control who buys our homes and land, says Opposition leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister must now… ...
    2 days ago
  • Razor gang takes scalpel to health
    Plans by the Government to take a scalpel to democratically elected health boards are deceitful and underhand, coming just months after an election during which they were never signalled, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Leaked documents reveals a radical… ...
    2 days ago
  • Spin lines show a department in chaos
    Corrections Spin Doctors sending their place holder lines to journalists instead of responding to serious allegations shows the scale of chaos at the department over the Serco scandal, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “As more and more serious allegations… ...
    4 days ago
  • Court ruling shows law should never have been passed
    A High Court ruling that a law banning prisoners from voting is inconsistent with a properly functioning democracy should be a wake-up call for the Government, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. In an unprecedented ruling Justice Paul Heath has… ...
    5 days ago
  • Judicial Review Gamble Pays Off for Problem Gambling Foundation
    Congratulations are due to the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGFNZ) who have won their legal case around how the Ministry of Health decided to award their contracts for problem gambling services to another service provider. Congratulations are due not just for… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    5 days ago
  • Environmental Protection Agency appoints GE advocate as new CEO
    This week, the Environmental Protection Authority Amendment Bill passed its first reading in Parliament. The Bill puts protection of the environment into the core purpose of the Environmental Protection Authority. This month, Dr Allan Freeth, the former Chief Executive of… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    5 days ago
  • Charanpreet Dhaliwal death demands genuine health and safety reform
    The killing of a security guard on his first night on the job is exactly the kind of incident that National’s watered-down health and safety bill won’t prevent, says Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford. The coronial inquest into 22-year-old Charanpreet… ...
    5 days ago
  • Arbitrary sanctions hit children hardest
    Increasing numbers of single parents are being penalised under a regime that is overly focussed on sanctions rather than getting more people into work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Figures, obtained through Parliamentary questions show 3000 more sanctions,… ...
    5 days ago
  • Hekia just won’t face the facts
    Hekia Parata’s decision to keep troubled Whangaruru Charter school open despite being presented with a catalogue of failure defies belief, goes against official advice and breaks a Government promise to close these schools if they were failing, says Labour’s Education… ...
    5 days ago
  • No more silent witnesses
    Yesterday I attended the launch of a new initiative developed by and for Asian, Middle eastern and African youth to support young people to name and get support if there is domestic violence at home. The impact on children of… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    6 days ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    6 days ago
  • Minister must take responsibility for problem gambling debacle
    The Government’s handling of the Problem Gambling Foundation’s axing in a cost-cutting exercise has been ham-fisted and harmful to some of the most vulnerable people in society, Associate Health Labour spokesperson David Clark says.“Today’s court ruling overturning the axing of… ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour will not support TPP if it undermines NZ sovereignty
    The Labour Party will not support the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement unless key protections for New Zealanders are met, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.“Labour supports free trade. However, we will not support a TPP agreement that undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty. ...
    6 days ago
  • Coleman can’t ignore latest warnings
    Resident doctors have advised that a severe staffing shortage at North Shore Hospital is putting patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “They say a mismatch between staffing levels and patient workloads at North Shore has… ...
    6 days ago
  • ACC must remove barriers to appeals
    The Government must prioritise removing barriers to justice for ACC claimants following a damning report by Acclaim Otago, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “ACC Minister Nikki Kaye must urgently scrap her flawed plan to remove claimant’s right to redress… ...
    6 days ago
  • Six months’ paid parental leave back on the agenda
    Six months’ paid parental leave is back on the agenda and a step closer to reality for Kiwi parents after Labour’s new Member’s Bill was pulled from today’s ballot, the Bill’s sponsor and Labour MP Sue Moroney says. “My Bill… ...
    6 days ago
  • Sole parents at risk of having no income
    New requirements for sole parents to undertake a reapplication process after a year is likely to mean a large number will face benefit cancellations, but not because they have obtained work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Increasing numbers… ...
    6 days ago
  • Juking the Welfare Stats Again
    Last week the government’s major initiative to combat child poverty (a paltry $25 increase) was exposed for what it is, a lie. The Government, through the Budget this year, claims to be engaging in the child poverty debate, but instead,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • OCR rate cut a result of flagging economy
    The Reserve Bank's decision to cut the Official Cash Rate to 3 per cent shows there is no encore for the so-called 'rock star' economy, says Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.   "Today's interest rate cut comes off the back… ...
    6 days ago
  • Reboot to an innovation economy, an Internet economy and a clean economy
    In my short 33 years on this planet we’ve seen phenomenal technological, economic and social change, and it’s realistic to expect the next 33 will see even more, even faster change. You can see it in the non-descript warehouse near… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    7 days ago
  • Bill that puts the environment into the EPA passes first hurdle
    A Bill that puts the environment squarely into legislation governing the Environmental Protection Authority passed its first reading today, says Meka Whaitiri.  “I introduced this member’s bill as the current law doesn’t actually make protecting the environment a goal of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key’s KiwiSaver deception exposed
    KiwiSaver statistics released today expose John Key's claim that the cutting of the kickstart payment "will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver” to be duplicitous, says Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “Official… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to protect contractors
    All New Zealanders should be treated fairly at work. Currently, the law allows non-employment relationships to be used to get around the minimum wage. This is unfair, says Labour MP David Parker. “The Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill, a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill raises bar to protect Kiwi farmland
    The Government’s rubber-stamping of every one of the nearly 400 applications from overseas investors to buy New Zealand farm land over the last three years proves tougher laws are needed, Labour MP Phil Goff says. “In the last term of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Costly flag referendum should be dumped
    John Key must ditch the flag referendum before any more taxpayer money is wasted, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Millions of dollars could be saved if the Prime Minister called a halt to this hugely expensive, and highly unpopular, vanity… ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats letting Serco off scot free
    Government members have prevented Parliament’s Law and Order select committee from getting answers out of a senior Serco director about the fight clubs being run at Mt Eden prisons, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “At today’s Law and Order… ...
    1 week ago
  • Charter school experiment turns into shambles
    The National Government’s charter school experiment has descended into chaos and it’s time for Hekia Parata to stop trying to cover up the full extent of the problems, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The Education Minister must release all… ...
    1 week ago
  • Disconnect between rates and income must be fixed
    Local Government New Zealand’s 10 Point Plan is a chance to stop the widening chasm between the rates some households are charged and their ability to pay, Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Su’a William Sio says. “There is a huge disconnect… ...
    1 week ago
  • Parole and ‘surviving the first year’
    “Intensive psychological treatment and early release to parole is far more effective at reducing reoffending among high risk prisoners than serving out the full prison sentence.” That’s reportedly the finding of Surviving the First Year, a recently-released study into Corrections’… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    1 week ago
  • Parole and ‘surviving the first year’
    “Intensive psychological treatment and early release to parole is far more effective at reducing reoffending among high risk prisoners than serving out the full prison sentence.” That’s reportedly the finding of Surviving the First Year, a recently-released study into Corrections’… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    1 week ago
  • If it’s good enough for Lake Taupō…
    Nick Smith supports helping farmers transition away from dairying and agrees we must set nitrogen caps that limit the number of animals on farms. He says this strategy is “world leading”. However we need action and pressure from him, on to… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • The importance of swamp kauri for climate research
    As early as 2010, international climate scientists were expressing concern at the rate of ancient swamp kauri extraction in Northland. Swamp kauri provides one of the best sources in the world for measuring climate fluctuations over the last 30,000 years.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Govt needs to heed warnings on med students
    The Government is being urged to act on advice it has received about the negative impact its seven year study cap will have on hundreds of medical students, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “The 7EFTS lifetime limit unfairly disadvantages… ...
    1 week ago
  • Ministers at sea over overseas buyers register
    The Prime Minister and three of his ministers are at odds over the collection of information about offshore speculators buying our houses and seem to be making things up as they go, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “John Key… ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for Key to ditch the King Canute routine
    With the economic mood in New Zealand souring, it is time for John Key to admit reality and drop the King Canute approach, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John Key is claiming that 95 per cent of the economy… ...
    1 week ago
  • Botched contract leads to charter school rort
    A botched Government contract has allowed an Auckland charter school to double dip by getting funding for students it has accommodated for free, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Information received by Labour through written Parliamentary questions show the Ministry… ...
    1 week ago
  • Flawed system costs $3 million and counting
    New figures obtained* by Labour show the Government’s shambolic ACC car registration levy system has cost more than $3 million to implement and the costs are set to escalate, Labour's ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “That’s $3 million that could… ...
    1 week ago
  • Radio NZ facing death by 1000 cuts
    The National Government’s seven year funding freeze on Radio New Zealand has put its vital public broadcasting services in serious jeopardy, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran says. "The axing of 20 jobs at our only publicly funded broadcaster shows the… ...
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere