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Retro

Written By: - Date published: 4:09 pm, November 17th, 2008 - 46 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags:

It seems 80’s retro has finally moved from being manifest only as the return of skinny jeans and naff facial hair and is now rearing its ugly big-haired head in parliament. Of course I’m talking not just about 80’s rock legend Roger Douglas but also this clause in the National/ACT confidence and supply agreement:

Establishing a series of Task Forces that include private sector representatives and private sector chairs to undertake fundamental reviews of all base government spending in identified sectors, and to report findings progressively to the cabinet control expenditure committee and relevant ministers.

In the 80’s the use of private sector representatives became highly fashionable. The argument was that successful businessmen (and they were nearly all men, and nearly all members of the BRT) would be able to do their magic on the public sector and thus do what was best for the country.

The reality was they did what all successful businessmen should do: what was best for them.

Back then it resulted in a series of privatisations that coincidentally enriched many of the business representatives who had been offering the advice. This time around? Who knows, perhaps the further contracting out of public services to the private sector or perhaps recommendations to fully privatize some areas that will be deemed to run more efficiently by the private sector and increase PPPs in education and health (and Rodney is already talking about bulk funding).

Have no doubt these recommendations will sound a lot like BRT reports and also have no doubt that the similar review of “Productivity” will result in a series of reports highlighting the need for greater labour market “flexibility”.

I don’t expect the blitzkrieg approach favoured by Douglas though. What will happen is that as findings are “progressively” reported changes will be made incrementally. When I first realised our kids were repeating our dreadful fashion crimes of the eighties I was a little depressed by it. Imagine how I feel knowing we’ll soon be wearing that decade’s policies too.

But in the meantime here’s some 80’s goodness to make you “smile” (it wasn’t all bad!):

46 comments on “Retro”

  1. The approach by national is the more amazing given that many of the people who initiated the atrocities in the 1990s are still there in the National caucus.

    It’s incredible to think they learned nothing from that experience.

    Absoluletly incredible.

  2. Geoff 2

    Hey – where exactly is Alan Gibbs at present ? Wasn’t he in Detroit developing an amphibious car ?? With the bottom falling out of the US auto industry right now, perhaps he’s back in Auckland with his old ACT mate Roger Douglas…. PS : No Xmas for John Quay …as our new PM’s mates used to say…he of course hates The Fall xxx

  3. keith 3

    Couldn’t agree with you more IrishBill; even about the fashion stuff, can’t believe people are wearing stove-pipes again!

  4. ak 4

    Bit off-topic, but anyone have a good read of the “Confidentiality” and “Cabinet Responsibility” sections in the agreement with the MP?

    Tari and Pita bound to slavishly toe the NACT line on Health, Education, Welfare (not to mention Corrections and Employment)?

    Masterstroke by Joyce and the end of the MP?

    Nup. Ink not dry and Tari’s already broken the Treaty of Whitecandy. As she must. Her turn I guess.

    Plenty more fireworks on the way when the Razor Gang discovers Labour’s sub-radar gaps-closing measures scattered throughout these portfolios……keep them fingers limber, Standardistas, the tinder is dry and the fuse is lit…..

  5. Ianmac 5

    Didn’t Fay/Ritchwite do the research as independent review on NZ rail, then buy up large and make millions?

  6. IrishBill 6

    Ian, yes.

    Geoff, I wanted no xmas but couldn’t find it on youtube. I have grand memories of driving an old van around the South Island thrashing the Fall.

  7. Ag 7

    “It’s incredible to think they learned nothing from that experience.”

    They learned (with apologies to Mario Puzo) that a wealthy man with a politician in his pocket can steal more in an hour than a hundred men with guns. That lot were our version of the Russian “oligarchs”.

    I don’t doubt a few of them actually believe the nonsense they spew, but I guess the prospect of financial gain makes it easier to believe.

    Don’t blame them, blame the dopes who voted for them.

  8. randal 8

    hey you tawkin’ about da little peeple
    da salt of da earth
    the loud mouth know alls in every pub and club in noo zillun
    the creeps in twiedmeonions
    kiwiblag
    whalemeat
    two bob tinpot tories
    the slime in the cesspit
    the infantilised adults with no mufflers on their riceboxes
    fat tony amosh
    blerrrky
    lateon smiff
    gayone epsinner
    someone callow
    those guys?

  9. gingercrush 9

    Don’t blame them, blame the dopes who voted for them.

    From the heart of Northland through the cities down to Invercargill and Bluff. They voted for National. Every province north to south voted National. Only cities beside Hamilton went to Labour. And in Auckland there was a clear shift to the right. Wellington stayed Labour. Christchurch won the popular vote in Ilam and Port Hills and Dunedin went to Labour. That is most of the country

    [lprent: I see that you’re still stuck in FPP thinking. Perhaps moving your mind to an MMP framework might be appropiate – it has been the electoral framework for about 15 years now. Mind you there are a *lot* of politicians from both sides who still haven’t. It is rare to find an electorate where the left/green vote went down to the below 25 percent. I’ll have a look when the specials get counted in]

  10. Janet 10

    They certainly didn’t vote for ACT or for ACT to control the policy agenda.

  11. Pascal's bookie 11

    “That is most of the country”

    No it isn’t. If we elected parliament by hectares then maybe, but as we don’t you only got 45 percent plus change (of those that voted).

  12. Anita 12

    randal writes,

    the infantilised adults with no mufflers on their riceboxes

    Huh?

    (I suspect I will regret this, although the possibility of finding out that randal is inspired by They Might Be Giants makes it worth the risk :) )

  13. Janet 13

    GC
    Nobody under 18 got a vote.
    So 45 % of the 77% who voted of the 90+% of the eligible population on the roll over 18 years old voted National. Way short of a majority of the population, sorry.

    More people voted for the Greens than voted for the Maori Party and Act combined. Yet Act is now running the government.

    It will be interesting to see the opinion polls as the implications of the National/Act government become more apparent.

  14. gingercrush 14

    I’m not sure why under 18s are relevant. But to address them. We know from some data and statistics that many are Green votes but I’d be interested to see if there isn’t some shift in the young vote. And if more aren’t actually voting centre-right.

    Iprent yes I know what you’re saying. But I like to look at electorates as voting blocs. Some electorates will nearly always go Blue, others will go red and others tend to swing. Thus for example, an electorate like Clutha-Southland is interesting because its an area that always votes Centre-right but its an area that keeps reaching Northwards. This year that mean’t Queenstown was part of its electorate. While if we look at Mangere. We know it votes Red. But its an interesting electorate because some years much of its population won’t go out and vote. And then there is places like Rangitata where Timaru still votes red but other places vote Blue.

  15. lprent 15

    I tend to leave that kind of analysis until after I get the specials. They’ve often between 5% and 10% of the votes in recent elections.

    I made the point on another thread – you could look at the results of the 2002 election and say equally vehemently that the whole of the country was going red. This result to labour wasn’t as devastating as that election was for the blues.

    Swings and round-abouts. The voters of the left are a bit lackadaisical about voting, so everytime that Labour gets voted out, there is a major drop in people voting. They usually live to regret the decision and vote quite strongly in subsequent elections.

  16. Janet 16

    GC
    People under 18 aren’t relevant? Not relevant to political policy? What about section 59 – it was all about whether to hit them or not.
    While we disenfranchise a large portion of our population you cannot claim a mandate for any political party.
    I’ve advocated lowering the voting age to 12 before and will keep doing so.

  17. gingercrush 17

    2002 was probably the most strangest election we’ll ever see in MMP. Remember how the mass hysteria in the media were asking the question. “Is this the end of National”. That clearly didn’t work out.

    Yes I’ll be interested in the specials as well. I think one will see a slight increase in Centre-left but I really don’t think by much and won’t change any electorate MPs or the party vote in any electorate. Well maybe party vote in Palmerston North.

    Janet I wasn’t being rude. Just that we really don’t know how Under 18s think and what political spectrums they are. When I was child during the 1993 election. Most of our class voted National, that also happened in 1996 where I would have been 12. Statistics seem to point to more centre-left supporters in that age-group. And I assume a number would be Green supporters. But we really don’t know. Interesting about taking voting age back to 12. Interesting idea, can’t say I would be in favour of it. I think there is a case for 16 year olds. But 18 is a pretty fair number.

  18. Dean 18

    LP:

    “And then there is places like Rangitata where Timaru still votes red but other places vote Blue.”

    I lived in Timaru for 25 years, and can remember Sir Basil Arthur holding the seat, then McTigue taking it after the byelection.

    If you think that Timaru didn’t swing to National the last two times around because of the absolutely appaling way Clark handled the speeding motorcade affair – including leaving local cops hanging out to dry – and the closure of so many schools, which Sutton quietly paid the price for – then you’re sorely out of touch.

  19. the sprout 19

    “…people who initiated the atrocities in the 1990s are still there in the National caucus… It’s incredible to think they learned nothing from that experience”

    On the contrary, they learnt it was very very profitable for a very very few.
    National aren’t risking being that unpopular again for nothing.

  20. Dean 20

    Janet:

    “I’ve advocated lowering the voting age to 12 before and will keep doing so.”

    Any guarantees they wouldn’t vote for the Pokemon on TV 24/7 party?

    Yeah, I thought not.

    IrishBill: or that plonker from dancing with the stars?

  21. lprent 21

    Oh well, one more observation, as much to annoy people as anything else.

    From my playing with electoral canvassing data for a long time, I’d observe the following for the purposes of discussion.

    The most consistently conservative group in the entire population over long periods of time are the 20-25 age range males. I have no idea about why this is, but it is definitely there. They are usually between 1 and 3 standard deviations away from mean in canvassing. The 30-35 age range males are less deviant, and by the time males are in their 40’s they are back on the norm.

    The other curious thing about 20-25 year old males (from canvassers anecdotes) is that they tend to be the most indignant that anyone could have a different opinion than theirs. Incidentally you usually find the males in the late 40’s and their 50’s tend to be both the most rigid in their voting behaviour, and also the source of most of the swing voters. They seem to fall into one or the other pattern of behavior.

    Females tend to be far less volatile in their voting behavior.

    I’m sure that there must have been studies done on this type of age/gender pattern in NZ. But this just from doing an awful lot of canvassing and targeting over the years during campaigns.

  22. the sprout 22

    sounds about right to me.

  23. lprent 23

    Dean: It’d be interesting to see what the party vote did in that electorate say from 1996 to 2008 (when the latter figure is finalised). However I suspect that if you did a booth analysis and dropped the effects of the 2001 and 2006 census causing boundary changes, that you’d see far more moderate changes.

    I tend not to look at electorate results simply because the boundary changes tend to swamp the effects. I see that every census update in my ‘home’ electorate. Getting whole suburbs (or towns) dropped on or off has a major effect on results in the short-term to medium-term. Usually far more than the effects of sitting MP’s.

    Longer term changes are usually due to major changes in the population, its affluence, and degree of education than anything else.

    Besides that quote (about Timaru) wasn’t me – it was someone else…

    Bugger it I’m never going to get anything done tonight. These damn blogs are addictive. (umm and that makes me a pusher?)

  24. gingercrush 24

    Dean no disrespect, but I did the numbers for Rangitata for this year and Aoraki for 2005.

    2005 Aoraki

    Timaru Labour 6755 National 5524

    2008 Rangitata

    Timaru Labour 5934 National 5572

    Can’t explain the drop in votes whether its specials not yet voted or lower turnout. But it does show that for Timaru at least Labour received more votes.

  25. Shaneo 25

    Irish. You really think the govt sector can do it better?

    From today’s DomPost:

    Government Shared Network to be axed?
    The State Services Commission says it is reviewing the future of the Government Shared Network, amid speculation it has already decided to abandon the under-used network and write off the $24 million it has so far invested.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4763662a28.html

    What a waste of public money, all because they thought the private was ripping them off.

  26. randal 26

    anita..enjoy life while you can under a natoinal gvernment
    a “rice box” is a cheap automobile manufactured somewhere in”Asia” where the rings and the rest of engine is nearly shot and some rugged individual thinks it is funny to pretend that their car exhaust system has had the catalytic converter stolen (for the platinum) and thereby has a legitimate excuse to drive round with no baffles in their exhaust. Of course in New Zealand it is not mandatory to havea catalytic converter but it is mandatory to be a noo noo head and drive around with no exhaust baffles to prove that that you are an infantilised buffooon in your cheap crappy ricebox!

  27. Quoth the Raven 27

    Gingercrush – You keep talking centre right. Politics is not just left and right, so centre right seems a useless definition to me. Can you define what you think centre right is. I’m sure it would be defined 10 different ways if I asked 10 different people. I’m interested what other people think. It seems very ill-defined to me. I personally think in regards to National it’s just spin surrounding how they’re supposed to be more moderate, how they’ve changed.

  28. randal 28

    qtr
    you should know by now they never define anything
    think slippery

  29. gingercrush 29

    When I’m mentioning centre-right or centre-left. I’m typically talking about the party blocs. Centre-right is National, Act, United Future and for this term at least the Maori party. The Centre-left is Labour, Progressives and the Green party.

    National by itself generally is a Centre-right party. Though in 2005 it clearly campaigned as a Right party. Likewise, Labour is a centre-left party but on occasions is a left party. Act is clearly a right wing party. While the greens are a left wing party. Jim Anderton could also be seen as being on the left. United Future, New Zealand First and Maori I would call centrist parties.

    Centre-right means its basis is in the centre but it also has a right ideology while a centre-left also has its basis in the centre but its ideology is leftish.

    I do have a habit of using on some occasions National and Labour by themselves and other times saying centre-right and centre-left.

    I know you lot on the left are not seeing National as a centre-right party you’re seeing a right wing party. But I don’t share that view and mass-media are calling it a centre-right party.

  30. Ag 30

    “That is most of the country”

    Call me picky, but I don’t see how this means they aren’t dopes or aren’t to blame.

  31. randal 31

    gingacruch
    99 people out of 100 saying 1+1=3 does not make it right
    take your lame arguments back to where they came from please

  32. gingercrush 32

    randal you are truly are one of the most pathetic beings ever to exist online.

  33. randal 33

    thanks for the sympathy gingacrush
    that and swingeing arguments justifying hogging everything is about all you are good for

  34. Quoth the Raven 34

    Gingercrush – So National was a “right party” in 2005 but now with Act in their government they’re centre right. With bulk funding, TABOR, more tax cuts for the rich on the cards, Rodney as the minsiter for local government and all the insantiy that comes with, 90 days no works rights and it’s centre right this time, but was just right in 2005. Tell me as you’ve espoused to be centre right does that mean you didn’t support National in 2005 or is it just that the spin is better this time?

  35. Dean 35

    “Can’t explain the drop in votes whether its specials not yet voted or lower turnout. But it does show that for Timaru at least Labour received more votes.”

    Sure. But Labour consistently stand wet fishes up as electoral candidates in that electorate. Plus the motorcade and school closures, and you’ve got an electorate that was once a solid red seat turning blue, at least for the electoral representative.

    Perhaps it’s because the Labour candidates, post Basil Arthur, have all been utterly useless?

  36. That’s Sir Basil Arthur to you.

  37. Dean 37

    “That’s Sir Basil Arthur to you.”

    Indeed. And he was an excellent local MP. He helped my mother – a solo mother and DPB recpient – get a mortgage for a house after a messy divorce. Initially the banks refused but after one meeting with him the banks were a lot more receptive.

    He even became speaker, back in the day when Labour didn’t railroad a partisan person into that position.

    Shame Labour haven’t been able to rely on blind, class based voting there for the local MP since isn’t it?

  38. randal 38

    dean you are an ungrateful brat

  39. Timaru went right as they got wealthy under Labour. Like Savage said…

  40. Dean 40

    “dean you are an ungrateful brat”

    Actually randal, I’m extremely grateful that Sir Basil Arthur did what he did for my mother. Without his efforts and hers I may very well have turned out to be a different person.

    That doesn’t change the fact that times have changed though. Perhaps you’d prefer to have a class war than discuss the realities of what local MPs were like back then, but I’d rather give praise where it is due.

  41. Dean 41

    “Timaru went right as they got wealthy under Labour. Like Savage said ”

    Actually, that doesn’t explain why they still get more party votes under MMP, does it?

    Sorry ‘sod but your argument isn’t exactly stacking up here. If Labour were to stand an electorate MP who actually cared convoncingly in Timaru they’d have a bloody good chance at winning it back. Sadly, the motorcade and school closures have put paid to that for another few years. Perhaps they can try again in 2011.

  42. randal 42

    dean
    a week is a long time in politics dude
    and my only regret is that Helen Clark didnt give them all the finger as she swept past in the ltd
    lookout
    it might be sooner than that

  43. Dean 43

    “dean
    a week is a long time in politics dude
    and my only regret is that Helen Clark didnt give them all the finger as she swept past in the ltd
    lookout
    it might be sooner than that”

    It’s just a shame that you’re not recognising that Labour has lost the battle for previously solid Labour local electorate seats, and not realising that calling me an ungrateful brat for not blindly voting Labour even though I think Sir Basil was an excellent local MP was stupid, blind rhetoric on your behalf.

    It’s also a shame that you can’t admit to the disgusting way Clark treated the police involved in the motorcade affair, but I guess that’s why Labour find it so very hard to win an electorate seat in a constituency that gives them more party votes than anyone else. Perhaps Sutton ought to have given everyone in that electorate the finger and he might have retained such a strong Labour seat? Perhaps you ought to volunteer your services helping Labour out down there in 2011. I’m sure you’ll go over really, really well.

    I’m sure the difference will dawn on you one day, but until then feel free to incite a class struggle a la Clinton Smith and try not to remember that the world and the country has moved along since then. I’m sure it’ll make you feel happier.

  44. gingercrush 44

    Quoth – I like the terms Centre-left and centre-right rather than saying left/right. But if you wish to be pedantic shall I use left/right? Because if you think Labour can continue to be called centre-left and National has to be called a right party. You’re smoking crack. And both Labour and National when it comes to coalitions need support typically from a right or left wing party but also support from the centre. Really I think you like to take things I say and chew them out. Its getting quite annoying.

    Um what are you people talking about. Timaru is part of the electorate Rangitata. The boundaries in the South Island are seeing significant change.

    This year Rangitata holds both Timaru and Ashburton. Those two large-towns use to be in different electorates.

    All the small towns vote National. Ashburton also votes National. Labour does well in Temuka and Timaru and any likely gains for Labour in this electorate will be seen in those two towns. But its likely due for even more boundary changes in 2011.

  45. Quoth the Raven 45

    Ginger – Liking a term does not justify its use. So you’re telling me I’m smoking crack if I think that Labour in coalition with NZ first and United Future wasn’t a centre left party. I think it was and furthermore I think it was one of the most centrist governments we’ve ever had. I was just trying to chew your words out, you’re right there. I do know what you mean by centre right, but I disagree that the current government is centre right for the reasons expounded above. I think our beliefs need bearing out sometimes, so don’t get so uptight. Using the terms centre this and centre that isn’t that descriptive because there is also liberal and authoritarian to contend with. I think Labour is usually more liberal than National (they were in there first couple terms this decade anyway) and National is more authoritarian. I think progressive is a better way to describe a Labour government than centre-left (though that term means different things to different people as well). You’ve yet to answer my question about whether you supported National in 2005. If you’re such an ardent centre-right supporter did you support them?

  46. gingercrush 46

    Yes I did support National in 2005. I’m a National supporter. My big reason in 2005 to keep voting National (voted National 2002 first time eligible to vote) was that I liked the tax cuts Brash had promised and I wasn’t a fan of Labour getting a third term. I never saw what was wonderful abut Helen Clark’s government and while National had certain strange areas such as market rents for public housing I still felt they deserved my vote. I am not a huge fan of the hard-right and this might mean that my choice in voting National in 2005 is contary to that. But ever since I watched the 1993 election and throughout my child and teenage years and now in my 20s, I’ve had a strong belief that New Zealand led by the National party is best for New Zealand. I am very loyal to the party and while I won’t always agree with how John Key is handling things I truly believe John Key can deliver some wonderful stuff for this country. Really I can’t see a scenario where I wouldn’t vote National. Though I nearly gave the Labour candidate in Christchurch Central my vote because Nicky Wagner is horrid.

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