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The over-sold Budget

Written By: - Date published: 8:20 am, May 16th, 2014 - 82 comments
Categories: budget 2014 - Tags:

You could tell it was coming.

When, about two days out from the Budget, English started trying to downplay expectations, you knew there wasn’t enough in it.

He had realised that people expect too much politically from National. He had wanted this Budget to be about one thing and one thing only – the surplus. But the pre-Budget leaking by Key had suggesting big things for kids and housing. They were expecting a masterful undercutting of Labour by guzzumping its key policies.

But English knew he didn’t have it. Extending Paid Parental Leave by 4 weeks doesn’t undercut Labour’s plan to extend it by 12. It just highlights how much more significant Labour’s plan is.

They needed to go to at least 20 weeks to make Labour’s 26 weeks look insignificant. That’s why English started trying to downplay expectations.

But he had other problems. The thing voters wanted most (far more than PPL, it turns out) was assistance to first home buyers. All English had was $3,500 less tax per new build house on imported building materials (can’t we even make nails and plasterboard here?). That’s about 3 weeks inflation in the Auckland housing market.

And then Key – who has always been proof that you don’t need to be good when you’re lucky and has had the luck to have had budgets defined for him in the past by recession, disaster, and deficit – pops up suggesting tax cuts are on the way. But English knows there’s no tax cuts in this budget apart from the joke of removing cheque duty and no room for meaningful tax cuts in the outyears.

And that’s before you get to the fudging of disguising spending as a loan and keeping ACC levies higher than needed to get back to surplus.

People expected a lot from this budget, both political panache and a policy uppercut to the Left. All it delivered was half assed policy that moves Labour’s policies into the middle of the Overton window and shady accounting that undercuts National’s reliable managers brand.

Oh and, with the increase in the operating allowance, they gave the opposition parties half a billion dollars each year in new spending that they can put into policies before National can accuse them of being spendthrift.

I bet English had more than one of those Old Dark Speights last night.

82 comments on “The over-sold Budget”

  1. Gosman 1

    Where is your evidence that the thing voters want most is assistance to first home buyers?

  2. fisiani 2

    This post is surely satire. Rather than over promising and underdelivering as you claim it was a masterful production of a bigger surplus than expected, free doctors visits and prescriptions not just to to preschoolers but now to all primary children. Raising parental leave and crucially extending it to women who would have missed out under the Labour wishlist. Reducing building costs , reducing motoring costs and helping start up firms and tax breaks for R and D. Take off the red blinkers and listen to the people who finally see the brighter future.

    • framu 2.1

      “production of a bigger surplus than expected,”

      just in time for an election – how convenient. Just how gullible are you?

    • Naturesong 2.2

      If we’re now “in the black”, how come we will be borrowing $75 million every single week during the next year?
      And borrowing forecast to continue until the 2016-17 financial year?

      Is it because National, after failing to meet their promises of generating 170,000 jobs, failing to ensure Kiwis do not become tenants in their own country, and have raised taxes on a plurality of New Zealanders (GST, Petrol Tax, ACC) have failed in achieving their last remaining promise of a budget surplus, just lie to the New Zealand public confidant that the press, TV and radio news won’t call them on it?

      When’s a budget surplus not a budget surplus?
      When it’s a National Government Budget

    • McFlock 2.3

      Fizzer,

      The trace-element “surplus” is well within the margin for error of even competent economic predictions, not just Treasury’s. A little less tax revenue than expected, a cost blowout somewhere else (like ACC), bam! there goes your “surplus”.

      And how did they achieve this “surplus”? By continuing to run-down government services. The crumbs you list are as nothing compared to the corrosion the nats have applied across the public sector.

      If you refuse to pay your rent this week, you’re not suddenly “in surplus”: you’re a shit financial manager. So is blinglish.

    • Tracey 2.4

      by calling its grant to auckland transport a loan, contrary to normal practice it has manipulated a predicted surplus… meanwhile each kiwi owes 16,000 on behalf of the national govt and yearly interest is 3.7 billion.

      debt 76 billion
      interest on debt 3.8 billion per year
      imaginary surplus 370 million

      with each post you show yourself as a dupe…

    • KJT 2.5

      Meanwhile National run around like a bunch of rats in the foundations of New Zealand’s economy.
      Cutting out as much as they can of the countries infrastructure, manufacturing, and essential services to pay for their unaffordable tax cuts, cosseting an over extended and over indebted farming sector waiting for the inevitable bubble to burst, and increasing profits for lenders and carpet baggers.

      Pump priming with an increased exchange rate, to drop some prices, and a few election lollies to make sure they can carry on with their devastation, and making themselves rich at our expense, after the election

  3. karol 3

    It certainly does very little for those struggling the most to get by. Som help for parents of children. But the aim is to lessen the stress on middle income families – bugger those really in need of help. It’s all about which voters to the Nats need to bribe the most to stay in power.

    Auckland Action Against poverty spells it out.

    “Extending paid parental leave, free GP visits for under 13 year olds and increased Parental Tax Credit is the sum total of an election year Family Bribe. But true to form, the increased Parental Tax Credit excludes beneficiaries.

    “Mr English proudly cited a reduction in the numbers of people receiving benefits with no information as to where they have gone. Unemployment remains static at 6%. If the unemployment rate has not lowered, then where are the unemployed now getting their income from?” asks Mr Russell.

    “$20 million for an additional 6000 apprenticeships is the sum total of National’s ‘unrelenting focus on work’ and is simply inadequate.

    “The only other cursory references to addressing unemployment are an incentive to move to Christchurch for 1000 beneficiaries, and an additional 8000 places in Work Readiness Programmes.
    […]
    “The disconnect between English’s talked-up ‘rock star’ economy and the reality experienced by low-income New Zealanders is startling. We work with people every day who face the choice between feeding the kids or paying the power bill. This Budget provides very little meaningful relief for those at the very bottom,” says Mr Russell.

    AAAP will be hosting a protest outside John Key’s post-Budget address to the Transtasman Business Circle from 11.45am tomorrow outside the Sky City Conference Centre in Federal Street.

    And this analyis on RNZ by two of it’s jounros pretty much says it’s all about the middle income people.

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  4. vto 4

    zet “can’t we even make nails and plasterboard here? ”

    Yes, and it is made here. The problem of course is the cartel behaviour of carters and fletchers which results in, for example, plasterboard being kept at 3-4 times the international price.

    This is the rort. English has diverted attention away from the structures which keep their rich mates in such good business, and new home buyers out of a home.

    • Gosman 4.1

      Here’s a little suggestion for you. Get together with a few lefty mates and start making the stuff yourself. Then undercut Fletchers and make a pile of cash at the same time. Is that too difficult for you?

      • vto 4.1.1

        This has been looked at countless times by me and lefty/mostlyrighty mates gosman. And yes, it is too difficult for me as the effort involved is enormous. Don’t know if you have ever tried taking on construction monsters but you need very deep pockets and long timeframes and gnarled knuckles. There are many people looking at exactly this right now. Some people are in fact making progress – the cartel will get busted soon dontcha worry, but assistance from the govt under for example the commerce act would be useful, instead of tacit approval from English and Key and their types.

        It is like trying to break the duopoly in the supermarkets gosman, so while your simplistic one-liner there may sound good, it is far from the reality.

        edit: other parts of the build supply sector are well and truly busted open now gosman. It don’t mean that cartel behaviour has been rife, and ignored by various government.

        • cricklewood 4.1.1.1

          Not only that, due to the fact that fletchers also have huge vertical integration. To go into competition would require developing your own supply chains for the raw materials.
          Otherwise you are left to buy your materials from the company you are trying to undercut and thats not going to end well…

          • vto 4.1.1.1.1

            That’s it.

            Look at the concrete sector. Sure you can get sand and gravel and water from most anywhere but what about the cement? And port facilities for the cement imported? The gates are locked man, locked.

          • Tracey 4.1.1.1.2

            nice way to silence gosman

        • Tracey 4.1.1.2

          gosman strikes me as working in someone else’s business vto. ignore him.

        • KJT 4.1.1.3

          At one stage several of us were getting timber packs from a local sawmill at about a third of the price from the local outlets of the building supply cartels. Better quality also.

          The saw mill was told to stop supplying us, or the cartels would no longer buy from them.

          There is a lot of explaining to do, from the big building suppliers how they can supply building materials, especially timber from New Zealand, cheaper in Australia. It is cheaper to build a house in Australia despite builders getting nearly double the pay.

          All that Nationals removal of tariffs on some building supplies will do, is increase the cartel profits, while putting yet more local manufacturing , wall board, nails, etc, out of business.
          While importing substandard materials from offshore.

          Another leaky homes, anyone?

          House prices could be stopped from rising tomorrow. Restrict foreign buying, build plenty of State houses and put a CGT on housing. That would stop the gravy train for speculators in Auckland housing however, and be political suicide for National.

      • mikesh 4.1.2

        A better suggestion would be to regulate firms large enough to have market power, as Galbraith suggested.

  5. Hayden 5

    …free doctors visits and prescriptions not just to to preschoolers but now to all primary children.

    From July next year.

    reducing motoring costs

    Next year

    Raising parental leave and crucially extending it to women who would have missed out under the Labour wishlist.

    From 1 April next year

    Also, surplus? From the Herald

    The Government is still borrowing money but it is now down to $75 million a week, less than the $110 million a week last year.

    Net Government debt is expected to peak at $66 billion in 2016-17, or 26 per cent of GDP.

    Let’s not get too carried away until we’re not borrowing any extra money.

    the people who finally see the brighter future.

    Yep, it’s still there, in the future.

    • And hinted-at tax cuts in 2018 … as long as we’re very good and re-elect National two more times.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      +1

    • freedom 5.3

      “Raising parental leave and crucially extending it to women who would have missed out under the Labour wishlist.”

      Listening to English yesterday, I am sure I heard him say they are removing or heavily reducing paid parental leave for couples earning over $99k.

  6. vto 6

    Watch house values continue to roar in the populated areas, with the immigration taps being opened wide by Key and English. They know rising house values are a dead cert for re-election, and you only need net immigration to be over about 15-20,000 per annum to get a boom going. Clark did it as well. The left is hard up against it methinks, which is unfortunate in the extreme because the right’s policies are crap and shit all over the vast bulk of people.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Watch house values continue to roar in the populated areas, with the immigration taps being opened wide by Key and English.

      And that is how National are planning on paying for keeping Super where it is – a massive influx of young people to carry the old as well, as you point out, keeping house prices high. In other words, they’re working hard to maintain the unsustainable bubble that the NZ economy has become.

  7. billy 7

    I didn’t expect a lot of this budget. Who over sold it? The top of my wishlist would not have been assistance to first home buyers. Where is your evidence to back up your claims?

  8. just saying 8

    I think this budget was a work of machiavellian and misinformation genius.

    Looking like another term of National. I agree with Lew over at Politico, in the sense that the only solution for Labour is to stand for Labour values “full cream”, and even if they lose anyway, at least they would have a platform and the beginnings of an alternative narrative to build on.

    The third way inevitably leads to a lethal cliff because it makes absolutely no sense in the circumstances we find ourselves in. All third-way proponents are left with is the fairy-tale logic and rhetoric of the right.

    • Disraeli Gladstone 8.1

      The third way worked for its time. And if anything, if you look at Lew and Danyl’s posts together, you can see that. Heck, National are almost playing a right-wing third way role.

      I think a lot of people get turned off about chasing the centre because they regard it as a rigid, unshifting place. It’s far more attractive to chase these non-voters who already agree with us. But that’s a misunderstanding of the centre itself. The centre is moving. As Danyl pointed out, last election National campaigned on asset sales, now they’re campaigning on free doctor visits. That’s a moving centre to the left. Left-wing arguments are winning, Labour just seems too incompetent to govern.

      When Thatcher/Regan/Douglas undertook their reforms, they shifted the centre right. So Third Way Labour/Democrat was the only way to win and to govern. What we’re seeing now is a shifting back to the left. National can sees this and is moving with the tides to try and shore up support.

      Which means Labour no longer has to tack right to appeal for the centre, the centre is more left-wing and liberal. They just have to offer up credible, realistic left-wing policy with a credible team. Cunliffe is getting there, but he’s still not quite getting it right. The retirement age and the monetary policy, for instance, isn’t particularly brilliant left-wing policy. Other left-wing policy, as Lew said, are in fact just National-lite. The centre moved, they can be a bit more daring. The several own goals from Cunliffe and his team are hindering being seen as competent managers. But he’s improving, certainly better than Shearer and Goff.

      But I feel like this is all too late. Labour needed to see this in 2011. A few months is an awfully short time to form a narrative.

      But we’ll see.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1

        The retirement age and the monetary policy, for instance, isn’t particularly brilliant left-wing policy.

        But it is brilliant right-wing policy and most people know that. People understand that Labour are still firmly in the neo-liberal mindset and don’t seem to be changing no matter what Cunliffe says.

        The centre moved, they can be a bit more daring.

        I’m not sure I’d say that the centre has moved. The peoples opinions of the neo-liberal paradigm, which they never really liked anyway, has. They didn’t like them when they were implemented in the 1980s and the collapse of the economy in 2k8 proved that they were right not to like them. This forces governments to shift away from that failed ideology. National has shifted a little while still being hard-right. Labour haven’t woken up to the fact that they could take a running jump to the left and win in a landslide.

        Labour needed to see this in 2011. A few months is an awfully short time to form a narrative.

        If they shout loud enough with enough conviction and passion then, perhaps, the people will hear them. Other than that, it’s up to the Greens and Mana.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      National Lite

      t’s too late, now, to change this ahead of the election. The die is cast. Labour has — again — decided to rely on political meta-strategy like syllogising failures of judgement or conduct by individual MPs out to the wider government, and it might have worked had they any sort of foundation to build upon. But they don’t. Far from full-cream Labour, Labour itself is Labour lite. Light-blue, even; 98% Ideology-free. If they’re going to play the National-lite game, they at least need to get good at it.

      I don’t think it’s too late for Labour to start being Labour but they certainly have to stop trying to be National lite.

  9. Disraeli Gladstone 9

    I’m not seeing this budget as being a failure or underwhelming. I don’t like it, personally, except for a few bits and pieces. Overall, it does nothing to fix the damage done in the first six years. Tertiary funding is still ruined. R&D is far too light. They haven’t rowed back to help adult learners. The housing market’s still harsh. Not a lot of help for low-income budgets. It’s not a budget I particularly like.

    But I can isolate my own opinion and see that it’s not a “bad/evil” budget. Thrown into clearer light with the lucky timing (from English’s perspective) of being right after the Australian Slash and Burn Budget.

    A lot of people here seem to be ignoring that the budget has been generally accepted as “good/solid” by the media. Not that surprising considering their own bias but still important. To a large section of society, media bias is hardly something they think about.

    And the headline of the under 13 free doctor visit is striking a chord with some people. It’s not an inspiring budget but it puts National in a decent position for the election. Bill English was almost beaming at times yesterday, so to say he was nursing a drink seems a bit out there. English can hardly smile at the best of times convincingly so you know when he’s actually feeling good about something.

  10. unpccougar 10

    I was really pleased to see free doctors visits extended to under 13 year olds. This will take a lot of strain off hospitals as people tend to take their children there due to not being able to afford a visit to the GP.
    Also Rhuematic Fever clinics – many may not be aware but this is just about an epidemic in some towns – Thames to name one. My daughter has had it and it is not pleasant.

    And I can say I am thrilled at having the cost of registering my car from next year go down.

    So while many can poke criticisms at what wasn’t delivered there was certainly enough there for the average kiwi that directly effects them.

    • Hayden 10.1

      This will take a lot of strain off hospitals as people tend to take their children there due to not being able to afford a visit to the GP.

      I like this too, but have you tried getting an appointment with a GP lately? We have our usual one and the one that’s actually close to where we live, and last time I tried the earliest I could get (a child) in was something like a couple of days away. I don’t know what the answer is though…

      Actually, when my daughter hurt her leg (turned out to be a fractured fibula) we didn’t even attempt the hospital and went to the After Hours Medical Centre.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        We have our usual one and the one that’s actually close to where we live, and last time I tried the earliest I could get (a child) in was something like a couple of days away.

        Whereas I just wander in, sign on to the queue and then wait to be served. They don’t accept bookings.

        Actually, when my daughter hurt her leg (turned out to be a fractured fibula) we didn’t even attempt the hospital and went to the After Hours Medical Centre.

        That was your choice but the hospital would have been fine.

        • Hayden 10.1.1.1

          Whereas I just wander in, sign on to the queue and then wait to be served. They don’t accept bookings.

          That’s an interesting approach, I wonder why more clinics don’t do it. Certainly any doctor appointment can be relied upon to be at any time other than that at which it was booked (recipreversexclusion). Our clinic will let you come in to see a nurse who will then consult a GP if there’s a need to, so there’s an avenue for urgent cases.

          the hospital would have been fine.

          Well, obviously, but we decided to pay and cut some time. Our GP works there anyway, so it was entirely possible we’d end up seeing her there. The hospital was fine when I went a month prior with suspected DVT, but they don’t muck around with that (it did still take 6 hours, but I was seen quickly).

    • Tracey 10.2

      how old are you? what job do you do? does your wife work? what is her job?

    • felix 10.3

      “And I can say I am thrilled at having the cost of registering my car from next year go down.”

      Yet amazingly it hasn’t bothered you that the cost has damn near doubled under this govt.

      Funny eh? It’s like someone slapped you and slapped you and slapped you and slapped you and then today they didn’t, and you say “Oh look, that nice man has stopped slapping me”.

  11. james 11

    “The thing voters wanted most (far more than PPL, it turns out) was assistance to first home buyers.”

    Yeah – got a source for that. Of course not.

    The only people that wanted that are some first home buyers. Which is not most of the voting public.

    Generally – I think that this will be a fairly well received as a “sensible” budget. Next Poll results will be interesting. I predict a lift for National after this.

    I may well be wrong – only time will tell.

    Will also cause a problem for Labour / Greens as they will have to present alternatives that are seen as sensible to the majority of the voters – and that is going to be a hard ask.

  12. Mr Interest 12

    How did they pay for some of this budget?

    Anyone remember Asset Sales:
    Asset Sale Price
    ($ million)”
    Mighty River Power $1,686.11
    Meridian Energy $1,883.81
    Air New Zealan $ 365.21
    Genesis Energy $ 733.48
    $4,668.60 Total Value of Assets Sold ($4.7Billion)

    Not impressed National….. oh thats right we are 60 Billion in debt, building a 500 Million Dollar Stadium in CHCH….. awesome, you guys rock. Apparently most of the population are housed in them these days.

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/government/assets/saleshistory

  13. Draco T Bastard 13

    All English had was $3,500 less tax per new build house on imported building materials (can’t we even make nails and plasterboard here?).

    Ban the export of raw materials and watch the price of a hell of a lot of building materials come down.

    But English knows there’s no tax cuts in this budget apart from the joke of removing cheque duty and no room for meaningful tax cuts in the outyears.

    I’m sure that Blinglish understands that his tax cuts to the rich need to be reversed but there’s no way that he’ll do so. He’ll continue cutting government services instead.

    • Lanthanide 13.1

      Ban the export of raw materials and watch the price of a hell of a lot of building materials come down.

      And unemployment go up. Genius.

      • Draco T Bastard 13.1.1

        I would expect employment to go up as it would mean that those materials will now have to be processed in NZ.

        • Lanthanide 13.1.1.1

          There would be a surplus of materials that would not be able to be used because of a lack of capacity and demand. The people previously harvesting the resources would lose their jobs, the people exporting the resources would lose their jobs.

          Now, if you’re talking about a slow phase out over a period of years, then yeah, that might work. But banning something overnight certainly will not.

          • Draco T Bastard 13.1.1.1.1

            There’s actually a lot of capacity that’s off line ATM because things like sawmills have been closing down as all the logs get shipped out raw to China. How much else gets gets shipped out raw I don’t know but as houses in NZ are primarily made from wood I suspect that that would probably be the major source of price drop.

          • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.1.2

            There would be a surplus of materials that would not be able to be used because of a lack of capacity and demand. The people previously harvesting the resources would lose their jobs, the people exporting the resources would lose their jobs.

            How do you know this? Are you putting in for the job of Oracle of Omaha?

            Have you forgotten that there is a drastic shortage of affordable housing in NZ? Don’t you think that there is significant pent up demand for quality housing to be built in NZ if only were the price point were more affordable?

            • cricklewood 13.1.1.1.2.1

              The logs go offshore and then come back as timber for a similir or lower price than what it can be milled for here.
              Banning that process may well cause timber prices to rise…

            • Lanthanide 13.1.1.1.2.2

              Economies gradually reach a steady-state and can only grow so fast at any given time.

              I don’t care how much timber you have sitting around, if you simply do not have the skilled labour available to turn that timber into housing, it won’t happen.

              And, if you try to force the transition, you’ll have cheap materials but a limited, therefore scarce, supply of labour. As it is in CHCH construction costs are going way up because of demand (my brother in law’s father got a $40k pay rise to work for EQC as an inspector in his trade). You may ultimately find that any savings from the cheap materials are eaten up by the cost of labour.

  14. philj 14

    xox
    Anything in this for the poor, working poor or beneficiaries? Help for doctors visits is Labour lite. Room for the left to step up with some powerful ideas to benefit all Kiwis. Population increase seems to be the sleeper issue of the election. Is this the growth policy from National? This will only result in other problems.

  15. NZJester 15

    All the good stuff in this budget looks like hastily prepared policy stolen from Labour in an attempt to shoot down the good press Labour has been getting over their policies leading up to the budget. But to me it looks a little like national might have pulled the trigger before they got their gun out of its holster and shot off their own toe!

  16. Colonial Viper 16

    Without radical mass movements like those the Federation of Labour, the Wobblies and the Christian Womens Temperance Movement represented, our mainstream political parties are going to keep delivering exactly that which they believe they can get away with. The hidden pressure from the banking cartel, international investors and big corporates can easily overwhelm any initial good intentions when taking office.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.1

      +1

    • Tracey 16.2

      plus 1

      • greywarbler 16.2.1

        For those who don’t know about the Wobblies they’re ” Industrial Workers of the World (known as Wobblies).
        During and immediately after the First World War, the actions of Wobblies were heavily scrutinised by the governments of the day, leading to sedition charges, jail time, or deportation from the country. “

        • Colonial Viper 16.2.1.1

          :)

          During and immediately after the First World War, the actions of Wobblies were heavily scrutinised by the governments of the day, leading to sedition charges, jail time, or deportation from the country

          Yes, that is what you get for challenging the cosy status quo of the power elite; it’s a nasty business and it’s good that people like yourself remember enough to pass on the lore to the next generation.

  17. Enough is Enough 17

    Cullen delivered 11 billion dollars in surplus
    English celebrates a few million as a success.

    What a chump. Can’t he count.

    Cullen made this country rich.
    English is personally responsible for making us poor. So poor he celebrates his tiny surplus/profit as a success.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Cullen delivered 11 billion dollars in surplus

      Cullen did this by swapping a decrease in government/public debt for a massive increase in private household and farming debt.

      Households and farms went into hock big time during the last Labour Government, pushing a huge amount of money into the general economy. The so-called ‘wealth effect’ as everyone’s homes climbed in value thanks to bigger and bigger mortgages.

      Cullen then taxed that mortgage provided private money back into the Treasury coffers in order to pay off government debt.

      Why anyone would think this is a good thing, or that a government running a surplus by forcing the private sector and households into a deficit is a good thing, is beyond me.

      Please don’t reinforce the myth further.

      Cullen made this country rich.

      Oh FFS. See above. As long as this country still depends on loans from foreigners to fund itself, and on a debt based system to create money, we’re screwed. We won’t be able to deal with the real demands of climate change nor of energy and resource depletion.

      • Draco T Bastard 17.1.1

        Cullen then taxed that mortgage provided private money back into the Treasury coffers in order to pay off government debt.

        Why anyone would think this is a good thing, or that a government running a surplus by forcing the private sector and households into a deficit is a good thing, is beyond me.

        And that is a major reason why we need government to create our money and have strict controls of monetary movement into and out of the country.

      • Enough is Enough 17.1.2

        English is a chump. End of story. Don’t over-complicate the matter boss.

        • Colonial Viper 17.1.2.1

          I’m not a big sports team fan and I’m not a good cheerleader.

          English and Key suck bad, Cunliffe and Parker would be superior in every single way as PM and DPM.

          Nevertheless I am very clear on one thing – NZ is also damn lucky to have Key and English in charge right now as opposed to the other over-privileged Tory asshats ruling the Five Eyes nations, Abbott, Cameron, Harper. And that’s a fact.

          By the way Lefties…notice how all the Anglo countries have gone with Right Wing governments? It seems like the Left are consistently not delivering a message that the people want to hear.

          • Naturesong 17.1.2.1.1

            It seems like the media are consistently not delivering the lefts message.

            FIFY

            Quick point though, I can’t see Labour as anything other than a centrist party – they are not the “left”.
            The Greens, with a social democratic focus come in as centre left.
            National ostensibly centre right but happy to use ACT as their rightwing cats paw.

            • Colonial Viper 17.1.2.1.1.1

              It seems like the media are consistently not delivering the lefts message.

              well yes, this is also true, and it is one reason that the original The Standard was started by the NZ Labour movement so it is not a new or novel problem.

              If I were to rephrase the issue then: other than rare exceptions like The Standard 2.0 the Left has not invested in independent media channels and infrastructure of its own, and relying on the corporate media to take a set against their own interests is not very realistic.

              • Draco T Bastard

                And the reason for that is that they seem to have forgotten why a mass membership party/parties is essential. With just a little bit of effort from everyone Labour and the Greens should be able to out spend National.

          • cricklewood 17.1.2.1.2

            I agree with those sentiments Key and English are oft criticized for the level of borrowing and sure it could have been spent better.

            But that has been far better than an Abbot style slash and burn. Imagine the mess and inequality we would have now if the they had gone down that path with someone like Brash.

            For a right wing government they could have been far worse…

            • Tracey 17.1.2.1.2.1

              you realise that alot of the so called new spending was a drop, in real terms. this is why some on the left arent congratulating them.

              • cricklewood

                I’m not congratulating anyone just pointing out that they haven’t taken the big stick to spending compared to say Abbott… For that I am somewhat grateful.

                • Tracey

                  did australia have a douglas, richardson, shipley slash and burn? it could be the right here did more earlier? dunno, just thinking out loud.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yes NZ went faster and harder with neoliberal reforms than Australia and Canada did. The UK under Thatcher and the US under Reagan/Bush/Clinton went the furthest, earliest.

                    From what I hear, if the Australian unions don’t get militant fast, they will end up like the toothless NZ ones.

                  • cricklewood

                    Its fair to say aussie didn’t have the first act govt that set up and allowed the likes of Richardson into power…
                    You’ll struggle to convince me that a Brash led govt would have been as pragmatic as Key obviously Key through pragmatism has stayed longer in power than Brash would have but I would argue has done less damage. In terms of right wing govts this one could have been much worse.

          • Tracey 17.1.2.1.3

            yup… and a vote for labour will only prolong the lack of voice

    • Stuart Munro 17.2

      I don’t know about making NZ rich – more like government coffers, not the same thing at all – but he made it work to some degree. English made a complete f**k of it – found his tax cuts failed but was too hidebound to reverse them and then compounded his error with GST, sending NZ further into recession.

      If by some stupendous miracle, (an end-run gerrymander of epic proportions, or maybe martial law), the Gnats somehow scrape enough votes and waka-jumpers to form a government, someone should take Treasury off Bill before he hurts himself any more.

  18. Tracey 18

    More Debt Less Jobs
    brought to you by the National Party

    Lying to you since 2008…

    • Draco T Bastard 18.1

      Well, under the previous Labour led government we had more debt and more jobs – until the whole lot fell over. Of course, that was private debt rather than public but it did result in the same effect – a few people got richer, a lot of people got poorer and then it crashed.

  19. lurgee 19

    But English knew he didn’t have it. Extending Paid Parental Leave by 4 weeks doesn’t undercut Labour’s plan to extend it by 12. It just highlights how much more significant Labour’s plan is.

    Problem is, most people will look at the different plans and think, “National’s plan seems a bit more sensible. Labour seem to be a bit wild on this. Let’s not rush into things.”

    People will instinctively opt for the less radical option on most occasions as they are inherently risk adverse and conservative.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      Key and English understand this aspect of the Kiwi psyche very well; Labour less so.

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