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The Standard

Wrong government for the times

Written By: - Date published: 7:25 am, September 1st, 2011 - 44 comments
Categories: disaster, leadership, national - Tags: ,

Not even right wingers believe their own rhetoric about small government and the invisible hand of the market. When the shit hits the fan they call for the government to “do something!”. Internationally we’ve just had the huge taxpayer funded bailout of finance sector. Here in NZ we turn to the government to respond to the Christchurch earthquakes.

Case in point, newly converted fan of Big Government Fran O’Sullivan:

Economy in danger and Govt must act

Why hasn’t the National Government urgently launched a three-point action programme to deal with the serious risks to the economy resulting from the major earthquakes in Canterbury?

Why indeed.

The Canterbury quakes are proving to have a much more significant impact on this country than the global financial crisis which sparked the Key Government’s launch of a “rolling maul” of initiatives.

What “rolling maul” was that exactly? Re-announcing Labour’s infrastructure spending and the highly elusive cycleway?

How hard would it be for the Government to:

* Immediately impose a special tax aimed at higher income earners to start replenishing the Natural Disaster Fund which has been exhausted by the impact of the Christchurch quakes.

* Commandeer large amounts of stable land on the outskirts of Christchurch and launch a big state-led building programme to get people safely rehoused quickly. Do this instead of allowing developers to book obscene profits at the expense of fellow citizens who have already lost enough of their equity through the quakes.

* Tell New Zealanders – including the business community – the truth about just what it will cost in future to insure residential and commercial buildings in this seismically challenged land.

Good suggestions one and all. But Fran’s pleas are going to fall on deaf ears. The Nats have set out the minimum response of their red zone package, and are clearly reluctant to attempt anything more. Whether through incompetence, inertia, small government ideology, or simple conservatism, this is not a government of action.

These are extraordinary times. The global financial system has never recovered from the recession and further turmoil seems likely. Population demographics, peak oil and extreme weather are going to raise further challenges. And as if that wasn’t enough, NZ has to cope with the aftermath of the quakes.

We desperately need an active government. A government that looks ahead, plans for the future, and isn’t afraid of innovative responses to the problems of the here and now. A government with vision and guts. It isn’t National. We have the wrong government for the times.

44 comments on “Wrong government for the times”

  1. Bored 1

    When the shit hits the fan they call for the government to “do something!”. Nanny Nanny HELP!!!!!!!

    • David 1.1

      Dear bored. You must be getting really bored at this governments response to…well anything, if thats the best you can come up with

      • Craig Glen Eden 1.1.1

        Your comment makes no sense David Bored makes perfect sense.

      • bbfloyd 1.1.2

        why wouldn’t we be bored with watching nothing happening for three years? getting sick of waiting for some sort of meaningful leadership….

        only the thick, and terminally ossified tory could possibly believe this govt has any intention of actually governing in any useful way….

        • Bored 1.1.2.1

          Thanks gents for putting David right, he must have some buffalo hide if he has not noticed the lack of action from Jokey and crew, very tedious, ennui inducing.

          PS Does David have any useful information on the actual delivery of a cycleway?

  2. John Dalley 2

    Nanny State from Granny Key.

    • aerobubble 2.1

      Businesses in ChCh want their population to stay put. So whose driving this?
      Simply builders know if the people flee because they are getting gouged then
      they will have less work, less customers, and will flee too. ChCh is not
      going to be all that happy with National in a decade’s time. National
      played their card, they were for better businesses, but its a hollow promise.
      Much like Key’s new promise that trust him shares won’t be sold to
      overseas, its what I plan to do, buy, hold, get the bonus shares, and then
      sell to overseas for a profit. Lots of people are now knocking on the bank
      to see if they can borrow off the shares they have yet to buy. Its what
      the big companies do all the time, go to the market to borrow money off
      the assets they are about to buy! Yes, you got it, Key sells tax payers
      assets with one hand, the government banks print money to Banks who
      lend it to big investors to buy those assets, and do the equation, before
      we owned them, after a select group of investors own them.

      Greens hit it on the head, those assets should be used as collateral
      to borrow to invest in new green energy, not to be paying the interest
      off of new shareholders who used the assets to buy the companies.

      Its yet another hand out to the richest.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        Greens hit it on the head, those assets should be used as collateral to borrow…

        Nope. The government never needs to borrow as it has the full resources of the nation to command.

    • mik e 2.2

      Keys become a cult hero celeb pm leader and New Zealanders are following like sheep .When they wake up to this muppet they’ll be all Shagged.

  3. Craig Glen Eden 3

    But but Fran isnt the market going to sort this out? Oh no thats right the market is waiting to eat up NZers state owned assets instead.

    Fran journalists like you have enabled this to happen, drunk on Keys smile and wave routine you have sold New Zealanders down the road with poor journalism.
    Fran you are a disgrace your crying wolf when it is probably all to late is disingenuous.

    • tc 3.1

      Here here only commentators like hickey and oram can hold their heads up, Fran, Armstrong etc all the tv heads have been nothing but govt shills helping to swing the uninformed over to blag key’s dealing room another term.

  4. thejackal 4

    Budget 2009 announced a cut:

    Funding for industry training will reduce by $57.7m over 4 years ($11.5 million in 2012/13 and $23.1 million in 2013/14 and outyears) in response to a decline in demand, under-delivery and the TEC’s operational review.

    Then Steven Joyce gleefully announced extra funding in 2011:

    Budget 2011 will provide up to $42 million for trades training for the Canterbury region, Tertiary education Minister Steven Joyce says. Funding is being set aside for up to 1500 additional training places as part of a comprehensive cross-agency response to meet additional demand for labour for the reconstruction programme called “Skills for Canterbury”.

    The net effect of the maximum additional funding for training people to rebuild Christchurch and the Budget 2009 cut for industry training is a cut of $15.7 million for industry training. Clearly this is incompetent leadership. Because of the mass exodus of trained young people, them already being in short supply in NZ and National’s cuts to training, I think Otautahi is unlikely to be rebuilt anytime soon.

  5. Afewknowthetruth 5

    ‘How hard would it be to….?’

    Impossible.

    The present government is irrevocably tied to:

    1. the bankers’ Fractional Reserve Ponzi scheme

    2. international capitalism

    3. the fossil fuel sector

    This government will therefore continue to pursue policies that facilitate the agendas of bankers, global corporate capitalism and fossil fuel companies until it can’t, i.e. until the system implodes due to energy depletion and/or environmental collapse.

    Unfortunately, there is no credible opposition, and most people haven’t got a clue what is going on, so they believe the propaganda continuouslly churned out by spin doctors.

    Hence, every day that passes all the things that actually matter get worse.

    As conditions deteriorate we should expect to see more and more rats deserting the sinking ship, leaving the die-hard fascists in charge.

  6. ianmac 6

    Because we have short memories it seem likely that Mr Key will announce bright progressive plans for such things as Christchurch Recovery sometime soon, after leaving many wallowing in uncertainty for months. A flood of feel good will waft over all well into November.
    If you have a strangler cutting off your breath, then a relaxing of the hand will leave you very grateful to the strangler.

    • prism 6.1

      @ianmac The Stockholm Syndrome theory of political popularity! You could be right – Bob Parker was not the favourite person for repeat Christchurch Mayor with dodgy financial dealing and overspending on uncertain land development supposedly with a crony, and then the earthquake. A chance for him to smile and sound encouraging and supportive and the see saw heaves him high.

  7. Policy Parrot 7

    Interesting ideas from Fran:

    * Immediately impose a special tax aimed at higher income earners to start replenishing the Natural Disaster Fund which has been exhausted by the impact of the Christchurch quakes.
    – Absolutely – this will lower the amount the government is borrowing and overseas reinsurers will be assured by such an action.

    * Commandeer large amounts of stable land on the outskirts of Christchurch and launch a big state-led building programme to get people safely rehoused quickly. Do this instead of allowing developers to book obscene profits at the expense of fellow citizens who have already lost enough of their equity through the quakes.
    – Yes. It’s not necessarily about depriving developers of profits per se, but more about getting things under way. Why are we waiting to start the rebuild? There are plenty of companies that can build homes to a modest and modern standard, and builders and the building industry is crying out for work. Some of the Green belt will have to come into use sooner than previously anticipated (but still operating under the guise of the original land strategy), unless people really want to move out to Rolleston, Pegasus.

    * Tell New Zealanders – including the business community – the truth about just what it will cost in future to insure residential and commercial buildings in this seismically challenged land.
    – To be fair, they may not know this yet. It hasn’t been established what type of event this was, i.e. 1 in 100/200/500/1000 year event, so until that is established, there will only be an expectation that premiums will rise somewhat.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    “Commandeer large amounts of stable land on the outskirts of Christchurch and launch a big state-led building programme to get people safely rehoused quickly.”

    Sounds like an approach that would fit better with China, or Stalanist Russia.

    While CERA probably has these sorts of powers, I think it is better to see if people can make decisions on the basis of their own free choices first, rather than confiscating assets from people who may well want to keep them.

    • uke 8.1

      “…confiscating assets from people who may well want to keep them.”
       
      Hasn’t Brownlee & Co. already done something along these lines by forcibly demolishing private buildings in central ChCh against their owners’ wishes?
       
      Furthermore, in previous times of war and economic depression NZ govts have never been slow to approriate land for all manner of projects. What’s so different in this case?

      • tsmithfield 8.1.1

        Maybe. However, that is in the central city red zone where there are safety issues to consider, and buildings have to come down anyway. So it is a different scenario.

    • insider 8.2

      Rather than encouraging a cash strapped govt to pay out even more cash to take land off people, why not just ease the planning rules freeing up more land for development. Isn;t the issue that people with cash are competing for a limited supply of sections within the metro limit, which is pushing up demand and putting housing out of reach.

      Wouldn;t Govt outervention be a better solution than intervention to solve a regulatory issue?

    • bbfloyd 8.3

      ts… you can still surprise me with the sheer stupidity, and lack of any depth whatsoever with each uttering you share with us…

      if you had the barest notion of relevant historical perspective, you would know that it’s the capitalists who were grabbing huge areas of land centuries before marx wrote his books… that has only abated due to the earth being possessed of finite amounts of land…

      are you going to waste your life being a hater? ’cause you’re hating the wrong people…. the real thieves are your hero’s… always have been, and always will be, until they are forced to stop… unfortunately, most likely at gunpoint…

  9. Afewknowthetruth 9

    With respect to my previous comment about a major jolt to the global economic system being likely before the end of this year (and very pertient to the wrong government for the times)…….

    Panic button:

    http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/25-signs-that-the-financial-world-is-about-to-hit-the-big-red-panic-button

    Of course, this could provide Shokey with an opportunity to tell us how he is going to ‘save us’ [via more corporate looting].

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Quoting article:

      None of the fundamental problems that caused the crisis of 2008 have been fixed. The world financial system is still one gigantic mountain of debt, leverage and risk.

      Authorities around the globe will certainly do all they can to keep things stable, but in the end it is inevitable that the house of cards is going to come crashing down.

      There’s only one way to “rescue” the present financial system and that is to negate all debt. That won’t happen though as then all the rich people won’t be rich any more. No one in power cares about the other 99% of people.

      Of course, doing that won’t actually bring about the necessary changes to bring humanity to living within the Renewable Resource Base and so we’ll still be affected by the damage that Peak Oil and Climate Change will bring about.

      • aerobubble 9.1.1

        The great depression occured in the 30s. But it was not the first global downturn.
        there were many at the end of the nineteen century. The leaders, the politics,
        knew a lot more than our class of 82 does, Thatcherism is their mantra its
        all they’ve known. So unlike the Great Depression where leaders could sell
        the idea of intravention and the ‘new’ deal, our leaders are dumbnuts.

        We are all frakked. Instead of managing our way through the crisises we
        keep digging.

  10. ak 10

    Crikey. So having shilled and hacked and subtly fomented Helenhate relentlessly for years and with 2011 supposedly in the bag, wee Franny now feels bold enough to flash her inner socialist streak. Yuk. Lipstick on a cadaver, ropy old press mutton sporting a touch of lamb and fooling no one.

  11. marsman 11

    Wrong Government for the times? Wrong Government for any time. They are incompetent, inept, mismanaging the economy and arrogant.

    • That leaves us with quite a problem, if here National is deemed to be the “wrong Government for the times”, and the polls and blogs keep suggesting that Labour is the wrong Government-in-waiting, what to do?

      • Bored 11.1.1

        Pete, there is merit in that statement, I accuse both mainstream parties of being so wedded (like yourself) to the status quo and the conventional wisdom that neither can see what they are actually confronted with.

        • Pete George 11.1.1.1

          I agree that the two main parties are very status quo orientated but much of my approach is to challenge the status quo. I’m certainly challenging the status quo in Dunedin North.

          While UnitedFuture may also seem status quo as a small party rebuilding it’s a lot more open to a variety of ideas and approaches than may be apparent. Candidates have been advised to get out and say what we want. Obviously we have to consider party but much less than in the large rigid campaign strategies.

      • kriswgtn 11.1.2

        Def not the hairpiece

      • Afewknowthetruth 11.1.3

        PG

        Don’t forget that ‘the proles’ have been kept misinformed, and have been carefully trained to behaive stupidly, so it is hardly surprising that they ‘don’t know anything’ and that they behave stupidly at every election.

        Nationally there is little that can be done at this late stage (all the major issues were identified in the 1960s and 1970s, and were ignored.). The damage has been done -to society and to the environment.

        Even at the local level there is little that can be done, since most districts councils comprise of a very large proportion of sociopaths who are there for what they can get out of it. I cannot think of one item of major policy that my local council promotes which will be of ANY long term benefit to the community.

        When it all goes down [over the coming years] people wil either have to set up very local systems within their immediate neighbourhoods or starve to death.

      • KJT 11.1.4

        Vote Green.

        • AAMC 11.1.4.1

          Only if the make a statement that the will not go into coalition with national. I’ve voted Green at every MMP election, now they’re Blue Green, I’m heading to Labour. Unless the Greens are prepared to stop trying to appear so reasonable and step up!

          • KJT 11.1.4.1.1

            I do not think it would be possible for National to have enough common policy for a coalition to be acceptable to the Greens.

            • AAMC 11.1.4.1.1.1

              I agree, so why say you’d consider it when the Nat’s ideology is supposedly so contrary to the Greens? Especially at this moment.

  12. Rodel 12

    Trotter’s column in the Press makes good points.
    Between Gerry and his highly paid ‘moderators’, Shipley & co., Sir Bob, and that nice man Roger on $10,000 a week Christchurch people haven’t yet seen clear results but are being assured that no one will lose out.
    Is it, ‘yeah right’ or ‘nah wrong?’

    And how about that Japanese prof, a specialist in the field who reckons most of the CBD buildings earmarked for demolition could be retained and strengthened for 40% of the cost of demolition and rebuilding. No-one seems to have listened to him Too busy counting wages I guess.
    Good luck Christchurch. It’s time you had some.

    • aerobubble 12.1

      But wasn’t there historical problem with the way ChCh was laid out, the perfect
      ratio was not understood by the builders and that problem would remain if
      the facades remained. We’ve come a long way from the initial property
      builders who did their bit, however magnificiently but without much
      presense of mind to the whole theme. This happens a lot in cities, the cities
      grow, the bad designs are demolished, eventually as in ChCh even the
      bigger design has to be dumped. I would bet that the 7 storey limit
      is just right for the width of the streets in the central district to be
      asthetically pleasing. Well that’s if a lot of the facades are demolished.
      As for the its all empty, nobody will return, that’s bollocks. Many of
      these new buildings are going to have to have far more extensive
      foundations and the facades will cost a lot more surely to strengthen.
      I of course am totally guessing. Most cities grow rules about what
      can go into a older site and stop just anything going up, that’s
      why Auckland is such a disaster also. Lots of buildings doing their
      own thing and no wider fit into what exists already.

  13. Jim Nald 13

    Speaking of that fine city, known once upon a time as Christchurch, ….. we will next be waving bye bye to a fifth of Canterbury University staff ….. when they canter across the Ditch:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10748773

    We weep

  14. logie97 14

    Joky Hen and his mates – champions of innovation and setters of trends…?

    ‘http://uk.news.yahoo.com/say-goodbye-to-60-watt-lightbulbs-.html

    You gotta love it, haven’t you – They have taken us backwards in yet another field.
    All the manufacturers must be hunting around the world for outlets for their neanderthal stocks. Which country can we dump on? Oh yeah, there’s somewhere in the South Pacific. An entrepreneurial government – NACT New Zealand it’s called.

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