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Bernard Hickey: Bill English’s Trump-like denial of a productivity problem

Written By: - Date published: 7:03 am, September 2nd, 2017 - 84 comments
Categories: accountability, bill english, economy - Tags: , , , ,

A must-read piece by Bernard Hickey:

Bill English’s Trump-like denial of a productivity problem

Bill English is a careful man who is deeply familiar with New Zealand’s economic record. He has had the best facts and figures from Treasury, the OECD and the IMF at his fingertips for nearly nine years as Finance Minister and Prime Minister. So his outright rejection during the debate on Thursday of JB Were economist Bernard Doyle’s comments about a productivity recession were surprising.

“JB Were are just wrong. They are way over-stating the case,” he said.

Following up, Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern said productivity had flat-lined at best and she wanted to invest in people and skills through education to improve productivity.

So who is right? Here’s a detailed look at the evidence. If you are time poor, the answer is Bernard Doyle is right and Bill English is wrong.

Go read the full piece for five graphs from various data sources that illustrate the nature of the problem and the comparison with Australia. Hickey concludes:

English’s outright denial of a productivity problem in the debate was Trump-like in its brazenness and disappointing from a former Finance Minister who knows that productivity improvements are ultimately the only way New Zealanders get richer in the long run.

New Zealand’s economy has grown faster than others in the last four years, but only because of a surge in its population from migration and an increase in the labour force participation rate. New Zealand’s economy grew because more people arrived, more people worked and they worked longer hours.

They didn’t work smarter.

Being compared to Trump has got to hurt. And shouldn’t there be consequences when a PM flat out lies to the country on the state of the economy?

84 comments on “Bernard Hickey: Bill English’s Trump-like denial of a productivity problem”

  1. AsleepWhileWalking 1

    Engump.
    Trumgish.

    Either way it’s not flattering.

  2. TheBlackKitten 2

    When I heard him say that I was not impressed. Wages are low and don’t leave people with much if any, disposable income by the time cost of living expenses for the basics are met. English and the National Party are in denial about this and the reason why is wages are low due to migrants coming to this country who will work for low money. Their business mates love it and don’t want it stopped.

    • popexplosion 2.1

      Oh it’s much worse. Basic science stuff. Retailers, under Key, started selling mangy fruit. Essentially, apples or other fruit are given extended ‘retail’ life by cooking or other processes that tricks the fruit to look healthier. The science is easy, nutrients like vitamin c get used up by the skin to glow fresher. Now here’s the evil. Instead of that vitamin c producing healthier kids and other consumers, they become deficit c deficient. So when a bug goes through the population kids already living in a dank house, thinking they eat enough fruit, as they usually do, are getting less vitamin, so more present at hospital, run sore throats longer. And as we know, viramin c is a brain food, so National not only shittied the rivers, cut mine inspectors, but is making us all stupider. Hey, just look at what passes as debate, QT, is a joke, when do they ever talk about science, actually science. Well one party does but they’ve never been in govt. Old people eat fruit too Mr Peters, do you need the pension for the boot payments? Seriously how has this fossil fooled us… …Oh yeah, his base is deficit.

      Party vote Green. Productivity ain’t going to get better with the neolib whores in power, taking up whatever stupid cool aid boosts profits without question.

      • popexplosion 2.1.1

        profits up, banks lend more, as people forced to buy vitamin supplements, oh the joys of rational markets. creating products from decreasing health, hiking healthcare costs, etc. National literally makes us all s tupidier, party vote Green.

      • Richard Christie 2.1.2

        The science is easy, nutrients like vitamin c get used up by the skin to glow fresher.

        In that case, cite a reputable peer reviewed source for these claims please.

        • popexplosion 2.1.2.1

          Commonsense, matter does not come out of nothing. A piece of fruit that has been altered to last longer on the shelves is no different than piece that hasn’t since nothing has been added, rather the fruit has been abused to force it to revitalize the skin. As anyone can scientifically observe by themselves when they bite into the fruit it’s strangely mushy in the middle. Fruit loses vitamins and other nutrients over time, it’s therefore self evident a piece of fruit that’s twice as old, that would not have sold, is now being passed off and has lower nutrienial value. The universe did not change it’s physics, biology, just some idiots invented neolib economics to describe lower quality as a public good.

          • Richard Christie 2.1.2.1.1

            As I thought, pure word salad.

            • popexplosion 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Fruit, unaltered, would be tossed. It’s basic science. Same fruit, same length of time, same level of depleted nutrients. In my universe fruit decays over time. Obnoxious arrogant stupidity costing us taxes as it’s sending kids to hospital feeding them poorer quality food. Can you eat that salad or is your brain profit driven mad.

              • popexplosion

                wtf! salad brain is a moron, same fruit, same time on the shelves… …Oh, the stupidity, it’s rigging high school biology, arghhhh… …starts drooling.. ..brain exploding… Oh the moronic Christie missed high school biology a

              • dukeofurl

                Is this so bad – from the link ?

                “The loss of vitamin C after harvest can be reduced by storing fruits and vegetables in reduced O2 and/or up to 10% CO2 atmospheres; higher CO2 levels can accelerate vitamin C loss.”

                They are losing vC anyway, controlled storage allows longer times till its sold. Its only reduced O2 and higher CO2 thats different
                Yes they might be down from absolutely fresh picked. But thats only for a short time window anyway.

                • Stuart Munro

                  I read a few abstracts – there’s a reasonably short period of minimal decline – maybe a month – then moderate sustained decline. Raising the temperature greatly increases vitamin loss. A retail model based around refrigeration and controlled atmosphere is okay up to a point – but the temptation will be to store for longer than necessary to smooth supply. There are some problems with this.

            • spikeyboy 2.1.2.1.1.3

              Peer reviewed is typical reply for all cynics that are too lazy to think

              • popexplosion

                No wonder productivity is carp, getting crappier, taxes spent on kids hospitialization is the pure even of productivity failure. Couple to dead brain salad heads running the country, it’s basic f rigging sciende

              • Thinking doesn’t prove the reality – only reality does that and we mostly get that from peer-reviewed studies.

                • popexplosion

                  Apples decay. Apples that are manufactured to look youthful as they have been tricked to use up nutrients to refresh their skins, that would of been taken off the shelves, are much less nutritious than if those apples had been left on the store shelf. Yes, this is called thinking, thanks for keeping up. Now apples brought now are not providing the same levels of vit.c and that makes us all more susceptible to illness. Everyone has a bad throat, mine only started going when I started supplementing vit.c, at some cost. Now you may be under the delusion, brought on by poor nutrition no doubt, that this blog is a peer review journal, it is not. It’s a political one that targets both rational and emotive parts of depleted brains. It’s not a claim of science to say I got better, that lots of people have dodgy throats as they cough, but it is surprising that the chief science officer hasn’t resigned by now, letting this scam run riot. As someone makes money selling vit.c tablets, and it cost taxes hospitizating kids and old. But hey I could be wrong, it does however does not negate from my point that I’m not a researcher and can publish on this sight, or need to cite reviews, to make these statements.

                  Keep Labour honest, party vote Green.

                  • Apples that are manufactured to look youthful as they have been tricked to use up nutrients to refresh their skins, that would of been taken off the shelves, are much less nutritious than if those apples had been left on the store shelf. Yes, this is called thinking, thanks for keeping up.

                    No, that’s called making an assertion which you now need to back up with some peer-reviewed research backing that assertion or STFU.

                    Now you may be under the delusion, brought on by poor nutrition no doubt, that this blog is a peer review journal, it is not.

                    What’s with the moronic ad hominem?

                    It’s not a claim of science to say I got better, that lots of people have dodgy throats as they cough, but it is surprising that the chief science officer hasn’t resigned by now, letting this scam run riot.

                    You obviously need more logic training as that sentence contains none. The last part doesn’t even apply to the first part – or, in fact, anything else that you’ve said. Perhaps a remedial course in English would help as well.

                    But hey I could be wrong, it does however does not negate from my point that I’m not a researcher and can publish on this sight, or need to cite reviews, to make these statements.

                    You probably are as you seem to be an ignoramus.

                    No, you’re not entitled to your opinion

                    And that very much applies to this political blog. Back what you say up with some facts or STFU.

                    • popexplosion

                      The assertion is what! Clarify which one! Or would it appear so fundamental. That vit.c aids health of skin either human or apple. Abusing apples so they refresh their skin will remove nutrients.
                      Nutrients that consumers thought they were getting, that protect them from illness. It’s basic to the scientific process that any stupid arise heckle can dispute the obvious because they aren’t bother with basic science. All matters require a basic acceptance of mutual facts. Are you disputing Apple’s don’t decay.?

                    • Every thing you say is an assertion. Not once have you backed it up with research. And it doesn’t have to be your research just something to prove that you’re not talking out your arse. So far you’re failed to prove this.

                    • popexplosion

                      Draco understands that wilting fruit and vegetables when left in water refresh them, he believes harmonies in the water rejuvenate. Now I contend the absurdity, that cells in humans, plants, all require magic molecules to assist in the process. I ask you Draco, why would any reasoned person agree with me. Obviously I am full of it.

                      Children need basic nutrition, as do plants, to glow healthily, and when they do not get those magic molecules, they are more susceptible to flu, to getting over illness, and so when observed, all too many people splurging and coughing, while continuingly buying fruit that’s mushy inside… …It’s not hard to speculate on a politic forum so that some bureaucrat can check those peer reviews peolle talk about. You know the ones you have never understood if you ever read them, since children test cell fundamentals in high school.

                      Now you can go off and have you fantasy of you and Peter dipping in the great ocean supping on the water harmonies in order to delay climate change. Science requires reasonable participates who have clear idea of what parties believe in order to avoid misunderstanding. Science, has never worked when intransigent hecklers think too much, and lucky for you this is not such a platform.

                      It’s a political forum you complete arise.

                    • Draco understands that wilting fruit and vegetables when left in water refresh them, he believes harmonies in the water rejuvenate.

                      And now you’re just lying.

                      Obviously I am full of it.

                      Yes you are as you’ve still failed to produce anything to back your assertions.

                      This is a political blog, not a fact free one as you seem to think.

  3. Graeme 3

    I’ve been intrigued how National have been “growing the economy” by importing poverty in the form of low skilled and low wage workers, and in the process displacing the previous low skilled and low wage sector to homelessness and deeper poverty.

    Those chickens are currently roosting on the righthand end of the GDP/hour line in Hickey’s graph.

    Stupid.

    • Muttonbird 3.1

      A planer picture of what National has done, particularly in the last 3-5 years, you could not get.

      70,000 net increase in the last two years, pretty much 3 times the average in recent times. That is a hell of a spike.

      Thankfully, significant numbers of people are beginning to look at that picture and realise this is the wrong direction to be taking New Zealand.

  4. Ross 4

    Bill told other porkies too, such as wages increasing at twice the rate of inflation.

    In the year to June 2017, wages increased by 1.7% while inflation was also 1.7%. (Note that the CPI – a measure of inflation – does not include increases in the cost of housing, which have been significant in recent years.)

    http://m.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/LabourMarketStatistics_HOTPJun17qtr.aspx

    http://m.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/LabourMarketStatistics_HOTPJun17qtr.aspx

    • frankie and benjy 4.1

      Bill may be hiding the reality for many people because it is wage and salary. 1.7 is the average “wage” inflation. How many top salaries going up by more than this will mean that low wages may actually be going down to get to this average? Following the first link the “Private sector” was only 1.6 inflation and “Public sector” 1.9.

      • Ross 4.1.1

        F&B

        The figures from the first link include salaries and overtime. But you’re right, high salary (or wage) increases could have distorted the position of those whose pay hasn’t changed. And, as I said, the CPI could understate the true level of inflation.

        But if you look at the minimum wage, that has increased by 14.5% since April 2013. Inflation was 4.4% over the same period. Increases to the minimum wage have outpaced inflation but I doubt those being paid the minimum wage feel like they’re living the high life. That’s why Bill’s claim – even if it were true – doesn’t tell the full story.

        Remember Bill opined a few years ago that low wages were an advantage for NZ…so would he be upset if wages outstripped inflation? I’d say so.

        http://www.newshub.co.nz/general/bill-english-nzs-low-wages-an-advantage-2011041105

        • dukeofurl 4.1.1.1

          https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/monetary-policy/inflation-calculator

          Housing has gone up 44% in that period you mention
          Yes food, clothing, transport are very low increases

          Wages have only risen under national,10%, CPI 11.5% 2009Q1- 2017Q2

          labour government years wage growth was 40% ( CPI 27%)

          [Using the RBNZ inflation calculator]

          if you look at housing costs , since national came into office they have risen 70%
          Q1 2009 to Q1 2017

    • tracey 4.2

      And doesnt factor in house prices…

    • silvertuatara 4.3

      The whole concept of using an “average wage” as a single marker as to whether the whole of NZ’s working population is better off than the previous year is absurd in this day and age.

      It is my opinion that NZ should move to a system in which wage growth is measured on an annual basis separately in increments of 10% bands of the working population with each band progressing from the lowest paid to the highest paid.

      Within these 10 bands the average wage growth in relation to the rate of inflation should be measured and compared against previous years, and will provide more specific data as to which annual renumeration ranges/bands have made positive growth over the year, in excess of inflationary pressures, and more accurately reflect which bands have actually remained static and those that have fallen behind the rising cost of inflation.

      This system would also ensure that a 4-6% annual increase on a CEO’s annual income for example of anywhere between $300,000 to $3,000,000 respectively of between $12,000/$18,000 to $120,000/$180,000 remains within the correct 10% income band, and therefore can not averaged across the remaining 9 income bands.

      A single “average wage”measure can easily be manipulated upward through the top earners higher wage growth, leaving it open to the likes of Bill English to blurt out that “annual wages have risen, which may be “technically right in an mathematical sense, but for which a statement is absolutely void of any meaning because it masks what percentage of the population have benefited from the wage growth, and what workers have not benefitted from such growth.

  5. eco Maori/kiwi 5

    Bill will lie his ass off and he Knows that most of MSM won’t hold him accountable for his false propaganda.
    Bernard Hickey was like two peas in a pod with John Key a few years back. But one can change his views on life as he matures
    Bernard caused a lot of problems that devastated a family that I admired and adored a few years ago.

  6. Philj 6

    Is Bill a liar? Does he think voters are stupid? Don’t answer that. We are facing a collective IQ test. Don’t fail ourselves again!

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    Bill used to be more careful – the company of John led him to believe that brazen lies were the best – but he lacks the depth of insincerity to pull them off. Joyce does it much better – insofar as lying to and betraying your country can be better.

  8. ianmac 8

    English/Joyce Trump like denial covers Housing and Clean water as well.
    Each night Bill chants, “There is no crisis, There is no crisis There is no crisis….”

  9. Adrian 9

    I blame an over reliance on IT. Because computation is so ubiquitous now we are using so many more people, i.e workers , to gather more and more useless bloody information.
    Excess information is counter productive.
    humans have been growing stuff for at least 100,000 years but only in the last 25 have you needed a computer to do it.
    A computer has never grown a single thing.
    I have been growing grapes for the best part of those 25 years now it takes hours every week for form filling , data gathering and fuck knows what else, none of which was ever needed 25 years ago. I would average about 5 hours a week now and taken out of a 40 hour week that is a 12 .5% impost on productivity.
    That’s a lot of time to produce nothing but bullshit that nobody is going to read.

    • popexplosion 9.1

      It’s the n eolib economy, engage everyone in debt and keep the whole facade going. Destroying the planet several times over. It’s controlling behaviour from supposed libertarian free marketeers. Greens get it, do less, have more free time, more time with family… …Key started off as an accountant!

    • eco Maori/kiwi 9.2

      This is why i say the government needs to apply the kicks principles to our policys.
      Keep the systems running our country simple less time wasted on bull shit.
      If one runs a organization using this principal it will gain productivity and save on waste ie less fuck ups .
      Everyone has a different thought process so they solve problems in a different way.
      So if the processes in the organization are not complicated your workers will work more effectively and everyone should be happier.
      Productivity will not rise very fast in our low wage economy created by the neo liberals

    • You’re talking out your arse.

      More information allows for making informed decisions.
      Agriculture started between five and twelve thousand years ago.
      As far as your grapes go – if you didn’t do all that form filling chances are that you’d work more and produce less because you’d be making bad decisions from the lack of information.

      • McFlock 9.3.1

        plus a gazillion.

        Although that would be excluded as an outlier 😉

      • Adrian 9.3.2

        Bullshit. It’s information that goes fuck knows where to little fiefdoms predicated only on the desire to make the fiefdom bigger by gathering more and more information about less and less.
        You can measure the pig ( or the grape bunch ) as many times as you like but it still won’t put any weight on the pig.
        Only producing something adds to productivity, measuring things doesn’t .

        • McFlock 9.3.2.1

          A lot of it will be tracking information to isolate the source of a contamination or disease, but also to provide integrity guarantees to export destinations so we can prove that you haven’t used the wrong chemicals and that your farm doesn’t have any weird grape diseases.

          Look at the cow disease outbreak currently being controlled – they’re not picking up new infections from random farms, they’re monitoring all cattle that got within a stone’s throw of the original infection source. And if, say, Europe changes its pesticide list, you know exactly which litter or row of vines had the last treatment, how much, and when. All of that is from the paperwork you routinely fill out (although if I were you I’d use an ebook or tablet to record it as you go).

          But it actually can help the pig gain weight, and the ones after it. A lot of farmers are using data analysis to actively monitor their farms and identify precise patches of soil deficiencies, nutrient transfer, which rows of fruit are more prone to disease from year to year, minimise fertiliser and pesticide expenditure, and so on. Fonterra track their cows from field to field for a reason, not just for fun. It helps them make money.

    • ianmac 9.4

      As a form of protest a few years ago, I filled in a Government data form with outrageous numbers, sent the form in and waited. Explosion? Not a murmur. Imagine a huge warehouse somewhere filled to the brim with data no one ever looks at.

      • Incognito 9.4.1

        Landfill

      • Why would you even expect a reaction?

        Even if it had been entered into the database all that’s going to looked at is the aggregate and it may even have been filtered out by a simple AI designed to catch such stupidity.

        • McFlock 9.4.2.1

          lol not even an AI.

          If they’re truly outrageous, in one job I had the numbers are either kicked back to the supplying ministry for validation or simply filtered out of the different grouping brackets, along with the null values.

  10. tracey 10

    Femember how Collins leaked a PS name to Slater resulting in the poor guy getting death threats? That was in return for outting Bill’s double dipping. In otherwords he would still be collecting it today…

    He might be a rock. But the Rock is lying.

  11. Herodotus 11

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/09/01/45677/election2017-english-factcheck
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11901846
    No wonder there is no appetite to address immigration as then it would be obvious as to what our success is due to.
    If our GDP growth was valid 3% with CPI of 1.7%, then the average wage increase for this year would by $2.5k less tax = $2k, twice what National are promising to deliver with tax cuts, a very poor second prize.

    • National are the worst economic managers around. That seems to be part and parcel of conservatives in general all around the world.

      They then lie about it to try and hide just how bad they are.

      • Tricledrown 11.1.1

        They are deliberately running up huge govt debts to get their hands on public assets investments and undermine democracy.
        By running up huge debts poor people can’t get access to healthcare education justice etc.

    • Kauri 11.2

      The problem is Labour seems to be backing off it’s commitment to reducing immigration with Jacinda’s recent comments.

  12. Ad 12

    That big drop in the $NZ dollar when that TV1 poll came out shows Labour is being watched very closely by currency and banking market analysts.

    There’s a measure coming up of how much our owners will allow us to shift.

    • Incognito 12.1

      I disagree; markets react to short-term uncertainty more than anything. It is not a ‘poll of owners’ as such.

    • adam 12.2

      You come across to me as a real house slave ad, is that on purpose? Are you really that fearful?

    • r0b 12.3

      “Big drop” of 1/3 of a cent = random fluctuation.

      It dropped more earlier in the day before the poll.

      It quickly bounced back.

      Just noise.

      • tracey 12.3.1

        +1

        • greywarshark 12.3.1.1

          School of fish behaviour. Think of a fish skeleton, that is the real end result for these financial hagfish, they hang around like pilot fish in the good times and then turn away from the economy if its dying then they’ll rejoin and suck up
          any goodies left.

    • Graeme 12.4

      A drop in our dollar is the best thing that could happen for most of the country, especially in tourism agriculture and all other export sectors. Tourism gains doubly as less New Zealanders head overseas when the dollar is lower, instead playing at home.

      Same thing happened in ’99, Labour got elected, “markets” threw a hissy and the country’s economy took off. Not that you’d have thought it with the existential melt down that some business people had with “That Woman” behind the PM’s desk. I watched a few in tourism inhabit that camp until they realised that everyone was doing it but them.

      • A drop in our dollar is the best thing that could happen for most of the country, especially in tourism agriculture and all other export sectors.

        Yep, needs to drop by about 50%. It’s being kept high by our comparatively high interest rates which proves that the way we’ve floated the dollar is simply wrong.

        • Graeme 12.4.1.1

          It probably doesn’t need to be quite that drastic, from our experience over the last 30 years an AUD around 0.80 and USD below 0.60 and things change. And when the change is as quick as it was in ’99 it’s like night and day.

    • lprent 12.5

      It was just the usual kneejerk that the markets have on almost any unexpected news.

  13. adam 13

    This shift of focus towards productivity has done nothing for working people.

    Wages wise, funny how all that new productivity profit went to the bosses pocket.

    Hour wise, just more of them.

    Productivity, just another weapon to beat up working people with, and it’s been bloody fantastic at that.

    • eco Maori/kiwi 13.1

      + 100 adam

    • It starts with this lie:

      It’s worth remembering that real wages don’t sustainably increase unless there is productivity growth.

      If all else remains the same then an increase in productivity will lower wages as the demand for workers decrease.

      This is why the government focuses upon increasing exports but that won’t work either for two reasons:

      1. It’s unsustainable as all those exports are exports of our limited real wealth – the resources that we need to have any wealth at all.
      2. Other countries can produce everything that we can at the same productivity levels meaning that our exports must, eventually, decrease.

      The only option that works is increased productivity that pushes diversification. This will keep wages up and our limited real wealth here.

  14. Smith 14

    It is denial, lies and manipulation policy persued by national is irritating. They have been able to get away earlier but not any more.

    They denied Homelessness.
    They denied and still denying housing crisis (Infact for them is prosperity as this is from where they come or belong)
    They denied Health issues
    They denied that our rivers are polluted
    Immigration.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Can go on and on.

    It is good that election not far away and people have the choice.

    • tracey 14.1

      100+ And now they are hurling money at problems they have denied exist…

      Don’t forget the second language opportunities for primary kids to help them pass maths.

    • It is denial, lies and manipulation policy persued by national is irritating.

      Actually, it’s down right bloody dangerous as it cripples the economy and our society.

  15. Nic the NZer 15

    The evidence seems abundantly clear on this, however the real issue is the lack of growth of wages in line with productivity.

    When wages don’t grow in line with productivity then more of the share of income goes to capital instead of labour. This increases inequality and tends to reduce demand because capital tends to spend its income much less than labour. This in turn tends to reduce the real productivity growth rate as businesses tend to invest less where they don’t perceive demand for their output.

    This means the problem where income grows out of line with productivity growth (which is unsustainable and will eventually turn into inflationary pressure) is not actually a problem NZ faces as wages have failed (and continue to fail) to grow in line with productivity anyway.

    Real growth rates and real productivity grow were both much higher in the decades before the neo-liberal era.

    • tracey 15.1

      There is growth and there is growth. I saw someone on TV3 this morning, toward the end of the show and I can’t recall her name (edit: Heather Roy), blathering on about growth is what we need. Laila Harre couldn’t get a word in so the myth was perpetuated again.

      National seems to have a lot of female and male clones in their party….

      Nic, until CPI includes everything, and until figures relied upon reflect the importation of modern indentured labour, it is all smoke and mirrors of the most mischievious type.

      Perhaps Ardern, OR a moderator could put this to Bill English and Seymour

      “A Labour Inspectorate investigation found at least half of the region’s kiwifruit contractors who have been audited or investigated have failed to provide employment contracts or pay the minimum wage.”
      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/country/335574/kiwifruit-contractors-cashing-in-on-labour-shortage

      • Nic the NZer 15.1.1

        Yes, it certainly matters if you are talking about real or nominal and if that means growth in un-sustainable outcomes (such as more pollution or accelerating climate change). However even real incomes can increase with an increase in environmental sustainability when the composition of that outcome shifts.

        I think that asking for the CPI to include ‘everything’ is probably not to the point. Even if everything is included in the CPI then the effects of inflation still differ on different people because they purchase their own independent weighting’s of that output (for example some people spend more of their total spending on food than others do). You simply can’t measure that evenly as a single CPI number.

        • tracey 15.1.1.1

          Interestingly one of National’s “values” is

          “Sustainable development of our environment”

          I would have posted this yesterday but I have only just started laughing.

      • reason 15.1.2

        Higher Productivity NAct party style … most often means cutting corners, breaking regulations ….. playing fast and loose with workers lives

        Pike river …. “Testimony suggests miners were under pressure to increase production and safety issues were given lesser priority.”

        Forestry .. “Increasing production pressures mean that forestry contractors are harvesting more dangerous terrain and this makes it even more important to have safe equipment and work practices. http://www.union.org.nz/more-forestry-workers-being-killed-at-work-woodhouse-needs-to-take-action/

        Or Wayne Mapp type Attacks on workers lives … … “job insecurity, zero hour contracts and workplace downsizing are important risk factors in suicide. It argues that employment protection regulations and procedures that “restrict the freedom of companies to hire and dismiss workers” would significantly reduce suicide risk. ” http://www.hazards.org/suicide/suicidalwork.htm

        Under Johnny made-off, …… and his crooked side-kick … cook the books Bill …. NZ has large growth in the sectors of the economy which produce inequality, injustice. .. …Ecocide and water poisoning.

        Merrill spawn does as Merrill knows … Economic apartheid based on legalised looting by the rich….

        Five of world’s biggest investment banks pay no UK corporation tax

        JP Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank AG, Nomura Holding and Morgan Stanley make billions in profit in Britain – but analysis reveals their UK arms paid not a penny of business levy in 2014

  16. And shouldn’t there be consequences when a PM flat out lies to the country on the state of the economy?

    That should be a High Crime that comes with a significant jail term.

    Of course, if we did that then there’s absolutely no chance that we’d ever have a National government – not as long as they keep lying like they do.

    • tracey 16.1

      It beggars belief that lying as a 23 year old carries a greater sanction than lying as a Cabinet Minister.

  17. eco Maori/kiwi 17

    Increases in productivity is only good for the share holder .
    In A low wage economy productivity will not increase very fast as it is cheaper to hire low paid staff than invest in automation .
    So when wages go up profits come down the CEO has to become innovative to raze profits or he is looking for a new job. It then becomes viable to invest in automation technology’s .To increase profitability and productivity and this decreases the cost of wages ie he lays off staff because every thing is produced by robots.
    Which is what I was talking about in one of my other post so the people whom forecast
    This future ie Elon Muss say that the safest jobs are computer coders and for this reason he backs a universal wages as there will be less jobs as productivity increases.
    Ling and Zing are classic Kiwis

  18. simonm 18

    The problem is you’re looking at this from the wrong angle. For a wealthy landed gentry getting even wealthier as more and more low wage serfs are imported to “to pick the kiwifruit, milk the cows and drive the trucks”, and having the added bonus of driving down wages for Kiwi workers, life couldn’t be rosier.

    Throw in the fact that your asset values are all going through the roof but you’ll never pay a cent Capital Gains Tax, and why would you ever want to change from Bullshit Bill?

  19. NewsFlash 19

    Bill claimed during the debate, even reiterated it, that housing is now more affordable than it was in 2008, must be why so many are now living in their cars or on the street, housing is just tooooo cheap.

    Bill has become NZs second biggest liar behind JK

    • NZJester 19.1

      Na I’ll give him third place. I think Paula Bennet has been outstripping him on the lies for some time now. But his third place is on shaky ground every time one of the other National MPs open their mouths.

  20. carlite 20

    “It’s worth remembering that real wages don’t sustainably increase unless there is productivity growth.”

    It’s also worth remembering that real wages don’t increase *at all* until workers get real bargaining power.

    • eco Maori/kiwi 20.1

      carlite Unions I no another reason our economy is not growing but my lips are shut till after National slip out of Parliament

  21. gnomic 21

    Be off with you Bill! Enough already. You weren’t even yesterday’s man. Can’t even misspeak yourself convincingly. Head back to Dipton and work on the pizza toppings. Lovely wife willing.

    http://www.hauraki.co.nz/news/random-funny/bill-english-tried-to-make-a-pizza-but-created-a-monster/

    Would you buy a used car from this man? Let alone a nation mismanaged for nine years. The totalitarian tendencies are disquieting. First they came for the gangsters ….. Laura Norda rules OK!? And keep your social conservatism to yourself.

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