- Date published:
5:04 pm, July 30th, 2009 - 79 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags: 2025 taskforce, don brash, secret agenda
This is simply stunning. Don Brash, our new productivity tsar, has just released a speech where he proves he hasn’t changed a bit from the nasty, bigoted far right radical of the Douglas-Richardson era.
It’s a typically long and long-winded speech, but in the first two paragraphs he shows how unsuited he is to fill a position designed to create a consensus on lifting productivity over the next sixteen years.
I’ve stood for election as a National Party candidate in four elections – in a by-election in 1980, and in the general elections of 1981, 2002, and 2005 – so nobody would be surprised to learn that on election night last year I was pleased to see the National Party win the largest share of the vote.
That’s not just because I think John Key will make a fine Prime Minister, or because I know and respect all of the Cabinet, but rather because, speaking as objectively as I can, Helen Clark’s Labour Government was a profound disappointment to me and to many others who care about the future of New Zealand.
There goes any hope Brash will be able put his strong partisan history behind him and approach the productivity issue with an open mind.
Hilariously, he still seems to think one reason New Zealanders are leaving for Australia is because “they’re sick and tired of the political correctness – around race and gender – in New Zealand.” Goodness, I thought we’d left that kind of filth behind us in 2005.
He goes on for several pages attacking the last government, expressing his delight in the ACT Party forming a governing arrangement with National and defending the policies of the reform era. “So much for the ‘failed policies of the past’ as an explanation for our failure to close the gap with Australia!”, he crows.
Of course, Brash can’t publicly prejudge the findings of the 2025 Taskforce he’s chairing, so he pulls out the old Fox News technique of quoting “some observors”, who have found our productivity is flagging because of:
. The rapid increase in government spending after the first MMP election in 1996, and especially after 2005, to the point where government spending in New Zealand is now markedly higher than in Australia as a share of GDP;
. The increased complexity throughout the tax system as a consequence of the increase in the top personal income tax rate in 2000, thus splitting the top personal rate from the company tax rate for the first time since 1988;
. The increased rigidities in the labour market as a consequence of the repeal of the Employment Contracts Act in 2000, and the refusal until this year to contemplate even a very short period during which an employer can dismiss a new employee without the risk of costly personal grievance action;
. The extraordinary obstacles put in front of almost any new investment – be it in roads, electricity transmission, wood processing, or residential land subdivision – by the Resource Management Act, and the way in which local and regional authorities have been allowed to interpret that Act to thwart investment and erode the rights of property owners; and
. The capricious way in which the Labour Government over-rode the rights of the shareholders in Auckland International Airport – and the rights of two major international investors wanting to buy shares in that company – and the rights of Telecom shareholders when the Government decided to unilaterally abrogate the agreement under which the company had been privatised.
It’s quite clear what’s happening here. National realised after 2005 that it couldn’t win a majority with its hard right agenda. So they gave us ‘Labour lite’ and “that nice man John Key”. They’d really changed this time, they promised us. Now they’re back in power it’s clear they were lying all along.
I hate to say we told you so, but, well, we fucking told you so.
Just like Rankin, Brash is speaking out when he shouldn’t. But like Rankin (and Bennett) he won’t be called to account because this government has no accountability.
Irish Bill – Assuming you are a Labourite. I find your Labour pot calling National black highly amusing and a touch ironic.
Governments have ultimate accountability on polling day. Up till then, as long as they operate within the law then we the people are at their mercy. I might add, we were sure at the mercy of Labour and their secret social agenda for 9 years.
JR – stop living in the past – Brash is here and now and clearly has no understanding of what he’s doing. We will never ‘catch’ Australia. We are far smaller than them, we do not have the same proximity to Asia, the same mineral resources. Brash is tapping into anti-Aussie sentiment all for his agenda of (right at the end of this speech) “Substantial changes will be needed in government spending, in the regulatory framework, in investment, and in tax structures.”
By the way, some of us wouldn’t move to Australia in a bilion years because of their racism and laws against gay unions…it works both ways Don.
I agree with you. I wouldn’t move to AUS either – too many Aussies!. I love NZ, and I want my children to live here too when they are old enough to make that choice. I don’t want them to automatically assume that they have to live elsewhere to feel like they are part of the action. That is the objective of the exercise.
I think you are defeatist about catching Australia. Of course we can! We don’t know what we don’t know on this issue. What I do know is that to boost productivity (as measured by GDP per Capita) we need to get a whole lot more companies who turn over $100 Million who export stuff. These are most likely to be science centred, technology based and digital.
I believe the way to get this is to create an environment where educational excellence is celebrated, excellence and efficiency is demanded & incented across public & private institutions, people take responsibility for their own learning & lives, basic honesty, trust & integrity are upheld, businesses are encouraged and obstructions removed (especially to hire employees) and the Government takes a macrostructural stance versus a micromanagement we know best stance.
Get this stuff right, stop arguing about past battles (e.g. slashing wages / privatising assets etc – real left versus right divisions) and focus together on the end game and we have a fighting chance.
If we decide up front that it is impossible then we will be right. We are as doomed as Labour is going to be in 2011 (that is if they carry on the way they are)
It is my hope that Don Brash is big enough to get a wide mix of views in his group – much in the same way this Government is involving other parties in areas where there is common ground. If this prevails, then I don’t see that we can’t make some serious in roads.
“I believe the way to get this is to create an environment where educational excellence is celebrated”
Please tell this to John Key: idiot just cut university funding!
“Get this stuff right, stop arguing about past battles (e.g. slashing wages / privatising assets etc real left versus right divisions) and focus together on the end game and we have a fighting chance.”
Does this mean:
“just let them slash wages and sell the assets and get on with it”?
or does it mean:
“just stop slashing wages and selling assets and get on with it”?
Or perhaps “assets and wages just aren’t important”?
I’m seriously finding it difficult to figure this one out. A Little help?
You have to give one thing to the Nats though – They are really lining some choice heads for the left to roll in 2011.
I suppose the general population will only hear that “Labour got us into a mess and that Brash and Key will gallop off on their white chargers and save us all.”
About bluddy time the people will say. If an election was held today………………..
Brash needs to be watched. His Act Party supporters picked him after his snivelling regrets at becoming another Hollow Man and not following through with his cruel, antiquated and long disproved ideas.
But, yeah – National Inc have made a mistake with this one. When the “lagging indicators” come home to roost among the “mainstream” we’ll see just how much support there really is for more of the same.
Whatever. Labour stole the 2005 election. Labour broke the electoral spending cap by a massive 25%. And most of that money was spend in the final weeks of the election campaign.
And what did it get them, a measly 2% more than the Nats.
Keep telling yourself that.
And while two wrongs don’t make a right, remember that National overspent by 12.5% because the ex-governor of the Reserve Bank forgot about GST.
Forgot? That was the media spin they put out.
Rainmakers the media buyers sent emails to Joyce ( the campaign manager) saying that the amount allocated was inclusive of GST, he ignored them and went on spending anyway.
Brash was pretty clueless and focussed on the raising money side
The motive for doing so was that they were given so much less than labour due to the very low party vote of 20.9% the previous election. What better way to get ahead.
No surprise that Joyce was parachuted into a top list spot and into cabinet.
12.5% of there broadcasting allowance. They didn’t overspend the their electoral allocation ($2.2 million for the Nats & $2.4 million for Labour).
So that makes National overspending OK then?
In my book GST = 12.5%, Brash’s credibility = 0%
NX said: Whatever. Labour stole the 2005 election
NX, have you conveniently forgotten about the $1.2m proxy advertising by the Exclusive Brethren on behalf of the National Party? Money that still couldn’t get the Nats over the bar – but only because it was exposed in the week before the election.
…and however much of their parliamentary funding that the AG didn’t count because he chose to only go back 3 months.
So how much money did Labour validate for themselves and all other parties over the 14 year period that they validated the status quo of spending tax payers money on election advertising?
We don’t know do we, we will never know just how much illegally spent money was swept under the rug because the Labour party decided that their winning of the 2005 election was more important than hundreds of years of Westminster conventions and the rule of law in NZ.
We can guess how much the EB spent – but we will never have a friggin clue how much Labour spent stealing elections over a 14 year period. Assuming it was similar amounts to the 2005 election it would have been more than $2.4m for Labour alone!
Thanks for reminding us how Labour changed the law to make what was lawful for the EB illegal and what was illegal for Labour legal. Self serving pricks got their comeuppance in 2008 though didn’t they!
That’s what happens when the AG goes round changing the rules Burt. The general understanding before then was that the spending was legal.
and Burt, what the EB did gave all indications of being illegal as they were working and coordinating their campaign with National. It’s unfortunate that they were never taken to court over it.
Classic, you have just proven this comment by Armchair Critic is correct.
Yes it is a pity the EB fiasco was never tested in court. A bit like Darnton VS Clark was never tested in court… Still that’s what happens when weird unconstitutional stuff happens like the legislature acting as the judiciary to serve their own best interests.
“The general understanding” i.e. the foxes make up their own rules for the henhouse. The simple facts to any impartial observer are a massive conflict of interest; Parliament gets to make its own rules and those rules always tilt in the direction of substantial largesse courtesy of the taxpayer. The CLark government in passing the EFA clearly intended to tilt the balance even more in their own favour by extremely vague wording in key areas.
So what do you expect from the NACT’s ?
Something more like a vampire state? That is what their track record indicates…
ah, yeah. All those elections Labour stole 1991 – 2005? Dastardly!
No blacksand. They were all snouts in the trough one way or another. Labour got caught and didn’t like it. The way justice works in the hoi polloi is not all are prosecuted for blatant breachs of law, but the ones who are caught have judicial process applied. Partisan acceptance of appalling standards of accountability allow appalling standards of accountability to continue. You won’t find me supporting [ any political party ] giving themselves a get out of jail cause that Bradley made a bad call again and dared to apply the law rather than the parliamentary status quo largesse that all enjoyed.
And we have the other architect of idiocy Roger Douglas, who along with his party has attacked government and parliamentary spending for years admitting to being one of parliament’s big spenders. Amazing hypocrisy and arrogance
Again they use the comparison with Government spending in Australia.
Most of this is because under OECD rules GST tax raised is not counted as government spending.
Australia uses GST for revenue sharing with the states, so it goes on police hospitals schools etc, that in NZ are the governments repsonsiblity but not the federal govt in Australia.
It doesnt make sense , but the wingnuts happily dine out on this statistic
Interesting point about GST there.
Also I would be appalled if NZ’s government spending as a percent of GDP wasn’t higher than Australia’s. Quite simply if you want to have two countries have a broadly similar level of lifestyle then you need to spend broadly similar levels of money per person, but Australia has a significantly higher GDP per capita than NZ so as a percent of GDP NZ has to ‘spend more’ to get the same results.
Huh – that’s really interesting. Got any pointers to where I can read up on that?
And what did it get them, a measly 2% more than the Nats.
And in 2008 there was a swing to the right, and NACT won the election, but the actual gap between the right and left wing blocks was not nearly as large as some people like to think.
2% – not a bad result for the $800,000 it cost. Oh that’s right – the extra spending by Labour made no difference to the election outcome so it was OK to validate it and move on. However the extra spending by the EB was so bad for democracy that laws needed to be changed to stop it happening again.
Hell, people bought that shit and defended Labour for it – just shows how little partisans think about what they stand up for eh.
Seems like a low probability that Brash can come up with anything apart from matters of his religous faith (Chicago school economics). Is there anyone on this taskforce who knows how to think?
Is there anyone on this taskforce who knows how to think?
I think the whole point is that they don’t need people who can think, just ones that can repeat the mantra. Anyone who can think would be dangerous.
“Is there anyone on this who knows how to think”
Come on lprent there is no need for thinking when you have neoliberal theory – it takes away the need to think don’t cha know? 🙂
Well, it certainly seems to take away the ability to think for many people.
And what makes you any different? Are you seriously saying that you think outside of your philosphy & world view?
I swing to the right and I get Roger flying sell all airways, and I swing to the left and I get Farter Carter bumairlines.Not to mention the head case Goofy Global Warts.
The engkeylish NACT party was always going to screw the NZ voter as the “Labour-Lite” brand didn’t fit their “Classic Coca Cola” pomp & arrogance traditional policy foundation. Once their “Diet-Coke” (Labour- Lite) brand had got where them where they wanted to be they dropped the branding and reverted to type.
Brash has merely revealed the traditional brand loyalty.
Rave on chaps, rave on.
Your anti spam word for this comment sums up your yapping.
You lost, don’t you know?
In any functioning democracy it is pretty much axiomatic that parties will loose elections from time to time. As will National at some point in the, probably not too far distant, future.
In that certain knowledge, let me reassure you that… you are gonna loose, don’t you know?
so simple red logic and so true, nice and to the point.
Thats Redlogix, sorry
You mean “lose”. If they “loose” the election they will, I don’t know, sleep with lots of the scrutineers, or something.
Either that or let it slip off or fly away or something.
Sorry to labour the point but lose and loose is a pet hate of mine.
Ah blog arguments over spelling. The ‘sod would be proud.
Bless ‘im. Wherever he is.
So did Brash though fink, so did Brash…
Yep and this government is starting to look like they might not last the distance. How many ministers will they lose this year?
No. You are wrong. They are more popular than ever. I suggest you get out more. Talk to people who do not live in Grey Lynn. Stuff like that.
You’re up to date. Grey Lynn has almost as good connections.as Newton, and the buses are as good. Besides Lyn likes it (godknows why)..
However it is moving time soon for both me and this useless government. The wilderness looks like a good place for these clowns – meditation would help their kama (and possibly their intelligence).
(are you sure you aren’t curly. He likes stalking as well..)
And bless you too.
But (as the ‘sod would say) it’s “karma”.
And then he’d make a joke about having sex with your mum.
God, I miss him.
Ummm… My mum would have castrated him and the old man would have left him literally legless. My sister and brother are just plain nasty (we will not mention their traits). Rocky and I are the civil members of the family.
Russia would be safer.
The ‘secret agenda’ smear died with labour in 2008 – but hey when things are this bad for the left nothing to lose with a re-run..
I guess that makes Brash your Messiah, because the Hollow men are back.
A couple of points Eddie.
That’s possible too much for Eddie to comprehend in one single comment.
Lets get back to the main reason why we have experienced an exodus of talented New Zealanders to Australia, higher wages, better working conditions, and a more moderate government.
We get stuck over and over in these basic debates . . a NZ groundhog day. Why does Brash not ask why people leave South Australia or Tasmania for VIC or NSW? .. . NZ in economic performance terms is similar to the poorer Australian states . . this is not a big deal. We have real issues to address but framing it in terms of NZ vs Australia as opposed to NZ vs SA or TAS gets us nowhere . . .which is why the public debate in NZ is so depressing at times . . .
Oh the answer is pretty easy. There are two main reasons why kiwis migrate to Aus:
1. More opportunity. Most kiwis work for SME’s that employ less than 10 people; no matter how good you are there is a real limit to your career path in such a small fishpond. By contrast in Aus bigger enterprises, and more of them in any given industry, opens doors to personal progress.
2. To get away from the low expectations of family and whanau; making a fresh start after a small town gets too small.
A couple of points Eddie.
1. A link would help so we can draw our own conclusions.
2. I’m not aware that the other members have been announced so any determination about their conclusions is a little premature.
3. Using the F word doesn’t really impress anyone (unless you’re on TV One).
4. Seeing you guys know the agenda so well, it’s hardly secret is it? Mind you, if you keep repeating the matra enough, someone will finally believe it is true.
5. My comments would be more compelling if I hadn’t stuffed up the first attempt to post these points 🙂
No they wouldn’t Daveski you have said nothing but denied the nose on your face.
A bit predictable, mate. Before the election you guys were all “BUT THEY DON’T HAVE A HARD RIGHT-WING AGENDA!!!”
And now that it’s out in the open and they obviously do, you guys are all “BUT IT’S NOT SECRET!!!”
Daveski July 30, 2009 at 8:28 pm
Your first attempt at this post made more sense than the second….
Daveski – “if you keep repeating the mantra enough, someone will finally believe it is true”
You sound like you are ideal to join Don on the productivity commission.
Some evidence of both an agenda or at least some secrets (and ideally both) would assist the credibility of the argument. Simply repeating it with the F word for effect shouldn’t pass for credibility.
You know what the words mean.
Agenda is the stuff they want to do. (privatise everything, loot the state, screw down wages, redistribute wealth upwards, remove protections for workers, bash the beneficiaries etc etc)
Secret was them saying “We promise we won’t do any of that stuff”. (we’re just like Labour but with bigger tax cuts.)
The agenda is as stated – get our productivity up so we can enjoy similar living standards to AUS. Nothing secret there.
Yes, there may be some sale of under performing assets (no different to what Companies do). Looting the state – sorry the Left are on shaky ground here. Screw down wages – that would defeat the purpose of the exercise – however labour market flexibility is important for the flow of resources into the highest return parts of the economy. Redestribute wealth upwards – sorry this is a communist fallacy. Bashing beneficiaries – discussing the drag & social issues that are the result of the welfare state isn’t beneficiary bashing. We need to accept that our welfare state can be a disaster and is most certainly part of the productivity issue.
They have said they will not sell assets this term, but will campaign on it next term – can’t get more open than that. Did Labour campaign on anti-smacking or buying kiwirail or electoral reform in 2005? Does that mean they had a secret agenda? Not really!
The agenda is as stated get our productivity up so we can enjoy similar living standards to AUS. Nothing secret there.
So you haven’t read the speech.
Yes, there may be some sale of under performing assets
They promised not to sell any assets. So either it was never secret because we all knew they were lying or it was secret because they never told anyone. But it was always the agenda.
Looting the state sorry the Left are on shaky ground here.
But you don’t disagree?
Screw down wages that would defeat the purpose of the exercise
Not if the purpose is to redistribute wealth upwards. And it usually is.
however labour market flexibility is important for the flow of resources into the highest return parts of the economy.
Code for screwing down wages. Thanks.
Redestribute wealth upwards sorry this is a communist fallacy.
If it doesn’t happen, I’ll give you that. But seeing as that’s exactly what’s happened every time these policies have been tried anywhere in the world, the onus is on you to explain why it’s different this time. So far you’ve offered zero.
Bashing beneficiaries discussing the drag & social issues that are the result of the welfare state isn’t beneficiary bashing.
I’m talking about what’s really happening now, not what you think should happen. And over the past week we’ve seen plenty of benny bashing from the govt.
They have said they will not sell assets this term, but will campaign on it next term can’t get more open than that.
In case you didn’t notice, this post was about the govt setting up a task force to promote privatisation. In this term. Right now.
So it’s ok to promise you won’t sell anything in the first term and then spend the entire first term setting up the shop and putting the for sale signs out?
Somehow I don’t think that’s how the voters will interpret “No Asset Sales” come 2011.
Thanks for that Felix. I for one have a huge day of work to do. I need to pay taxes so Labour’s Beneficiary poster child Ms Fuller can get another $10K grant to set up a ‘cleaning business’ .
I am not a benny basher, and if a taskforce can deal with the basic immorality of the Fuller situation, then I say ‘Bring it On’
Thanks for your reply though (sincerely). Different world views me thinks and never the twain shall meet!
The Don is back.
Perhaps I should send a suggestion to iPredict that they list a stock so people can pick how many weeks or months it takes before ‘Brash’ & ‘Secret Agenda’ appear as large as ‘Key’ & ‘National’ in your tag cloud.
It is interesting looking at tag clouds. The ones from the right (ok – not yours – need to do some more work there (remember what work is?)) feature Clark and Labour at similar weights.
It is a partisan blogosphere – and you’re not doing your part. Are you unable to raise original thoughts?
(for some reason I feel really evil tonight, good thing I’m writing rather than sysop’ing)
Yeah it’s sad – and I’ve given him heaps of good ideas for things he could write about too. It’s like he just doesn’t care anymore.
rofl this photo should be part of a caption contest!
“Arise, my apprentice”.
So they do have a hidden hard right economic policy after all? Thank god!
(Oh and by the way: They won, you lost, let’s do lunch.)
Considering the resources and emphasis that the the tories are putting on this “closing the wage gap” thingamy (with staggering hypocrisy btw, considering their disgusting racist opportunism over Labour’s own gap-closing efforts for Maori) I do hope to see the Standard keep a careful eye on it. They made a massive meal of Hels’ OECD aspirations, time for the left to do likewise.
I’d suggest a regular “Gapwatch” feature (similar to the excellent cycleway watch) complete with estimated costs of uncle Don’s talkfest so far etc. I don’t like their chances: particularly after all the recent posturing on the issue, the difference in that gap come 2011 could be a crucial exposition of the NACTORIs effectiveness – and true intentions. “Jobs, not talk” from the summit is already an acute embarrassment: “we would love to see wages drop” could very well come to pass relative to Oz, and provide a resonant theme for Labour.
the one thing national cannot do is provide jobs. primarily they are a party of accountants and risk averse no matter how many times they call for innovation and imaginationand yadda yadda yadda. they will not jeopardise any capital in case they lose their retirmeent house in the south of france and most of all they want a frre lunch next time they are in wall street even though they know that they are looked down on as the narrow insular hicks they really are but that doesnt matter when they get back here.
Randal You are right. National or Labour can provide jobs. Governments don’t create jobs – businesses do. Jobs that Government provides are through taking money from businesses & individuals. This is done in the hope that the outcomes will be delivered more effectively/efficiently by the Government versus the private sector.
It is clear that some of our productivity issue is due to the huge increase in Government under Labour. Defend the efficiency of the core public service. Tell me what outcomes have been delivered with the 10000 odd extra people in the bureaucracy. A total social catastrophy that this Government has to undo – that is the legacy of Labour’s job creation scheme!
You can fiddle around with public employment up and down- give some stuff to the private sector (school cleaners, outsourcing IT etc) but i really don’t see the relevance to our overall productivity either way.
You need your most productive workers working to their full efficiency (preferably on our side of the Tasman), with our investment capital tied up promoting productive ventures (ie not property speculation or stuff the government will do anyway).
Why does the government waste its time and energy stuffing around worrying about such a small segment of our economy (the small percentage of public service workers delivering programs they don’t like), when they have so many more important issues to worry about? Is it that they have no idea about what they need to do or are they stuck in a paralell universe or something? I don’t get it.
This abosultely astounds me, so much for National being a fresh new party under John Key. You would think John Key would rather eat a cup of cold sick than have anything what so ever to do with Don Brash.
This is a high profile position and all it’s going to do is give Labour some real ammo, instead of picking at the edges which they have been doing recently.