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Crisis, what crisis?

Written By: - Date published: 9:50 am, October 19th, 2012 - 92 comments
Categories: jobs - Tags:

A great piece by Byran Gould yesterday on National’s refusal to acknowledge the jobs crisis in manufacturing, even as the ANZ says unemployment is on its way up to 7%. National is really on the wrong side of public perception and the wrong side of history here. They look like ostriches trying to deny the problem, while the Left is presenting the solutions.

I want to reproduce the Gould article, it’s so good, but here’s some snippets:

In January 1979, the British Prime Minister, Jim Callaghan, returned from a Summit meeting in the Caribbean to a Britain suffering the serious industrial unrest that became known as the “winter of discontent”.

Interviewed at Heathrow airport, Mr Callaghan’s relaxed attitude to talk of chaos was translated by The Sun the following morning into a headline reporting the Prime Minister as saying “Crisis? What Crisis?”

The electorate’s reaction led directly to Mrs Thatcher’s election victory later that year.

John Key, returning from Hollywood this week, was equally dismissive of talk of a crisis in manufacturing.

Our Prime Minister was in some ways even more insouciant than Mr Callaghan; faced with Statistics New Zealand figures showing 40,000 manufacturing jobs lost in the last four years, he airily asserted that our expert official statisticians were simply wrong.

….

Ministers dare not say so publicly, but they use economists’ jargon to explain why unemployment remains high. Labour costs are “sticky” – that is, they have not fallen in order to clear the market, as the theory says should happen. Their conclusion is that the market must be helped by “unsticking” labour costs to force them down.

It may be hard to credit that our government wants to bring wages down, yet that is what they have set out to do.

How else to explain why workers’ rights have been significantly weakened, so that workers can be taken on, and then thrown back on the scrap heap without any redress?

Why else are young workers to be paid less than the minimum wage, if not to remove the floor placed under wage levels?

Why was a modest rise in the minimum wage voted down while top salaries zoom upwards?

Why have benefits been removed and reduced so that even solo mums with young children are forced back into the labour market, whether or not there are jobs?

Why is covert support lent to big employers such as Oceania or Talleys as they cut the real wages paid to already low-paid employees?

These measures are explicable only if the intention is to force the lowest wages lower, so that downward pressure will increase on wages across the board.

….

A lower exchange rate would at least give us a fair way of reducing our costs across the board, and provide a platform from which we could begin to grow the economy again.

The government, though, would rather see the whole burden of reducing our costs in international terms borne by working people. Little wonder that the share of national income accounted for by wages has fallen.

Oh, and have you seen this from the Greens? What crisis, indeed.

92 comments on “Crisis, what crisis?”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    Nice stats on the Greens card, but it’s not immediately clear from the layout/formatting that those are negative signs. They could just be dashes to join the number to the item.

    I’m not sure there’s a lot of options to fix this, but something like:
    40,000 jobs lost
    12.4% lower
    9.0% lower
    10.0% lower
    6.1% lower
    17.2% lower

    Could work.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      Actually thinking about it more, all they have to do is right-align all the numbers and keep the negative sign in the same place, like this:


      - 40,000
      -  12.4%
      -   9.0%
      -  10.0%
      -   6.1%
      -  17.2%

      • Chris 1.1.1

        I agree with you that it’s not immediately obvious but think right aligning the numbers would make it even less obvious.

        I think the best way would be too right align the numbers and the dashes – for me it having the – all in one line which makes it seem like they are dashes rather than minus signs.

        • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1

          Yes, although that looks kinda messy.

          • ropata 1.1.1.1.1

            ↓↓↓ down arrows instead of dashes.

            • Chris 1.1.1.1.1.1

              That is definitely the easiest way

              • Rob

                Oh thats great, I feel really relieved in our manufacturing business here in Sth Akl that we have collectively solved the formatting issue. Good work team, now lest all sit down and have a celebratory flat white and congratulate ourselves.

                A question – where is the great left solutions to our manufacturing crisis. All I have seen is repeated ‘experts’ telling me we have an issue. I sort of get that from our finance team and the bank.

                And if I hear again that the secret is in a lower $ you guys have got rocks in your heads. There are many local manufacturing businesses that need a reasonable doller to purchase items for conversion. Any decrease in the doller will blow us apart like many other medium sized fabrication businesses in NZ.

                So for us 120 odd souls in this business I have seen sweet ‘F’ all of any sense come out of anybody. Also if Winston Peters, David Shearer and the green dude are being promoted as manufacturing experts , we really are in serious shit.

                • Colonial Viper

                  And if I hear again that the secret is in a lower $ you guys have got rocks in your heads. There are many local manufacturing businesses that need a reasonable doller to purchase items for conversion. Any decrease in the doller will blow us apart like many other medium sized fabrication businesses in NZ.

                  Hey dude answer is simple, even for somebody like you to figure out

                  USE MORE NEW ZEALAND SUPPLIERS

                • Lanthanide

                  “Any decrease in the doller will blow us apart like many other medium sized fabrication businesses in NZ.”

                  Wow, really? You’re operating in a country where the currency has historically averaged around 60c US, and now that it’s 80c, if it goes any lower your company will go out of business?

                  That’s rather strange.

                  • Rob

                    Its not strange and I am not trying to confrontational but the reality is that most manufacturers have now resized and hedged as much as they can and are still finding it hard to reach a break even. You balance a business on the current climate, where it was two years ago is history and has no relevence. The doller might be higher which is an advanatge but revenues are less so you have to balance on current. If revenues stay the same and the doller decreases the that is a tough scenario. Thats not strange , it is reality.

                    CV you must have a hightened picture or a very outdated one on what is actually produced in NZ now. You will probably come back and say – what an opportunity and it probably is if they can get close to unit costs as they will have the ship time and lower inventory cost advantage, however who is brave enough now to enter into manufacturing converted raw materials in a lowering sales cycle?

                    The fact is many businesses rely on off shore supply, when the doller decreases the cost increase and business stop generating a profit.

                    • Clashman

                      Why would your revenue stay the same if the value of the dollar decreased?

                    • Rob

                      Um, because the market size has been at a stable low level now for the last 12 months. Its an extrapolation assumption of the current sales revenue forward as a forecast.

                    • Rob

                      But it could go down further, or consumers might start buying something, who knows , thats the future, ill leave it up to you experts to decide on what may or may not happen.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      CV you must have a hightened picture or a very outdated one on what is actually produced in NZ now. You will probably come back and say – what an opportunity and it probably is if they can get close to unit costs as they will have the ship time and lower inventory cost advantage, however who is brave enough now to enter into manufacturing converted raw materials in a lowering sales cycle?

                      All it would take is access to cheap development credit. Come on man, have some initiative.

    • karol 1.2

      It’s immediately clear to me, and I usually find graphs/graphics communicate less immediately to me than the printed word.  I usually need to ponder on graphs.
       
      That 1979 winter of discontent was the beginning of the end of immediate hopes for a fair and equal world.  It’s been all downhill since then. 
       
      I was living in South London at the time.  I remember all the strikes and resistance to Thatcher’s government – the black rubbish bags piling up on Clapham Common; the train strikes and motorbiking across London on my motorbike during snow storms, and the pain of my hands thawing when I arrived at my destination and warmed up. Etched in my very bones.
       
      Still waiting for some real signs of hope for a change for the better.  We just go from one crisis to another, it seems.

      • Te Reo Putake 1.2.1

        That was a weird election result, totally distorted by the FPP system. Over half the votes went to Labour and the Liberals, yet the Tories ended up with a massive majority, helped by the Sun newspaper advocating that their working class readers abandon Labour.

        You may like this site, Karol:

        http://www.isthatcherdeadyet.co.uk/

      • Lanthanide 1.2.2

        “It’s immediately clear to me, and I usually find graphs/graphics communicate less immediately to me than the printed word.

        Probably because you already know the stats and can quickly realise that all of these figures are negative.

        Someone who had no idea about these figures before (and just believed Key’s spin that job numbers are slightly up) may be confused about what it’s saying.

    • lprent 1.3

      I think that the visual problem is that there is a space between the minus sign and the number on the Greens chart. It is unusual but pretty obvious.

      But I’m so used to dealing with different number notations like the accountants ($10.00) to some of the European accounting notation ($10,00) etc etc that they all look the same to me.

      And don’t get me started on the different date and time notations. Clearly the idiots reign in that region.

  2. Gosman 2

    Weirdly The Greens, NZ First, and now perhaps Labour are all wanting to drive Labour costs down as well to help our Export sector.

    • Te Reo Putake 2.1

      Cite?

    • lprent 2.2

      I’m rather puzzled as well. I’m sure there is a Cameron style of fantasy logic in there somewhere….

      • Gosman 2.2.1

        http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2012/07/devaluation

        Please note the following section.

        “A big currency depreciation instantly hits consumer purchasing power and reduces wages.”

        Do you dispute this?

        • Jackal 2.2.1.1

          Gosman, if you haven’t noticed already, people aren’t purchasing much these days. This is mainly due to a lack of spare money. By not protecting our export sector, National is ensuring that many people will have even less spare money to spend. That means New Zealands internal economy does not perform, which causes unemployment.

          So there’s depreciation in purchasing power either way. You can protect our export industries or you can ensure people can more easily afford imported goods. Increasing the cost of imported goods will not necessarily drive down wages, because wages in the affected sectors we’re talking about are governed by policy, not the free market.

          • Gosman 2.2.1.1.1

            “Increasing the cost of imported goods will not necessarily drive down wages, because wages in the affected sectors we’re talking about are governed by policy, not the free market.”

            What sectors are you meaning and what evidence do you have for the view about wages?

        • Te Reo Putake 2.2.1.2

          Yes. And I dispute that this is what is being proposed. Strawman?

          • Gosman 2.2.1.2.1

            You dispute The Greens, .NZ First, and possibly Labour are calling for a devaluation of the .NZ dollar? Hmmm…. on what basis are you making that claim?

        • McFlock 2.2.1.3

          Wow – how to take shit out of context. Following line:”Purchases of foreign goods quickly fall because prices of foreign goods quickly soar. The pace of adjustment will depend on how quickly domestic industries pivot toward import replacement and exporting. ” (my bold)
                    
          So a devaluation means more jobs for domestic workers, both in exports and in providing previously-imported commodities to domestic industry. Trool.

          • Gosman 2.2.1.3.1

            Possibly, but what is not in dispute is the immediate impact of the devaluation.

            By the way, in the past you have stated opposition to devaluation. Have you changed your tune?

            • McFlock 2.2.1.3.1.1

               Possibly, but what is not in dispute is the immediate impact of the devaluation.

              Certainly, devaluations amid crisis can contribute to and are very often associated with significant economic contractions. ”
              “can contribute to” … “very often associated with”.
              Hardly a categorical imperitive that a devaluation will lead to economic collapse. 

              By the way, in the past you have stated opposition to devaluation. Have you changed your tune?

              dox plox. I seem to recall arguing in favour of devaluation, but I could be wrong.

              • Gosman

                Nobody is really arguing that devaluation will lead to economic collapse. It may very well be a valid, (if slightly wrong headed), approach to take. Countries like Greece and Italy used to follow such a path prior to their entry in to the euro for example.

                I’m pretty confident you made statements in the past trying to argue the major negative impacts of devaluation on the economy.

                Let me attempt to refresh your memory. It was regarding the rather dubious attempts to link John Key to an ‘attack’ on the NZ dollar back when he was a currency dealer.

                I pointed pointed out that even if it was accurate, (unlikely given the lack of any hard evidence), it could be argued that it actually benefitted the NZ economy as it made our Exports more competitive.

                Your irrational dislike of anything other than your ideologically biased view of the world meant you tried to argue how it was actually incredibly harmful to the NZ economy due to increased costs or something. I could try and find the links to the discussion if you like.

                • McFlock

                  vaguely recall something about that. Would still like the dox plox, given your love of misinterpreting a single line you take out of context.
                     
                  So to use an analogy, you’re saying that because I said something was wrong with anorexia, my recent comments in favour of obese people trying to work towards a BMI in the mid 20s are inconsistent or hypocritical? To which I respond: you’re a moron.

                  • Gosman

                    The reverse Midas touch: the gap with Australia

                    Just for you McFlap I have found your comments.

                    I especially like this one

                    “I’m sure they loved it for three minutes, until their imported materials went through the roof”

                    Care to retract your previous thoughts on the subject?

                    • McFlock

                      Not really.
                                   
                      But thanks for showing how history repeats itself. The post today is about the pain the high dollar value is causing. Similar to (but different mechanism to) the situation in the 80s.
                               
                      What happened in the 80s was a sudden massive devaluation (figure1) from the over-valuation (the bit where Key made a mint). This fucked exporters too, because substitution to domestic materials takes time for the domestic producers to increase output.
                             
                      You really ought to look at economic systems as complex, yea even “dinnamic” environments, rather than just a catechism of Freidmanite doctrine.  

                    • Gosman

                      Are you trying to state that the policy to try and effect a devaluation of the NZ Dollar by 15 % that Russell Norman has come out with will be some sort of gradual approach? Where is your evidence that he has stated that the devaluation will be done slowly?

                      I do love how people like you think governments can manage market movements in a slow and controlled manner. It is so more delicious watching when it all goes horribly wrong.

                    • McFlock

                      [edit] wtf? did make a comment so dumb that even YOU realised it was too stupid to exist, so you deleted it?

                      as to the Green policy, you might want to look at the Green poster in the actual fucking post you’re commenting on: “The Government needs to manage the dollar down now instead of leaving all New Zealanders waiting for the shock of a sudden slump”. So yeah, that 15% off will be more gradual than the do-nothing alternative.
                             
                      And the market will “accept” it in the same way it’s “accepted” an artificially high NZD. 
                                
                      And I love how you seem to think that the economy hasn’t already gone horribly wrong. NZ kids with third world illnesses, massive sustained unemployment, and a dollar value that’s as big a cancer on the economy as 20% inflation. Oh yeah, everything’s lovely, we mustn’t mess with success.
                                      

                    • Gosman

                      I haven’t deleted anything. Just edited my comment to better reflect my views.

                      If you think you can manage the exchange rate I would like to introduce you to the Ghost of Robert Muldoon. You two have a lot in common to talk about.

                      You do realise that if the market actually thought the Government was going to be successful at managing the exchange rate down by 15% it would basically move them pretty damn quick and wouldn’t wait until the Government decided to act on it.

                      The NZ economy is doing far better than most other Western nations and is in far better position.

                    • McFlock

                      lol
                             
                      So according to Gas the Greens’ currency management efforts will be a sudden shock and completely ineffectual at the same time.

                    • McFlock

                      hmmm. I wonder if comments disappear from refresh while they’re being edited? That might be it – I posted a reply and my two comments were suddenly consecutive.

                    • Gosman

                      I never stated they would be ineffectual. In fact I suspect they will have an effect. Most likely not the one the Greens are wanting.

                      I do have a couple of questions for you.

                      Imagine a scenarion where The Greens policy of devaluing the currency by 15% is about to be implemented.

                      If you were an exporter who had a rather large foreign currency amount that needed to be repatriated to NZ what would you do?

                      If you were holding a large amount of NZ dollars and needed to send them offshore at some stage, what would you do?

                    • McFlock

                      Again, that’s a replay of the 1980s: announce before the election that you’ll float the dollar because it’s horrendously overvalued, then act all surprised when you go straight from float to currency crisis (courtesy, in his own small part, to dunnokeyo).
                         
                      The Greens might be filthy hippies with a tendency to wave flags instead of work towards actual change, but they’re not as stupid as Douglas and other tories.
                           
                      It’s a bit like how the OCR is tweaked – often no change really needs to happen because the market pre-empts the signalled tweak. Now, if the Greens somehow managed an overnight 15% cut in value, that might well be a bad thing (i.e. change faster than producers can adapt) and your scenario comes into play. But we don’t know how the Greens plan to decrease the value of the dollar, or over what timeframe. Nor does the market. A 15% speculative gain in two weeks is a good income by anyone’s standards, and would lead to a 1980s-style collapse. A 15% return over 3, even four years? Not so much. People will do other things with their cash. Still good, but not a boom-bust scenario. As it is, the Greens getting into govt might devalue the dollar by a percent simply on the basis of the flagged policy, so they get a start on their task before they do anything.

                    • Gosman

                      You really don’t understand how the market works McFap.

                      Announcing a 15 % devaluation over time would be both virtually impossible to achieve and also encourage speculative attacks on the dollar.

                      Speculators would be looking to force the government’s hand to bring forward the devaluation to certain levels. People who held spare NZ dollars would be looking to get their momey out of the country as soon as possible before the Government let the currency fall. People who held foreign currency they were keeping offshore would hold off bringing them back until they could get the better rate.

                      Ever wonder why most countries with floating exchange rates don’t follow the policy you advocate? You could possible avoid the worse effects of this if you slapped capital controls on, but they come with their own costs.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Announcing a 15 % devaluation over time would be both virtually impossible to achieve and also encourage speculative attacks on the dollar.

                      Speculators would be looking to force the government’s hand to bring forward the devaluation to certain levels.

                      You are right. Any country looking to strongly manage its currency value would simply use capital controls to prevent the outcomes you are talking about.

                      For instance, requiring all NZD conversions to be performed in NZ, and only by approved banks, and only using accounts associated with NZ citizens.

                      Also, applying a 0.25% tax to every non-trade based NZD currency conversion.

                      And no country would ever pre-announce it was reducing the value of its dollar. All you do is to run an undisclosed peg of the value of your currency against a weighted basket of currencies of your major trading partners.

                      People who held spare NZ dollars would be looking to get their momey out of the country as soon as possible before the Government let the currency fall.

                      Exit tax.

                    • McFlock

                      Speculators would be looking to force the government’s hand to bring forward the devaluation to certain levels. People who held spare NZ dollars would be looking to get their momey out of the country as soon as possible before the Government let the currency fall. People who held foreign currency they were keeping offshore would hold off bringing them back until they could get the better rate.

                      So if I read you correctly, if the government signals devaluing the dollar, the market will devalue the dollar even more? Well then, if the dollar devalues then the government needn’t do a thing.
                            
                      Oh, and for someone who reckons he knows how markets work I’m surprised you don’t know that trading in NZD has no relevance to whether the dollars are in the country or offshore. One of the ten most traded currencies on the planet, mate: most of it in gambling halls dunnokeyo would be familiar with.
                             
                      Here’s a question for you Gos: if the government can’t manage people’s purchasing choices in a market, why has the Reserve Bank inflation target been met consistently since the RBA was passed?
                         
                       

                    • Gosman

                      Not necessarily more, just faster than what the government would want and with much greater volatility in the price. Businesses tend to like stability rather than lots of stability.

                      CV surprisingly has hit the nail on the head with his solutions, which will likely all be necessary if you wanted to control the exchange rate. It would likely lead to a massive rise in interest rates in the country but that might encourage savings at some stage. Of course it will make it difficult for businesses to get capital and therefore less economic output but a small price to pay I suppose for economic ‘sovereignty’.

                    • McFlock

                      So there are mechanisms by which the government can affect the exchange rate, but these might have adverse effects on other measures.
                         
                      A bit like how concentrating solely on inflation can have an adverse impact on unemployment.
                         
                      Fuck me, Gos, you’ve discovered that “managing an economy” is not about getting one gauge to read an idealised nominal value, but about finding the best mix for a number of different indicators. And the exchange rate is one of those indicators that can be managed. 
                           
                      You must be a professional waste of space. The thought that you’re a sincere but imbecilic amateur is just too damning an indictment on the NZ education system…

                    • Gosman

                      Ooops. Too much stability. That sentence should have read ‘rather than lots of volatility;.

                    • Gosman

                      The trouble for you McFlog is that my views are orthodox whereas yours are currently fringe. Even Labour and the Greens don’t advocate re-establishing Capital controls on anywhere near the levels necessary to properly manage the currency. hence any policy will be subject to manipulation by those dreaded speculators you hate so much.

                    • McFlock

                      The trouble for you McFlog is that my views are orthodox whereas yours are currently fringe. Even Labour and the Greens don’t advocate re-establishing Capital controls.

                      “Orthodox” – you mean “out of date”.
                        
                      So now you fall back on the “everyone else is jumping off the cliff” argument. Colour me unimpressed. And, of course, the Greens are advocating managing the exchange rate in some way, and if capital controls are the only way of doing it…

                    • Gosman

                      But they aren’t talking about slapping currency controls on. All they have mentioned is discouraging short term capital movements with some regulations and/or taxes (AFAIK).

                      If they were talking about introducing heavy capital controls then they would be being more honest. Of course businesses would turn against them with a vengence but at least we would have a proper debate on the subject. I doubt the Greens will be that courageous though.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Of course it will make it difficult for businesses to get capital

                      *Shrug*

                      That’s what a re-tasked KiwiBank would be for.

                      And it’s bloody impossible for SMEs to get access to development capital now, so nothing will really change right?

                    • McFlock

                      Gos,
                           
                      If someone says that they’ll control X;

                      and the only way so far to control X is to use Y;

                      [barring some other control mechanism which your stunning economic genius has failed to identify ]

                      Would you  be surprised if the person who promised to control X used Y, even if they hadn’t explicitly said (i.e. in a manner that even you could understand) that they would use Y?

                    • Gosman

                      Well no. The Greens are pretending they can manage the exchange rate just by a mix of pumpinjg liquidity into the market and a small amount of regulation and controls of capital. As discussed that will likely be ineffective. They should be truthful and state they wish to move to full on capital controls. It would be a boon for Wellington so I’d love it personally.

                    • McFlock

                      Given that you’re an “all or nothing” kind of guy who’s only just discovered that the economy is a balancing act between different indicators rather than a single ideal reading on one gauge, I think I’ll ignore your opinion on whether the Greens’ policies are too subtle to affect the market.

                  • Gosman

                    With that comment I am tempted to suggest you being employed as an advisor to Bill English to counter the proposed policy of The Greens, NZ First, and possibly Labour.

                • Enough is Enough

                  evidence please Gosman.

                  Me thinks you tell Key like Porkies in a ttempt to prove a point

    • Labour costs? …. Gosman they want the the exchange rate to drop, not wages.

      You’re starting to sound like DunnoKeyo M8!

      U should not have drunk his blood @ that party moron ! ….
      Didn’t someone tell you witchcraft is evil ?

      • Gosman 2.3.1

        Like I suspected, most leftists don’t really understand economics much at all.

        You probably think wages are rising if people get a pay rise of 15 % when inflation is running at 20 % as well.

        • Jackal 2.3.1.1

          Gosman describes the situation since National gained power.

        • PlanetOrphan 2.3.1.2

          Trying too put words in mouths is a sign of Idiocy M8!

          I don’t talk economics, much more qualified people around too do that (Cheers Jackal)

          I’m not “Left”, I’m civilised

        • Dv 2.3.1.3

          inflation is running at 20 %

          The last time that was happening it was ……………………………..

          THE NATS

          • Gosman 2.3.1.3.1

            Ahhhh…. not quite. I think you will find it was Labour in the 1980’s.

            [lprent: Ridiculous. It peaked under Muldoon after the dual oil shocks in the 70’s and Nationals incompetent economic management. It dropped massively under Labour in the 80’s. National followed mostly Labour’s policies (as they appear to be incapable of structural innovation) and it dropped to the current level.

            Please google… It literally took seconds to find the reserve bank education page on inflation.
            http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/monpol/about/0053316.html
            ]

            • Jackal 2.3.1.3.1.1

              Actually inflation was pretty high from 1975 to 1990. Robert Muldoon’s economics dominated the third National government which held power between 1975 to 1984. It took the Fourth Labour governments major social and economic reforms between 1984 and 1990 before inflation started to decrease.

            • Gosman 2.3.1.3.1.2

              It never reached 20 % under National or Labour, so we are both wrong. It did reach a peak of over 18% under Labour, (not National), though so my point still stands.

              I am not disputing that Labour brought it down. It was a key result of the Reserve Bank Act of the late 1980’s. An Act that Labour has now decided to change fundamentally.

              • One Tāne Huna

                Weasel. noun. Gosman with a tail.

                The Reserve Bank Act was brought in precisely (or at least in a large part) because of inflation pressures, which are nothing like the problem they once were. Labour seeks to widen the scope of the Reserve Bank’s powers, not remove inflation targets.

                Even I know that.

                • Gosman

                  They are not a problem because the primary focus of the Reseve bank of NZ is to keep inflation low. You change the policy it is highly probable that inflation will increase. Of course you might prefer to live in a fantasy land where the Reserve Bank can keep inflation low at the same time as trying to meet multiple other targets. I do have one question for you though. Why did NZ, (and eventually other countries), decide to keep Reserve Bank targets so focused on one measure?

                  • One Tāne Huna

                    Your assumptions are showing – namely that there are the same level of inflationary pressures on the economy now as then.

                    PS: I recall the policy was also to increase the acceptable inflation range. So, yes, superficially you are correct.

                    • Gosman

                      What inflationary pressure was on the NZ economy back then that doesn’t exist now?

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Gossie, Muldoon’s wage and price freeze artificially held down inflation. The release of that built up pressure triggered a massive rise in inflation, as I recall.

                • Dv

                  The reserve bank act was brought in in 1989, well after the inflation peak of 16% in 1980.

                  The inflation rate in 1989 was just over 2%.
                  The inflation targets have been met reasonably well since then.

                  BUT it seem to be a fallacy the act reduced inflation because of the timing.

                  So what really caused the drop in the inflation in the eighties?
                  Was it the wage price freeze or .. what??

                  (I am using the LPent graph)

                  • Dv

                    Woulld let me edit.

                    TRP
                    Muldoon’s wage and price freeze artificially held down inflation. The release of that built up pressure triggered a massive rise in inflation, as I recall.

                    That was my thoughts too, BUT the LPent graph doesn’t seem to support that??

              • Enough is Enough

                You mean the first Act government. Don’t associate Labour with that Rogering which was the Douglas Neo Lib revoultion

                • Gosman

                  Was there any current members of the Labour party caucus involved in this party that you are now trying to disassociate yourself from?

                  Do you think the original Reserve Bank act was wrong, and do you know if any members of the current Labour party caucus agree with this view if you do?

                  • Enough is Enough

                    Whether the Reserve Bank Act was right or wrong is irrelevant in respect of todays problems. Throw away your cassette tapes, cut off your mullet and move out of the 80’s. Concentrate on the unique challeges we face today.

                    The Reserve Bank Act was introduced at a time when inflaion was in double digits. Look at Prentices’s graph to what the economic issue in the 80’s was.

                    25 years later Douglas, the world and our economy have all moved on. So should you.

                    We have a problem and we are debating what can be do to fix that problem. You are saying an Act that was introduced 25 years ago must be entrenched and stay the same forever amen.

                    We are saying lets look at that Act to see whether it can be beefed up, stripped out, reconditioned, or tinkered with in order to deal with the problems the economy faces today.

                    • Gosman

                      I remember opposition to the Reserve Bank Act back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s from the same sort of groups that want it changed now for the same sorts of reasons. Their logic was faulty back then just as it is now.

                      I had a argument with the former chief economist of BERL (Kel Sanderson) who tried to argue that NZ had a imported inflation rate of 4% so to try and reach a target of 2% meant that we would be shrinking the economy by 2% a year. Funnily enough BERL’s chief economist is still living in cloud cookoo land.

                    • Enough is Enough

                      Small steps now Gosman

                      It is clear to blind freddy that the economy is having a bit of tantrum at the moment and not really providing for most Kiwi’s.

                      You are standing there with fingers in your ears saying there is nothing that can be done. The Reserve Bank Act will fix it all. It is sacred and cannot be touched.

                      Why can’t it be touched?

                      What if things get worse?

                      At what point will you say, ok we better look at how we can deal with TODAY’s problems.

                      Stop fucking worrrying looking at the 80’s and explain why this Act is not fixing the problems exporters are facing?.

                    • Gosman

                      I never stated it couldn’t be touched. I’m stating if you change the focus you are dreaming to think you can achieve multiple, (and possibly contradictory), targets like you hope.

                      If you are comfortable with a higher rate of inflation then be truthful and just come out and state it. Nothing wrong with a bit of inflation, at least in the short term. Of course it tends to hurt the poor in the long term but, heck, by the time that happens the Government will have changed and they don’t have to worry about it anymore.

                    • Dv

                      What about Singapore?
                      It uses a mix doesn’t it?

                    • Gosman

                      The Singapore Central Bank is quite different to other models around the world. It’s primary focus is the managing of the money supply via the foreign exchange mechanism not interest rates. I suspect it can do this due to a huge amounts of reserves of currency it holds. NZ does not have this luxury.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Apparently fucking Gosman is a fucking economic genius. In his own neoliberal theoretical fantasy world that is.

                      The ergodic principle doesn’t hold mate, which means you’re wasting your time.

                      I suspect it can do this due to a huge amounts of reserves of currency it holds. NZ does not have this luxury.

                      And why don’t we? Because we have been following Right Wing bullshit for 3 decades now.

  3. captain hook 3

    Of course the original rb act was wrong.
    roger douglas was wrong.
    and gosman you are just plain wrongheaded.

  4. captain hook 4

    the strange thing is that all these tory party toadies can argue and quibble all day about irrelevancies from the past but they cannot provide jobs in the right here and now.
    thy are supposed to be the party of business but they never create employment.
    are they all liars?

  5. TV3 headline ‘Exodus under national reaches 170.000’
    Nearly 54.000 people left for Aussie in the year to september.
    Wasn’t 170.000 the figure given for national’s ‘job creation ?
    Our unemployment stats would have been off the measure
    had these people stayed,as it is the figure is going to reach
    7% in 6months.
    There is a crisis everywhere you turn in nz.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    And in all of the commentary no one seems to have remembered that John Key did, as a matter of fact, say that he wanted wages to drop.

    • Gosman 6.1

      Just like The Greens, NZ First, and presumably Labour then.

      We might have a bi-partisan policy after all.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        You should give John Key some credit for once.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.2

        John Key said he wanted wages to drop while the exchange rate was climbing and the economy was booming.

        • Gosman 6.1.2.1

          So dropping wages is okay if the economy is not booming?

          • Galeandra 6.1.2.1.1

            Gosling, ask yourself why you get to ask all the questions and demand that everybody else does the fact-finding.
            The inflexible orthodoxy of your views is exactly modelled on the sort of comments made by Nat MPs on the graveyard shift, ie in the house just before tea- at- the- pub time, when there is such a vast acreage of empty seats on the whiz-bang-very-blue- super- economic managers side of the house. One hopes you can at least speak a little better than those unfortunates amongst their collection of provincial pig farmers and soap wholesalers.

          • captain hook 6.1.2.1.2

            whats your opinion?
            why dont you speak for yourself?

          • Draco T Bastard 6.1.2.1.3

            Thing is, John Key wants wages to drop – period. Labour, the Greens and pretty much everyone else on the left want wages to increase and they see one way of doing this through increasing demand for NZ goods by lowering the exchange rate. Yes, it comes with an instant effective decrease in wages but, over time, that will be reversed by the increase in demand.

            NACT seem to be upset by lowering the exchange rate as the price of BMWs will go up. They really aren’t concerned with what happens to the people who can’t afford BMWs if the exchange rate doesn’t drop (ie, wages will continue to fall, poverty will increase and crime and other negative statistics will increase with it) because they think that their profits will be going up at the same time due to declining wages.

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