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English in England

Written By: - Date published: 8:48 am, January 15th, 2017 - 48 comments
Categories: bill english, spin, trade, uk politics - Tags: , ,

Bill English is on a quick European visit, currently in England. The joint May / English statement is full of the usual platitudes – a “new and exciting chapter” apparently. It’s true that England will be looking for new trade partners in the aftermath of Brexit (if it ever goes ahead). This may turn out to be good news for NZ, no doubt English will be keen to claim credit if it is.

The usual media suspects are digging pretty deep to try and find anything supportive to say about the visit. Apparently – Bill English attracts attention for all the right reasons in United Kingdom. The attention? Reporters asking for interviews (pretty unusual I know). And the reasons are? Reasons! Or something. About Brexit again apparently. OK.

In other coverage – Waning Kiwi rights in UK a sore spot. Real reporting of a real issue comes along with the deepest delve yet in search of positive spin –

Before her promotion to Prime Minister, Ms May, as Home Secretary, was responsible for constant crack-downs on Kiwi visa rights in the UK.

When asked how she justified chipping away at Kiwi rights, she replied: “We welcome the brightest and best to come to the UK, but it’s also important in the UK that we do ensure we get that control.”

It’s a major sore spot between New Zealand and the UK.

But a cheeky wink from Mr English when it was raised publicly suggests he didn’t much mind the awkwardness.

A “cheeky wink”? What a lovable scruff he is – right? Unfortunately English’s actual words paint a different picture –

“Much as we’d like them to pay more attention to us I don’t expect that we should push Ms May’s goodwill too hard on that.”

Sounds like someone has been put firmly in their place. Ouch.

48 comments on “English in England”

  1. Ad 1

    National continues its record as the worst government for New Zealand’s foreign relations since WW2.

    • JanM 1.1

      They seem to have an inbuilt cringe factor which is quite embarrassing, apart from anything else – the colonial cringe should be long dead

    • infused 1.2

      What are you smoking to be that delusional?

    • NZJester 1.3

      National have always been lightweight on pushing things on the international scene.
      National seemed to claim credit for getting New Zealand apple growers access to Australia here in Hawkes Bay. In reality that was all thanks to the previous Labour government backing Australia into a corner by taking action against them at the WTO.
      All the Apple Growers around here seemed to forget it was Labour that helped get them that access and not National. Some of the Apple varieties and kiwifruit they grow where also bread through agricultural research that was well funded under Labour but gutted under this National government. All the New Zealand farmers and orchardists voting for National have been slowly voting away their future.

  2. Wayne 2

    This is the usual cheap shot The Standard has about any overseas visit by a National PM. It mostly smacks of jealousy.

    Standardnista’s have never got their heads around the fact that the current New Zealand government is highly regarded by our partners. Read the Economist for a change instead of the New Statesman. For just about all leading politicians in government, the Economist is the authoritative guide as to the state of the various nations. For the last few years all items on New Zealand have been very positive. Our success has been noted.

    Our leading partners know the economic success of the New Zealand, and by extension the role of the government in that. Just to reiterate; high growth, low unemployment, surpluses for a few years now and reducing debt as percentage of GDP, improved social programmes, a generally more liberalised economy (employment reform, reduced tax burden, more innovation). None of them can claim that.

    They know we are not Norway with oil as a key resource to make such things easy. So in fact they (Obama, successive Australian PM’s, Cameron) have been impressed with John Key. They also know the role of Bill English as Minister of Finance, which May will be particularly impressed by.

    Getting on the UNSC was testament to the trust these and other countries have in NZ. By the way all our terms on the UNSC have been under National governments. And as we saw at the end of our term we were able to make a difference with the UNSC resolution on Israel/Palestine.

    So they are keen to know how we have managed our economic success.

    As with the UNSC term, these successes have had other spinoffs, a greatly improved relationship with the US and being pretty much first in the queue for an FTA with the UK. Do we get everything we want? Obviously not, it would be naive to expect that.

    And Ad, your comment is particularly stupid.

    • simbit 2.1

      k/o Wayne,
      ‘We’ managed our (relative) economic success primarily through massive immigration and associated capital gains in the residential housing sector (hence increase in GDP but decline in per capital GDP).

      The key lesson (no pun intended) from NZ economic strategy has been the comparative lack of success foreseen for such extensive neoliberal reformation. (Many on the left and right would argue this govt is NOT neo-liberal but more like an oligarchy.).

      Oh and part of our ‘success’ is our physical isolation from expensive geopolitical commitments like defending land borders and dealing with violent insurrection. The rest of the world is just not that in to us…

      • Wayne 2.1.1

        Simbit,

        You are completely wrong about their being a decline in per capita GDP.

        To begin with increases in property values are not part of GDP calculations. Whilst immigration has provided a boost, per capita income have been rising for 5 years in a row, at a rate significantly above inflation.

        Whether you like it or not New Zealand is internationally seen as a success. One of the best in the OECD, in significant measure due to sound government policy. As a result our PM’s are seen as people worth seeing.

        For instance Barack Obama and John Key. New Zealand has never had a PM who was so well regarded by a US President. Whilst that might have been anathema to Standardnista’s, middle New Zealand took note. It was one of the many reasons why John Key remained so popular.

        • DH 2.1.1.1

          You’re being a bit selective with your facts there Wayne. Construction contributed nearly 10% of GDP in 2016, and that’s not including the manufacturing of many construction related products. With the exception of natural disasters construction is driven largely by population growth, not much demand for new buildings if the population isn’t increasing is there.

          Each new (nett) adult immigrant requires the equivalent of a room plus all the supporting infrastructure. At an estimated $100,000 construction cost per room the 66,000 nett immigrants in 2016 will have contributed around $6 billion to GDP from housing alone.

        • simbit 2.1.1.2

          Kia ora ano Wayne,
          Just picking up on one of your points, NZ covers an important stretch of the globe for security purposes. Of course US govts take notice of us, and if My Key can get along with My Obama, all the better for both. There was a time when they couldn’t rely on us: 5 Eyes was just 4 Eyes.

          On other points, GDP is a bit of a nonsense measure of value (but a default measure for price). Unless our productivity improves, our price and value will decline.

          Official inflation measures confuse me. My costs go up way more than the CPI.

    • DoublePlusGood 2.2

      The cheap shots are because every National PM is incompetent, particularly at international relations.
      And the Economist is just the authoritative guide as to how well each government is looting its country for its corporate benefactors.
      Also, we have low growth, high unemployment, surpluses that are just book figures from fancy accounting, increased debt as a percentage of GDP compared to when National started office, systematically degraded social programmes.
      About the only thing you got remotely correct was that we have indeed ‘liberalised’ the economy – which caused all of the above issues. A reduced tax ‘burden’ is not a good thing, as it means the government can’t actually pay for the things it should be doing. The market sure as hell isn’t providing a damn thing.
      Oh, and there is not ‘more innovation’ – our R&D spend is pitifully low compared to other countries.

      • garibaldi 2.2.1

        Of course everything is wonderful in Wayne’s world. It’s bloody hard to criticise the current system when you have done so well out of it and continue with a fabulous ‘self imposed’ superannuation scheme. Naturally one would keep barracking for the present circumstances to continue even if it involves denying the extent of damage being done.

    • Ad 2.3

      Know them by their results.

      National is stupid.

    • Keith 2.4

      We lowered unemployment in one way by reclassifying unemployed people looking for work on the internet as non persons, in a the stroke of a pen, they ceased to exist. Impressive and very 1984. And there have been other stat manipulations. It’s so bad with this government that any stat should be taken with a large dose of salt. And even after cooking the books in the Nirvana you speak of, unemployment is still higher than under Labour.

      Lowering debt per GDP??, It’s skyrocketed under this government and lets not get into private debt because that is horrendous. And even by cooking the books this turkey English still can barely muster a surplus and one that is genuine!

      Improved social programmes? Do you mean flogging off state houses/housing accompanied by extreme difficulty accessing welfare and help? What the hell are talking about, this is NZ 2017, 8 years of Bill English’s ideology. How about Honda Odysseys that have become houses because the unemployed, under employed and working poor cannot afford housing! Is a Jap import a form of improved social programme? You could however mean the vastly improved social programmes to housing investors via rental subsidies and tax breaks, now there’s a class of benny bludgers!

      And our so called growth. Why is it then public service funding has in most areas been cut and or frozen, (spy agencies and prisons excluded)?

      Where is the growth in incomes and wages (without Keys annual minimum wage rise to give it a facade of growth), where is the growth that is being shared by the people of this country? Fuck sake, flooding NZ with cheap labour immigration and house price inflation does not equal good growth, it equals a sugar high.

      Your comments are particularly rose tinted, National Party propaganda.

      • Wensleydale 2.4.1

        I love it when people trot out the “unemployment statistics” to support the spurious belief National have really got on top of unemployment. Those figures are the greatest work of fiction since The Lord of the Rings.

      • richard rawshark 2.4.2

        I think National have made some inroads to the unemployment stats, and I would hesitate to say they are indeed lower, this has been done more through forcing sick , ill and increasing the wealth of the rich who in some cases -have- expanded and hired. I more have an issue with forcing the sick into work and the lack still, of wages in area’s outside the main centres keeping pace.

        It’s still a case of the rich getting rich, and they are IMHO blinkered by that. In the fact they think the world of national at the helm is awesome. I see that, I understand that, but feel it’s skewed and they are not being honest with themselves.

        Everyone should ask themselves how much profit do McD’s make a year and why do they still have people on minimum wage. Why do we have 0 hour contracts.?

        as 1 example

        To me it’s all about taking the best from what everyone has to offer and sadly that for some of you means you will need to look at where National have made inroads, look at how, and ascertain where this can be made more fair for everyone, because in my eyes it the disparity between the have’s and the have-not’s that’s the issue, and a lot of they are undeserving lazy bums is a cheap shot by those making the dough.

        • Keith 2.4.2.1

          National have been impressive in triaging bad news and short of being able to contain such bad news by throwing exceptional distractions and or bare faced lying. As such and with a docile almost non existent corporate media on side the mushrooms that are our population are kept in the dark existing on bullshit.

          I’ve said it many a time, if things were so good, none of our public services would have much to complain about. They do because they are starved of funds because things aren’t as good as the Nats would have us believe.

    • Poission 2.5

      Our leading partners know the economic success of the New Zealand, and by extension the role of the government in that. Just to reiterate; high growth, low unemployment, surpluses for a few years now and reducing debt as percentage of GDP,

      The role of chance is poorly understood by overseas observers ie the christchurch earthquake and the subsequent rebuild.

      The capital flows from overseas insurance companies do not appear in the national accounts (GATT practice for extremal events ) and the injection of 1.5% annually to GDP 2012-2020 (RBNZ 2016)

    • Draco T Bastard 2.6

      Read the Economist for a change instead of the New Statesman. For just about all leading politicians in government, the Economist is the authoritative guide as to the state of the various nations. For the last few years all items on New Zealand have been very positive. Our success has been noted.

      Which just goes to prove that the Economist is living in La La Land.

      We’re heading to the same place that the US is. That’s not economic success but purposeful undermining of society for the enrichment of the wealthy which must end if total collapse of society.

      So they are keen to know how we have managed our economic success.

      Did you tell them that it was all smoke and mirrors based around a massive housing bubble and excessive immigration?

      • NZJester 2.6.1

        So they are keen to know how we have managed our economic success.

        Yep, it is all thanks to National being able to borrow against the fact the previous Labour government paid off our international debt and balanced the government books. Achievements that National managed to immediately screw up upon becoming government by cutting taxes for the rich and borrowing the money to do it.
        Now as our international debt is at an all-time record high the ability for NZ to keep borrowing more money easily will dry up and the smoke and mirrors illusion of economic stability National created using that increased debt will start to dissipate. Those we owe money to will start demanding austerity measures on us if our government wants more cash.

    • richard rawshark 2.7

      You talk shit… When good stuff happens SOME OF US.. will stand for it, we are not morons or one eyed freaks who think this is a game.

      National(this Government) good things.. NONE. I can’t help that, if they actually did some good things i’d support it but they are not. I have also criticized the Labour party and supported them. NZ first has the odd good idea, and I like the greens idea’s on moving us forward into renewable energy and moving away from CO’2 fuels.

      What i’m not happy with about what you said was calling all standardista’s of a certain strain or ilk whatever..grow up.

    • Robertina 2.8

      If you read the Economist Wayne you should know Theresa ”Maybe” is in major bother over the muddled pre-Article 50 talks, and clinging to New Zealand and Australia is a distraction from that looming debacle.
      Would have been the perfect time for English to point out the irony of Britain looking to little old NZ again after all this time . . . but we don’t have a PM with the wit or sense to do so.

  3. Wayne 4

    The comments on this thread are a good indication why it is likely that Labour will fail at this years election. You won’t be able to convince middle New Zealand that things are in the dire straits that you suggest. They have their own evidence to the contrary.

    • Wensleydale 4.1

      I wouldn’t call it ‘evidence’. It’s more like spin, propaganda and misinformation.

      • Wayne 4.1.1

        Wensleydale,

        Are you suggesting people don’t know their own circumstances?

        • Wensleydale 4.1.1.1

          Oh, I’m sure many people are painfully aware of their situations, Wayne. Looking at all those wretched families forced to sleep in their cars, the increase in homelessness, our vaunted “low wage economy”, a property bubble so grotesquely bloated, when it eventually and inevitably bursts, the howls of anguish will likely be audible from Mars — it’s all there for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

          But it’s easier to turn away; other people’s problems and all that. And I suspect balmy summer evenings spent watching Reno Rumble and Million Dollar Listing, serve to smother that interminable, nagging voice saying “There but for the grace of God, go I…”

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.2

          The problem is that quite a few people don’t know other peoples circumstances. But that number does seem to be decreasing as the poverty induced by National’s policies increases.

    • Keith 4.2

      More than anything what is keeping this country afloat at the moment is a sea of cheap money that happened to tie in nicely with a country like NZ who had almost non existent public debt. In both cases that is and was nothing to do with National!

      But cheap money doesn’t last forever and of course public debt has shot up substantially under the Nats so big spend ups on things like property speculation will certainly haunt us.

      • richard rawshark 4.2.1

        Is there such a thing as cheap money? I mean in reality! Come on that’s just a sound byte they use to justify borrowing money at a set rate on interest, of which I might add went even lower after Bills borrowing it now as the interest rate is good comments.

        currently we are well in debt, but judging by aucklanders and the cars they have bought using the inflated prices of their houses it seemed while I was there..i can see why they think the sun shines all year round. God help them if the worst happens and god help Bill.

        • Clump_AKA Sam 4.2.1.1

          There is such thing as interest rate apartheid which is those with access to zero and below interest rate loans, and every one else.

    • richard rawshark 4.3

      and then 2 comments further you speak for the country.. what arrogance!!!!

      You, speak for yourself, and if you think your so smart you can know how all the people are thinking your mentally in need of some repairs on the delusional side.

      Less knowing, more I thinking..

    • Ad 4.4

      National have failed to deliver in precisely what the post is about: foreign affairs and trade policy.

      Otherwise, you would have put up National government successes in these areas since 2008. Which you didn’t, because you know they have delivered nothing.

      This is the worst National government for foreign affairs since 1945.

    • DoublePlusGood 4.5

      Your posts on this and other threads are a good indication why you were incompetent as an MP.

  4. fisiani 5

    The petty jealousy runs deep in this thread. Bill English is a pragmatic competent Prime Minister in charge of the most successful government in NZ history. As Finance Minister he rescued the country from the scorched earth economy he inherited from Michael Cullen. He has a deep sense of social justice and has improved the lives of the least well off. His trip to London has consolidated our relationship with the UK and we can look forward to a great 2017.

    • I don’t think English needs a Lord Haw-Haw. Hmm, on the other hand, maybe I shouldn’t say that – might give him ideas…

    • Wensleydale 5.2

      As Finance Minister he rescued the country from the scorched earth economy he inherited from Michael Cullen.

      And this is what I love about you, Fizzy. You don’t even attempt to reconcile the magical kingdom that exists in your head with any sort of coherent reality. It must be incredibly liberating.

      • NZJester 5.2.1

        Scorched Earth economy? That was Nationals biggest lie ever.
        They inherited a country with the Debt paid off and a good Tax and SOE money stream supply that would have properly funded government services.
        It did not become a scorched earth economy till English and National borrowed money then kept on borrowing it to pay for tax cuts this country could not afford. They then sold off assets for another quick money fix to try and make their books look in surplus but failed. The amount of money lost to the NZ government by their bargain partial sell-off of assets is substantial as the people who purchased those assets have already received way more returns in dividends from them than what the government sold them for.
        National governments have always put this country into financial problems with borrowing money to pay for tax cuts for the rich that are meant to stimulate the economy but instead put it into decline as the rich just horde it in bank accounts with no incentive to invest it in the economy and it is left for Labour governments to pay that debt off while truly stimulating the economy and getting employment growth.
        The worst Labor government we have had in New Zealand was the proto Act party Labour government infected by the policies of Rodger Douglas before he was kicked out and formed the Act Party. A party who have supplied the current National government with one of it’s worst public money bleeding policies, Charter Schools.

        • Wensleydale 5.2.1.1

          Fizzy’s a true National Party disciple. He believes in the Goebbels philosophy, that if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

      • Graeme 5.2.2

        The only “scorched earth” economic behaviour during Cullen’s tenure was fizzy’s finance company mates plundering the life savings of a generation of New Zealanders.

    • Nick 5.3

      Wow your’e reading the pre-release Natz pr election pamphlet 2017…..you must be a high ranking official party member…. well done fisiasshole

    • Cinny 5.4

      As Finance Minister he rescued the country from the scorched earth economy he inherited from Michael Cullen

      Fizzy, please provide evidence for this claim, thanks.

      • Leftie 5.4.1

        Lol Bet Fizzy can’t.

      • Tamati Tautuhi 5.4.2

        Fizzy is a professional troll and wind up merchant

      • Fisiani 5.4.3

        Learn some history. When Cullen left he gloated that the cupboard was bare but on the back shelf were a pile of unpaid bills. We were faced with deficits without end until Bill got us into credit. I despair how the Left always forget how a new National government has to spend years fixing the mess that they inherit. That is why it is unlikely that there will ever be another Labour government

    • Johan 5.5

      The only true fact that you mentioned, fisiani, is that Bill English went to England.
      The remainder of your comment is basically, YOUR OPINION, and borders on BS.

  5. mosa 6

    John Key had plenty of opportunities to (Get some guts) and stand up for kiwis seriously disadvantaged by Australia’s hard line policy on access to social services denied to tax paying New Zealanders in that country but did not.
    A missed legacy opportunity perhaps ?

    Now its Bill English strutting his stuff to build his international reputation at home and abroad but does that mean he will take serious action and stand up for a better deal for New Zealanders overseas ?

    After 8 years in office this is probably unlikely as their track record is pretty miserable unless you have a farm in the desert.

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