English’s big promises proven hollow

Written By: - Date published: 9:25 am, December 16th, 2009 - 25 comments
Categories: bill english, economy, unemployment - Tags:

An extraordinary moment in Question Time as John Boscawen skewered National’s hollow promise to close the wage gap with Australia by 2025. Watch the video and listen to Bill English’s voice. He was simply left high and dry when Boscawen asked him for some actual evidence that the gap is going to close:

Boscawen: By how much does New Zealand’s annual GDP growth rate need to exceed Australia’s to achieve the Government’s concrete goal of closing the income gap with Australia by 2025, and do Treasury’s 2010 Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update forecasts, released today, indicate that the Government’s economic plan will achieve the required rate over the next 5 years?

English: The growth rate needed to close the income gap by 2025 would be 1.8 percent per capita income growth higher than Australia’s. Today’s forecast does not indicate that the plan will achieve that rate over the next 5 years.

That followed English making hugely exaggerated claims about the improvement in the economy earlier in Question Time: “The forecasts also show that the economy has lost fewer jobs than was anticipated in the Budget by a figure of around 80,000.”

‘Sh!t, 80,000’ I thought, ‘that sounds like a lot, too much’. So I did what you always have to do with each claim this government makes – I checked the facts.

what unemployedThe Budget forecast was that 189,000 people would be unemployed in March 2010. The new projection is that unemployment will be 181,000. So, not 80,000 – 8,000. It can’t be that English misspoke, he wouldn’t have been skiting over 8,000 jobs. Our Finance Minister is so out of touch he really thought the number was 80,000. Still, what’s 72,000 Kiwis that don’t have jobs after all?

25 comments on “English’s big promises proven hollow”

  1. Ron 1

    More likely he just lied. That’s been their modus operandi up until now.

  2. prism 2

    Our growth rate follows Australia’s trend line, only further down the graph. Always has, always will. (Any difference to that statement is a short-term exception).
    We could grow if we had some good businesses producing things not just fast money private equity types and financial and housing speculators.
    And how much NZ investor money has got frittered away, wasted over the years through dodgy financial deals leaving people out of pocket? It happens everywhere but we’re too small for it not to impact. This must surely be included in calculations of macro national productivity.
    If we put the effort in to saving spending by reforming and reframing our prison system, making the Corrections Department live up to its name, setting up investment bonds or something of that nature for high risk, promising, rising stars of businesses, we might get the country moving nearer to Australia.
    But what the hell is the problem – people have always gone to Oz, I did and came back, family has gone there and stayed. Where being served up a problem that deflects our attention from the important goal of making our own country’s standards right, not eternally enviously staring at others. I thought it interesting that some financial type Brierley was it? has finally shifted to Oz. He sold his NZ house which had been named Vaucluse! That’s an area of Sydney or Melbourne. So even while he was here he wasn’t thinking NZ.
    Professional people could be required to repay part of their student loans or start automatic payments if its return of education loans that’s the problem. We could have more people tied by bonds, as in the old teacher system, to help in areas where we have trouble with recruiting.

  3. ben 3

    Well I’m pretty sure the goal will not be achieved with even more tax and regulation. So what solutions do the Left have?

    What’s ironic is that Ireland has achieved exactly the sort of catch up that NZ is now talking about, yet this time yesterday Marty you were bagging them, too. What exactly does it take to make you happy?

    • snoozer 3.1

      It was National that promised to catch Australia, ben. Where is their plan? You can’t demand an answser from us.

      Ireland was a house built on sand, their economy has fallen 11% over the last two years.

      They got rich on billions of EU money and used their wealth to put in place neoliberal reforms. Now those reforms are haivng to be unwound very quickly as the economy meltdown

      Hardly a success, ben.

      But that doesn’t stop you blindly spouting your ideology, an ideology that doesn’t society’s interests or even serve your own interests, only those of the rich.

      • ben 3.1.1

        Yawn, more ideology. Ideology has nothing to do with it. Ireland is still way ahead of where it was, relatively and absolutely, before takeoff. That is still a massive success, and the change is palpable on the street. If Ireland falls all the way back to where it started, or where it would have been absent reform, you’ll have a point. Something like 3/4 of their gains have not been undone by the current recession. Ideology has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

    • Clarke 3.2

      Given that New Zealand’s corporate and personal tax rates are already lower than Australia’s, and our compliance and regulatory environment is already easier for business – and this has been true for a number of years – how come we haven’t passed Australia already?

      Could it be that your simplistic analysis fails to get to grips with the true differences between the two countries?

      • ben 3.2.1

        I’m analysing nothing. I haven’t said Ireland policy would work here. I have said I do not believe higher taxes and more regulation will work – we are already at the top end of taxes in the OECD. Please stop putting words into my mouth.

        • Clarke 3.2.1.1

          we are already at the top end of taxes in the OECD

          I’m calling bullshit. Post a link and prove your point with some actual data.

          • ben 3.2.1.1.1

            I stand corrected. New Zealand is mid-table, behind most European countries and the UK, although quite a lot higher than Australia. link, figure 6. I must admit, I thought total crown spending of 46% of GDP would put us near the top, but the Europeans spend more, apparently.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Figur 6 is government expenditure as a proportion of GDP. Perhaps you meant figure 8?

              Actual tax to GDP has decreased over the last decade or so.

        • fraser 3.2.1.2

          “I’m analysing nothing”

          thanks for clearing that up 🙂

  4. rainman 4

    Does anyone know, for the unemployment stats, are these calculated from number of people on an unemployment benefit, or from payroll (+/- staff numbers) returns? I know lots of cases where a couple were both working, and one has lost their job, but their earnings from the one still working mean they’re ineligible for any WINZ assistance. Are these people being counted in the stats?

    • snoozer 4.1

      The Household Labour Force Survey surveys something like 17,000 people. If you say you worked 1 hour or more in the last week (or something like that) you count as employed.

      captcha (honestly) – jobs

      • rainman 4.1.1

        Ah, thanks for that. Suppose that accounts for why Sep 09 unemployed is around 150k and UB numbers around 60k.

        • snoozer 4.1.1.1

          yeah. You can’t get the UB if your partner’s income is over a certain amount or you don’t meet other tests (and it takes weeks to get on it anyway) but you can be unemployed.

          NZ has one of the lowest rates of unemployed people getting the benefit – only 30-odd percent. In Ireland it’s more like 80-odd %.

  5. Clarke 5

    It was hilarious watching Guyon Espiner on One News last night admit that neither he nor Bill English could do basic maths.

    He put the projected figure of 124,000 unemployed on the screen, then the revised Treasury figure of 60,000, and claimed that the difference was 84,000! They finished the cut-away to the Powerpoint, he had to admit that the figures were wrong, and then proceeded to blame Bill English for supplying him with the wrong numbers.

    If you wanted graphic evidence of the fact that Espiner is a National Party lap-dog, here was unequivocal proof. I would have thought that even a second-rate journalist would have challenged English’s credibility if he couldn’t even get the headline numbers right, but not our compliant little Guyon. He probably got a pat on the head from Bill for being a good little puppy at the end of the clip.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      So Guyon received this from Bill at some point, decided to use it live on-air and didn’t bother to check it first? That’s very trusting of him.

      • Richard 5.1.1

        Given that Espiner delivered this urgent and groundbreaking report LIVE! from parliament grounds, I guess that he relayed via cellphone the details of what English said to some minion back at the studio. And then the minion dutifully put this onto Espiner’s powerpoint slides.

        Clear evidence that TVNZ minions at all levels are not paid to think when they receive instructions from their master (of course, this applies to both Espiner and his powerpoint drone).

        • Clarke 5.1.1.1

          Yes, it’s a bit alarming that – given all the links in the chain between Bill’s press conference and my telly – none of them are prepared to stand up and say “but the numbers don’t add up …. “

          • felix 5.1.1.1.1

            At every one of those links in the chain, the entire focus of attention is on style, presentation, tone, delivery, message etc.

            There are simply no resources allocated to focusing on facts, numbers, logic, or accuracy.

            This is the media in what is known as “the information age”.

            • Richard 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes, if the media is the message then the message is:

              “we think you are stupid”.

              • Jim McDonald

                Welcome to the Brave New World of a Manufactured Chain of Puppets

                . . . . .

                Whither art thou, Master?

    • BLiP 5.2

      Welcome to “churnalism”, everybody.

  6. randal 6

    I havent checked the oecd rankings lately but according to finaly macdonald recently in the SST Australia is ahead of Germany and Spain.
    I dont thnk New Zealand is ever going to surpass those economies let alone achieve the same mineral extraction rates from the GAFA.
    (airline pilots slang for the ‘great australian f*ck all’).

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    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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