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English’s faith-based economics

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 am, July 2nd, 2010 - 90 comments
Categories: bill english, capitalism, class war, Economy, public services - Tags:

I really wonder sometimes about Bill English. He seems to think he has a licence to just make things up. Take his claim yesterday that our low national savings rate is due to the ‘government paying for everything’. According to English, people don’t need to save because the government pays for early childhood education, superannuation, Working for Families, and interest-free student loans. Does he have any evidence that is the case? Of course not.

This is faith-based government – English has faith that whatever silly idea he comes up with must be correct.

Leaving aside arguments over whether taxation to pay for superannuation, etc, is a form of collective saving/insurance, just look at nations that have more comprehensive public services than we do – Germany, the Nordic countries etc – they are huge net savers. Look at countries with similar or worse public provision than us – the US, Australia – they are big borrowers. No, public provision of services does not crowd out private saving.

If anything, it should make it easier for most people because they are net recipients of public services (they get more in public services than they pay in tax). Those public services replace private spending that families would have to make to get those services instead (either that or they would miss out entirely). That suggests lower expenses for families, which gives them more chance to save or less reason to go into debt.

Imagine a young family with a child in pre-school. In English’s utopia, they would not be getting WFF, they would be repaying their student loans (or, more likely, couldn’t have afforded tertiary education at all), they would be paying for their child’s pre-school and would have to be saving anything they can for retirement. In return, they would have a small tax cut.

Is that family going to be able to save more now or in English’s fantasyland?

Why can’t English just be honest and say he wants public services cut so he and his rich mates can have tax cuts? His CEO buddies certainly have no trouble being up front about the name of their game.

At least, English has once again given us a glimpse at National’s true vision for this country – public services cut to the bone and privatisation – a land for the few.

On a side note, English also says Corrections is about to become the largest government department. What an indictment on our society. We refuse to invest in young people and jobs to alleviate poverty but we’ll spend up big to lock up those people when they go off the tracks. If only we had a government with the vision to invest in the future of our people, rather than one whose only solution is to put more people in prison.

90 comments on “English’s faith-based economics ”

  1. Gooner 1

    According to English, people don’t need to save because the government pays for early childhood education, superannuation, Working for Families, and interest-free student loans. Does he have any evidence that is the case? Of course not.

    Um, er, the evidence is that the government pays for all of this, meaning people don’t need to save to pay for it themselves.

    • Marty G 1.1

      where is the evidence that the government pays for “early childhood education, superannuation, Working for Families, and interest-free student loans”?

      http://treasury.govt.nz/budget/2010

    • kriswgtn 1.2

      errr people pay taxes on everything duh-therefore WE pay for these services

      2- Nzers wages are low-cost of living is high,rents are high ,mortgages are high

      All fine fine for the clown to make those remarks- hes all good aint in in his little house in Karori that we been funding for how long??????

      Arrogant cock

    • Ari 1.3

      For your basic argument, you need two pieces of evidence to prove it, in the form of:

      If A, then B.
      A.

      Which gets you to B. All you’ve given us is the “A”- that the government has spending projects. You’ve yet to establish a rigorous link between government spending and lack of saving- in fact, Kiwisaver would suggest the best you could hope for would be:

      For some cases of A, then B.
      A.
      Therefore to some degree, B.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Oh, Blinglish’s economy could work but it would require high wages (wages that would actually cover the costs of the required services), everybody to be omniscient (so that they really actually do know what’s best for themselves) and zero profit (reduction of deadweight loss).

    So, yeah, his actual position is based on faith and not reality.

    • Bored 2.1

      Draco, stating the obvious, it gets so boring that we have to keep doing so. I became a high level economist a few minutes ago, it was all a result of not using the tea strainer and looking into the cup afterward.

      Maybe the coffee machines and teabags available at Treasury and other corporate stargazing departments need loose tea and no strainers. Maybe filtered expresso is a form of transubstantiation, a mystery to be interpreted and ministered by the corporate priesthood? Who knows? They dont?

  3. Tigger 3

    That Corrections news is shameful. Talk about ambitious for New Zealand…

  4. joe90 4

    His CEO buddies certainly have no trouble being up front about the name of their game.

    His CEO buddies certainly have no trouble being up front about the name of their game about lining their pockets with a taxpayer funded construction bonanza.

    ftfy

  5. Herodotus 5

    A least Bill got one thing right “By any international measure, our housing market it still way overpriced. Ours and Australia’s are even more expensive than China’s. Is it going to stay that way? I would like to hear the case as to why it would,” English said.
    But like most pollys he has no idea as to why, so if you do not know the cause how do you cure? I thought a husband to a Dr would at least know that much.
    The sad thing is that houses are selling well below replacement value in Auckland, yet they are overpriced. So how can we build a house more efficiently, not cheaper (remember what happens to cheap houses, they leak !!)
    Perhaps the way the world is going Faith based management may be the only thing we can do :mrgreen:

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Well, according to the market ATM, the way to build houses more efficiently is to pay the builders less than it costs to go to work.

  6. Roger 6

    Bill English must be comparing us to China where there is a high level of precautionary saving due to the lack of a proper social safety net. This adds to what we also know about National; they dislike democracy and will attack it on any front they can, they want protesters (eg Russel Norman)silenced and will even apologise for people who exercise their right to protest. They dislike free speech and dissent and will either silence or attack people for engaging in either. Perhaps being more like China is what National’s aspiration for New Zealand is. This is only National’s first term and China has been slowly improving in these areas over the last few decades so maybe in National’s Second term they can model their leadership on Kim Jong Il.

  7. ianmac 7

    Like Bill English, I am sure that most ordinary folk go out to see if they can buy a very expensive house that they can’t afford, and choose to buy overpriced ones at that. S’obvious Bill.
    So it is the buyers fault! Huh?

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Blinglish had an advantage though. He didn’t need to be able to afford the house as he got the taxpayers to pay for it.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    Marty, the problem with your argument is it is much too simplistic.

    IF the government was to tax less and allow people to fund a lot of things themselves (education etc) then people would have more money in their pockets, although they would also have more outgoings in terms of the costs taxpayers would then pick up themselves. Obviously, the poor would need education vouchers or the like still provided by the tax system, although they could direct this funding to where they perceived they were getting the best bang for their buck.

    SO the question then is, would those type of services be funded more economically if funded directly by taxpayers rather than incurring the churn that results going through the government system. If direct funding by taxpayers is cheaper, then, people on average should have more money in their pockets thus allowing them more to save. Whether they actually WOULD save it is another question entirely, and strikes more the the cultural attitude towards saving.

    • TightyRighty 8.1

      don’t tax their poor wee brains ts. the concept of user pays is difficult enough without throwing in the outlandish concept of personal responsibility as opposed to state control.

      • joe90 8.1.1

        User pays, great, so when do we see a toll on the western ring route given that the rationale for building more motorways is economic benefits. To who?.
        I live in the lower north island so no economic benefit to me but a national surcharge on my fuel will be used to fund Auckland motorways. Oh, that’s right, user pays only applies to the great unwashed and Auckland businesses get propped up by the surcharge I pay.

        • TightyRighty 8.1.1.1

          I live in the lower north island, yet one arm of my business is in auckland, therefore we have auckland customers. if they can be more efficient in their day thanks to improved roading, then hopefully i can make more money out them. wealth flows to wellington and gets spent here, maybe at your place of work, you benefit.

          you could also look at your argument this way joe. south auckland has a high proportion of unemployed. you pay your taxes (read surcharge), that pay their dole. the great unwashed and auckland liqour stores are propped up by the surcharge you pay.

          I know which surcharge i would rather pay.

          • marsman 8.1.1.1.1

            TightyRighty is no doubt talking about Shipley’s ‘personal responsibilty’ which doesn’t apply to corporations or poeple like her on their taxpayer funded travel and taxpayer funded new BMW per annum etc.

    • just saying 8.2

      Had a chuckle to myself picturing a whole lot of Mangere kids showing up at their local King’s College with their education vouchers……..

    • Draco T Bastard 8.3

      It’s not cheaper. The cheapest way to provide the services is through collective systems (ie, taxes, government) that pay enough to do the services well but don’t incur the deadweight loss of profit.

      I know you don’t want to believe this but it’s simple reality.

      • tsmithfield 8.3.1

        I wasn’t necessarily talking privatisation. I was talking about taxpayers having direct control over where their money is spent.

        In the case of education for instance, taxpayers would direct their money (or vouchers) towards schools they believed would give them the best bang for their buck. This would mean that successful schools (public or private) would grow, while the unsuccessful ones would die. Thus, in an evolutionary sort of way the educational system would gradually improve and become more efficient.

        This is the way it should be.

        • just saying 8.3.1.1

          And these “successful schools” would just accept the poor kids with their vouchers and their begging bowls for lunch?

          • tsmithfield 8.3.1.1.1

            “Successful” doesn’t necessarily mean richest or best academic performance. Some schools might be extremely good at lifting disadvantaged kids into the high achieving category.

            • just saying 8.3.1.1.1.1

              And if Mangere parents thought King’s would give them “the best bang for their buck”?

              • tsmithfield

                Since Kings College is a private school, the Mangere parents would be able to use their vouchers to offset the private fees. If they were able to come up with the balance, then they should be able to be enrolled so long as they meet any other entry criteria.

                • just saying

                  So not really any choice for Mangere families then, given that the school in walking distance with the best facilities, equipment, grounds, teacher-pupil ratios etc costs more than the vouchers will afford them.
                  So, they can choose another local school in walking distance. But hang on a minute – they can do that now.
                  So how exactly does this system give Mangere parents more and better options?

        • Draco T Bastard 8.3.1.2

          Ah, so you’re the type that believes everyone is omniscient.

  9. randal 9

    the low savings rate in new zealand is a direct result of the media exercising unlimited pressure to persuade kwis tha they will no be happy unless they buy a hardly davidson or go to macchu picchu for the weekend.
    the savings paradox has been hidden from sight to match the unsatiable desire of of the bourgeois to distinguish themselves by their acquisitons
    we have become a nation of squanderers who cant do anything else except waste their disposable income on trade goods.
    thats a bout the size of it and until a revolution occurs in our thinking and habits then the government will always have the means to squeeze the the last dollar out of the spendthrifts pockets.

  10. burt 10

    English is right, the cradle to the grave promises that were made to the last few generations of New Zealanders has a lot to answer for. My parents generation in particular were told repeatedly by successive govt’s that if they just paid their high taxes and enjoyed the few pennies of private income for day to day living that the govt would ensure they retired in dignity.

    Naturally it was never going to work and the pollies knew that, but it made people vote for them and that was all they cared about.

    • Carol 10.1

      Well, I don’t know how old your parents are, burt, but I grew up in the heyday of the craddle-to-grave welfare state. We were brought up to live frugally, and were strongly schooled in the belief that the way to prosperity is through personal savings, and careful spending.

      It was the neo-liberal revolution of the 80s that promoted the belief that the way to prosperity is through consumption, and instant gratification.

    • burt 10.2

      Carol

      The Labour voting dim-bulbs of the 50’s and 60’s who were told that Nanny would look after them as they paid their 66% tax are the people who are passing away today with reverse mortages on their houses and no other savings. I pay the power bill and car running costs for one every month, bless her gullible soul.

      • Carol 10.2.1

        Well, that just doesn’t match up with my experience.

        But ofcourse, the 80s shift must have made some things worse for people on low wages, who couldn’t have afforded to save anything much, after either paying their taxes for welfare or user-pays essential services.

        • burt 10.2.1.1

          Yes that was the time the govt quietly slipped out from the social contract and started making the same people who had been promised they would be taken care of pay for themselves. That was the time that we slowly started digesting the message that the number of older people was going to be too high to support in the intergenerational theft model that had been so popular for so long.

          Anyone younger than about 50 today who didn’t read the signals that they needed to start looking after themselves and saving for their own retirement got caught between the BS promise of cradle to the grave and the reality that socialism was going to fail them.

          • Draco T Bastard 10.2.1.1.1

            You mean like the inter-generational theft model that NACT are presently implementing?

      • Pete 10.2.2

        Yeah, because burt sez something, that makes it so:

        Age and investment income (including as a proportion of total income) circa 2003 (latest available info): http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/work_income_and_spending/income/investment-income-nz-income-survey.aspx

        Of course they’re all like your dependents burt.

      • lprent 10.2.3

        Ummm wasn’t the National party in power for all of the 1960’s and most of the 50’s. I think that you’re retrospectively rewriting history?

        But from memory, actual real history isn’t one of your strong suits. Perhaps you’re directing your bile at the wrong party?

        (Nice when someone leaves such a wide open and inaccurate comment)…

        • burt 10.2.3.1

          So are you saying cradle to the grave was National party policy ?

          • lprent 10.2.3.1.1

            In the period you identified, National was the government for all except for 3 years (from memory), and implemented the social welfare policy of that time – which was the one you were complaining about.

            Do you deny that?

          • burt 10.2.3.1.2

            No, I got the period wrong. Make that 60’s & 70’s. Good call lprent.

            I think I’m still saying the same thing I was saying here;

            Govt rich – people poor

            We can’t pay high taxes to fund state provided “everything” for special target groups and expect individuals to accumulate personal wealth as well. Only so much money to go around and when the state hords and spends it – we can’t all do the same.

            • Rosy 10.2.3.1.2.1

              Govt rich = people poor is a bit of a sweeping statement isn’t it? Are you sure there is a correlation between personal wealth and government spending? I suspect there are some pretty wealthy people in high tax northern European countries that think they are doing ok.

            • lprent 10.2.3.1.2.2

              Pretty much the same in the 60’s/70’s though.

              During that period Labour was in for exactly 3 years. 1972-1975.

              The most expensive social policy during the whole of that period was the national superannuation swindle because of the way that it institutionalized intergenerational theft. Needless to say it was put in by National as being part of their usual short-term mindset.

              As I said, you are targeting the wrong party. Short-term thinking that costs too much in the long term is a characteristic of the National party….

      • Kerry Thomas 10.2.4

        Actually it was national who charged the 60% taxes to pay election bribes to superannuates and farmers. Look up your history. labour had introduced a savings fund for super that national removed to get elected.

        • burt 10.2.4.1

          I have no argument with that, National did carry on the cradle to the grave model because it was popular. The fact the concept was popular and was a failure is to be blamed more on the party that introduced the fantasy of socialism working but both parties in the two horse popularity contest of NZ politics have caused the issues English now points out.

          • Draco T Bastard 10.2.4.1.1

            National did carry on the cradle to the grave model because it was popular.

            No burt, they carried it on because, in the circumstances of the times, it worked and everything else that they had done didn’t. Everything else that they had done was reimplemented in NZ by the 4th Labour government and, as we’re finding out again, it still doesn’t work.

            Go read some economic history. Prior to he implementation of Keynesian theory, the economy was pretty much crashing every few years. The Great Depression was what finally got people to admit that the Classical Economics was wrong. Neo-Liberalism is a slight redefinition of Classical Economics.

        • burt 10.2.4.2

          Kerry

          We see much the same thing today, we still have the worlds only no fault state monopoly one size fits all accident compensation scheme, we still have WFF and we still have interest free student loans. Hell paying for all that it’s no wonder few people save much for their own retirement.

          • Pete 10.2.4.2.1

            So:

            – having a litigious accident insurance scheme which may exacerbate injury and illness, increase the work of medical and health professionals (at the expense of others in the public health system) and leaving people to move more slowly back into work will mean higher rates of saving

            – not incentivising people on low wages to enter or return to the workforce by providing tax breaks, accommodation supplements and assistance with childcare costs will mean higher rates of saving

            – making students pay for interest on top of ever-rising fees (already rising above inflation) will mean higher rates of saving.

            Yep, makes sense.

          • burt 10.2.4.2.2

            Another lover of state monopolies and one size fits all…. Is your house exactly like the one next door… the cost of building different houses is silly, we should all have exactly the same house….

            • Pete 10.2.4.2.2.1

              Am I?

              Are you suggesting that WFF and student loans are compulsory (i.e no choice is afforded to NZers), and that ACC exists in a vacuum?

              And, in your opinion, is the state not responsible for the well-being of its population (to the point where the negative symptoms of people’s deprivation impede on the rest of society)? – I’m talking about education, health and crime issues in particular, but also about allowing families to live above subsistence (or worse) c/o WFF.

              Also, do you believe that kids who are born to deprived families should be punished by not having a family able to afford food or healthcare (through no fault of their own)? Would removing WFF fix that in some way? Or is it a ‘who cares’ situation because those fools decided to have kids they couldn’t afford (not that you would be a culprit of that sort of thinking would you burt? – because, clearly, you’re not one to dismiss individual circumstances)?

              And no, my house is not the same as the one next door, thanks for asking. If you could constructively sway me on the points I made above that’d be OK BTW…

          • Kerry 10.2.4.2.3

            Yes we have the worlds most effective bang for buck accident and injury system or we did until the right wing messed with it. Do you prefer the states with the worlds most expensive and ineffective medical care where only a few get coverage.

    • millsy 10.3

      So you would have retirees living on the street?

      • burt 10.3.1

        Of course not, they paid their high taxes all that time so they kept their end of the social contract. The govt didn’t but that’s what we are talking about here.

  11. Adrian 11

    Of course public is cheaper, you have to look no further than schools. The private ones cost a lot more money for a lesser standard of results and a noticibly higher failure rate in the first year at Uni. All you are paying for is elitist bullshit. Health is exactly the same, in fact a hell of a lot worse because all of their cockups end up in the public system.

    • ianmac 11.1

      “The private ones cost a lot more money for a lesser standard of results and a noticibly higher failure rate in the first year at Uni”
      I agree. Given the huge advantages you would expect 1st year Uni theywould excel- but they don’t.
      And given the huge advantages and avoidance of public assessment, there is evidence that the value added is far less that in a State School.
      You would think that the private schools that Key/English send their kids to would leap at the chance to adopt NATIONAL STANDARDS for which they are exempt.

  12. kriswgtn 12

    but in meantime MPs going to get a 10% raise to compensate losing their travel perks

    What a disgrace

  13. BLiP 13

    Its not so much a faith-based economic as much as it is a “blame”-based economic model. Its about sending the word out that the government is cutting all the services for our own good, “incentivising” those of us who have been leeching off the system. Shame on us.

  14. burt 14

    Over the last decade when the govt was running record surpluses how did personal debt change?

    Did we (the people) get poorer or richer during that time? Our OECD ranking changes and the presence of govt surpluses during that time suggest English has hit the nail on the head. Socialism fails… nothing new in that, it’s happened everytime it has been tried.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      Um, burt, it’s actually capitalism that has failed every time that it’s been tried (failed in ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, the British Empire and now the American Empire). It then goes back to socialism to repair itself at everyone else’s expense.

      • tsmithfield 14.1.1

        It wasn’t capitalism that failed this time around. It was gross over-gearing of the financial system that caused the failure.

        • Lazy Susan 14.1.1.1

          Too true ts – gross over-gearing of the financial system by capitalists.

          • tsmithfield 14.1.1.1.1

            Not only. I think you will find there has been a lot of over-gearing and financial mismanagement by governments with a socialist bent who have been running massive deficits for decades trying to meet every need that people bleat for. So far as financial mismanagement by socialists, just look at the sub-prime fiasco as a good example of this. People who couldn’t afford house loans being given them anyway.

            • Lazy Susan 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Not sure what governments you might be referring to but I know you will find there’s been alot of over-gearing and mismanagement by governments with a neo-liberal capitalist bent. As for the big deficits – that’s what you get when you have to bail out the irresponsibilty of the private banking sector. Its what’s called privatising the profits and socialising the losses.

            • Uroskin 14.1.1.1.1.2

              I thought you used to blame Michael Cullen for running surpluses, not deficits. Looks like righty pundits suffer from amnesia when it comes to blaming “socialist” governments for capitalist market fuck ups. Try Goldman Sachs instead.

        • Draco T Bastard 14.1.1.2

          The financial system is capitalism. It failed. Same as it did in 1987, 1929, 1890s and every time before.

          • kriswgtn 14.1.1.2.1

            it doesnt fail for who it is set up to represent though and that is tory right wing sockpuppets whose end game is:: as long as I am ok its all good

            anti spam word: Ours

            ironic isnt it

            • Puddleglum 14.1.1.2.1.1

              Exactly. Capitalism (of the ‘pure’ or crony kind) works wonderfully at what it was designed for: The accumulation of wealth and, more importantly, its concentration in relatively few hands.

              The fact that it fragments social structure (community, family, even the individual) is neither here nor there and should be unsurprising. You can’t make a GDP omelette that is served on silver to the already wealthy without breaking social eggs. (There’s no such thing as a free omelette.)

      • burt 14.1.2

        OK, putting aside what failed, did average household debt levels increase or decrease during the period of fiscal drag that produced massive surpluses ?

      • tsmithfield 14.1.3

        Yeh. And socialism was such a screaming success in China that they’ve decided to move towards a more capitalistic model.

        • kaplan 14.1.3.1

          Fuck that’s one of the dumbest replies you’ve ever made.
          Had to be said.

        • uke 14.1.3.2

          I believe China had totalitarian communism not “socialism”.

          Socialism was what NZ enjoyed from 1935-1984. (Or even prior to that according to George Bernard Shaw.)

          • Kerry Thomas 14.1.3.2.1

            Socialism is what they enjoy in Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden etc. All of which have higher taxes, more welfare, lower overseas debt and a more healthy economy than the less socialist Anglo Saxon countries which are heading towards failed states with huge debts and a large proportion of their population impoverished.

        • Draco T Bastard 14.1.3.3

          Ah, no. China wasn’t and isn’t socialist/communist – it is, and has been since it’s revolution, state capitalist. This fact is easily identified by it’s dictatorial nature.

          • uke 14.1.3.3.1

            Thanks Draco – I’ll ponder that one.

          • tsmithfield 14.1.3.3.2

            Socialism/Communism. It all blurs into one for us righties. 🙂

            [lprent: Just as the rather arbitrary distinction between wingnut, brownshirt, troll, and idiot blurs for me when I’m moderating… ]

        • Daveosaurus 14.1.3.4

          Communism (not socialism) was such a screaming success in China that the local Tories are absolutely terrified of the thought of offending their Chinese Communist Party lords and masters.

  15. peter 15

    I’d love to be able to save money ! However, after paying the mtge, rates, insurance, pwr, phone and food…There isn’t exactly a large amount left every payday !

    • burt 15.1

      Then we should put taxes up and offer you a bigger welfare benefit if you vote for the red team…. that will work… for getting the red team elected… but will “F” you up more in the long term.

      • Pete 15.1.1

        OR we could gear those working within the NZ economy to raise wages/salarys rather than seeing them progressively reduced in real terms.

        It’s what happened over in Australia (the country lauded so much as an exemplar we should follow during the campaign of ’08).

      • Bright Red 15.1.2

        burt. the change being suggested here is from national – that peter and everyone else should have to pay for their kids’ education etc directly. That would take more money out of our pockets, wewould be worse off, and our savings would be lower.

        Btw, you know what’s really going to screw over savers in this coming year? Bill English’s GST hike. It’s going to lead to sub-inflation interest rates, which will disincentivise savings an encourage borrowing.

        • burt 15.1.2.1

          Bright Red

          That would take more money out of our pockets, wewould be worse off, and our savings would be lower.

          I’m not sure about that, it is a national party policy so if people choose to opt out of the public system they will be able to have that adjusted in their taxes. Unlike Labour who would just call them rich pricks and demand that having paid for private they still fully fund the public system they do not use.

          • Kerry Thomas 15.1.2.1.1

            I am sure the people who do not want to support the public system will be happy to forgo a pension to be paid from the taxable income of the kids educated in the public system.

          • burt 15.1.2.1.2

            Kerry

            OMG – are you suggesting there could be a chance to move away from the one size fits all delivered by state monopoly model of socialism ?

            • Kerry 15.1.2.1.2.1

              I would rather have our system controlled by a democratic state than big business. Though it would be nice to actually have democracy.

              In 1941, the editor Edward Dowling wrote: “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”

  16. Olwyn 16

    I wonder if the thought that he could rent a house off himself, with a government paid housing allowance, caused Bill to abandon saving. He, unlike the majority, is actually in the position to save. If he gave it up because the government pickings were too good to bother, then he has one example on his side.

    • Bored 16.1

      Or perhaps Bill has given up saving as he knows that the ‘money” is just digits in a database, removed from reality and tangibility….and he has no faith in the longevity of the institutions or the currency lasting….or the power staying on for the mainframe.

  17. The basic truth is New Zealand is a low wage economy with a high cost of living. This is why there is no money left over for savings.

    It makes you realise just how divorced from the realities of life Politicians are with their big fat salaries, their expense accounts and all the perks that go with the job as well.

    That is not adding in the superannuation we pay them from our public purse.

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