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Excuses excuses

Written By: - Date published: 9:41 am, March 7th, 2012 - 32 comments
Categories: debt / deficit, economy, national - Tags: , ,

This is a government of excuses, not results.

In their first term they blamed our economic doldrums on the global financial situation. This despite the fact that they were elected on the promise that their policies took the financial crisis into account, and were going to be the solution to our problems. (Tax cuts for the rich were going to magically fix everything – remember “aggressive recovery” and “roaring out of recession”?) NZ was out of recession in the June 2009 quarter, before National’s first budget, but they never had a plan for growth, and instead their austerity program has stifled any possibility of vigorous recovery.

What will be their excuse for the second term? A piece on Stuff this morning suggests that they’ll be using the Christchurch earthquakes:

Quake impact on Govt books ‘overstated’

Labour is accusing the Government of exaggerating the impact of the December earthquake in Christchurch on the Crown accounts.

The Government’s financial statements for the seven months to the end of January were released yesterday, showing tax revenue of $31.4 billion was 2.9 per cent, or about $1 billion, below forecast.

Revenue from income tax, GST and corporate tax were all lower than expected.

Finance Minister Bill English this morning said the 5.8 magnitude earthquake on December 23 delayed the Christchurch rebuild.

“It had quite an impact on how people thought about the recovery just at a time when they were starting to look at the rebuild,” he told Radio New Zealand.

Tax revenue is down, and though the situation in Christchurch must have had an effect, it doesn’t account for a fall of 2.9% for the country over all. That’s down to the Nats strangling the economy and chucking people out of work left right and centre. (And, incidentally, it blows a pretty big hole in their zealous mission to get government accounts sorted by 2014.) The Nats are in trouble and instead of looking for solutions, they’re looking for excuses.

32 comments on “Excuses excuses”

  1. Kotahi Tane Huna 1

    Time to bash some bennies and get another slot on Letterman.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1

      His advisors , which include new comedy writers, have decided to make parliament his preferred gig.

      So its Goodbye to Hello, I must be going” and Hello to A Horse walked into a bar…

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 1.1.1

        Well we already know how that’s going to turn out: “For every misleading statement I make I can provide you with another one that’ll give you a counterview.”

    • Hami Shearlie 1.2

      Might be safer for Moonbeam Key to appear on Letterman this time. I’m sure he wouldn’t act like such a goofy twit!

  2. Janice 2

    I have often wondered if the ChCh didn’t happen, what would this government blame the blow out of the deficit on, and what would it be claiming to help them out of it?

  3. Dr Terry 3

    It is not only “excuses”, it is the same old worn out excuses they have been using seemingly for ever, Christchurch and Europe. Even if National could invent a few brand new excuses, that might be refreshing (but none the less alarming!)

  4. Vivienne 4

    Oh poor Christchurch the ‘convenient excuse!’

    • Treetop 4.1

      Christchurch bashing is unacceptable behaviour by the government and they cannot even see how they are behaving toward people who live with uncertainty and who are doing the best they can with what they have.

      • Indeed. In fact, CC residents could do with more support from central government and I wouldn’t be opposed to any stimulus efforts being directed to Christchurch first, especially as many EQC back-office staff down there are wrapping up their contracts this year, or have already been let go.

    • Populuxe1 4.2

      It’s a bit more than an excuse, and as a Cantabrian I don’t appreciate the implication that that the earthquake isn’t a massive economic catastrophe – because it is.
      The second largest city, and the hub of the South Island (quarter of the national population, and the linchpin of our two largest economic sectors: farming and tourism) is severely compromised. That is going to have an enormous impact on the national economy.

      • Right, and that’s why it’s completely inappropriate to use it as political cover for your own economic mismanagement. Nobody should be playing politics with the CC earthquake, and trying to tack your extra costs onto it is at best asinine.

  5. Bill 5

    Isn’t there an argument to be had that the government is simply jumping on the US and Euro ‘crisis’ bandwagon; that their economic policies are not a sign of incompetence but are deliberate given the goal they have in mind?

    It seems reasonably clear that the government is adopting austerity measures with the intention of creating an economic situation that will justify the implimentation of austerity measures!

    There are a number of articles on the ‘Spectrezene’ website (and probably elsewhere too) highlighting that at the time of monetary union in Europe, many on the left argued that the current European situation was inevitable and that the introduction of a monetary union was a quite deliberate project…an opening salvo in a new stage of class warfare.

    The euro’s purpose was not to facilitate the creation of a Europe of transfrontier love, peace, harmony, boosted trade and economic efficiency, but to attack the economic, social and political gains of working people, accumulated over two centuries in the most bitter struggles.

    Now, with the ‘crisis’ unfolding, a more frontal attack on pensions, wages, social security and education can take place under supposedly necessary austerity programmes.

    The interview with the above quote is here http://www.spectrezine.org/class-war-europe

    • Rusty Shackleford 5.1

      errmmm, liberty loving folk have been saying the same thing since about 1878. All forms of centralized power are bad.

      • McFlock 5.1.1

        Rusty the Marxist…

        • Or maybe an anarchist, or libertarian, or simply a fan of grass-roots, de-centralised social democracy.

          • McFlock 5.1.1.1.1

            Certainly not libertarian with the references to preserving pensions, social security and education, as well as the “class warfare” flag.
                 

            • Rusty Shackleford 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I was referring, mostly to the part Bill quoted. Rather than anything he actually said.

              Libertarians do speak about class warfare. just a different dichotomy. Usually about those who use political power to extract resources from society and those who try to add value as a way of extracting resources.

              • McFlock

                Libertarians do speak about class warfare. just a different dichotomy. Usually about those who use political power to extract resources from society and those who try to add value as a way of extracting resources.

                Somehow I get the impression that we probably disagree about who adds value and who uses their political power to extract resources from society. 🙂
                 

        • Populuxe1 5.1.1.2

          To be sung to the tune of “Frosty the Snowman”?

      • Bill 5.1.2

        yup. I know that similar has been being said for a long, long time. And agree that centralisation of power/authority is bad.

        But I think the reference and the article/interview are worthwhile because it places the general argument in a specific contemporary context and (for anyone inclined to draw the parallels between European and NZ economic policies) gives the lie to the notion that the current NZ government is incompetent or lacking in vision,.

  6. Richard Christie 6

    NATs have always had solutions

    1998-2009 solution was tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts
    2009 -> it’s sell, sell, sell

    National = Visionless Inc

    • Ianupnorth 6.1

      There is a graph that clearly shows the tipping point between the tax cuts and our spiral into debt – everyone knows it, National just wont admit they got it all wrong with decreasing income tax and raising GST.

      • Honestly, Labour went too far with their departing tax cut, too, especially as any broad tax cuts are the worst thing to do with public money in a declining economy.

        Not that they compare to National in the wrecking the economy stakes, but they still let right-wing attacks influence them too often on issues like tax policy and race relations.

        • McFlock 6.1.1.1

          My impression of the Cullen tax cuts was that they were intended to make the cupboard bare after 8 years of bitching about “tax & spend” from the tories. The idea was that national couldn’t be the tax cut champions without further screwing the economy.
                
          I’m not sure they expected nacts to be psycho enough to bankrupt the nation through borrow and cut. I’ve dealt with fights like that – one party is doing the old ram-butting “kiwi king hit” style to establish social dominance in front of the ladies, and doesn’t realise that his opponent operates on a whole different level of mean.
             
           

          • Matthew Whitehead 6.1.1.1.1

            Oh, absolutely, it was essentially just a “what now?” move to the nats, which is stupid- Labour had won the argument and would have looked better if it had stuck to its guns.

            What I’m saying is that from a purely economic standpoint it was a very bad move for the economy, and for a party that claims to care about jobs, it was hypocritical and irresponsible.

      • tc 6.1.2

        They didn’t care and still don’t, Beatson had English admit they hadn’t done any analysis on the impact of the GST rise on the middle/lower income groups against the tax changes.

        It was pure ideology of giving the high earners more, blah on about trickle down and just bump GST tax up knowing they’d puched a huge hole in the tax revenue, so the well off can retire debt and go overseas or buy imported goods with.

        Time’s were and still are tough so consumption is reduced and along with it the GST take along with wages dropping, people leaving, less jobs etc it was wreckless but I guess they’ve got an opinion that says it’s genius you will all be knighted for it..

  7. Jim Nald 7

    Hey, what about job cuts in many other govt bodies? Biosecurity? DOC?

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    The reduction in income tax receipts is telling. More informative in many ways than the unemployment stats.

  9. National wants the public service to perform better. However it insists on cutting the service right down to the bone for ideological gain, and the end result is the public service actually cannot do its job properly because a skeletal staff are doing the work of a considerably larger service.

    Is that what you want?

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