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Fact checking Key on government performance

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, September 21st, 2015 - 22 comments
Categories: accountability, john key, national - Tags: , , ,

In the run-up to the last election Bill English was asked what new ideas National had to boost the economy. He couldn’t think of a single one. Now, a year after the election, John Key has so much time on his hands that his main occupation is trying to dig himself out of the huge hole he has dug for himself on the bungled flag process. How many kids will that feed?

Someone must have asked Key what his government has achieved in the last year. He came up with the following list:

Key talks up Government performance

Extended free doctors visits and prescriptions to children aged under 13,

Yes, and credit where it’s due for that.

extended paid parental leave,

Yes, and though it is still well under the OECD average National has threatened to veto extending it further.

reduced ACC levies

Levies which were too high in the first place.

and increased benefit payments.

Credit where it’s due, but much much more was needed. (Update: See comment 6 below.)

Helping young New Zealanders into their first home through our HomeStart programme, and by working with local councils to free up more land faster through Housing Accords.

And done nothing while rampant house price rises made a nonsense of such minor tinkering.

Investing heavily in health and education.

In fact failing to keep up with growth and inflation resulting in cuts in real terms.

Rolling out ultrafast broadband, investing in infrastructure and in research and development, and negotiating free trade deals.

Scraping the bottom of the barrel, and the TPP appears to be the worst free trade deal ever.

Completed the first of the anchor projects in the Christchurch rebuild, 75 percent of key infrastructure has been repaired, and progress made on red-zone properties.

The Christchurch rebuild has been bungled and is well behind schedule.

Overall that list gets gets a grade of Not Achieved. National are drifting, the economy is in the doldrums. I guess it’s time for Key to go and hitch his wagon to the All Black for a few weeks. But then what?

22 comments on “Fact checking Key on government performance”

  1. adam 1

    Then in a few more weeks more families will become desperate, and we see more of the middle class slip down the ladder. In turn amping up the fear in the rest of the middle class.

    We all know that domestic violence will spike if the All Blacks lose, but wait didn’t this lot cut funding from women’s refuge?

    My guess, this slow walk into the quagmire, whilst not planned – is the only plan this lot have.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      This lots entire plan revolves around taking from the many and giving to the few which, inevitable, results in the entirety of society sinking into the quagmire.

  2. dv 2

    What is even more scary is the Nats probably believe they are major achievements.

    Mind you they have got the debt up to

    NZ$ 103,634,801,302

  3. save NZ 3

    Yep, why do not the opposition keep the message up about the $103,634,801,302 in debt. At least they can’t say ‘Labour did that too’. If ALL the opposition keep saying it, it will filter through to the public. FACT 1, National have accrued MASSIVE debt.

    With health for example with aging population and increased migration apparently health is underfunded by approximately 25% down in real terms. FACT 2, NATZ underfunding Health in real terms.

    Migration is a bug bear for many, while propping up the Natz government by appearing the economy is still moving, it is having the most damage on the average Joe, who pays more for property, more waiting in the health system, more tax money spent in pensions and social services, lower wages and more time in congested transport, less money for schools, more unemployment.

    I’m not against migration but the way the Natz are doing it, is just another way to fulfil the Natz vision, to get rid of social welfare for ALL and drive down wages! Buying up farms and then importing in people to run them cheaply, while any profits go overseas (and losses presumably accrued here) is clearly not helping the economy – far from it! FACT 3, POOR MIGRATION and FOREIGN investment CONTROLS are not working!

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1


      Well said.

    • JanMeyer 3.2

      Why the hell would a progressive left leaning type advocate less government debt? That normally means less government expenditure unless your premise is to have significantly increased taxes? Slippery slope this which Ed Milliband knows all too well about. Please explain.

  4. Molly 4

    I’m not sure that the levies were too high for ACC. I know of a couple of people who have battled with ACC over the last several years trying to get access to treatment.

    I think this is the typical gutting out of services that often happens during a National government to the point where no-one even remembers what an efficient, effective ACC system should look like. Then when it is replaced with private providers, not a murmur is heard.

    One of my friends – who has been dealing with ACC for many years – due to adverse reactions to a surgical implant – is now of the opinion that NZers should be able to litigate. I appreciate the frustration, but it seems to me that – although it solves her personal situation – for future NZers – there be dragons.

    • Ed 4.1

      The major part of the reduction in levies was because National had refused to reduce levies in accordance with official and expert advice. New Zealanders paid significantly higher levies for over two years until National’s political needs enabled them to ‘achieve” a reduction. What remains to be seen is whether the reduced levies are now lower than the long term cost, and they will need to be increased again – probably after the next election. The political tinkering has been blatant, but we lack the journalists to report it,

      The gutting of services is a different issue, and less financially significant, although serious for those where ACC has pushed eligibility beyond legislative provisions. National has been caught with ACC by the reality that it provides statutory benefits; private providers can not fiddle with the edges of policy definitions, and new problems / treatments must be dealt with within those statutory provisions. Their previous efforts to “privatise” (effectively to contract out services, as ultimately they could not contract out ultimate responsibility) was such a failure that private companies would not have a bar of any attempt, but just as for all social services, National believe that by categorising as many claimants as possible as a potential fraudster, and by reading provisions for benefits as narrowly as possible, they can save money.

    • DH 4.2

      ACC seems to be a bit of a catch-22 the way it’s structured, both Labour and now National have made a mess of it.

      Any increase in services will result in an increase in the outstanding claims liability. That would require higher levies to maintain the full-funding.

      National’s reluctance to cut levies might suggest they knew well in advance that interest rates would be lowered. Any longer term fall in the risk-free rate of return will also increase the outstanding claims liability and again require higher levies.

      • Ed 4.2.1

        Why do you say Labour made a mess of it? The only major change Labour made was to use some of the surpluses to move from an unfunded liability for future payments in one(major) section of the fund, towards a fully funded basis – this was effectively allowing for the expected aging of our population as baby-boomers go through retirement and the ‘dependency ratio’ will mean benefits in retirement (largely NZ Super and ACC benefits) are better funded. Labour also put the investments on a more professional basis. National continued the additional funding (that possibly thought that would help with privatisation but that will not happen for other reasons – see above), but also so that they could lie in blaming Labour for keeping rates higher than necessary, and then claiming credit from returning that ‘over-taxing’ when they felt it necessary for political purposes.

        Both governments have rightly tried to ensure that only eligible benefits are paid, but National introduced bullying of staff and applicants for benefits, shading of definitions and insisting on carefully selected experts to try to reduce costs, and may well have reduced short term costs lightly even after legal costs for challenges, but at the expense of a mistrust in ACC (and of government) by the public, and with little effect on overall funding requirements for claims accepted – increased unemployment, stress, poverty and reduced worker safety will have had a larger effect in increasing the number of benefits in payment.

        ACC funding must be able to be adjusted through different economic and investment conditions – fortunately lower investment earnings are generally accompanied by lower inflationary increases in benefits, so overall long term funding to an extent automatically adjusts. There is no need for exact matching of assets and liabilities in any particular year, there is a need for a control / feedback system that keeps levies reasonably stable but out of the sort of political deception that we have sen over the last 8 years.

  5. Matthew 5

    & the benefits hikes havent happened yet either…..

    • Keith 5.1

      And they will claw them back making beneficiaries go back to work a lot earlier with little kids. Its a mockery!

  6. Kay 6

    “And increased benefit payments”

    Will you please stop perpetuating this myth. It implies that ALL benefits were increased and the way it was promoted at the time by the MSM has led the majority of non-beneficiaries in this country to believe that all benefits have been increased. A FEW families with children MIGHT get up to $25/week extra, but not till next year.

    For all beneficiaries, like every year since 1991 we have not had any sort of increase to counter the cost of living (with the exception of the generous $5/week increase which Blinglish was/is still adament would adequately compensate us for the GST increase) so in real terms we are getting cut all the time. National will never give beneficiaries more money if they can possibly help it so they do not deserve any credit for that PR exercise.

  7. Poission 7

    Completed the first of the anchor projects in the Christchurch rebuild,

    A bus stop

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Don’t be silly. It’s a bus stop that’s been converted into a casino because, as everyone knows, no one uses buses.

  8. save NZ 8

    750 jobs lost at Fonterra and more to come – softening up for cheap fire sale – run em down, sell em cheap – course have to change the law first, or sell enough farms to foreign owners….

  9. Keith 9

    ACC levies were hugely and unjustifiably inflated by National when they got in, using Chicken Littles “the Sky is falling” bullshit reason. But of course the real reason was to milk dividends from them after their stupid unaffordable tax cuts. And even then it added to GDP, so awash with cash was ACC.

    And now they’ve put some down. Whooptee do, go National you idiots!

  10. Thinker 10

    Time for a Royal visit?

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