Flashback from way back

Written By: - Date published: 3:16 pm, February 23rd, 2009 - 23 comments
Categories: bill english, same old national - Tags:

Anyone else read Audrey Young’s interview of Bill English in the New Zealand Herald and get a massive feeling of deja vu?

Here’s a typical outtake:

Rather than the Treasury working out where to cut spending, he wants the departments to change the way they think.

“We will get them doing it. They are going to have to own this,” he said.

“It is permanent restraint – more services with the same or fewer people and the same or less funding.”

We heard a lot of this in the 1990s. And we heard it from Bill. He knows what happened back then: it deepened and lengthened the recession. But despite seeing it with his own eyes he doesn’t believe that.

That’s because Bill is ex-Treasury and he still holds the faith and that means he is willing to make all the same mistakes again. And again. And again.

But when that nice man Mr Key is out there promising all sorts of goodies and angry Bill is back at the north pole sacking all the elves something has to give. Even for New Zealand’s credulous media the gap between reality and spin will become too great.

That said it seems John has decided to spend a little of his political capital by attacking TVNZ workers today. His claim that the crown owned company should trim a few jobs rather than cut its dividend reminds me of his old moniker, “the smiling assassin”:

“That may also be wholly appropriate if they need to get to a flatter sort of slimmer operating structure… We’re in difficult times and every company, whether its government owned or private sector owned, has to consider how to best operate,”

That’s how he talks about people losing their jobs. The way they pay the bills and feed and house themselves and their families. Like it’s a decision with no moral loading whatsoever. That’s especially cold given he represents TVNZ’s shareholders and as such has the ability to cancel this year’s dividend and stop job losses happening. But that would be too much like real action to save jobs. Best just to stick to the spin.

I might be getting soft in the head but even I had started to think that perhaps this government was a bit centrist. I should have known better.

23 comments on “Flashback from way back”

  1. So what is is that Bill English knows and we don’t. First of all we are being told that it’s just a minor recession and that we’ll all be sweet and now he’s saying that this is permanent?

    As far as John Key is concerned I rest my case. I spend most of my working life as a special effects engineer running my own SFX company with my husband. The first thing to go down in economic down turns is the spigot for advertisement. That is a huge group of people who loose their jobs, next is the funding for anything =g other than essential and let’s face it TV series are a bit of a luxury when there is no advertisement revenue so those are going down too. That is a huge job loss again. National is not known for their love of the fourth estate so they can go to. after all who needs independent journalism if you’ve got turds like Audrey Young living up your asshole regurgitating every word you utter in that little Nats. rag the NZH.

    Why, oh why are you surprised Steve, you think you get a moniker like “the smiling Assassin” that because you stamp on spiders?
    It’s because you can fire all your colleagues with a: “nothing personal” remark and a big grin on your face and now he’s doing the same to people who mean even less to him than those colleagues.

    Scum, plain and simple, John Key is scum and I will have a lot more people agreeing with me before the next three years are over, even some of you who now lick his expensive hand made shoes.

  2. Jasper 2

    Lets not forget
    ” we want to keep jobs, lets keep the construction sector kicking”

    to be replaced with…

    “We’re going to cancel the 35 year overdue maintenance on government house to save $46 million”

    No matter that materials are cheaper, labour costs are down markedly, and the best bit of all; Builders and masons and other tradies are kept in work…. $46 million? More like $30m when all is done.

  3. Tigger 3

    I’m with Trav on this one – here’s my future for TVNZ and the creative sector:

    A. Advertising revenue will fall. This in fact will be intensified as the government cancels all the ‘useless’ social advertising (the stuff that’s designed to stop us driving through intersections and getting drunk etc) and TVNZ lose possibly their biggest advertiser who is the government (I don’t have facts on that but I bet its true).

    B. The government will not reduce the dividend they expect to be returned – something they should do bearing in mind the fact that A. means TVNZ can’t possibly return the same profit. By trying to keep up the dividend TVNZ will reduce programming, staff etc.

    C. This reduction will kill jobs in the creative sector where a bunch of people write, direct, produce, cater, do special effects(!) etc etc for programming. A bunch of people will leave that sector looking for other jobs. Of course, they’ll further downgrade their news divisions too.

    D. Further expect NZ On Air to receive a funding cut. Hey, it’s a recession and who needs local content when we can buy Grey’s Anatomy for about 1/100th of the cost of Outrageous Fortune?

    God forbid we have a decent public broadcaster. Personally I think Labour did a bad job here but life under them will look like Heaven compared to what National will do to TVNZ.

    As for Young – honestly! How is this woman still working in journalism! Why doesn’t she just slap a National logo on her pieces and be done with it. She’s from the Naki right? If so I apologise on behalf of my province…

  4. Tigger 4

    Darn it – the last sentence of C should be in B. An offshoot of downgraded news divisions is, of course, a weakened media that can not provide an effective microscope on government…

  5. Oh, and about let’s keep those jobs going the following: our beautiful recycle centre, non profit minimum wage giving marginally employable people jobs, kicking ass, getting prices all over the bloody place, X-treme waste lost $ 150.000,- in Government contract in the last three months alone. So much for looking out for the NZers.

  6. djp 6

    You do realise that if TVNZ (or any other enterprise) manages to trim unproductive operations (ie. become more efficient) then they have more resource to spend on other sectors.

    Its not a net loss of jobs. Jobs are simply transferred from one place to another but the net productivity of the economy increases.


    “The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.’

  7. Pat 7

    I’ve got some easy suggestions for cutbacks for TVNZ. Get rid of Mark Ellis and his ilk permanently off our TV screens. How many Mark Ellis’s, Matthew Ridges’s and Brent Todd’s do we have to keep putting up with as they fill their pockets with our taxpayer funds.

    Get rid of their inane cheap and nasty reality TV programming to simply fill local quota. I would rather see investment in Outrageous Fortune type products that employ a lot more people.

    And stop trying to compete with Sky for sports content.

  8. IrishBill 8

    djp, TVNZ have seriously cut back staff over the last two years. They are very productive but advertising revenues are down. I would imagine TV3 are facing the same problem but would be surprised if their shareholders were demanding the sane dividend as they got in the boom times especially if it meant cutting into core competitive product like news. This is a political move. National don’t believe the public should be in the business of running a broadcaster and so are driving it into the ground to prove their point.

    Pat, most local content is made by contractors. That’s why TVNZ core cost cutting generally focuses on news and current affairs. I agree that we could use more decent local drama (and I’d add documentary to that) but where is the money going to come from?

  9. djp 9

    IrishBill, you may be right (I dont know the in’s and outs of Nationals secret agenda nor TVNZs business structure)… why didnt you just say that then? it looked like you were railing against efficiencies.

    IrishBill: I do know about TVNZ’s business structure. I am making an assumption about their agenda. I hesitate to call it secret. Perhaps “unreported” might be a better term.

  10. Quasimodo 10

    It is not just the media.

    I understand that a report is being prepared for rationalisation of publicly owned property.

    IrishBill: that’s interesting. Can you email me about this? thestandardnz (at) gmail (dot) com

  11. Stephen 11

    Jasper, I’d say the point of cancelling some construction work on government house is that it’s NOT infrastructure! i.e. it’s not going to facilitate growth in the future, unlike the odd road and what have you.

  12. Tigger 12

    I hate English’s tone in speaking about Treasury too. It’s so ‘we know what we’re doing’ which is crap of course, you only have to look at the Corrections mess to know that the party is clueless.

    By the way, anyone else see the whole Key ‘flip-flop’ modus operandi now becoming a way of life for government. Corrections – one seconds he’s gone the next he stays. s92 – it’s in – it’s out. Welcome to life under National, where nothing is certain.

  13. student_still 13

    I totally agree with Pat.

    Has anyone noticed that there seems to be a new generation of ‘Mark Ellis’ type reality shows that have mysteriously come to air all at the same time? Top Town, Who Dares Wins…. probably with more to follow. And did anyone actually see the first episode of Go Girls last week and the subsequent reviews bagging this terrible TERRIBLE excuse for NZ television?

    You could argue that cutting much of this programming would save money, but it would also cut a lot of work, not to mention the fact that free-to-air television in New Zealand is currently overrun by every second generic crime drama to be produced in America, and reruns of old American sitcoms to fill the other programming short-falls. This overuse of American TV programmes is the reason I just don’t watch that much free-to-air television anymore, but as mentioned above, it is far more cost effective than any NZ equivalent.

    John Key probably doesn’t feel like he has a vested interest in TVNZ anyway, I can’t really picture him watching ‘common-denominator’ television programming. And why WOULD you sit at home watching a TV (even though his is probably a 60 inch full HD) when you can afford to go on holidays to Hawaii, or play with the multitude of other ‘toys’ that his wealth can afford him and his family.

  14. northpaw 14

    Assuming I’ve gotten you correctly, IB, this less divi more job cuts line looks lousy advice on the business sector. So.. do you have that right or is something amiss in the leader’s policy swag..?

  15. Chess Player 15

    Travellerev,

    “Scum, plain and simple, John Key is scum and I will have a lot more people agreeing with me before the next three years are over, even some of you who now lick his expensive hand made shoes.”

    You sound like a really nice person…

    I don’t agree with everything any one pollie says or does, but why do you feel the need to insult people like this?

  16. Chessplayer,

    I generally don’t go around calling people scum. I have a wide variety of friends and acquaintances of all and every political background and I generally think that politicians of either side of the isle are decent people trying to do the best they can in a complicated society. So I don’t go around insulting people as a rule for whatever political ideas they might have.

    There is one group though that can count on my unmitigated anger and disdain and that is the Wall street and City of London banking class. Not every banker, in fact I have some very good friends who are bankers and not even every investment banker but those I call scum are truly deserving of that name. In fact there are millions of people around the world who are seriously considering getting the Guillotine out of the mothballs and giving it a good sharp edge to deal with those very bankers I call scum.

    Perhaps right now you might not want to have a look into what he and his small coterie of speculative predators have been doing over the last twenty years because you still want to believe that all bankers are good hard working people only interested in helping entrepreneurs make the most of their opportunities but when you loose your job and you house and you pension and when the ACC gets dismantled in the future perhaps these links will help you make sense of it all.

    And you will most likely hit yourself over the head and think why didn’t I have this information before the election, perhaps I could have prevented scumbag Key from fucking up what was left of NZ’s economy and perhaps then we would still own our own country.

    This is about what Alan Greenspan another scumbag banker has been up to the last twenty years.

    This is what they’ve been up to the last 350 years and this is how they make money out of thin air for which they charge us interest.
    And last but not least this is how the privately owned Federal Reserve of New York was set up to rip of the US and the entire world.

    So this is not about some silly polly but this is about what our mainstream media don’t tell us about people like John Key and what we should know about them on order to make informed choices as to whom we trust our entire economy to.

    Have a nice day.

  17. northpaw 17

    Hey, challenged as I am, EV — does the second ‘this’ link include or incorporate the Victorian Bank Act of 1856 or thereabouts..? If not, why not..?

  18. BLiP 18

    Pat said:

    ” . . . And stop trying to compete with Sky for sports content.. . . ”

    Oh, that’s right – the enjoyment of sport on television is only for rich pricks than can afford Sky.

    How dare the government compete with private enterprise for the promotion of a healthy, positive contributing past time that forms a large part of the soceity that is New Zealand when the private sector does so much for it – in between the McDonalds ads.

  19. Pat 19

    Only rich pricks can afford sky? That’s funny, because I live in West Auckland and there are a hell of a lot of sky dishes in streets where rich pricks wouldn’t live.

    Or maybe they ARE the rich pricks you are referring to, and you would like to tax them even harder until all those dishes disappear?

  20. northpaw 20

    Pat,

    West Auckland.. today news reports told of mercury upping their prices.. sort of preempting any likely ‘taxcut’ imminent incomes… and making more post-rich whatevers..

  21. Pascal's bookie 21

    Those dishes stay put anyhoo Pat.

  22. Herbert. 22

    I can remember the good ‘ol days before those hideous money grabbing dishes. The All Black game was free on TV and everybody done the dishes in the sink. Do the All Blacks still get paid to play in a depression?

  23. Hi Northpaw,

    Sounds interesting. I haven’t heard of it so why don’t you enlighten me.

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