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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    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago

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