Govt creaks into inaction

Written By: - Date published: 10:41 am, January 13th, 2009 - 29 comments
Categories: brand key, economy, Media, national/act government - Tags:

Only four weeks into a well-deserved holiday following two frantic weeks stripping Kiwis of their work rights, the National/ACT Government has been spurred back into action by an emerging crisis.

No, not the international financial meltdown. Nup, not peak oil, nor climate change, nor the recession. The crisis that has seen the Government suddenly announce a ‘summit’ of the Government’s economics ministers (since when a meeting of ministers constituted a summit I don’t know) is media criticism.

John Key saw no need to come home early from lounging in  Hawaii. When Phil Goff asked if National/ACT was actually going to do anything about the economy all the Tories could manage was some snarkiness from Angry Bill. Last week, John Key’s spokesperson defended the Government’s absence from the tiller by arguing the Government is impotent, therefore there is no point them trying to do anything (“In the absence of a bank collapsing or whatever, what would we do?”).

But, then, The Herald‘s Patrick Gower pointed out that these 100 days of supposed action have included a 28 day break and Radio NZ took up the story of our missing in action government, and suddenly a ‘summit’!

So, on Thursday, a few ministers will get together behind closed doors, exchange holiday stories/ Then, they’ll come out and give a wee press conference in which they, with all due gravity and seriousness, promise action but detail none, and slip in a few snide remarks about Labour. The headlines and editorials will praise our ‘hands on’ Government’s response. Another victory for Brand Key. And Kiwis will keep on losing their jobs.

29 comments on “Govt creaks into inaction”

  1. Anyone remember Fahrenheit 9/11? I’m sure we can apply a similar quote to Key:

    “In his first 100 days in office, John Key was on holiday 28 percent of the time.”

  2. MikeG 2

    Definition: summit
    a. The highest level, as of government officials.
    b. A conference or meeting of high-level leaders, usually called to shape a program of action.

    Summit does appear to be a grandiose term for what is bascially a cabinet sub-committee, but let’s see what program of action they come up with.

  3. Whero 3

    Its pretty much like every response from the National Party since its election: urgent action required – a meeting is to be held.

  4. gingercrush 4

    Leave the poor National Party alone. (Bah can’t come up with anything intelligent to say:( )

  5. Mr Magoo 5

    Leave the poor National Party alone. (Bah can’t come up with anything intelligent to say:( )

    I would, but it is US that are in danger of being poor, not Key and his millionare mates!! 🙂

    Sorry, could not resist.

  6. SPC 6

    They need a plan.

    One they can find is in the policies of Labour they chose to reject. Investing in energy efficient homes, expanding the supply of state housing (to sustain the building services sector in a downturn), R and D tax incentives and Fast Forward.

    As to the issue of structural imbalances in the economy

    1. distortions to government poliicy caused by poverty – commit to raising wage levels and the minimum wage to $15.

    2 the lack of savings and the focus of scarce invesment capital to unproductive speculation – adopt Treasury thinking on a capital gains tax and reducing taxation on interest income (how about deducting the CPI rate off the interest income return and only taxing the real rate of return?)

    Everyone knows what the policies we need are, it only takes a government capable of focus on implementing the policy the country needs, one responsible enough to get their collective party ego and ideological garbage out of the way.

  7. I would, but it is US that are in danger of being poor, not Key and his millionare mates!!

    Most rich people (net worth > $1 million) lost between 30-40% of their total wealth in the last six months.

  8. Matthew Pilott 8

    Most rich people (net worth > $1 million) lost between 30-40% of their total wealth in the last six months.

    Doesn’t put them at risk of being ‘poor’ you know…! Would rather lose 40% of a mil than .01% of $45k.

    Pity National chose to make beneficaries out of people made redundant, instead of Labour’s idea of a retraining allowance. What better time to upskill than at this point in a cycle, so you’re all ready to take on a higher level of work when it becomes available.

    Better than simply making it easier to get on the benefit (though I know that move will certainly make life much easier for those who require it, please note the ‘beneficary’ call is merely a dig at those who’ve been whinging about all the those on a benefit under Labour, given National is intent on ramping up their numbers…I won’t even start on the “independant earner’s benefit” to fill the benefit-gap left by WfF!). Bit of both would be a good idea.

  9. SPC 9

    A major question to be faced by the government is what to do about this years contribution to the Cullen Fund.

    Is it appropriate to borrow to fund a savings investment (their answer may decide the matter for the next 5 years – given the economic outlook we cannot quickly return to a budget surplus)?

    In the medium term, it is a fact the best measure of the future affordability of tax paid super in the 2020’s is the ability to maintain surpluses in at least 10 of the 15 years leading up to 2020. So we need more saving in the 2013-2020 period.

    So what happens to the fund in the next 5 years – one answer is to transfer shares in the power companies into the Fund in $2B instalments over the 5 year period. Thus in the 2020’s the Cullen Fund can sell shares in these New Zealand owned companies to Kiwi Saver and help the government pay tax paid super to those over 65.

    I have written to John and Bill about this and will let you know Bill’s reply on behalf of the government when they get back to work.

  10. mike 10

    Still sucking on the sour grapes of defeat I see Pierson.

    We all know labour would have cancelled the tax cuts by now – probably to allow cullen to waste more of our money on new bits for his extravagantly over-priced train set.

    Lets just wait and see what a new, refreshed Govt will come with. The one full of ex-teachers, unionist and carreer pollys just got turfed out remember – now at least we have some business heads together to get us through the serious stuff

  11. vto 11

    Ha ha, this is truly funny. The outrage at a govt’s cynical political shenanagins that is. In case you hadn’t noticed (you hadn’t btw) this is an exact replica of the typical labour govt response to virtually everything in their last term and more.

    Do you not recognise it? Just like Key has borrowed a bit from here and a bit from there he has now borrowed this political shenanagin trickery bit from Clark too. Key has clearly been watching Clark very closely the last few years and is picking out the best bits.

    So if you want to complain then go see your clark and cullen mates. Otherwise just wise up and recognise that most everyone expects very little from their politicians. They just get on with their shit and roll their eyes at virtually everything emanating from the wellington sinkhole.

    There aint nothing new here.

  12. ieuan 12

    Yep totally agree Steve; it is just not acceptable for Key and Co to be on 4 weeks leave in the middle of their 100 days of (in) action.

    Two weeks leave over Christmas and New Year should have been sufficient to recharge the batteries and they should have hit the ground running again on the 5th Jan.

    They have a country to run, hell I’ve only got a small company to run and I was back into work on the 5th.

  13. Chris G 13

    At the summit they will devise a genius response plan to any fuck ups in the future: Blame everything on the previous government.

    Timeframe of plan: The next 3 years.

    Hands, sitting on?

  14. Tanya 14

    Everyone is on holiday, give them a break, the recession is here to stay for awhile, no matter what. The prev govt spent, spent, spent, and overtaxed the commoners to do so. They should take some of the blame. Key and co at least want NZ to go back up the OECD and not any further down!

  15. Tim Ellis 15

    I forgot that Helen Clark never took holidays. When the Boxing Day tsunami struck, she was at the helm guiding world relief efforts. John Key should not be taking a holiday with his family. He should be at the helm here in New Zealand fixing the world economic crisis.

  16. Ari 16

    Everyone is on holiday, give them a break, the recession is here to stay for awhile, no matter what. The prev govt spent, spent, spent, and overtaxed the commoners to do so. They should take some of the blame. Key and co at least want NZ to go back up the OECD and not any further down!

    I distinctly recall my newspaper quoting surveys up to the election before Labour’s third term that said the public did not support tax cuts at the expense of public services. They did exactly what the public wanted, and a continuation of that policy would actually be GOOD in a recession.

    Go look up Herbert Hoover if you want to know why we think the Nats are going to make a mess of things even if they DO act. He was pursuing the exact same type of borrow & cut policies the National Party wants, and he drove his country into the great depression.

  17. Mr Magoo 17

    Most rich people (net worth > $1 million) lost between 30-40% of their total wealth in the last six months.


    They never had that money in the first place. It was all monopoly money invented by their BILLIONARE mates. Now it is all shaken out of the market.

    Does not make them poor.

  18. the sprout 18

    I can’t remember a more talk-festy-do-nothingy government.

    Is this what people voted for when they thought the Labour Government was too interfering – a switch to couldn’t lift a finger National Government?

    National’s utter indifference to the economic crisis is a disgrace.

  19. QoT 19

    Um, here’s the point you’re missing, righties: if Labour members or Clark herself took holidays, they didn’t bloody do it after campaigning on how Active and Responsive they were going to be, or constantly promoting the First Hundred Days as some kind of panacea for the country’s ills.

    Holidays, downtime, family time, all good things. Just not when you base your victory on being pro-active, not like those Labour slackers.

  20. Matthew Pilott 20

    Well done vto, you’re really bought into Key’s anti-Wellington vitriol. I think far less of you as a result.

    P.S. grunge has passed, and apathy isn’t the new ‘cool’ any more.

  21. Tim Ellis 21

    QoT, Labour didn’t have its “First Hundred Days”. It had a lot of other rhetoric and slogans though. Closing the Gaps. Knowledge Wave. Top half of the OECD.

  22. the sprout 22

    that’s a rather lame defence for you TE?

  23. Matthew Pilott 23

    Closing the Gaps. Knowledge Wave. Top half of the OECD.

    You’ll notice that taking a holiday wouldn’t be in direct opposition to the intent of, say, Closing the Gaps. Can’t quite say the same for 100 Days of Action, can you (hint – you can close the gaps after a break. You can’t have 100 days of action when you’re away for over a quarter of them)?

    I suppose you could have Closing The Gaps After A Four Week Holiday, but then that didn’t quite happen, and isn’t quite as bad as One Hundred Day Action Plan Give Or Take Four Weeks’ Holiday – one defeats the purpose of the wee slogan, the other doesn’t.

    I’ve got it: “One Hundred Days Where We Take Action Nearly Three Days Out Of Four On Average” – give me a call, National, if you need than new Ad Man…

  24. Felix 24

    They have a country to run

    No, they had an election to win. That’s all over now, the market will take care of running the country

  25. vto 25

    MP who said anything about apathy? There are plenty of other ways of tending to community other than thru the wellington sinkhole (which btw came well before key even materialised. have you considered he is perhaps merely voicing the feelings of many outside wgtn???).

    It disappoints but doesnt surprise that this next lot of politicians are as cynical and as devious as the previous lot. As evidenced by this particular summit crap issue.

    If I sound jaded and cynical myself then it is becuase I am when it comes to wgtn politicians and the amount of our lives that get force-poured through central govt.

    Time to decentralise the power and give it back to the people.

    p.s. if u think i am guided by any of key’s ‘vitriol’ then i think far less of u too. nyah nyah.

  26. Matthew Pilott 26

    vto I just wrote a long comment and then deleted it because I can’t be bothered with another thoroughly meaningless conversation over what “People” think of “Wellington”.

    I’ll just say I reckon most people have a better idea of what govt does than the more informed and cynical ‘political’ people would think.

    I don’t think National going on holiday after promising action is cynical or devious, not in the slightest. There are plenty of far more relevant adjectives.

  27. Patrick 27

    John Key = Herbert Hoover

  28. gobsmacked 28

    C’mon, people, be fair, he’s made a decisively decisive decision today. The Prime Minister has announced (drumroll … ) – he’ll let Maori decide about a flag on a bridge.

    The Orewa crowd are predictably pissed off about this, so it’s not all bad news.

  29. Tanya 29

    Believe what our newspapers report at your peril, say I. The people proved they wanted tax cuts rather than tax and waste at the recent election, a landlside win for National, so I guess actions speak louder than words (especially those printed in our Leftie biased papers),. Key deserved a decent holiday, and good on him for taking it, what hypocrisy from the Opposition, also on holiday themselves.

    [lprent: There is a difference between being in opposition and being in government – especially in a crisis. Typically Labour always left people on duty who were capable of making decisions – not inexperienced ministers. But then I guess that there are only a few experienced hands in this NACT government. I suppose that they could have left Rodger in charge…]

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