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Granny’s little fit

Written By: - Date published: 1:14 pm, February 28th, 2009 - 44 comments
Categories: economy, Media - Tags:

The crazy right-wing antics of today’s Herald would be funny if it wasn’t for the fact it’s the main paper in New Zealand’s largest city.

First we’ve got Fran O’Sullivan talking about the need for the government cutting costs (I suspect she wrote the absurd editorial I commented on earlier this week). Essentially it’s more of the “dig our way out” thinking the new right have always been so fond of and again it talks about scrapping policies of the previous government, in this case student loans. I ask again, how come the right wingers who want “expensive policies of the last government” rolled back never call for company tax to go back up to 33%?

The edition continues in this vein with John Roughan calling for the super fund to be cut. They always use the economy as household (or small business) analogy for these arguments. That analogy doesn’t hold up because, as Steve has explained, a nation state operating on intergenerational timescales works a little differently to a corner dairy.

But the worst of the worst is John Armstrong and his glowing commentary on the government’s sly cutting of government spending. Exactly what you don’t do when you are trying to stimulate an economy (not that anyone should really believe this government is trying too). Here’s the last par from his piece:

But if there was ever a time to apply the blowtorch to the bureaucracy it is now. With widespread job losses anticipated in the private sector, not much notice is going to be taken of squealing by the public sector.

That’s people’s livelihoods and their lives he’s talking about. What a disgrace.

44 comments on “Granny’s little fit ”

  1. Mike Collins 1

    “how come the right wingers who want “expensive policies of the last government’ rolled back never call for company tax to go back up to 33%?”

    Probably because we understand business is a critical part of the economy and kicking them further in the balls at this time is not going to get us out of this mess, it will worsen it. Seems to me from even making this statement IB that you see business simply as a cash cow to be manipulated how you see fit.

    “That’s people’s livelihoods and their lives he’s talking about. What a disgrace.”

    I agree that it is a bit crass to be talking in such terms about what essentially does affect individuals and their families. However not to take required action against bureaucracy is to say to the taxpayers of this country who pay for it “we know you’re struggling, and we know the bureaucracy is a bloated and inefficient waste of money, but go fuck yourselves.” Would you suggest to families that they should continue to spend that dollar they don’t have at the local widget shop, just so the widget retailer doesn’t lose his job?

    • IrishBill 1.1

      How come every time I ask a rhetorical question in a post some right-winger feels they have to answer it with a badly thought-out diatribe? Please don’t answer that Mike, it’s a rhetorical question.

  2. Ag 2

    Probably because we understand business is a critical part of the economy and kicking them further in the balls at this time is not going to get us out of this mess,

    So are government services. In fact, these are mostly among the last things that should go.

    Not another blow against “Bureaucracy”, please. Don’t you people have any new arguments? I guess not.

    And this is hilarious

    Like Key, Lee is a former businessman. Also a former Mayor of Seoul, he drove ambitious reforms positioning the city as a world leader in e-government.

    She forgot to mention that Lee Myung-Bak is a corrupt authoritarian who sets the riot squads on peaceful protesters, and who jails bloggers for accurately predicting Korea’s economic troubles. I guess that’s a good fit for a National Prime Minister.

  3. BLiP 3

    The New Zealand Fox-News Herald is a disgrace and John Armstrong is a National Party mouthpiece. At a time when there will be widesrpead job losses in the private sector, the public service is most needed.

  4. RedLogix 4

    “we know you’re struggling, and we know the bureaucracy is a bloated and inefficient waste of money,

    You really have no idea what bureaucrats are and what they do… do you? They are essentially the technocrats who run the complex machinery of modern government; but in common with most people who have technical jobs, most other people have very little idea of exactly what they do. You see the cost of them, but you have no idea whatsoever of exactly the value they add.

    Given such ignorance it is easy, lazy thinking to label them ‘bloated and inefficient’.

    One major difference between private and public enterprise is that govt depts are spending public monies according to precise and complex rules. They are are held to to quite different standards than any privately held entity.

    One critical role of bureaucrats is to ensure that these spending rules are followed and audited.Another role is to ensure that their department is acting according to policy, to identify discrepancies and get things back on course.

    Of course slashing out of govt the highly skilled people who do this work, will inevitably mean standards of accountability slip, and doors are opened for genuinely corrupt practices to occur. The resulting scandals are of course great fodder for any Opposition.

    Armstrong is being an especially odious prick. Consider how YOU would personally feel if some media sod was calling explicitly for your job to be cut in the current climate. It would be a pretty lousy feeling.

  5. RedLogix 5

    From O’Sullivan’s suckpiece:

    It can cut a number of Labour’s own expensive prior election bribes, like making student loans interest-free

    But of course no mention of National’s just announced policy of WRITING OFF student loans for select groups, like med students, who stay bonded in particular locations.

    Now personally I think it is a good idea, but can anyone recall the squeals of outrage from the Kiwiblog Right when Labour made the loans interest free for all students who stayed in NZ, how it was all evil, unfair, ‘free money’, yet when the same loans are made not just interest free, but written off, for a select group of very priviledged students… it passes without mention.

  6. RedLogix 6

    More pernicious`nonsense from O’Sullivan:

    Korea is not just interested in bilateral trade, its companies also want be among the bidders for the $1.5 billion project to develop New Zealand’s broadband.

    When foreign companies are prepared to invest their valuable dollars in New Zealand’s future, this should be taken as a positive for confidence.

    So at a time when NZ is struggling to keep it’s own people employed, and Bill English is saying that there is nothing in the kitty to ‘soften the blow’; she thinks it’s a good idea to give a truckload of New Zealand taxpayers cash on a dodgy ‘Think Big” project to keep Koreans employed.

    Worse still her last para is downright mad. The single major threat to New Zealand right now is the structural current account deficit, 90% of which is due to overseas companies extracting profits out of our economy. O’Sullivan is telling that it is a good idea to INCREASE this threat?

  7. keith 7

    However not to take required action against bureaucracy is to say to the taxpayers of this country who pay for it “we know you’re struggling, and we know the bureaucracy is a bloated and inefficient waste of money, but go fuck yourselves.’

    Couldn’t agree more Mikey. I work for the government and I can tell you that our department is inundated with bloody red tape. Actual red tape.I spend a good 20 mins every morning cutting through it just to get to my seat. My blisters from the scissors i use to cut the red tape are costing taxpayers literally 10’s of dollars each year in elastoplasts, somethng must be done about it Hurumph Hurumph!!! mike you are a dirty cunt

    • IrishBill 7.1

      We try not to use language like that to describe other people here. I’ll let that one go though as it was preceded by a very funny comment.

  8. Mike Collins 8

    Nice of you to use all your big words there Keith. I have no problem with you disagreeing with me – it is expected on this site. However personal abuse just demonstrates your lack of confidence in your argument. Reasonable people would let their arguments speak for themselves.

  9. Redbaiter 9

    Company tax is a ridiculous wasteful farce and should be completely dispensed with. All it does is add to the cost of everything and dampen economic activity.

    Once thing the jobs summit could have come up with rather than the idiotic bike track proposal. Once all the non-productive sectors involved in construction in NZ have been paid off, they’re only be enough money to employ two Ghanians with one shovel between them and maybe a Somalian on a bobcat, and it will take about 200 years to build.

    As for government bureaucrats, Interesting to think about the political dynamics and how they change according to our economic situation.

    When everybody thought things were hunky dory, so many of the dull witted amongst us voted Labour, and in return for providing them with the power that is always their obsession, Labour stole money from the productive, and gave it to these lick spittle supporters.

    Some received it in cash handouts, others received it by means of work for the dole schemes in government departments. Where they busied themselves dreaming up laws and regulations and orders and licences and fees and levies to make it harder for the productive sector to generate the wealth that paid their wages.

    Eventually they brought the system to its knees. Just as so many writers on Kiwiblog and similar speakers elsewhere have been predicting for years. We were told to STF up. That we didn’t understand modern economics. That we lacked the intelligence to cope with the political and financial nuances of the neo-socialist society.

    So now the money supply has dried up. As I always knew it would. So what have we got now, but a lot of arrogant socialists all dressed up in the latest gear provided for them by Helen Klarkovich, and nowhere to go. Nothing left for these grasshoppers but the dole queue.

    So they’re still asking the productive sector of society to provide them with a living. Even after they voted for a system that was always going to go broke, and just to make sure it did, they attacked private enterprise in droves.

    If there has ever been a pack of idiots who were the authors of their own misfortune its Labour’s work for the dole public servants. I reckon they should be denied any welfare for 12 months on the grounds that they made it impossible to generate the wealth necessary to pay the dole they now seek.

    Fuck em. Make the grasping greedy leftist bastards face the real consequences of their selfish power driven junket. It will do them so much good.

  10. Redbaiter 10

    Company tax is a ridiculous wasteful farce and should be completely dispensed with. All it does is add to the cost of everything and dampen economic activity.

    Doing away with it is one thing the jobs summit could have come up with rather than the idiotic bike track proposal.

    In building the bike track, once all the non-productive sectors involved in construction in NZ have been paid off, they’re only be enough money to employ two Ghanians with one shovel between them and maybe a Somalian on a bobcat, and it will take about 200 years to build.

    As for government bureaucrats, Interesting to think about the political dynamics and how they change according to our economic situation.

    When everybody thought things were hunky dory, so many of the dull witted amongst us voted Labour, and in return for providing them with the power that is always their obsession, Labour stole money from the productive, and gave it to these lick spittle supporters.

    Some received it in cash handouts, others received it by means of work for the dole schemes in government departments. Where they busied themselves dreaming up laws and regulations and orders and licences and fees and levies to make it harder for the productive sector to generate the wealth that paid their wages.

    Eventually they brought the system to its knees. Just as so many writers on Kiwiblog and similar speakers elsewhere have been predicting for years. We were told to STF up. That we didn’t understand modern economics. That we lacked the intelligence to cope with the political and financial nuances of the neo-socialist society.

    So now the money supply has dried up. As I always knew it would. So what have we got now, but a lot of arrogant socialists all dressed up in the latest gear provided for them by Helen Clark, and nowhere to go. Nothing left for these grasshoppers but the dole queue.

    So they’re still asking the productive sector of society to provide them with a living. Even after they voted for a system that was always going to go broke, and just to make sure it did, they attacked private enterprise in droves.

    If there has ever been a pack of idiots who were the authors of their own misfortune its Labour’s work for the dole public servants. I reckon they should be denied any welfare for 12 months on the grounds that they made it impossible to generate the wealth necessary to pay the dole they now seek.

    Fuck em. Make the grasping greedy leftist bastards face the real consequences of their selfish power driven junket. It will do them so much good.

  11. keith 11

    Dont worry about replying to a prick like me Mikey, try to intelligently answer redlogix’s earlier post instead. Oh and reasonable people don’t let their arguments speak for themselves; reasonable people back up their arguments with references to objective research. When you regurgitate ACT party one-liners like “the bureaucracy is a bloated and inefficient waste of money” you can expect people like me to call you on your bullshit.

  12. Con 12

    But if there was ever a time to apply the blowtorch to the bureaucracy it is now. With widespread job losses anticipated in the private sector, not much notice is going to be taken of squealing by the public sector.

    Armstrong is dead right … it’s a great opportunity. Crisis and disaster is always a good time to put the squeeze on desperate and vulnerable people.

    I recently read Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine in which she explains the history of what she calls “disaster capitalism”. Armstrong could well be quoting from that book.

  13. Conor Roberts 13

    The only good bit in today’s Herald was when Business Editor Liam Dann absolutely pans John Key’s “Jobs Summit’ it’s the only piece of critical journalism I’ve read about the “do-fest’ and I suspect he might be fired soon for breaking the fawning-sycophantic-dribble editorial line…

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10559202

    Worth a read.

    I’m off for a bike ride to Bluff.

    • higherstandard 13.1

      So what you’re saying is the only bit in the Herald that was good was the bit you agreed with …… excellent well done.

  14. RedLogix 14

    The Shock Doctrine in which she explains the history of what she calls “disaster capitalism’.

    Exactly what is happening in a number of countries right now; local currencies are being collapsed and asset values have plummeted… meaning that the hyper-wealthy are poised to steal huge swaths of property and businesses for cents in the dollar.

    When it starts happening here the current 30 odd Socialist Aoteoroa members will find themselves not such a lonely voice all of a sudden.

    • higherstandard 14.1

      Perhaps they’ll come after you, your rental properties and your crates of chardonnay.

      • RedLogix 14.1.1

        Too right, Latte Labour that I am.

        Yes they are a little single minded about rentiers and bankers. I have some sympathy for why they say that, but in reality I believe that there is a sane place for rentals and low interest lending.

        Still if the whole thing goes down the toilet, I won’t have any rentals will I?

  15. RedLogix 15

    Cripes I hate whites. Trade you some nice Shiriah, or a decent Hawkes Bay Red? Will that get me off the hook?

  16. Edna 16

    I like a stiff port myself.

  17. Andy 17

    I find it quite disgusting the way many of the Herald opinion pieces trot out the faceless “bureaucracy” term in order to entrench the idea that it is an amorphous horde who provide no benefit and simply drain resources from people with ‘real jobs’. It cannot be forgotten that they are people who provide essential services for this country and many of them work bloody hard for us.
    Armstrong’s language in this most recent opinion piece is beyond the pale and should not be accepted. The idea that the controversial and the shocking sells papers has been taken to extremes by the New Zealand Herald

  18. Ag 18

    I find it quite disgusting the way many of the Herald opinion pieces trot out the faceless “bureaucracy’ term in order to entrench the idea that it is an amorphous horde who provide no benefit and simply drain resources from people with ‘real jobs’.

    It’s not a newspaper, it’s a conservative political pamphlet. I guess you could buy it to laugh or cry at, but that’s about the end of its use.

  19. Redbaiter 19

    “Armstrong’s language in this most recent opinion piece is beyond the pale and should not be accepted.”

    Of course. Anyone got a gulag handy?

  20. James 20

    We could slash 60% plus of the tax paid time servers tomorrow and NZ would rocket ahead…the dead weight cost of these parasites is an unaffordable cancer that has long needed cutting out…..no suprise to see the parasites sqealing for their perks here…

    • Stever 20.1

      Care to justify “We could slash 60% plus of the tax paid time servers tomorrow and NZ would rocket ahead”, or is it just sloganeering?

  21. RedLogix 21

    Armstrong gives himself away higher up in the article when he says:

    Wellington is a Labour town; thus the trepidation felt now the Twin Horsemen of the state sector’s Apocalypse – a National Government and bad economic times – have taken up residence in the capital.

    Thats the real problem he has with the Public Service, it tends to vote Labour. That’s his actual agenda, he wants thousands of people to loose their jobs just to fit with his ugly partisan purpose. How nice is that?

    Same with James and RB, but their moral compasses got blown off the pivot ages ago.

  22. Stever 22

    So, what happened to the tax cut cancellation—the papers and news were full of it on Thursday—not a mention since. Did it get mentioned at the summit itself?

  23. Redbaiter 23

    “That’s his actual agenda, he wants thousands of people to loose their jobs just to fit with his ugly partisan purpose. How nice is that?”

    Armstrong has no agenda other than keeping his job while the internet is breathing down his neck. He knows if he keeps pumping out the same old same old leftist shit he’s been known for, he’ll be lining up for the dole a lot sooner. Nobody wants that one sided rubbish anymore. The left wing’s totalitarian grip on opinion and news has been broken forever. Get used to it.

    ..and its your moral compass that is out of whack, in that you think the taxpayers of NZ, and there’s many a poor person amongst them, should be gouged to support feather bedding in the government just to improve Labour’s vote. You people never really care for the poor. You only ever care about political power.

    If you cared for the poor you wouldn’t be gouging them to pay the wages of $100,000 per annum lead weight bureaucrats who do nothing except shore up the Labour vote and hobble real wealth creation.

  24. RedLogix 24

    , in that you think the taxpayers of NZ, and there’s many a poor person amongst them, should be gouged to support feather bedding in the government just to improve Labour’s vote.

    Most people earning less than the median income of about $28k (which I agree is appallingly low) pay very little, if any net tax. It’s called a progressive tax system. So no, the poor people of NZ are NOT being gouged to support the Public Service.

    Besides the actual cost of the core Public Service accounts for only a small fraction of the total tax take. Most of it goes into Superannuation, Health, Education, Welfare, Infrastructure, Corrections, Justice and Police in about that order.

    And spare me the predictable rant about how all these things should be privatised too, I’ve heard it all before.

    • higherstandard 24.1

      “Besides the actual cost of the core Public Service accounts for only a small fraction of the total tax take. Most of it goes into Superannuation, Health, Education, Welfare, Infrastructure, Corrections, Justice and Police in about that order.”

      The figures are here …..everyone should familiarise themselves where tax dollars are spent ……… and how treasury manages to get their forecasts wrong on such a regular basis.

  25. Redbaiter 25

    “Most people earning less than the median income of about $28k (which I agree is appallingly low) pay very little, if any net tax. It’s called a progressive tax system.”

    Ever heard of GST, rates, car registration, petrol tax?? Gawd you’re a yawn.

  26. Andy 26

    Redbaiter – “anyone got a gulag handy?”

    Oh well, done. How very clever. Your attempt at baiting is lovely, but how about you pull your head out your a** and listen. The New Zealand Herald is a commercial entity whose profits are based on advertising…..”you following red?” …… the advertising revenue is based on levels of readership…… “almost there”…….. if the levels of readership drop (say like when people find the language unacceptable)….. “wow there it is” …….. then the paper will fold. WOW!

    My advice is that if people find the comments unacceptable they withdraw from reading and providing benefit to the paper.

  27. Redbaiter 27

    “My advice is that if people find the comments unacceptable they withdraw from reading and providing benefit to the paper.”

    That’s up to the Herald and not you, and clearly they’ve made the decision.

  28. John Armstrong 28

    I don’t normally respond to blogs, but this criticism of my column is ridiculous — to the point where I wonder if some responding have actually read it. As usual, The Standard has got hold of completely the wrong end of the stick. My coluimn was not a “glowing” endorsement of National’s plans for the public service. To the contrary, it’s intention was to point out how English and Ryall have learned big lessons from their time in power in the 1990s and how they plan to make major changes by using a very different and far more covert approach —- one which has departmental chief executives doing the job for them and mostly outside the public gaze. National has woken up to something Labour sometimes did — that sometimes the best way of getting what you want is not to talk about it too loudfly. I made no judgment on the merits and objectives of this strategy in ideological terms. It is not my job to do so. My job is too highlight what the Government is doing, especially if it is trying to do so without most people noticing. I haven’t seen anyone else writing a piece on National and the public service in this light. To then have it misinterpreted in such a way is frustrating and annoying. But it has to be said that this says a lot about the state of mind at the moment of some on the left, including contributors and respondents to this blog who don’t have the guts to put their names to what they write and hide behind anonymity to fling insults. The concluding remark in the column.about it being the best time to make changes to the public service was not me saying there should be cutbacks. It was saying it is the best time for National — a point also made incidentaluy by Duncan Wilson in his NBR column last week. I thought that woud have been obvious to the reader.. It did not mean I was endorsing it. Only those so ideologivally blinkered that they see everything written in the media as some kind of anti-left and anti-Labour conspiracy could put such an interpretation on it.

    • IrishBill 28.1

      But if there was ever a time to apply the blowtorch to the bureaucracy it is now. With widespread job losses anticipated in the private sector, not much notice is going to be taken of squealing by the public sector.

      “blowtorch”? “squealing”? You’re right. How could I have ever mistaken this for anything other than objective analysis?

    • RedLogix 28.2

      John,

      Well if you have the guts to respond to criticism in a blog, I’ll have the grace to resile from my ‘disgraceful’ comment above. I withdraw it and apologise.

      Still I DID read the article. I’ll accept your statement that you were not endorsing National’s plans, but truly that did not really come across to me at least. You could take that as an indictment on my state of mind, but equally you might want to put yourself into the shoes of one of the many decent hard working civil servants (many of whom do vital work for this country) who read the line about “now is the time to take a blowtorch to the bureacracy” … and felt pretty dammed sick about it.

      • Tigger 28.2.1

        To be honest, if you’re going to put yourself out there as a commentator you’ve got to accept the kudos and the criticism – even when it is infuriating and anonymous.

        And saying ‘as usual’ about the Standard makes YOU sound idealogically blinkered…

        And yes, not my real name but then again I’m not being paid for my opinion and giving an opinion isn’t my job. If it was I’d be happy to share.

    • lprent 28.3

      John: Posters write what their opinions are. You don’t like it? Feel free to comment here or in other forums. If you really feel offended then have a look in contacts.

      The following is all in the about and policy. But I’ll reiterate it..

      We have a policy of anonymity and for that matter actively encouraging pseudonyms. Partly that is to encourage the type of robust opinion writing that we like.

      We all have careers outside of writing and maintaining a blog and material on the net persists. You can still see usenet comments that I wrote over 15 years ago. There is no good reason for opinions that people write in their 20’s or 30’s to count against them decades later. Bearing in mind the vindictive attitudes of this current government towards anyone who supports labour and is on a quango, it is wiser not to. The majority of posters and commentators on blogs write pseudonymously for similar reasons.

      The posters also regularly receive direct and implied threats from some of the more excitable wingnuts and moonbats including those in or associated with political parties. We prefer not to have the nutters know where we are.

      Finally, as you’ve probably noticed, we don’t have much time for the level of political dialogue available in NZ. This blog site was designed to help raise that level. That means that posters here make a point of criticizing and commenting on articles or posts in any media. If we get the wrong end of the stick (I haven’t read either our post or your column – been moving last week), then perhaps you didn’t make it clear enough?

  29. john tuckey 29

    John

    I’m sure most people understood you column, unfortunately there is a certain disdain, even hatred, of the Herald at this site, except of course when they say something the authors and commenters agree with 🙂

    I wouldn’t take anything you read here too seriously – I’m not even sure that the posters or commenters believe some of the pap they write down.

    Now about your spelling tsk tsk !! 🙂

  30. Matthew Pilott 30

    John, that’s all well and good if you want to point out what National is doing, but you can hardly complain like you are here when you seem to be simply running with National spin, or, if it’s not their spin, then seemingly inventing some for them.

    For example, you say that a cap on the ‘core bureaucracy’ “…does not prevent movement occurring within that cap both within departments as more resources are pushed to the frontline at the expense of the back-room bureaucracy….

    If that’s the case, then National is clearly going against their mandate. There was a propmise to cap, but not cut, the numbers of the ‘core’ public service. Here you are saying that they’re doing the opposite, and that it’s fine.

    I hardly need to believe in a large media conspiracy to wonder why you’re making excuses for National and, in this case, covering for them. If what you said is correct, then you’re stating that National breaking an election promise is fine. Why do you get to decide that?

    That last sentence does look like an endorsement by you, despite your protestation to the contrary. Especially when you’re making excuses for National as I’ve mentioned above – it’s very hard to distinguish an endorsment from you simply stating facts in this article, especially when half the time you’re trying to rationalise their actions uncritically. However I’ll take you at your word when you say that you suggest that it was from National’s perspective.

    Lastly, give up attacking ‘anonymous’ bloggers. It’s not worth your time and not a good look – because your name is at the top of your articles gives them no more credibility than one written under a pseudonym. Perhaps the print media doesn’t like being judged on the quality of their articles instead of the name at the top of them, but that’s hardly a worthy cause for complaint.

    I was aware of the bulk of what was mentioned in your article, though, and it interests me that you’re suggestin g here that much of it isn’t really common knowledge. Hate to say it, but that makes me wonder whether the only stuff we hear is when there’s a press release around it – I hope that you’re able to follow up on this, and in future be less uncritical when reporting on it. There’s a lot in there that could be far better covered with a critical analysis, instead of uncritically repeating what’s going on – otherwise it still reads like an article based upon a press release.

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