Key grins blankly, shrugs shoulders

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, July 15th, 2009 - 41 comments
Categories: economy, national/act government, unemployment - Tags: ,

johnkey180I was going to do a fisking of Key’s ‘major speech‘ today. But there’s nothing to fisk, no substance, no ideas, no vision. There’s just endless recycling of the same old Crosby-Textor lines and waffle. In fact, there’s one section that is just a bunch of rehashed lines – one after the other.

You get half way in and you’re thinking ‘hmm, still no substance, it must be coming’. Then you read “Our challenge as a country is therefore to preserve the strengths of the New Zealand economy, while addressing its weaknesses” and you think ‘ah ha, now he’s going to detail how he thinks we should meet those challenges’ and… nothing… just more waffle.

It’s like one of those essays you wrote in high school or uni when you hadn’t studied. You just chuck in every key-word you can think of and bulk it out by restating the question in longer form.

Key basically concedes defeat at one point: “I cannot emphasise enough that there are no quick-fix solutions here”. Mr Key, we’re not asking for quick-fixes, but we are asking for solutions, and you’re presenting none.

If the question that Key was meant to answer with this speech was ‘what are the Key Government’s ideas and plans for lifting New Zealand’s economic performance’? Then you would have to walk away from this speech concluding that he hasn’t a clue.

It would be laughable if it weren’t so serious.

1200 Kiwis a week are going on to the dole. About as many again are also losing their jobs. And we’ve got a Prime Minister and a government totally bereft of ideas and vision. I just hope for everyone’s sake this wasn’t the “new ideas to combat the rising tide of job losses” he was promising a couple of weeks ago after the collapse of Line7.

You know, come to think of it, I almost wish he had proposed a giant rollercoaster. At least that would have been a starting point for debate, from which workable ideas might have flowed. Where do we go now, when the PM’s response to crisis is to grin blankly and shrug his shoulders?

41 comments on “Key grins blankly, shrugs shoulders”

  1. gobsmacked 1

    It’s the Recycle Way …

    • snoozer 1.1

      lol great there goes my coffee 🙂

      seriously though. 2 and a half more years of a government asleep at the wheel. I don’t like where this is heading.

      • millsy 1.1.1

        I’d rather have have 2 years of a government asleep at the wheel than 2 years of a government slashing and burning. Count yourselves lucky.

  2. You are right eddie and you were right about the cycleway from the word go. I wanted it to be visionary and worthwhile but it is a joke and the job creation is also a joke. bennett said the other day that the 1200 a week being made jobless is net. Probably closer to 2500 per week, with some new jobs coming on. But are those new jobs real jobs? i don’t think so. Temporary and part time I bet – no wonder she was shocked at the figures. I think when the real job losses come out, more than bennett will be shocked.

    So the economic tsunami rolls in meanwhile key is on the beach building sandcastles with his little shovel and bucket.

  3. Stacktwo 3

    The government is in its ninth month, and it’s sadly looking like a phantom pregnancy.

    • QoT 3.1

      But much like Mary I, they’re the only ones who haven’t figured it out, and everyone’s buggered off to Spain?

  4. It will all be forgotten tomorrow, except by Armstrong, why continue to give it any oxygen.
    He is just following the script for Ronald Reagan, sunny disposition, plenty of jokes and shiny shoes. And they remember him as a ‘great’ President

  5. tsmithfield 5

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/2594149/Bollard-upbeat-on-early-recovery

    So, the government must be doing something right. And we haven’t had to hock ourselves up to the hilt to do it, as many here were advocating.

    • r0b 5.1

      If it’s true (I hope it is, I suspect it isn’t) then it’s not because of anything this government has done (which was what, exactly?).

      When we do come out of this, it will be down to the good position that we had going in to it, and to lots of hard work and sacrifice by ordinary Kiwis (while the government dithered on the sidelines).

      • tsmithfield 5.1.1

        Just because they haven’t been doing all the flashy, showy stuff, doesn’t mean they haven’t been doing anything. For instance, my company just received effectively 10000 in cashflow from the Government through changes to the GST threshold for going onto the payments basis (1.2m up to 2m).

        • r0b 5.1.1.1

          Are yes, another example of a process started by the last Labour government that this one is trying to claim the credit for.

  6. ieuan 6

    After reading the speech it seems to me that Key believes that the job of the government is to create the right sort of environment in which business can flourish and that will help grow a stronger economy.

    I am not sure what the alternatives are. Maybe someone at the Standard could enlighten me.

    • Bright Red 6.1

      ‘it seems to me that Key believes that the job of the government is to create the right sort of environment in which business can flourish and that will help grow a stronger economy.”

      But how ieuan? How?

      It’s child’s play to say what the challenges are. Overcoming them is the real job.

  7. r0b 7

    At some point the damage from the letdown of these empty publicity exercises is going to exceed the benefit from the diminishing appearance of “doing something”.

    Have we reached that point?

  8. Brickley Paiste 8

    studied. You just chuck in every key-word you can think of and bulk it out by >restating the question in longer form.

    That is the mot juste. That made me laugh out loud. I wrote so many essays like that because, in retrospect, I knew that so little hung in the balance.

    I think there should be more discussion and reflection on the cycleway. How did that idea even fly? Why did he get away with it? What’s wrong with our country?

    In other countries, there exists two friends who would destroy such an idea: I call them Satire and Irony.

    These two friends are pervasive in many advanced Western democracies in television, print and song.

    However, in Aotearoa, you say what you mean and mean what you say. In other words, my two friends aren’t wanted on the voyage.

    Did I mention that Eating Media Lunch got the can?

    • r0b 8.1

      Did I mention that Eating Media Lunch got the can?

      Really? Damn! Didn’t tune in as often I should, but always enjoyed it, and it was doing a job that desperately needs doing…

  9. On the other hand, eddie could have written this last night as the content of the speech was never going to be reported here any other way.

    Key laid out six policy areas the Government was focused on: regulatory reform, investment in infrastructure, better public services, education and skills, innovation and business assistance, and a world-class tax system.

    Boring but sensible.

    Would be nice to discuss these priorities rather than fixed position most already have.

    Ironically, the hands off approach may be working (even I’m not sure if it’s intentionally or not). What is clear is that National was not going to borrow and hope which is what was proposed here countless times.

    There does need to be some long term tough decisions made around things like super, capital gains tax, etc. This is unlikely in an environment when both parties play petty politics over long term policies.

    • Bright Red 9.1

      but Daveski, he didn’t present any ideas. You’ve quoted subject headings he mentioned but read the actual speech – there’s no content beneath the headings.

      • Daveski 9.1.1

        Fair cop and I meant to acknowledge that.

        My view is that recovery will long, slow, and in parts painful.

        More fool Key for raising expectations of a magic fix. However, the “subject headings” point us in the right direction. I will happily judge the Nats on their ability to deliver on this policies in the future

        • If you read the speach and not the hatchet job done by NZPA you will see the initial steps that the Government are undertaking under each of the 6 policy drivers. Well yes there is insufficient detail for it to be considered a detailed plan to restore balance to the economy it is a start and a sign that there are people who are actually coming up with policy to fix this. Eddie, once again, I challenge you to set out what policy proposals you would implement rather than simply repeating ad nauseum that this is some Crosby Textor inspired death spiral.

          • BLiP 9.1.1.1.1

            Nine months in and the John Key National Government Inc is “making a start”? F F S !

            Why would anyone in their right mind offer policy to this government – are they so desperate as to be trolling the blogs looking for ideas?

          • Derek 9.1.1.1.2

            This dude cracks me up. He’s all “I’m so above all this politics stuff, let’s just look at the policy

            You’re following a kind of politics that died out long ago my friend. With Key’s goverment it is all about the politics. Or to be more precise, the spin.

            Today’s speech was designed to give the media the impression that there is a Plan. That Key isn’t sitting on his hands doing nothing while 1200 Kiwis a week join the dole queue.

            Both you and I know that his speech was just the same recycled lines he’s been banging on about for more than a year. There was nothing new in this speech. Nothing.

            Trying to dress up these bullet points as a comprehensive plan just makes you look like a sucker who doesn’t understand how politics, and particularly the National Party, works these days. Do you want people to think you’re a sucker?

          • Bright Red 9.1.1.1.3

            P not P. name one new iniitaitive that Key announced or foreshadowed today.

            No. there isn’t one.

            everything he talked about is

            a) minor

            b) old hat

            c) not effective at producing growth or jobs

            and a good deal of it is:

            d) stuff developed under Labour

            • Policy not Politics 9.1.1.1.3.1

              I know a far bit about politics works in this country mate having been involved in the lobbying business for awhile. Nowhere did I say that he announced new initiatives, in fact it is bloody frustrating sitting back watching the spin come out from both sides of the House. It seems the only person who has actually put forward solutions is Sir Roger Douglas – never mind that it is the same ideology he has been pushing for 20 years!!! A shame when you think about it.

              Derek, you need a better understanding of english – there is a difference between initial steps and a plan. You say this kind of politics died a long time ago – if that is true then this country is in a very bad shape. Little wonder Richard Worth gets more discussion over here then the actual issues. Take a leaf out of David Cunliffe’s book and bring something constructive to the table. Come over to my website because that is what I plan to do

    • Draco T Bastard 9.2

      regulatory reform Such as hobbling the RMA so that it’s easier for businesses to over ride the say of the people and pollute.

      investment in infrastructure Ah yes, more roads – Peak Oil any one?

      better public services After cutting how many thousands of jobs from the public services?

      education and skills Cut in education wasn’t it?

      world-class tax system Now this is interesting – what does he actually mean here? Considering that his government have just cut taxes for the top income bracket I suppose he means that the rich won’t have to pay taxes.

  10. Well Hi guys here a re my few suggestions.

    School Hours -Longer
    Increase the school day to 4:30pm, this will help parents who need to work longer and would help facilitate the teaching of children.

    Military Service
    If after 2 years of leaving school, you do not have fulltime employment or are in tertiary qualification. Military service will be part of requirement to get dole

    Dole
    Only given for 6 months after that, all money becomes a loan.

    Export Tax reductions
    Reduce tax for all companies who export.

    Remove GST of food
    This will help local produce companies as a lot of food products are made l locally. Then remove all GST.

    Sell all Government SOEs
    Get over the feel good political connivence, and sell some.
    Air NZ shares , Airports, Schools, Hospitals , TV companies, Rail, Roads, Power Companies, go for it.
    )) go go go .

    Alcohol
    Increase the tax on this a large amount, and increase buying age. Stop Sunday trading.

    Get our dependance of Oil
    Electric trains, mass fast track and investment.
    Support a local manufacture of electric Cars.

    Governance
    – Reduce all MPS wages, reduce the number of MPs, have a referandam on MMP, etc, performance based wages.

    Local governance,
    Clean up allot.

    All these and hard work may just have a chance.

    • Quoth the Raven 10.1

      Anthony – Some of that’s a bit contradictory. Sell the trains, but invest in them. Cullen brought back the trains to invest in them. Otherwise it’s just handing money over to the private sector. If they’re sold again don’t invest in them.
      More sin taxes, really? I think sin taxes are ludicrous.
      Instead of taking GST off food get rid of GST altogether. We don’t need regressive taxes like that.
      Miltary service, stop sunday trading you really are an authoritarian aren’t you.
      I think you’re plan is daft conservatism.

    • AB are you Keys speechwriter? , if not throw in your day job.

      You havent a clue what you are talking about but a list, any list of inane ideas, seems to be all that the great Communicator wants put in front of him.

  11. jarbury 11

    Hey look it’s Anthony again!

    • Ianmac 11.1

      Anthony says: “Reduce all MPS wages, reduce the number of MPs, have a referandam on MMP, etc, performance based wages”
      I bet a referendum would vote get rid of half MP’s, abolish PM’s salary as he doesn’t need it, cut their salaries to minimum wage, pay their own expenses, and performance pay as judged by the electorate. Very useful. As of course teachers baby-sitting children in school for an 8 hour day. Great! 🙂

      • Jasper 11.1.1

        But but but!

        The PM DOES need his Salary. Remember, he’s got no other income now that he’s only worth about $20million after having lost 60% of his Merrill Lynch shares when Bank America bought them out.

        But much of that 20 million NZD is tied up with property such as London apartment ($1.3 million NZD), the Hawaiian pad ($6 million NZD) The Omaha beachpad ($2 million NZD) and the Parn-Hell McMansion ($8million…apparently)

        So the remainder is locked away in shares which can be cash. Ever heard him go on about his salary being donated to charity lately?

        • felix 11.1.1.1

          Doesn’t he have a house in his electorate as well?

          Or is he not even bothering with that charade any more?

          • Jasper 11.1.1.1.1

            If he does it’s probably under the B and J Family Trust… of which details are unknown.

  12. Bright Red 12

    School Hours -Longer
    Increase the school day to 4:30pm, this will help parents who need to work longer and would help facilitate the teaching of children.
    – I don’t know enough about this topic but I would suspect there are good reason why the school day is the length it is. For one, when are teachers going to do their non-contact stuff – class plans, marking etc if you make them teach an extra 7.5 hours a week?

    Military Service
    If after 2 years of leaving school, you do not have fulltime employment or are in tertiary qualification. Military service will be part of requirement to get dole
    – what if you are in parttime work? or disabled? or looking after a child? to name just a few problems. Then, why do we want to go to the expense of training all these people with military skills? what good does that do? What are they producing? How do you get off the dole by getting work if you’re away in military training?

    Dole
    Only given for 6 months after that, all money becomes a loan.
    – and then it’s a big ‘fu*k you’ to people who can’t find work and their families? All the people losing their jobs right now because of the boom bust nature of the capitalist economy, they should suffer?

    Export Tax reductions
    Reduce tax for all companies who export.
    – ask the WTO about that one.

    Remove GST of food
    This will help local produce companies as a lot of food products are made l locally. Then remove all GST.
    – i supoprt those ideas in principle, but where does the billions of dollars to fund it come from?

    Sell all Government SOEs
    Get over the feel good political connivence, and sell some.
    Air NZ shares , Airports, Schools, Hospitals , TV companies, Rail, Roads, Power Companies, go for it.
    )) go go go .
    – yeah because the history of turning over vital assets to private (foreign) owners is just so wonderful, let’s do it again, but this time bigger!

    Alcohol
    Increase the tax on this a large amount, and increase buying age. Stop Sunday trading.
    – more restrictions on alcohol I agree with. It’s one of the biggest causes of health problems and crime.

    Get our dependance of Oil
    Electric trains, mass fast track and investment.
    Support a local manufacture of electric Cars.
    – good stuff

    Governance
    Reduce all MPS wages, reduce the number of MPs, have a referandam on MMP, etc, performance based wages.
    – performance-based? What is performance? Who measures it? Why reduce the number of MPs? Why reduce their wages – it would just make it more of a game that only the rich can afford to play.

    Local governance,
    Clean up allot.
    – ?

  13. jarbury 13

    Hey at least he’s got a clue when it comes to transport 🙂

    (I mean Anthony, definitely NOT the government)

  14. felix 14

    It’s easy to make fun of some of Anthony’s ideas, but at least he’s putting them forward to be discussed – more than I can say for the ineffectual do-nothing unproductive failure John Key.

    Hey National: ^^ that’s what a list of ideas looks like. Backwards and contradicted maybe, but just as good as anything you’re likely to come up with. Probably took Anthony a few minutes.

    You cnuts have had 9 years in opposition and 8 months in govt and you still haven’t come up with anything this substantial.

    Losers.

  15. Chris G 15

    Good on you Anthony for putting forward ideas, no other tories do.

    Disagree with everyone on the alcohol tax. If you go ahead and tax alcohol more and more I think your heading towards prohibition. If it gets too expensive you know what I will do (and encourage fellow students to do)? Home brew, and that shit is potent.

    Failed tax.

  16. Bill 16

    What he said yesterday “Yeah, there’s no chance of us going into cruise control. Eh. I’m giving a speech tomorrow morning actually, here in Wellington and that’s going to lay out .it’s pretty high level so don’t look for too much in it, but it’s basically laying out what we think are the systemic problems in the NZ economy and some pillars of, or areas where we think there should be a real focus to lift productivity.”

    So, the systemic problems he identified were? And the pillars or areas that should be focussed on to raise productivity are?

    Being fair. The second of the two things he was going to be talking about are not things he could have talked about. He was only ever promising a list of pillars or areas.

    I was going to provide an answer to those two questions above, but my eyes glazed over and my brain shrivelled before I was half way through his mindless Telly Tubbiness.

  17. Doary 17

    Well the state is alright, whats much is he supposed to say?

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