The old myth that National are good managers of the economy should now be well dead and buried. By any realistic assessment of the records of the last two governments, Labour is the party of economic competence.
Labour: 9 surplus budgets, paid down net government debt to zero, established the Cullen fund, KiwiSaver, KiwiBank and emissions trading scheme, low unemployment, negotiated a successful free trade agreement with China, and so on.
National: 7 deficit budgets (so far), ran up record government debt, sold productive assets, made significant losses by cutting Cullen fund contributions, gutted the emissions scheme, got taken for a ride by Hollywood, Sky City and Rio Tinto, higher unemployment, is negotiating a disastrous TPP, and more.
Here’s a more recent case study. Before the election last year Grant Robertson and Steven Joyce discussed the economy on The Nation. Robertson warned about falling dairy prices, Joyce was arrogant and dismissive. Here’s a transcript:
To get the full effect of the sneering Joyce you really need to see the video here. In the event of course Robertson was correct, and a year later Joyce looks like a fool.
Labour needs to highlight the issue of economic competence next election (with any luck the media will do their job too and fairly present the facts). It is supposed to be a core National strength, but any clothes that emperor ever had are long gone now. National is vulnerable.