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Most leaders of the opposition are unemployed, they just don’t know it yet

Written By: - Date published: 10:21 am, May 29th, 2020 - 68 comments
Categories: employment, national, paul goldsmith, same old national, todd muller, uncategorized, unemployment - Tags:

Holy hyperbole.

Aotearoeans.  Check your bank accounts to make sure you were paid last week.  Apparently most of us are unemployed, we just don’t know it yet.

This is what Todd Muller said yesterday.  From Kristin MacFarlane in the Herald:

“Most New Zealanders are unemployed but they don’t know it yet.”

Those were the words of National Party leader Todd Muller, who wants to see New Zealand open up its borders to Australia as swiftly as possible to ease the crippling economy struggling on its knees.

He also made a number of other claims which are, shall we say, dubious.

He claimed that the National Party was “unified in helping New Zealand through “a time of acute national crisis”.”  Good luck with that.  I have never seen National more divided.

He said that the National caucus was “totally focused on developing an economic recovery plan that works for New Zealand families and it gives people surety about their future.””  This is suprising because a couple of days ago he suggested they did have a plan.  What have they been doing all lock down?  In fact what have they been doing for the past two years?

They do have a rudimentary plan but it is more a loose collection of prejudices than an actual strategy.   Their solution is get out of the lockdown as soon as we safely can, workplace reform aka union bashing and reducing wages and conditions and paving the way for private investment.  Ayn Rand would be proud.

He said “[w]e can’t open up all the presents all in one day. We’ve got to stagger them but New Zealanders, I have every confidence, will be very interested in what we have to say.”  I have no idea what he was talking about.

He wants the trans Tasman bubble opened as quickly as possible.

We’ve been very clear that we think the Government should prioritise it, with great haste of course. They need to balance the importance of keeping us safe but I think it’s very important that they prioritise that and at the same time have the capacity to have concurrent conversations with other jurisdictions in the world to be able to work out the next steps in opening those markets too.”

I and the overwhelming majority of kiwis would trust Jacinda Ardern on this.  So far her decision making has been exemplary.  Australia still has new cases happening although not many.  And their Covid rules are now more restrictive than New Zealand’s.  For me I am happy for this to be done safely, not quickly.

Muller said he had enjoyed his first week in leadership, receiving plenty of support from his family.  Which speaks volumes.  I would have thought that he should be receiving plenty of support from his caucus.

There is one person who will be unemployed in the near future but he does not seem to realise it yet …

68 comments on “Most leaders of the opposition are unemployed, they just don’t know it yet ”

  1. Ffloyd 1

    Amy had better rattle her dags and whip up a batch of plans. Quick smart.

  2. Enough is Enough 2

    " In fact what have they been doing for the past two years?"

    Exactly. They should have had a plan ready to go for the economic fallout from the pandemic.

    • Incognito 2.1

      Exactly! They are battle-hardy from the GFC and the Christchurch earthquakes. It is a piece of piss for them to whip up a recovery plan for the COVID-19 Pandemic. Five bullet points should do it.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Sod these Nats who seem to view the Alert Levels and Lockdowns as little more than a barrier to increased “shareholder value” and profits.

  4. Dean Reynolds 4

    Putting 'the plan' together will expose the deep divisions in the Nat caucus. The new converts to Keynsian, interventionist economics will be fighting with the neo lib, austerity, balanced budget loonies. It'll be a fight to the political death.

  5. mac1 5

    Interesting use of language to refer to planned changes as 'presents".

    Does this make him a sugar daddy, or a Santa?

    What role does this give the public but grateful reception of his as yet undescribed bounty.

    Is this just another cargo cult?

    The thing with presents is we all like them. We can all look forward to them but the giver does not have to outline them as they are in the nature of presents, secret.

    That means that the giver just might not yet know what he intends to give as a present.

    But we know that we want it, grabbed at the last moment from a $2 shop, with a nice card but with minimal messaging, wrapped in fancy paper and plastic which is a burden to the environment, and essentially some useless throwaway product manufactured overseas in a sweat shop.

  6. AB 6

    Cookie-cutter right-wing business guy. Boring as hell and irrelevant in terms of the sort of future we need to create. I had assumed he was better than that – and thought there would be a bounce. Instead we may soon be witnessing a Todesspirale

  7. ianmac 7

    The Nats have but one plan and that is to gain power at any cost.

  8. Chris 8

    https://www.pressreader.com/new-zealand/the-new-zealand-herald/20200529/281479278626304

    Good to see Tim Wilson spelling out National's financial incompetence and how it's Labour governments that pull us out of crises.

    Would be good to see Muller asked directly about this because the facts are there for all to see, which is why it's a myth that National's economic track record surpasses Labour's.

    Would be good to see an analysis of why this is the case, and how the mythological perception's emerged in the first place. We need to bust this myth so the truth is known by everyone.

    • Westiechick 8.1

      Simon Wilson. Yes. It is frustrating – the nats superior economic competency is a mythical article of faith that is widely believed and seems utterly false. Is there magic in the pinstriped suits? Journalists perpetuate the myth despite the reality that the Blinglish "surpluses" were achieved by social spending cuts that were going to have to be made up for at some stage. It is going to be a big job to debunk this but it must be done.

      • Chris 8.1.1

        Simon!

      • Enough is Enough 8.1.2

        I would score the Nats and Labour almost equally when it comes to economic management.

        How can you rate one above the other when they have both subscribed to and followed the same neo-liberal gospel since 1984?

        There is a lot of money being spent at the moment. But there is nothing being done to reform and restructure the economic framework that Douglas and Richardson created. 12 weeks out from the election, Labour hasn't even hinted that they might go down that road in the next term.

        • Incognito 8.1.2.1

          Labour hasn't even hinted that they might go down that road in the next term.

          Huh?

      • tc 8.1.3

        Please stop calling them journalists, they're shills and opinionators

        Journalism is a fact based profession. Somebody f'd up as granny normally buries these national critical pieces.

        Wonder if Toddy got a ‘wanna see wages drop’ or similar in him before September.

      • miravox 8.1.4

        "Is there magic in the pinstriped suits?"

        I blame the impact of branding, straplines and public relations framing. Say something once and it must be true if it matches these three things.

        Works for everything.

    • RedBaronCV 8.2

      What has happened at the Herald to let this one into print? Granny go out on the town now the bars are open and through the haze that followed forget to check what the kids where actually putting in the paper?

    • ianmac 8.3

      Thanks Chris. Simon has put the essential problems with Todd Muller and his team to front and centre. He identifies those things that should worry the National members, unless of course it won't matter as they just have to press the buttons that can undermine, denigrate and cause doubt in the minds of the voters.

      Well done Simon Wilson!

      • Jilly Bee 8.3.1

        Absolutely ianmac, Simon's columns are always a 'must read', as apposed to Audrey Young who got her school ma'am's hat on this morning with her rating of some MPs under Covid 19. Michael Woodlousehouse got an A+++++, what for, I don't really know as yet, as did David Seymour. She is of the opinion that just because some Government MPs were out of sight, they weren't working at all. Of course David Clark came in for stick for his 'breaking' Covid Rules, which were simply dumb, but nowt said about the then leader of the Opposition cruising backwards and forwards from Tauranga to Wellington, which was equally as dumb and unnecessary.

  9. peterh 9

    I just wish all the urgent Aust/NZ bubble fools check out whats happening in Australia in Western aust they had 10 new cases in two days, in NZwales they opened schools Monday closed 2 on Tuesday after pupil in each school infected. in Queensland a 30 year old passed away covid infected did not think he had covid, had a party at his house last Friday, in Victoria 111 cases at meatworks cluster ,two aged cares infected two McDonalds closed 11 community transmissions in 3 days, Queensland will not open borders before September NZ will be ready but Australia is months away

  10. RedBaronCV 10

    What an insensitive off beat idiot. Most people have enough changes going on in their life at the moment without some doomsayer leaning over their shoulder saying "you are all going to be unemployed soon"(unless you vote for National) stressing them even further.

    He's just trying to stoke fear and division – plus showing he can't count.

    Even if (& I really hope we don't) we have 30% unemployed then 7 out of 10 people still have a job.

    Even if – we had a totally internal economy no exports or imports – we would still have at least some jobs. And frankly having seen how many designed PPE in a hurry we should be encouraging internal innovation and production before overseas investment leaching off all our work

    • observer 10.1

      He's lost his copy of "Opposition For Beginners" again.

      You never state a definitive "fact" that is instantly disproved. The follow-up questions from media or opponents write themselves …

      "Mr Muller, do you really believe the unemployment rate will rise to 50%?"

      "Look, that's not what I said"

      "But actually you did say …"

      "Look, that's not the issue …" etc.

      And so it continues.

  11. Dennis Frank 11

    The plan will presumably be launched prior to the campaign and one would hope the coalition provides one then too, eh?

    Brian Easton: "The 2020 Budget Economic and Fiscal Update (BEFU) was the most difficult forecasting exercise in the history of the Treasury." " Measured by GDP, the Treasury forecast expects the economy to contract in the year to this June by 4.6 percent (mainly in the current quarter, under the lockdowns). This is a bigger annual contraction than at any time in the postwar era. The following year to June 2021 it contracts a further 1.0 percent and then it expands quickly by 8.6 percent (again a very high rate). By the end of 2022 the economy is about where they expected it to be before the Covid Crisis (as indicated by the 2019 HEFU)."

    So the boffins are relatively optimistic. No mention of govt policy in the forecast – maybe they see any recovery plan as mere hand-waving?

    "The public debt ratio is expected to increase from about 19 percent today to about 54 percent of GDP four years out. That’s a big lift; the fiscal response to the milder GFC lifted the ratio from about 7 percent of GDP in 2008 to 26 percent in 2013. (The Canterbury earthquakes were another contributor to the lift.) Now a debt-to-GDP of 54 percent is not bad by current international standards, but the big worry is that perhaps there is another major shock in the offing." https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/what-the-2020-budget-forecasts-mean

    So it's a question of how each plan frames this economic context. Picking winners seems inevitably part of that. How ought govt do it? Perhaps campaign marketing of each plan will be the hinge of perceived difference. Seems like Muller, Hooton, Goldsmith are the troika who must agree on the Nat plan & win caucus support for it. Then it depends on the ad agency they hire.

    • Dennis Frank 11.1

      Another clue to the future plan comes from Michael Reddell, after he participated in a "Zoom seminar put on by the Law and Economics Association on economic policy responses to Covid-19." https://croakingcassandra.com/2020/05/28/doing-more/

      "There were three economists speaking, none of whom I would usually associate with calls for a more active and interventionist state – Eric Crampton (New Zealand Initiative), Andreas Heuser (Castalia consultants, and formerly Treasury), and Richard Meade (of Cognitus, also consultants). The slides for all three presentations are here (and I think they said they are planning to put the video up as well)."

      "None seemed remotely comfortable with the current situation or content that what needed to be done had been done. I found it interesting that all three were advocating more-liberal state-sponsored/provided access to interest-free credit."

      • Nic the NZer 11.1.1

        An interesting thing happened in Australia last week. Their Treasury accidentally estimated that their employment support scheme would cost $60 billion more than it would. Interestingly when the error became apparent their government have decided to reduce the budget by $60 billion and keep the 5% odd increase in unemployment, so making it very explicit that they could afford to have unemployment closer to 5% than to 10% but would rather not be spending enough to achieve that outcome.

        http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=45040

        I am slightly more optimistic about New Zealand and the governments pain threshold for having a 10% unemployment rate. But this should make is apparent its ultimately up to the government what that unemployment rate is. In the Australian case their treasury was saying, sure $60 billion of spending will be fine and it was the treasurer who declined.

    • Incognito 11.2

      Picking winners seems inevitably part of that.

      Nah, that never works well because only winners can pick winners, you see, and it becomes a game of I-scratch-your-back-if-you-scratch-mine.

      It won’t work even less well for post-Pandemic recovery because so many ‘winners’ have now found themselves to be ‘losers’, through no fault of themselves. Is National going to cut loose those ‘losers’?

      Let’s face it, National’s Plan is the best plan because it is non-existent and you can’t criticise something that doesn’t exist; it would akin Dr Faust selling his soul to the Devil – selling something you don’t have to somebody who doesn’t exist. National is just proposing a Faustian pact, in that sense, but makes for a great story though 😉

      • Dennis Frank 11.2.1

        Yeah I agree that picking winners is rather like throwing darts at a dartboard. And the ruling ideology of neoliberalism contains the dictum `govt must not interfere with business decisions'. Facilitate, perhaps even guide?

        That's what I anticipate the plan will hew towards. A semblance of intelligent design. Retro inasmuch as Lew Kwan Yew achieved spectacular success for Singapore via state-directed capitalism & China seems to have copied that formula successfully.

        Rather than telling tourism-based businesses that they are a bunch of losers, I can't see National doing much different to the encouragement of domestic tourism that's already happening. I wonder about airline survival. A 2m separation between passengers will be a health benefit (eliminating deep-vein thrombosis due to cramping like sardines). Only talked about so far though…

        • Incognito 11.2.1.1

          It seems National is eyeing up international tourism rather and re-opening the borders. Back to BAU ASAP, that seems to be the grand plan. Problem is, of course, that we may become the first country to eliminate COVID-19 but other countries, including Australia, are lagging behind.

    • woodart 11.3

      hasnt toddler said he would reopen nz to offshore oil ex again? winning policy now that oil has plunged in price ,not.

      • ianmac 11.3.1

        Yes woodart. He said National would re-open permits for off shore prospecting. One of his early interviews.

  12. greywarshark 12

    Muller has a farm to go back to doesn't he? Though a real farmer couldn't just pop off and take up such a time-consuming hobby as being a National Party politician.

  13. bruce 13

    Don't be so hard on the guy, he has a plan. It's to tell everybody he has a plan.

  14. Frank the Tank 14

    Unfortunately he's right the corporate Tsunami is about to hit – middle management, HR, Marketing departments beware……..

  15. Leighton 15

    Strong words. So I guess if Labour is re-elected and unemployment doesn't hit 50.1% then that would make Mr Muller a fearmongering liar. But of course, by then it won't matter because he'll be confined to the dustbin of NZ political history anyway.

  16. mauī 16

    “unified in helping New Zealand through “a time of acute national crisis”.

    Yeah we saw lots of evidence of that in the past few weeks… They setup a committee that was a platform for any individual whose life was impacted by the government public health response.

    They complained that the lockdown measures were too strict. They complained when lockdown was extended.

    Thank you National for helping the country and our government in our hour of need….

  17. mpledger 17

    I see that he says he's going to give $10,000 to any company that hires a new employee if they win the election. That's just a recipe for employee churn rather than increased employment – employers will fire employees then rehire new ones with the $10,000 subsidy.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/121667275/nationals-first-policy-after-leadership-coup-10k-for-businesses-that-hire-a-worker

    • woodart 17.1

      very old policy redone badly. had a cafe 25 yrs ago. winz(or whatever they were called then) payed majority of new employee wage , weekly for six months.think it was called t.e.p. scheme. no lump sum like toddler is promising. lump sum is throwing large amount at (who knows how good this new employer will be)spinning dartboard. it was discontinued as workers were often given push the week after subsidy ran out .

    • Chris T 17.2

      Is that code for you think Labour should have got rid of the 90 day trial period completely, like they promised, and not just for big business?

      • woodart 17.2.1

        not code for anything.I dont do code. if I think you are trolling I will say so , and I think you are.

    • roblogic 17.3

      Corporate welfare, typical. Hooton has often railed against this BS, he will be spewing

  18. I Feel Love 18

    Def curious about the plan, he said it's not going to be austerity and he also won't put up taxes. Maybe he's found JKs money fairies at the bottom of the garden.

  19. woodart 19

    borders beyween different aus states are still closed. so opening borders between here and aus< which part?

  20. Frank the Tank 20

    Both sides are as deluded as each other regarding the money fairies.

    So far there is very little different in the core economic fundamentals between the two parties with National trying to stimulate via business whereas Labour is trying to stimulate via direct government spending. Both still ignore one side of the P&L (costs) and one side of the balance sheet (assets). In other words classic bastardized Keynesian economic policy that has been the mainstay of western democracies post WW2 and the reason for much of the world's current economic malaise .

    The elephant in the room being unsustainable inflation of costs such as welfare, ongoing infrastructure maintenance and basic operating expenditure. Income generation via taxation hasn't matched this increased and inflating operating cost and neither side is willing to show political courage either on the right (rationalization of operating costs) or the left (rapid increases in taxation) for fear of losing the middle who act like a spoiled 2 years old whenever a financial crutch or economic staple (like superannuation) is threatened.

    So we are left with Robbo and the Mullet (who I assume is steering economic policy in National) both putting their economic nappies on and hoping nothing flows from the sides until they can get the great South Asian immigration ponzi scheme going again. And we all know the flow on effects from uncontrolled, poorly planned immigration….

    Feel free to mock National's response and provide puff pieces from such economic literary heavyweights as Simon Wilson however your side's approach is not fundamentally different and like National's fails to address the numerous elephants in the room.

    Like comparing Pack N Save to New World….just with a prettier, younger face

    • observer 20.1

      I'm afraid you lost me with

      "classic bastardized Keynesian economic policy that has been the mainstay of western democracies post WW2"

      I don't know what history books you've been reading, but I'd say people's lives in those democracies got a lot better for several decades post WW2. That's really not when or why things turned bad.

  21. Cinny 21

    To todd,

    Both of my jobs are secure, in fact our boss shouted us smoko this morning because he appreciates us and he also wanted to support the local bakery he brought smoko from. He made sure there was plenty of smoko left overs for parents to take home to their kids.

    My boss used to vote national, but told me at the start of the week that he thought you were useless and that Jacinda was doing a fantastic job supporting businesses and their employees.

    At my other job, I've been offered more hours.

    How secure is your job todd?

    • Phil 21.1

      My boss used to vote national, but told me at the start of the week that he thought you were useless

      I bet you also have a black friend in America who never trusted Hillary Clinton and thinks Donald Trump is an alright guy.

      *eyeroll*

      • Cinny 21.1.1

        I bet you also have a black friend in America who never trusted Hillary Clinton and thinks Donald Trump is an alright guy.

        Nope, I don't. Sorry to disappoint you.

        However, my boss did love john key.

        Just stating the facts because there is no need to make up stories.

      • patricia 21.1.2

        So Phil, do you tell porkies and because of that you think other people do? Sad.

        Cinny is a down to earth lived experience poster here. You, not so much.

  22. Newsroom published this neat little poem a few days ago:

    The Rise of Toad, by Victor Billot

    All hail! Glad tidings O countrymen and womyn!

    The battle for the soul of our green and pleasant land
    is joined again: the banners blue unfurled and proud,
    stamped by the novel emblem of a Toad!

    Read the rest here…

  23. Phil 23

    Most New Zealanders are unemployed but they don’t know it yet.

    Certainly not "Most", but there are plenty of at-risk employees out there right now.

    The entire insurance industry is expecting big claims volumes on things like redundancy and credit insurance products – the trigger being when wage subsidy schemes here and in Australia end (or when the eligibility thresholds rise).

    Todd's right on the money that there are a lot of people employed right now only because those schemes have kept businesses on life support. It's an open question as to whether or those schemes can continue to exist long enough for a genuine recovery to take place.

    • Grafton Gully 23.1

      SUV, "coffee to go", dog(s), runabout, renter or two (or three), cruise the Nile and next year ANTARCTICA – how the good times rolled !

    • Peter 23.2

      "Certainly not 'most'? In other words he's exaggerating and bullshitting and has come up with an easily repeated lie expecting it to stick in minds get repeated and be taken as true.

      We heard all the guff about him being a Catholic boy. Are there parts of the catechism which covers dishonesty and ethics?

    • patricia 23.3

      Phil, your Todd has just promised them $10 000 to take on a new worker… how is that improving things? It is a wage subsidy with few checks, so is worse than what you are calling "Life Support"

      We are all in a small boat on a large rough sea, so well designed life jackets are needed.

  24. Incognito 24

    Typical political hyperbole that is doing very well on Social Media, which was his primary aim, I reckon.

    “Under the worst-case scenario in the Reserve Bank’s Financial Stability Report released on Wednesday, unemployment would reach 18 percent. Even under the Reserve Bank’s less severe scenario, it would range between 9 and 13.4 percent,” he [Muller] said.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/05/29/1211068/national-pitches-10k-hiring-bonus-scheme

    At most, 18% may be unemployed.

  25. gnomic 25

    Perhaps this image should be widely circulated? Lamie Jee and the Tuller getting thrills at a Republican conference circa 2015.

    [Shorter link that works: https://images.app.goo.gl/bPCZkmfferAwFKyEA ]

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11679569

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/82368410/politics-on-speed-says-nz-mp

  26. bill 26

    Major western economies are looking at something in the region of 20% falls in gdp over the next quarter. Then there will be the quarter after that. And the one after that…

    There are certainly many people in NZ who are going to be unemployed who may be feeling reasonably secure in their employment at the moment.

    I get that Todd said "most" …and why bother with likely realities when there's the distraction of a little Tory bashing on the table 🙄

  27. The March Hare 27

    Even if I agree with most of this post, the figure at the bottom is presented in a manner that seems intended to mislead. By (1) using a log-scale on the Y-axis, and (2) not adjusting the data for population size (i.e., by depicting total cases, not total cases per million people), the graph hugely exaggerates the difference between Australia and New Zealand in a manner that is not really honest.

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