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Mr Australia waves goodbye

Written By: - Date published: 6:46 am, May 25th, 2012 - 170 comments
Categories: budget2012 - Tags:

In his Budget speech, David Shearer labelled John Key ‘Mr Australia’. Because that’s where he’s pushing us. The zero hope budget offers a thousand and one nasty little cuts for students, for kids, for low-income workers, for schools, for community groups, for your public services. All to – if rosy growth forecasts come true – barely achieve a micro-surplus in 2014/15 for purely political reasons.

What’s the difference between $74,912,000,000 and $75,105,000,000? 0.26%, $197m. That’s how much National says it will reach surplus by in 2014/15. It’s such a marginal surplus that it doesn’t matter in any real sense. It’s just a political goal.

But to make sure they achieve that goal, what have they done? Cut ECE funding, increased class sizes, cut student allowances, increased student loan repayments – and that’s just the education cuts!

And when the rosy growth projections don’t come off? More cuts. Maybe they’ll call it the ‘sub-zero budget’.

Watching Key rant and rave in Parliament yesterday, it occurred to me that he still doesn’t realise he’s Prime Minister. Every broken promise was someone else’s fault and everyone suggesting a solution was just crazy; he is both unable to change anything and an awesome manager of the economy. He doesn’t seem get that, no matter what causes a problem, it’s his job to provide a solution.

Either Key doesn’t realise he’s Prime Minister, or he’s given up trying and knows this is his last term.

This Budget didn’t even attempt to offer any solutions to the fact that quarter of a million Kiwis are jobless, or that we have send $10 billion a year in profits overseas, or that we will soon owe $200 billion to foreigners, or that we spend $8 billion a year importing oil, or that our families are getting poorer, or that our formerly second-largest city is still a disaster-zone, or that our environment is in decline, or that over 200,000 kids live in poverty, or to Labour’s ‘4, 50s’ – 50,000 more unemployed National, 50,000 a year to Australia, $50 billion government debt, worst growth record in 50 years.

All that stuff, all that hard stuff that it is the business of government to address, was ignored by Key and his gang in this budget. Instead, they fixated on the meaningless goal of spending 0.26% less.

They’re so desperate to ensure they get over that arbitrary line without doing anything brave that would tax capitalist leeches (like a capital gains tax) that they’re pinching the pocket money of paper-boys. 68,000 children will no longer get the child tax rebate that is worth up to $250, another 100,000 low-income earners will no longer get the under $9,880 rebate that is worth up to $600 a year, and more families will lose out on a rebate of up to $300 a year for childcare and help for the disabled.

It’s actually worse than that. The National Party – crammed full of people who have made tax-free fortunes off capital gains on farms and investment property – suspended the budget debate so that, under urgency, they could retrospectively debate the law to repeal those rebates and take a few hundred dollars a year off kids, low-income workers, and families. If that’s not scrapping the barrel, I don’t know what is.

The budget was so pathetic that TVNZ didn’t even lead the news with it.

The only question now seems to be will how many of us will wave goodbye to NZ before NZ waves goodbye to Mr Australia.

170 comments on “Mr Australia waves goodbye ”

  1. burt 1

    Is the line that that this is a budget to make people go to Australia a recycled National slogan after one of Cullen’s budgets ?

    • Are you kidding? It’s a recycled campaign marketing line that National used to secure their first term.

      National has failed on its own criteria, making everything worse, and if it can’t fix things by now, it doesn’t deserve any more time in government.

    • mike e 1.2

      stick to sesame st burt Cullen got 9 yrs of growth averaging over 3% per annum volume in 4yrs nactional has not reached 1 % in volume growth thats averaging less than .25% per annum the Nactional govt figures don’t include inflation adjustment or population growth which bring Nactionals figures well into decline not growth BURT,

      • burt 1.2.1

        Yes I know mike e, just like the 90’s when Labour rooted the economy and handed a basket case to National. What was it that time, oh that’s right the BNZ bailout…. It’s all National’s fault that in 2008 Labour handed them a stagnant economy with empty cupboards, increasing unemployment and a decade of deficit forecast.

        • mike e

          Roger Douglas and Ruthenasia burt it was Roger Douglas who deregulated banking and allowed the BNZ to lend to ponzi schemers.
          Labour Had a better financial solution to recession than a brighter future.

        • Treetop

          Burt what Muldoon handed Labour in 1984 (high inflation/high interest/ballooning deficit) is nothing compared to what Labour left in 1990.

          I wonder what Key will leave Labour to clean up in 2014?

          • Colonial Viper

            Burt what Muldoon handed Labour in 1984 (high inflation/high interest/ballooning deficit) is nothing compared to what Labour left in 1990.

            Labour decimated its ethos, the industrial base of our economy and its party membership over those years. As well as opening the neoliberal gates of hell through which Ruth Richardson passed the Mother of All Budgets.

            • Treetop

              I am agree with you about what Rogernomics did.

              Was there a better way at the time?

              I agree with Burt to as National are following the same failed economic paradigm. At least Labour has learnt the lesson, this is why I asked “I wonder what Key will leave Labour to clean up in 2014?”

              • Treetop

                I dont have edit, two errors:

                I agree with (first line) and Draco not Burt (third line).

              • Colonial Viper

                Was there a better way at the time?

                Removal of tarriffs could have been transitioned in allowing exporters to adapt and add more value, not just closed down.

                Currency controls could have been relaxed but movement of capital still limited. NZD should have been printed causing massive devaluation.

                The banking sector under state control could have been used to provide capital for new start up enterprises.

                Thousands of public sector workers could have been transitioned to private sector work, early retirement or otherwise retrained in an orderly manner.

                And state assets like Telecom should have been kept and made into profit making enterprises for the NZ public, not for private shareholders.

          • burt


            Burt what Muldoon handed Labour in 1984 (high inflation/high interest/ballooning deficit) is nothing compared to what Labour left in 1990.

            Sure, Muldoon was a disgraceful socialist under a blue flag. Hell he wanted to nationalise everything. Wanted the state to control the provision and funding of large state assets and industries. His wage control and pricing initiatives were truly interventionist and his high income tax rates make Labour today look right wing.

            You know when you are honest about it, the current Labour party ideology would make Muldoon proud of his lasting legacy.

            You know it’s not about the colour of the flag eh… National today are kinda like Labour mid 80’s, Labour today like National from the 70’s. The one thing we do know is that a program of continually increasing public spending, increasing the hand of the state in peoples lives and continue to increasing taxation the economy stagnates irrespective of the colour of the party flag holding the levers.

            • Treetop

              In the 70s and 80s there was enough government housing for the most vulnerable. In the 90s National introduced market rents. Labour removed market rents in their first term post the 1999 election. In two terms of government National will decrease what is left of government housing.

              When it comes to the asset sales each of the four energy companies are like a Telecom so the damage will be enormous.

              40 % of the population over age 50 are eligible to vote and 20 % over the age of 65 are eligible to vote. When it comes to super annuation and housing National have done nothing to cater for the numbers which will require these services. A twenty year plan is urgently required.

        • Draco T Bastard

          burt, what Labour left in 1990 is what happens when you follow that particular economic paradigm – the same paradigm that NACT is following now. Of course, what National left Labour in the 1980s was just as bad due to following Keynesianism as applied by Rob Muldoon.

          • burt

            Labour in the 1980s was just as bad due to following Keynesianism as applied by Rob Muldoon.

            Indeed, like Cullen did heading into 2008 and it’s impact on National now.

            • locus

              oh dear…still trotting out that excuse for the economic policy incompetence, errors and self-interest of the past 3 years

    • Georgecom 1.3

      Might be Burt, might be. Nothing better than holding the government to account for its failures by quoting its own words back to it. Is that what you meant?

    • Actually, Shearer cocked that one up too; he MEANT to call John Key “Mr Australia”, but he tripped over his own lines and actually labelled Lockwood Smith with that title instead of Mr Speaker. By the time he recovered and used the line on Key, no-one was listening, because they were too busy laughing at Shearer; even many of his own caucus.

  2. Carol 2

    Mr Australia! Ha!

    I having been trying to think of a catchy label for John and Bill, along the lines of “Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher.” She earned that label in her pre-PM, Minister of Education days when she axed free school milk. Creaming off a percentage from kiddies pocket money, and burdening students trying to get ahead with more debt in these difficult times, is even more shameful than taking young people’s milk.

    Every broken promise was someone else’s fault and everyone suggesting a solution was just crazy; he is both unable to change anything and an awesome manager of the economy.

    And Key had the gall to start his speech yesterday by slamming Shearer for not presenting any solutions/policies! You’re the PM, Johnny, and it’s YOUR job to come up with solutions, not the oppositions!

    What a bunch of amoral pirates we have as a government!

  3. Jester 3

    Well if we are off to Australia in droves I know where we can get some passports.

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    So accurate Eddie. Last night in Kaikohe there was a “mining pimps” public meeting. Hundreds of people turned up, and signed up, for consideration for positions in West Australian mining. 4-5 weeks on, 2-3 weeks off via flights back to NZ.

    Further recruitment meetings are going to be held in Kaitaia and Ruakaka.

    The situation is so poisonous here at the moment with employer militancy (Talleys, POAL etc), and a plundering government who can really blame people.

    • Tom Gould 4.1

      Who can blame people indeed. With snivelling little Tory toads like Corin Dann gushing strings of hollow 9th floor bumber stickers on national TV telling them its all their own fault for living it up in the 2000s but that things will get better in a few years if their kids pay tax on their paper round so millionaires can keep their $1000 a week tax cut, who can blame sensible folks for thinking ‘sod this’ and heading across the ditch?

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      They had a short piece on that this morning on Morning Report. They were offering salaries of 70-150k. Not sure if that’s NZ or AUZ.

  5. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5

    “David Shearer labelled John Key ‘Mr Australia’”

    Only because he wanted to say: “Mr Speaker, Australia..” and fluffed it.

  6. Dr Terry 6

    We seem to be a country in process of exile. The Government is not worrying too much, as at least it helps keep down unemployment numbers. And I guess it is easier to keep bullying and punishing those unfortunates who stick it out in New Zealand.(who have fewer powers of resistance – this government does not like “troublemakers” and will be happy enough to see them depart).

    • Olwyn 6.1

      “The government is not worrying too much, at least it helps keep down unemployment numbers.”

      They seem to me to welcome it. After all, property in NZ will be “worth” so much more if we do not have to accommodate our low-waged and unemployed locals. The whole place could be like Queenstown, so they dream, with rich people throwing dwarfs and drinking cocktails from between some women’s boobs, while the shit jobs are done by transient foreigners, who can be sent home.

      • ChrisH 6.1.1

        I think you are onto it there Olwyn. It’s called “vacant possession.”

        • prism

          A good term ChrisH – vacant has a number of meanings and possession can also mean taken over by a blood-sucking demon. Put the two together and one gets a number of apt descriptions of members of the Act and Nat parties.

  7. fatty 7

    I don’t like the term ‘increasing class sizes’…we should be calling it was it is, ‘cutting teachers’.
    Nobody is creating or adding more students, there will be a cut in teachers per student ratio.
    Don’t let National win the terminology war

    • Tiger Mountain 7.1

      Another commenter, on FB, made the sarcastic observation that some teachers will become “crowd controllers” rather than educators. Schools will be like the old mini/phone box stuffing record attempts of the 60s/70s.

    • Tazirev 7.2

      I agree

      • Tiger Mountain 7.2.1

        Well then pete and taz, no ‘performance’ pay for you two from Madame Parata!

  8. Sookie 8

    I found myself depressed by the whole thing. No solutions to glaring problems, the usual Tory petty meanness toward people who don’t vote for them (or don’t vote) like the young, the poor, the middle class and distracted by everyday life. I’m lucky I’m in the 10% with no kids, but that doesn’t mean I lack empathy for everyone who’s doing it tough. This country is becoming swamped by an atmosphere of despair and a lack of empathy for one’s fellow citizens. I don’t need to leave, but I’m going to anyway, as I don’t want to live with that atmosphere anymore. Good thing I have never found Australians annoying, and I like hot places and freaky animals 🙂

    • prism 8.1

      Sookie – Some of us are pretty freaky, can’t do hot or stop being annoying though. Wishing you good times ahead.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      This country is becoming swamped by an atmosphere of despair and a lack of empathy for one’s fellow citizens. I don’t need to leave, but I’m going to anyway, as I don’t want to live with that atmosphere anymore.

      That atmosphere is a pre-requisite of neo-liberalism and capitalism. Australia isn’t as far down the track to that meanness and lack of community as we are but they will get there.

  9. Sam Hall 9

    Planet Labour?
    Planet Uranus John!

    Good on John Campbell outing the nasty, fearful racists who text his programme last night.

    I do not click on ads for goods or services other than free information when I use the internet.

    POLICE 10-7; Young drunk man says “can I piss on your face officer?”
    (policeman may have considered offer briefly.Could have “borrowed” some sunglasses I guess.

    Discipline others? Discipline Self.

    Push.Push Back

    “government at top end of optimism” KPMG analyst on Budget.

    War with Iran, supporting US-Israel 25-50% probability; Minister on Britains national security council(The Guardian)

    I have found NEWSNOW and The Guardian very useful to watch events unfold in real-ish time.

    PrisonPlanet is very interesting.

    Dear Hekia, thought is purer than form.
    Celebrating Youth Week? Throwing them on the pyre.

    • prism 9.1

      Sam Hall
      What a lovely lot of enigmatic comments. Plenty to think about there if I can work out the basic idea.

  10. infused 10

    god damm, cry me a river.. Yes, please go to aussie, go get your casual hour job.

    • Sookie 10.1

      True believer Infused will still be around to switch off the privatised lights, mouthing party sanctioned absolute bullshit to the bitter end.

    • Deano 10.2

      Australia is more heavily unionised and has an awards system.

      that’s why wages are better.

      Check out the stats on share of GDP that does to wages in both Aussie and NZ.

      It’s not just about being richer, it’s about how the wealth is divided up.

      • Snakeoil 10.2.1

        Mate, no one is forcing you into a unionised industry or the (commonwealth or state) public service !

  11. ianmac 11

    It grows on me. Mr Australia. Yep. Mr Australia. Mr Australia is the Key to increased migration to his favoured country. Doesn’t matter that it was a slip of the tongue. “Mr Australia” helps draw attention to Government failures.
    Mind you, Mr English might be very pleased at the numbers because those leaving will not appear in our unemployment figures. Cunning plan?

    • Deano 11.1

      It was a slip of the tongue at first but then Shearer saw it s merit, adopted it and used it a couple more times in the speech.

  12. Gruntie 12

    Just heard funding cuts to intermediate schools year 7&8 might mean some woodwork classes are canned – there is a positive effect – hopefully no more Gerry Brownlies?

    • ianmac 12.1

      Not just woodwork. Technology includes, woodwork, cooking, sewing and computer studies which are integrated with general programs. Hundreds of thousands of assets/buildings/equipment/personnel tied up. Incredibly short sighted. Another disaster.

  13. DH 13

    While not disagreeing with the vein of the post I will make the comment that the tax rebate for children was often exploited as a tax dodge by the wealthy & those who owned a business of any kind. They paid all their kids a small wage, saved 30% tax on it.

    • prism 13.1

      Someone does something wrong in NZ’s law so it get abolished. Some years later – NZ known as the law-less country.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.2

      In which case the law needs to be changed to catch those people and have them done for tax avoidance not that kids need to start paying tax.

    • Murray Olsen 13.3

      Funny how stopping the rich saving 30% on what they paid their children is far more important than cutting back on property speculation and the million and one other loopholes that actually do make millions for the rich. One example is buying a house near a university, renting it out to their brats while they’re students and then flicking it on for a nice capital gain once they graduate. The only difference I can see is that this is not available to poor kids.

  14. hoom 15

    The sooner Key emigrates to the rich suburbs of Sydney the better.
    What a pack of complete arseholes.
    Seriously, Urgency to retrospectively tax paper runs? Unbelievable.

  15. Roy 16

    The small piece of Shearer’s speech that was on TV last night impressed me. He spoke passionately and seriously, and sounded like a statesman. Jonkey, as always, behaved like a bratty smart-arsed teenager.

  16. Kevin 17

    Shearer didn’t fire in the address and reply post budget. In comparison to Goff last year Shearer fumbled and bumbled his way through his speech and had that irritating habit of repeating statements.

    • Zetetic 17.1

      Repeating statements can be good if you’re looking for soundbites that the media can play. A second crack for a more playable version if the first comes out funny, which it often does with Shearer, although he’s improving.

  17. Draco T Bastard 18

    Either Key doesn’t realise he’s Prime Minister, or he’s given up trying and knows this is his last term.

    Well, he doe know that it’s his last term but he was never looking for a solution. If he was he (and the rest of NACT) wouldn’t have put in place policies that leave NZ worse off but enriched the already rich.

  18. Words fail,me regarding taxing young people who earn a few dollars after school.Whilst this lousy lot of Tories hand out huge sums to their rich mates they tax working class kids meagre earnings. What a bunch of toe rags,
    Wasnt it Richardson who told us all to “Pull our booots up” well I would have thought that was just what these kids are doing.
    My eldest son helped his university costs in the 1980s by a regular paper run and pamphelt delivery .If he was taxed on it where would the money come from.? I have said it before and say it again Tories are the scum of the earth I detest them ,everyone of them ,

    • Lanthanide 19.1

      Well in practice I think Key is right, in that a lot of kids won’t be claiming these tax credits – but probably because they don’t know about them and don’t know how easy they are to claim.

      So since they were already having tax deducted, they won’t actually be missing it. Those that did claim the tax back would get it back as a single lump sum at the end of the year – but likely they would still have kept doing the job throughout the year for the regular income it provided.

      Therefore it is rather easy for the government to go after this money. At the same time it seems to have struck rather a chord with the public, based on the emails sent in to Morning Report this morning.

      • ScottGN 19.1.1

        The Dom Post says in its editorial this morning that the government will ‘scrape back’ 14 million dollars a year by getting rid of these tax credits so someone must be claiming them back. I’m surprised that Key and English didn’t take more notice when their mate Dave got his arse kicked with the Granny Tax and Cornish Pastie Tax in the UK budget earlier this year. It’s the little things that eventually add up.

        • Lanthanide

          No, that doesn’t mean anyone is claiming it.

          Basically it means the government (via IRD) has a liability: someone can come and claim a tax refund from them. I believe the expiry for applying for a refund is 7 years. So if a refund goes unclaimed for 7 years, the liability is simply wiped from the books.

          Total wealth is assets – liabilities, so when a liability disappears your wealth goes up by the same amount. Basically the saying “a penny saved is a penny earned”. Therefore wiping out the liabilities from day 0 means they are ‘saving’ money going forward.

          The student loans are a reverse of this in accounting terms: the government counts outstanding student loans as an asset, because in the future they are going to get the money back. There’s other sorts of calculations that come into effect as well, like ‘net present value of money’, because money today is worth more than money in 3 years time, largely because of inflation but also other factors at work. Increasing the repayment rate to 12% changes those calculations a little so they can reduce the discounts applied, letting them claim a bigger asset on their books while also increasing their cashflow.

  19. Scintilla 20

    When the Nats sell off lots of shares in our major assets to Australians and when our economy tanks in the next year or two, it might seem like a jolly good idea for NZ to become a state of Australia. Giant farm, plenty of food & water, rollicking tourist playground, all serviced by a bunch of happy serfs fed on cheap booze, rubbish tv & tacky imports predestined to crap out one week after the warranty … still the old alliance will be intact even if it’s not called Anzus anymore. Things will be so shit here, we will be delighted the Aussies want to take us under their wing like the annoying, jealous little brother we’ve always been. Christ, has it come to this?

  20. freedom 21

    Mr Key-
    “If you were really going to go out and buy a country, why wouldn’t you want to buy New Zealand?
    Because you reprabate, it is not for sale !

  21. Rusty Shackleford 22

    “…barely achieve a micro-surplus in 2014/15 for purely political reasons.”
    This is bull shit. Those countries whose govts spent recklessly over the last decade are currently in the shit. Those who didn’t aren’t (comparatively).

    Aussie is also cutting the growth in it’s govt spending. So I don’t really know what Shearer is on about.

    • Colonial Viper 22.1

      Cut spending on poor people, give the money saved to the rich.

      • Rusty Shackleford 22.1.1

        Exactly how much money is going to the rich? Most of the govt budget is spent on welfare, health and education. Not exactly spending targeted at “rich” folk.

        • Colonial Viper

          Cut spending on welfare and teachers, give the savings to the rich. And roading companies building highways to your investment properties.

        • Rusty Shackleford


          Almost a 1/3rd of total govt expenditure is on welfare so I don’t know what the fuck you are on about.

          • Colonial Viper

            cut welfare give savings to the rich. And leave Super as is (the largest component of benefits spending) because you don’t want to lose the next election.

            • Rusty Shackleford

              Can you give an example?

              • Rusty Shackleford

                I can give you one. Greece. Let’s pay our teachers and public workers what ever they want and not bother to measure their performance. Should work out great. I’m sure Aussie will be delighted to bail us out to avoid having another economic basket case on its door step.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Greece is the perfect example, you are right.

                  It’s what happens when you trust bankers too much. And it’s what happens when you don’t bring in enough taxes from the wealthy who can afford to pay more taxes. And it’s what happens when you open wide your economy stronger market players than yourself, too fast and too much.

                  • Rusty Shackleford

                    I don’t even disagree about the bankers part. I don’t know why the Greek people don’t just tell the banks to go get fucked and bail out their own small deposit holders. Then let the people decide what they want to use as a means of exchange.

                  • rosy

                    “And it’s what happens when you don’t bring in enough taxes from the wealthy who can afford to pay more taxes.”

                    That’s quite a gentle observation…

                    ‘And that’s what happens when the wealthy basically loot the country and [still] refuse give anything back in taxes’ is more like it.

            • Rusty Shackleford

              Or just hand out lollies like Labour did in the last decade? Record student numbers in 2005, anyone? I wonder what could have caused that? They didn’t cut Super either. I’m not sure why anyone would.

              As far as I know welfare hasn’t been cut anyway. And the people earning above $70,000 a year still pay most of the tax. So, I don’t know what the fuck you are on about. And it’s becoming ever evident that neither do you.

              • Colonial Viper

                And the people earning above $70,000 a year still pay most of the tax.

                Not nearly enough.

                And importantly, we need to move to asset taxes, not keep focussing on income taxes.

                Come now, you agree with me that the Greek govt has been shit at collecting tax revenues from the people and companies who owe them, right?

                • Dv

                  >>And the people earning above $70,000 a year still pay most of the tax.

                  Now I wonder who earns most of the income, so of course they will pay most of the tax.

                  • Tiger Mountain

                    Get it right Dv, the capitalist mode of production is substantially based on unearned income via “surplus value” as Marx put it. A worker will typically create enough value to fund their hourly rate well before the whole working period is done. The boss grabs the rest, that is capitalism’s dirty little secret.

                    Think about it-a hospitality worker on minimum wage ($13.50) serving up multiple eggs bennie orders @ $12 to $17 say, in a busy cafe. The worker is on for 4 hrs maybe, use your imagination. One table order and there is your wage for the day. Boo hoo, the boss took the risk… well actually nothing happens in society without human physical and intellectual labour being applied to natural and digital resources. Not too many orders go out if all the workers stay home.

                    Finance capital, banking, insurance, stockX’s however are totally based on unearned income. Hedge, futures derivatives etc.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      If it’s that easy, why don’t you set up a restaurant? Last I heard profit margins in restaurants were razor thin but, if you have some inside knowledge you had better not let the cat out of the bag on a public forum.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Restaurants are dead ends. Huge upfront capital costs, and high risk of failure within 12 months.

                      And in a declining economy, even more of a risk.

                      Low wages simply help prop up uneconomic, badly run businesses.

                  • Rusty Shackleford

                    erm… serving a plate of eggs isn’t exactly rocket science. Could there not be more at play than simply the business being “uneconomic”? I could probably serve a good plate of eggs out of my conservatory for 5 bucks a plate and make a good profit, but what would happen to me if I put a sign outside and tried?

                    • McFlock

                      damned big government, insisting that your cafe meals be prepared cleanly and are free of salmonella and botulism.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      How does the govt stop salmonella and botulism from spreading? Do they go into every house in NZ and check the place is up to scratch every night before mum or dad cooks dinner?

                    • McFlock

                      Nope, but commercial food businesses are regulated by the Food Act. You are actually in NZ, aren’t you? I mena, you think that under a democracy people can’t complain about the government, and you are oblivious to the health certificates that every cafe needs to prominently disply.
                      You’re not posting from Minerva Reef, are you?  

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      “Nope, but commercial food businesses are regulated by the Food Act. You are actually in NZ, aren’t you?”
                      I was merely pointing out why a plate of eggs is so expensive and why restaurant profit margins are so thin. Personally, I don’t care who cooks my eggs as long as they are good at the right price. The Food Act takes that choice away from me.

                      “I mena, you think that under a democracy people can’t complain about the government,”
                      I never said that. All I did was follow your line of reasoning to it’s logical conclusion. I stand by a persons right to complain in any context. Democracy or not.

                      “and you are oblivious to the health certificates that every cafe needs to prominently disply.”
                      Where did you get this from? And last I heard, people were still getting dodgy guts from restaurants. Certified or not.

                      “You’re not posting from Minerva Reef, are you?”
                      I now know what Minerva Reef is (after looking it up on Wikipedia), but I still have no idea what the fuck it is you’re on about.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I was merely pointing out why a plate of eggs is so expensive and why restaurant profit margins are so thin.

                      Profit margins are thin because communities are poor and half of the country can’t afford to eat out more than once or twice a month, if at all.

                    • McFlock

                      “Personally, I don’t care who cooks my eggs as long as they are good at the right price. The Food Act takes that choice away from me.”

                      Nope, the Food Act dramatically decreases the probability that the plate of eggs you buy will kill you.

                      Damned government.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I don’t care who cooks my eggs as long as they are good at the right price. The Food Act takes that choice away from me.

                      How are you going to make sure the eggs are good from the hospital ED the next day?

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      I have eaten thousands of eggs. Some even from places not covered by the Food Act such as duck nests, farms and road side stalls and haven’t even died once! People before me even did it for literally thousands of years!

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Food Act such as duck nests, farms and road side stalls and haven’t even died once!

                      Of course this holds true. Until it doesn’t.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      That sounds like a pretty crap way to lead your life. Don’t do anything until it’s signed off by someone from Wellington.

                    • Colonial Viper


                      Rusty’s kind of restaurant

                      Gengy’s Restaurant in Henderson was closed on February 10 after the infestation was found by an Auckland Council environmental health officer.

                      edit – hopefully Rusty, the cockroaches were at the “right price” for you.

                  • Rusty Shackleford

                    I lived in a country with identical GDP per person to NZ (with much higher inequality) for 4 years and it was largely cheaper to eat out than to cook for yourself.

                • Rusty Shackleford

                  No, because taxation doesn’t lead to prosperity.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yes it does. Taxation leads to a prosperous society.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      How? You can’t actually have taxation until you have a prosperous society.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      If there’s economic activity and economic wealth, tax it. Then use those taxes to build and fund things which encourage more economic activity.

                      It’s not rocket science, seriously.

                    • McFlock

                      “Prosperity” is a relative term, toryboy.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      It is indeed and their are probably as many definitions for it as there are people. Which is why each person should get to choose. Not someone in a city a couple of thousand K’s away.

                    • McFlock

                      It’s called a “vote”.
                      Try living in a society sometime, rather than pretending the world would be better if everyone was as smart and asocial as you.  

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      What does that even mean?

                      The people of NZ have obviously “voted” for the current regime. By your reasoning, you yourself have nothing to complain about.

                    • McFlock

                      Shoot, you really have no idea how democracy works, do you?
                      Complaining is fine. So are having opinions different from the government. Deal with it.

                  • McFlock

                    Nice categorical statement based purely on a religious belief in the market and not on the real world.

                    Taxation is simply redistribution of money around society outside of the market system. Where that redistribution contributes to the general economic wellbeing of the nation in a manner greater than if the funds had not been redistributed, then taxation could indeed be regarded as having led to prosperity.

                    Roads, power stations and other infrastructure projects all count, as do “welfare” transfers – other wise they wouldn’t need government expenditure at all, because the market would have provided.

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      You aren’t doing much better in the religious stakes. Try taxing a populous that doesn’t actually produce anything. You need the prosperity before the govt can levy taxes. The prosperity always comes first.

                      Why don’t you and CV debunk to a desert island and fend for yourselves. After a few years I’ll come along and start “taxing” you and redistributing whatever you produce to people on the island who don’t produce anything. It should work out quite well. I’ll even be benevolent and refrain from regulating what goes on in CV and your bedroom.

                    • McFlock

                      Whoa there, toryboy – you forgot about democracy. You might be the philosopher-king in your own mind, but even on CV and my island democracy is the dominant system.
                      But why did you never emigrate to the small-government paradise of Somalia?  

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      Why don’t you go and live in North Korea? Let’s not forget the carnage wreaked on Somalia was done so by a “scientifically socialist” regime.

                    • McFlock

                      They don’t vote in NK – try to keep up…

                    • Rusty Shackleford

                      We aren’t talking about voting with regard to living in a high taxation economy. NK effectively has a 100% tax rate and Somalia did for a long time. How do you rationalise that? Too much of a good thing?

                    • McFlock

                      You asked why I don’t go and live in NK. I answered.

                      And I think we’ve debated Somalia once or twice before – the point is that whatever its mistakes in the past, Somalia’s government now no longer interferes in the lives of its citizens very much at all.

                      Anyway, this has been fun, but I think we’ve hogged the thread enough.

              • Hi Rusty,

                And the people earning above $70,000 a year still pay most of the tax.

                Even with a flat tax rate that would be true, of course.

                More to the point, when income inequality increases dramatically through massive rises at the top of the income scale not matched by similar rises at the lower end then, guess what?

                The proportion of income tax paid by the highest income group rises as a percentage of the overall tax take. (Because its income has ‘taken off’, disproportionately to everyone else’s.)

                So, the fact that the minute percentage of people in the $150,000+ bracket pay 19% of the tax is simply an indication of the incredible rise in income inequality in New Zealand over the last 30 years. That rise in inequality has been a predictable consequence of the structural economic changes pushed through since the 1980s, and has happened everywhere they have been pursued.

                And you want ‘us’ to thank the high income earners for being so generous in bearing so much of the ‘tax burden’?

                Think again, Rusty. 

                • Colonial Viper

                  And someone who earns $71K pa pays fuck all more tax, percentage-wise, than someone on $69K pa.

    • bbfloyd 22.2

      ‘don’t know what shearers on about”…that’s pretty obvious rustbucket….. now why don’t you get back to your playpen before mummy finds out you’ve escaped again…

      • Rusty Shackleford 22.2.1

        Don’t misquote me. The spelling, grammar and punctuation was correct in my original post.

        • McFlock

          “Don’t misquote me. The spelling, grammar and punctuation was correct in my original post.”

          [… back to original comment…]

          “Aussie is also cutting the growth in it’s govt spending.”

          Wrong about the punctuation.
          Oh, and your argument was also shit, but that’s pretty normal for you.

  22. indiana 23

    Why is it that we protest against mining but are happy to leave the country to work in them?

    • Colonial Viper 23.1

      Why is it that we protest against mining but are happy to leave the country to work in them?

      Get generous money to spoil Australian countryside and wreck the Australian environment. Sounds like a good deal to me.

  23. UpandComer 25

    You all realise that in Greece their banks didn’t even invest in the problematic CDO’s right? Greece was actually insulated from the banking crisis, and their problems all arise from systemic fiscal problems?

    I actually agree about bankers and the banking system in general. It isn’t capitalism when banks are too big to fail and thus don’t face any risk incentives. It isn’t capitalism when trillions of dollars of fiat money is created to bail out banks who bet wrong and should face the consequences of their risk, given normal people face those consequences.

    But Greek banks actually weren’t a part of that, they did not buy up CDO’s backed by the sub-prime mortgages. Greece has simply borrowed money for non-productive sectors like idiots, and the inevitable consequences of their socialism have finally come home.

    As for kids paying tax on their runs, well the earlier kids learn about the inequities of paying tax on earned income to support others, the better. Introducing children to financial reality at a young age is a good thing, they are part of society and need to learn the accepted rules of society. They can form their own opinion on the enterprise from a young age, and I suspect I know what it will be. Then they might start from an early age to buy capital and decide if they want a capital gains tax.

    Labour’s capital gains tax wouldn’t even raise any money of substance for 4 years. You should all vote Greens if you are on the Left.

    Thousands of cuts is utter hyperbolic bolviated over dramatic rubbish, only on planet Labour. National has kept every single major social welfare scheme, and added their own. The only ones they got rid of were ones that weren’t working, like the fast forward fun and the execrable push play for instance

    You talk about oil imports, why won’t you allow domestic oil production and mineral exploration?Surely this would help jobs and lessen imports?

    You talk about unemployed people, why won’t Labour support anything that promotes jobs?

    You talk about jobs and vision? okay, here is a list of all the things Labour opposes that John key supports which are pro-growth, job creating initiatives.

    Labour don’t support:

    1. Future expansion and intensification of our agricultural sector;
    2. Mining and oil and gas exploration, none at all;
    3. Australian companies moving jobs to NZ;
    4. Welfare reform and mutual obligation;
    5. The 90 day probation law to encourage businesses to hire which has worked excellently;
    6. No labour market reforms whatsoever and in fact what a return to 1970’s industrial law, written for them by Andrew Little’s mates in the unions;
    7. The investment into ultra fast broadband;
    8. Any kind of foreign investment;
    9. The jobs from the freaken Hobbit movies;
    10. The national convention centre, although the hypocrites accepted being guests in Skycity’s corporate box for the world cup.
    11. Public sector reform of any kind, regardless of what happens to services
    12. Making the emissions trading scheme less onerous so that businesses don’t have to pay high costs for their emissions rather then employ people;
    13. Irrigation intensification in Canterbury, Taranaki and the Waikato;
    14. Road of national significance, i.e. finally, building the damn roads we need for business, because John and Bill make the shrewd assumption that people are still going to be driving cars in the 25 years.
    15. Reforming Local government. Every year, rates go up and up and up due to the huge wide ranging responsibilities given by Labour to local govt, and local govt’s similar unwillingness like Labour to stop taxing and spending. So National wants to decrease the ambit and freeze rates, so businesses don’t have to count on a 5% minimum rates rise every single year and employ less people, but Labour is opposed to this.
    16. Finally Labour don’t want to support partial share asset sales which will revitalise our moribund market, and save 7 billion dollars worth of certain interest payments, it would rather borrow and spend money on.. something, we have no idea what, probably more unproductive handouts.

    So there it is. 16 things which could be expanded on massively if we get more specific about smaller pro growth things, that Labour opposes.

    Labour has absolutely no pro growth ideas of its own. None. They have no vision. At least the Greens have some vision. They have no idea what to do in a climate where they can’t spend other peoples money. They have no ability to stop spending. They can’t see the utility in zero spending with better services. Labour have no vision, no ideas, and oppose anything that could promote growth. The only ideas they have come from the Greens, and they are so useless at writing policy, as we’ve seen with ACC, working for families, anything related to students with massively bigger then planned for uptake and liabilities, that any ideas they do come up with, probably won’t work.

    So there it is.

    • Colonial Viper 25.1


      Right after National conclusively proves with their Budget that they have no plan, you claim that Labour has no plan?

      Clue to the wise: the Government proposes, the Opposition opposes.

      And in 2014 the voters dispose.

      You all realise that in Greece their banks didn’t even invest in the problematic CDO’s right? Greece was actually insulated from the banking crisis, and their problems all arise from systemic fiscal problems?

      Well of course you are completely wrong.

      • Rusty Shackleford 25.1.1

        They have a plan. It’s called reigning in govt spending and reducing the govt deficit. This has worked in the past. Ramping up govt spending in the vain hope of “stimulating” the economy basically never works.

        • Colonial Viper

          They have a plan. It’s called reigning in govt spending and reducing the govt deficit. This has worked in the past.

          Its never worked before.

          And it doesn’t take into account worsening global energy depletion.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            It worked for NZ in ’91.

            And it worked for the states in 1921.

            Your policies didn’t work for the states in 1933 and they didn’t work for them in 2008, either. These are just a few examples off the top of my head. You should be able to come up with dozens of examples where your policies worked with the help of google.

            • Rusty Shackleford

              “And it doesn’t take into account worsening global energy depletion.”
              By how much did world energy production drop by last year?

              • Colonial Viper

                Wrong question.

                • Rusty Shackleford

                  Because the answer doesn’t jive with your world view?

                  OK, got it.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Ten years of economic stagnation and/or decline mate. And I’m not starting the stopwatch from 4 years back either.

            • Colonial Viper


        • KJT

          Where has it ever worked?
          Cutting taxes and Government spending has NEVER worked anywhere.

          Ramping up Government spending worked brilliantly for New Zealand in the 30’s. In fact it got us out of the depression faster than almost anyone else. We were not silly enough to borrow the money from banks, for tax cuts, though. We leave that to idiotic National Governments.

          Name one country were austerity has worked. Anytime??

    • Maui 25.2

      Is this your latest pen-name John ?

  24. UpandComer 26


    I just gave you SIXTEEN very substantial pro-growth initiatives from the National government. Sixteen. SIXTEEN pro-growth policies that encapsulate a vision for growing the economy from National. Just local reform and mineral exploration are huge things, and they are two of sixteen.

    The budget delivers exactly what National promised to do, and encompasses many parts of their plan, that you can freaking see within the sixteen items I listed, and the budget itself, all of which Labour opposes. Not spending money when you can’t afford to, shows a pretty good plan in the current situation doesn’t it. You seem to think that only if you are giving hundreds of dollars of money to people for nothing as in kiwisaver, working for families or interest free student loans, or taxing high income earners at 38 percent or something, that constitutes vision. That is completely puzzling.

    When you just say ‘no plan’ without any basis in reality, then I guess it’s hopeless for me to talk to you, because on planet labour everything has strange and exotic rules and whimsical notions.

    Sure an opposition opposes, but they need some competing ideas. Labour have none, and can’t competently execute any of the ones they do have or have had, which all involve spending other peoples money, when now, there isn’t any.

    And I am not wrong about Greece mate. It’s a fact. Some international banks operating in Greece have pulled out. But their domestic banks didn’t buy the CDO’s. You are wrong.

    • Colonial Viper 26.1

      You raise Greek CDOs as a red herring. Greek wasn’t insulated from shit during the GFC. And don’t forget the irresponsible lenders to Greece. They approved huge loans to Greece, and then helped the Greeks hide it.

      I just gave you SIXTEEN very substantial pro-growth initiatives from the National government.

      Sorry, I’ll take another look at your list. I thought it was 16 pet projects for National oriented support groups and private interests.

      • Murray Olsen 26.1.1

        I did too. I wonder if Key knows one of his speechwriters has sneaked in here?

        • Colonial Viper

          A pretty crappy speech writer, one who has much to learn about the craft.

          • Maui

            Elsewhere he described himself as a student putting himself through by working night shifts
            in what sounded like a service station.

    • Pascal's bookie 26.2

      Hi chappie.

      You seem to have been pretty taken by the PMs speech, which is fair enough, but I guess it would have polite to at least have given him some credit seeing you cribbed it so heavily. But ignoring that, for the nonce, a few of the 16, (count them sixteen! gosh) are double ups, some are ‘picking winner’ type handouts, and many of the rest are just offers by the government to pick up the tab for externalities, while others drive ‘growth’ by applying downward pressure on wages. Those are the themes I see anyway.

      A number of them will have the effect of removing demand from the economy, which is why the budget is being described as ‘contractionary’. That means the oppposite of ‘growth’ by the way.

      Point 16 is the one I’d like to hear a bit more about actually, becuase apart from partisan cheerleaders and special interest groups, I’ve not seen a lot of support for the policy from people one would normally expect to see such support from. I’m thinking here of the economists who’d usually be in support of privatisation.

      The reasons for that lack of support are clear enough to anyone who knows the arguments, but perhaps you’d like to explain why classically liberal economists have said that Key’s MOM model is not the second best option. What that means is that they have said the the status quo is probably better than Key’s MOM. ie, Key’s MOM is a dog.

      Your stated arguments in support of it are of course laughable, so I’ll let them fade away behind a discrete curtain if you like, and we’ll pretend you didn’t actually make them. I mean, you are aware that treasury has said that the govt will be worse off aren’t you? And you’re aware that the argument about ‘revitalising our moribund market’ directly implies that the govt is superior than the private sector at building enterprises that the market finds worth in? Or didn’t you think about that?

    • KJT 26.3

      If you think that selling money earning assets is pro-growth then you went to the wrong business school.

    • Draco T Bastard 26.4

      No, what you listed was 16 substantial means of inducing failure.

  25. UpandComer 27

    @ Pascal’s bookie.

    You are right, Of course I took the points from John’s speech, and no I am not John’s speech writer… I could probably do a better job then Shearer’s however..

    Where better to find out what the government is doing/has done? It is all valid, and all occuring, and all verifiable, so what? I listened to Helen Clark/Micheal Cullen and read their releases to find out what they were doing, or thought they were doing…

    Please tell me which of the sixteen are double ups? Which ones remove ‘demand’ from the economy? If by contractionary you mean a contraction in spending, then yes, it is contractionary. Are any of them actually anti-growth? if so please point out how? I mean if you have expertise on the matter and can correct me I will listen and maybe change my views, for real.

    Here are the arguments in favour of point 16. I note that you ignore all of the previous 15, but these are the fundamental arguments as I understand them:

    – the assets are not automatic cash machines. They carry a level of risk, and future dividends are not certain. For instance, a lack of rainfall as has occurred in the past would be calamitous to those power companies. What is certain is the interest that must be paid on the 7 billion dollars which must otherwise be borrowed if the partial privatisation is not applied. The government is choosing to avoid certain liabilities on borrowing which are far in excess of the ‘possible’ future returns from the equity for sale in those four companies.

    – The argument that power prices will increase due to the sale is not simply not bourne by the evidence. Prices rose steadily and steeply for the entire Labour regune under the status quo, before plateauing under National, and in fact consumer choice means that these companies will need to compete for buyers, which suggests a force on price in the opposite direction.

    – The companies will be better run under private ownership rigours. From what I understand even the prospect of such ownership has the companies finding efficiencies and improving management.

    – The float will provide an outlet for peoples’ savings. We saw what a disaster the finance companies were for so many thousands of people, and the ridiculous amount of money Labour’s deposit guarantee scheme has cost. The uptake in those failed companies which was enormous shows that there is a lot of investment seeking out there, and this will provide a safe outlet which will revitalise NZ’s sharemarket.

    – The asset sale is not complete. The government will retain full ownership. I note the hypocrisy of Maori groups in particular protesting the float, who themselves are the most voracious vendors of NZ assets to foriegn buyers in the country.

    – As a total proportion of the assets NZ owns, this is a tiny tiny percentage. Many economists are actually arguing for more privatisation in other areas which are less focussed on dividends and more on potential growth.

    – You will rubbish them, but the government has put in what safeguards it can to ensure NZ retention of the shares. If kiwis decide to sell on to foreign owners, that is their choice. I note that Maori groups have a very strong interest in these sales.

    – the partial floating of Air New Zealand has worked very well. Where were you people hikoi-ing when that happened? Where were you people hikoi-ing when Labour introduced it’s tax cuts, which make up the bulk of the current cuts in place?

    I can think of more off the top of my head but I’ll leave it there.

    Draco rather then just mouthing off a silly comment like that straight out of the VUSA, why not actually say sth worthwhile, like how those policies aren’t pro-growth, and what your obviously preferred party would do instead?

    I think almost everyone else appreciates an effort to freeze rates rises and a policy to raise taxes in order to increase the size of often useless government.

    • Draco T Bastard 27.1

      Why? You’re incapable of believing anything other than what NACT tell you to believe.

      As to my preferred (ATM) party, they have their own policies.

    • Half Crown Millionare 27.2

      “- the partial floating of Air New Zealand has worked very well.”

      Wasn’t that after the labour government partially bailed it out?

      Please correct me if I am wrong, but I thought Air NewZealand was privatised after it was said” If it is not privatised, it will end up as a third rate carrier with debts of around $500 million. Years later after being privatised, the labour government had to bail it out as it had ended up as a third rate carrier with debts of over $600 million. So your argument of “companies will be better run under private ownership rigours.” falls well and truly on its face.

    • Pascal's bookie 27.3

      Thanks for the reply U&C, i’m off out for the day but I’ll reply this evening.

  26. UpandComer 28

    Ah Draco I see you are a Green supporter. That’s a good thing. If I was to support anyone other then National, it would be the Greens.

    I hate Act because they are zealots who really don’t have a proper conception of social justice or social solidarity. National actually has this, and I know you won’t agree with me, but I think they have this, which is why they won’t get rid of WFF, and put down a flat tax etc and everything else although it would help the countries books, because it would hurt people in the short and medium term. I respect National because at least they are having a go at solving intrinsic long-standing issues in welfare, Maori underachievement and a gap between spending and service improvements. I will support someone that tries something different to sth that hasn’t been solveable for so many years which actually won’t wipe everyone out in one big explosion. And I agree with their incremental approach.

    I think the conservative party are fruitcakes, who want to peer into everyone’s bedrooms and focus on irrelevant social issues like sexuality and should just disappear. But MMP means a party like that has to exist unfortunately.

    Labour are the pits. Although, I think that the early Micheal Cullen at least was competent and coherent in his principles, and doing quite well with the economy until 2005, when Helen Clark decided to poke her nose into Labour’s economic policies and growth really nose-dived.

    As I say I like the Greens and would vote for them if I didn’t think there was so large a gap between their rhetoric and economic realities. For instance I think that the rigourous cost/benefit analysis they place on road of national significance needs to placed on their own public transport initiatives, because the horrible white elephant Kiwirail shows just how much input these things need.

    Thanks for the link.

  27. Sam Hall 29

    Up and Comer; Very interesting and informative to read your analyses,ThankYou.

    Draco T Bastard. Please keep up the good work in the Information War.

    • Colonial Viper 29.1

      His analysis? You gotta be joking. Half baked prejudices and support for the “let’s limp the economy around in ever decreasing circles National Party” is not much of an analysis.

      He disses rail – which is going to be the transport mode of the future, plugs for the RONs (which all show mediocre returns, not even including a $3/L price of petrol), makes a swipe at MMP, and claims that National is making moves at solving our country’s long term problems.

      Of course, to National, the main problem is that the poor take up too much space and money which should be owned by the rich.

  28. Tom 30

    Information War ? I don’t think that quite fits .. see


  29. Maui 33

    Are NZers considered ‘foreign workers’ in this context ?

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