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National’s undeserved reputation

Written By: - Date published: 11:05 am, October 19th, 2011 - 46 comments
Categories: business, debt / deficit, economy, national - Tags: ,

National are seen by many as the party of business, and thus the party of the economy, who know what’s best for the country’s wallet.

But the statistics don’t add up.  Their reputation is undeserved in every way.

Trevor over at Red Alert has an excellent post showing how National have shrunk the wealth per citizen by 3.2% in their 3 years in government.  And they’ve got us nigh on $40 billion further into debt to achieve that.  Yes, Christchurch was $9 billion of that, but the rest?  National incompetence.

While John Key has set a new record in the era of the 2 big parties for shrinking the economy, National’s credentials are long established – they’ve always grown less than Labour.  Bright Red set it out clear here at The Standard back in July.

It would appear that National’s thinking is that what’s good for business is good for the country.  Reality has it that they’ve got it the wrong way around: what’s good for the country is good for business.

If we put money in the hands of the many, it means there’s money to spend and grow businesses.  Put money in the hands of a few business owners, and there’s no-one to buy their goods and services.

And so, after 2 rounds of National tax cuts for the few and raised GST for the many, we see wages that are worth 6.6% less than when National came to power.  Record numbers heading to Australia.  A country struggling to get out of recession.  A large amount of new debt, after Labour had got us into net credit for the first time since 1870.

And now a high chance of a triple economic downgrade.

Although this post should be covered by the opinion section of electoral law and shouldn’t need authorisation, here’s mine anyway, just to be safe:
Authorised by Ben Clark, 54 Aramoana Ave, Devonport

46 comments on “National’s undeserved reputation ”

  1. queenstfarmer 1

    they’ve always grown less than Labour

    Once again this line of attack fails to distinguish between unproductive public sector growth, and sustainable productive-sector growth. The legacy of Labour’s previous 9 years in power was a decline in manufacturing and services, lost opportunities, and huge growth in the public sector, fuelled by housing bubbles and spectulative finance, which was allowed to run out of control (and actively encouraged). And we know how that ended.

    Greece had excellent wage growth via its bloated, inefficient, ineffective public sector. The problem was it was unsustainable. Reigning in unsustainable spending does have an impact on wages for some, but it is much wiser than following Greece down it’s path.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      All you are attacking is the notion that GDP is a valid measure of our economic wellbeing as a country.

      And I agree with you.

      However, National is also stupid enough to fire thousands of workers during a Great Recession, putting another hole in community confidence.

    • Tom Gould 1.2

      Interesting how tories get away with this voodoo economic thinking, that when they are in power, shrinking the economy is actually better than ‘unworthy’ growth. Bizarre. I blame Crosby Textor. They are not smart enough to come up with this stuff all by themselves.

      • queenstfarmer 1.2.1

        thinking that … shrinking the economy is actually better than ‘unworthy’ growth. Bizzare.

        No, actually it’s plain common sense. Not growing the economy, while bad, is still much better than artificially growing it and then suffering the consequences. Greece and Ireland are the examples du jour.

        If not, then hey why doesn’t Phil Goff just announce that the minimum wage will be $50/hour? Or $100/hour?

        • Draco T Bastard

          There’s one problem with your critique – it’s not connected to reality as it only looks at the money side of things. Once we start to look at actual physical resources we find that what we can’t afford is poorly run and under resourced government departments and the rich.

        • Scotty

          Qsf so $1 per hour min ,would really get the country humming?

          • queenstfarmer

            I would doubt it, but how does that relate to my previous comment?

            • Colonial Viper

              The tendency for capitalists to want to pay slave level wages (see those foreign fishing crews NZ companies use) must be opposed at every turn.

            • Scotty

              Would we not be more productive, using your measure.

              • queenstfarmer

                I don’t know. I wasn’t talking about labour productivity, though my understanding is no, productivity per se is not a function of wages (beyond the basic “hygeine factor” industrial analysis).

                In fact, I have long though this to be a key argument against ridiculous CEO salaries (on commercial not just moral grounds).

                • Colonial Viper

                  productivity is a shit badly defined cowards word.

                  Which usually means extracting ever more economic value for shareholders through whatever means necessary, including minimising the economic return paid out for workers’ labour.

                  The best situation for ‘productivity’ is where able and skilled workers are forced to work for you for very little return.

                  Especially in conditions which convenience the profitability of the firm even though it fucks the worker (no breaks, minimal holidays, no right to complain), because the workers other employment options are made too limited and too risky.

                  • queenstfarmer

                    The best situation for ‘productivity’ is where able and skilled workers are forced to work for you for very little return.

                    Right… they tried that sort of thing with the gulags. It didn’t work.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Actually it works real well for Apple.

                      The gulag is called Foxconn and is headquartered in Taiwan, but its major factories are in Shenzhen.

                      The gulag labour model is also working real well in Wisconsin, where they are now using actual prisoners (who cost $20K pa to upkeep) to do the work that public sector workers (who cost $40K pa in wages and benefits) used to do.

                      Further, its the model that the National Party wish to replicate in NZ. Keep us competitive by playing a game of wage arbitrage, pushing our income levels down to Chinese worker/fisherman/wage serf levels.

                      Thanks for supporting the worker impoverishing shareholder enriching business model of the Elite Scum, wanker.

        • Ianupnorth

          QSF, what you and your righty mates don’t get is that society is like a car.
          When you buy a car you have to do certain things to keep it going, e.g. you put fuel in, you need new tyres, brake pads, etc as these wear out, you service it on a regular basis to prolong its life and ensure it functions properly.
          Now, consider people (think of them as the engine); they require servicing, looking after, if you do the preventative stuff, they are less likely to break down. You can put that in several contexts; if they are prevented from becoming dysfunctional, guess what, it is cheaper to have them in society than in prison. It is cheaper to keep people healthy than fix them when they are bust (and guess what, unproductive)
          Consider our infrastructure as the tyres and the brakes – when these are in first class condition the vehicle (the country) can perform better.
          But guess what – it is the dreaded public sector that undertakes all those important roles, and guess what happens when you remove them, things breakdown, the performance of all the systems begins to fail. We have  government that has stripped many important services, and guess what, systems are starting to fail. But it’s all good, we’ll have a decent government some time in the future, of a left leaning nature, that will sort out National’s mess.

        • mik e

          QSF lies lies and more lies the housing bubble was on the rise long before labour came to power look at stats nz
          labour replaced the $ 685 million $ 900million in todays figures inflation adjusted that national was spending on high priced consultants {National party hacks]
          Manurfacturing grew as did the economy
          Savings grew as well something National ignores completely

          • queenstfarmer

            Name one lie I made.

            the housing bubble was on the rise long before labour came to power

            I never claimed the opposite. The problem is that it got out of control, and burst, under Labour when it was entirely preventable. Labour needed the artificial economic activity to generate the tax revenue (effectively borrowed from foreign banks) to fund its spending growth and claim the economy was “growing”. Which is partly why their insistence that a CGT is needed now – to stop funds going to unproductive property sector – is so ironic. The biggest transfer of funds away from productive sectors to the property sector (in NZ history, I suspect) was overseen and deliberately encouraged by the last Labour govts.

            labour replaced the $ 685 million $ 900million in todays figures inflation adjusted that national was spending on high priced consultants

            I didn’t even mention consultants. Don’t know about the figures though.

            Manurfacturing grew as did the economy

            Missing the point, which is that we declined relative to the OECD. The partisan attacks now being made are that economic growth is not happening (which is hardly suprising because of the global recession). The more legitimate question is why was economic growth stagnant during the global prosperity (apart largely from the housing and finance bubbles).

            Savings grew as well

            Again I didn’t even mention savings, so I’m not sure what the alleged “lie” is.

            • Colonial Viper

              The partisan attacks now being made are that economic growth is not happening (which is hardly suprising because of the global recession).

              Which is hardly surprising since we are being run by a laissez faire right wing Government happy to hand over billions in bailouts to finance companies, but also fire Christchurch school teachers, taking even more income out of a hurting city.

              Can we please get better apologists for the Government at The Standard.

              • queenstfarmer

                Another non-sequitur reaction, CV?. How does Christchurch teacher resourcing relate to my above comment? As does the crown guarantee programme that was instituted by Labour?

                • Colonial Viper

                  You said Christchurch was excluded from public sector cuts. You lied.

                  And it was Bill English who multiple times included SCF in the bailout protection, when it clearly failed to qualify, not Labour.

                  Come on we need better apologists here for the NATs

                  • queenstfarmer

                    You said Christchurch was excluded from public sector cuts.

                    No, I did not say that. You are lying. I said that the earthquake costs were excluded from spending targets. Which is true.

    • Ben Clark 1.3

      That unsustainable spending and huge growth of the public sector that paid off net debt? Your argument could be more consistent.

      The likes of PriceWaterhouseCoopers are impressed with how efficient our civil service is. Cuts to the public service have largely been of muscle, not fat.

      • queenstfarmer 1.3.1

        It wasn’t growing the public sector, or unsustainable spending, that paid off Government debt – which is of course a circular argument. Excessive taxation (among other things) resulted in the lost near-decade of sustainable growth (i.e. not in the public sector) at a time of international prosperity.

        Cuts to the public service are about bringing spending back to 2005 levels.

        • mik e

          QSF national haven’t grown the economy in five years of borrowing bills debt drive
          look at stats nz not your bullshit going back to 1990 national got 3 years growth out of nine while spending more on private Consultants $900millions worth 8.7% growth during that time Labour transferred the work that these private sector contractors were doing to the public sector for a much lower price. Now we are seeing the same garbage from national again increasing use of consultants run down public sector which will have knock on effects such as bio security cut backs in the nineties lead to labour having to spend $400 million on getting rid of the painted apple moth cut back in defense force spending labour had to spend $5.5 billion to modernize antiquated defense force. More of the same coming our way pure propaganda beat up some sector to avoid taking responsibility for bad handling of the economy and Debt mountain built up to buy votes from the already rich.

        • Colonial Viper

          Cuts to the public service are about bringing spending back to 2005 levels.

          Except our population is bigger now and we happen to have a big fucking earthquake to recover from.

          Social need has gone up not down.

          You’re backing Elite Scum.

          • queenstfarmer

            I suspect you know the earthquake is excepted. Although I observe that Labour & Green activists like to have it both ways when comparing spending-to-GDP and other economic figures.

            • Colonial Viper

              I suspect that Christchurch needs massive help from the public sector while the National Government has been cutting back jobs all through the public sector.

              Including firing dozens of Christchurch school teachers, out of interest. How’s that for “Christchurch earthquake is excepted” eh mate, that’ll really bring confidence to the city won’t it mate, laying off people in communities who are already hurting heaps.

              Fucking liar you are.

              • queenstfarmer

                Name one lie that I’ve made. I said nothing about teachers. My comment is perfectly correct.

        • Colonial Viper

          Excessive taxation (among other things) resulted in the lost near-decade of sustainable growth (i.e. not in the public sector) at a time of international prosperity.

          Such fucking neoliberal lies. Do you really think that lower tax rates won Ireland or Greece “a decade of sustainable growth”? Fucking idiot.

          You know where those tax rates have gotten those “internationally prosperous” countries?

          The ones who gave all their big corporates and big banks huge tax breaks and huge bail outs?

          Its got them all into a fucking stinking sovereign debt crisis. One where the push is now to crush ordinary workers and pensioners so that billionaire bankers can get their next round of bonuses.

          Us with our “excessive taxation” are doing way better than all those shitty little banker broken countries like Greece and Italy.

          Gawd you right wingers are economic traitors.

          • queenstfarmer

            Do you really think that lower tax rates won Ireland or Greece “a decade of sustainable growth”?

            With Ireland it did, for over a decade actually. Ireland got huge business influx through low taxes. The problem was it came crashing down for a similar reason that NZ lost out in the mid-2000s: a massive housing bubble, and excessive Govt spending.

            • Colonial Viper

              Don’t try and rewrite history with your BS economic illiteracy. The continuing bankster occupation of Ireland, aided by a political leadership which is working for the financiers and not the people, is what fucked Ireland.

              That and it trying to be the global headquarters of low tax corporate and banking ponzi schemes.

              You’re a moron for calling something “sustainable” when it can’t even survive one generation.

              BTW how did you manage in one breath the brilliance of crediting the Irish Government for its super low tax structures which brought in all that neat global corporate business and then slam that same government in the very next breath for overspending and economic incompetence?

              You’re a fucking idiot you know. Do you not realise that people can scroll up and compare your inconsistent bullshit from one sentence to the next?

              Talk about trying to redefine words so that they become meaningless and valueless, like your personal philosophy.

              • queenstfarmer

                What inconsistency? Nothing I have written is inconsistent. If you look you will see that I never “credited the Irish Government” and then “slammed that same Govt”. I was simply stating facts.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Blind as well as a liar then.

                  • queenstfarmer

                    So it’s clear that you cannot point to any alleged inconsistency then (reason: because there isn’t any).

                  • felix

                    Framer uses this absurd line all the time.

                    He reckons that as long as he didn’t use the exact words “I credit the Irish govt” then he’s right and you’re wrong.

                    The funny bit is that he thinks people reading it don’t see it. It’s like he’s writing for robots – and quite simple robots at that – not humans. (“I never stated I was writing for simple robots so you’re wrong”)

                    Reminds me of our old mate kiwiteen123.

      • Tom Gould 1.3.2

        @ Ben, according to the Tories, anyone on the public payroll is not doing a “real” job. I reckon the nurses and police and firefighters and doctors and air traffic controllers and statisticians and treasury wonks would be glad to learn they get up and go to work to do jobs that are not “real” jobs doing “real” work. Again, bizarre.

        • Draco T Bastard

          The RWNJS have to say that so as to justify their opprobrium of the public sector. If they had to admit that they were real jobs that needed doing then they would also have to accept that they’re a bunch of hypocrites.

    • Blighty 1.4

      When Labour came to office, government spending was 30.9% of GDp. When they left it was 31.1%.

      Today, it is 36.4%.

      This is the problem with drawing your conclusions, then making the facts up to support them, QSF. Reality doesn’t work that way.

      • queenstfarmer 1.4.1

        Name one “made up fact” that you are referring to.

        Re current vs previous Govt spending-to-GDP, that is the well documented effect of the collapse of the housing & finance bubbles, the Christchurch earthquakes and the global recession.

        If on the other hand you are suggesting it is because spending is too high, then what would you cut? Presumably not the single biggest spending item in several generations, being the Christchurch rebuild?

        • mik e

          boohoo QSF New Zealanders wanted to pay directly for CHCH damage bill .Borrowing bill said we will just borrow some more and hope we get this mythical treasury growth figure of 4.7% growth and everything will be all right.The biggest spend is on tax cuts for the rich $2.7 billion per year times 20 years is $54billion enough to get debt down to the same level as when national took office.Don’t forget the interest bill QSF at nearly $ 6billion a year makes labour look like angels.

        • Colonial Viper

          Tax breaks for the rich and for private trusts should be cut, that’s what.

  2. Uturn 2

    decline in manufacturing
    housing bubbles
    speculative finance

    not attributable to Labour in particular. National Policy: powerless in the face of Labour’s legacy? Not really. Lost opps possibly, but no one’s perfect. Manufacturers of luxury goods moving offshore because labour laws stop them arranging slave labour rates isn’t a particularly bad thing.

    But what I was going to say, just slightly off topic, is this measure of how many people are leaving for Aussie. It’s not much fun starting again overseas from a less than prosperous starting point, so I find it hard to believe that the general poor are leaving for a better life in Australia. You’d have to be relatively rich and connected to make a direct swap with immediate improvements. And if the only thing in life that matters is making more money then I welcome the increasing flood of ne’er do well robots to anywhere else. People leaving for Aussie should be a measure of a positive improvement in our collective mental health. I assume what most people do once they arrive in Aussie is stand on coastal cliffs and shout back “I TOLD YOU I’d go!” Oh well then.

  3. Peter 3

    What would be interesting is to know how many businesses have closed since 2008? If the number of for commercial property leases signs up and down the country is anything to go by I suspect closures are at record highs. If so it is a little more than ironic.

  4. randal 4

    When national say they are the party of business what they meanis they will screw wages down for the bosses. thats all. Where are the new businesses? I have a tertiary qualification in the history of business and a) I dont have a job, and b) the national party model is not business like.
    They know that the blueprint for the New Zealand economy was written in 1968 by the world bank and nothing has changed.
    all they know how to do is tax working people to the hilt and give handouts to their pals.
    nice work if you can get it.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Where are the new businesses?

      They don’t want new businesses as that brings in competition, and thus lower profits, for the multi-nationals that are their true base.

  5. logie97 5

    Joky Hen is warning us of a possible further downgrade by Moody’s ratings. He has apparently received a very reliable email from a reliable source – someone he has spoken to before and who he can trust – who might be at the meeting if it happens. He has already made a public statement as below. In fact he will not be conducting a press conference but will refer the media to the link below.

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