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No more jobs for Nats’ old mates

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, December 1st, 2009 - 49 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags: ,

Apart from keeping Don Brash well stocked with corned beef in his dotage, what exactly are we getting out of the Government’s half million dollar 2025 Taskforce?

The Brash Report is a joke. It reads like nothing so much as a collective ramblings of half a dozen geriatics who haven’t had a new idea in 20 years. Which is what it is, of course.

Incredibly the report provides no evidence that the slashing of public services, work rights, minimum wages, and taxes for the rich would have the desired effect. There’s no modelling, no forecasting, of what effects these changes would have on the economy. Are we simply meant to take Brash’s word and hand over the country to his failed ideas?

If, in fact, the changes Brash wants would boost our wealth by a third (which is what is needed to close the gap with Aussie) and that could be done without impoverishing people and wrecking the environment, then they would be worth looking at. The reality is that they would do no such thing. It didn’t work last time and no-one can show any evidence it would work this time.

So far, we’ve paid $400,000 to employ some rightwing old boys for a crap report that the government has binned as part of its political gamesmanship. It makes a lie of the government’s commitment to eliminate government waste.

We shouldn’t spend any more money on this rubbish when we could be using it to heat homes, hire teachers, or reduce borrowing.

49 comments on “No more jobs for Nats’ old mates ”

  1. Pat 1

    Surely the way to close the gap with Australia is obvious. Add a third industry sector to rival the output of agriculture and tourism.

    Mining, mining, oil and mining.

    • gitmo 1.1

      Agreed Pat if we fluked a find like the North Sea oil fields govt income would increase hugely along with the GDP………. the other obvious way to close the gap would be to commit to becoming the 7th state.

      • Clarke 1.1.1

        I wouldn’t hold my breath on waiting for oil wealth to flow through the economy even if another North Sea is waiting just off the coast. The recent announcements on exploration licenses seem to indicate that the Nats would only want around 30% of the revenues from any oil found, which is around half the international going rate for Production Sharing Agreements.

        In other words, there would be windfall profits for oil companies, not for New Zealanders.

        Of course any oil deal would also need to be signed off by Peter Dunne, Minister of Revenue, and it’s his policy to give away the oil to foreign companies for free:

        We believe that the general policy should be a zero royalty rate with the government reserving the right to apply a royalty

        You just can’t make this shit up.

        • gitmo

          While I agree that Dunne is a rorter and a diddle there’s no need to selectively quote to mislead.

          “oppose a standard royalty rate on new offshore oil discoveries being fixed in advance. We believe that the general policy should be a zero royalty rate with the government reserving the right to apply a royalty, on a case-by-case basis specific to rate of any medium to large oil field discovered”

          • Clarke

            So why set the base rate to zero if you don’t intend to carry it through? After all, setting a misleading royalty rate is not exactly going to provide the “certainty” that stimulates large-scale exploration investment.

            I have two problems with Dunne on this one:

            1. He has precisely zero commercial expertise. A high-powered lawyer from a multinational oil company would totally ream him in negotiations, and you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll be using that zero royalty rate as their opening position.
            2. He’s already taken money from tobacco companies, so I wonder who paid for this policy that clearly isn’t in New Zealand’s best interests.

  2. Brash said yesterday on National Radio that he had spent only about a third of the budget. They ought to save us hard working tax payers some money and can the rest if Key and co are not going to follow the recommendations.

    Where is Perk Buster when you really need him?

  3. outofbed 3

    I would imagine that there are several Tory mp’s who are feeling a bit pissed off at the mo
    Spend 7mill on a referendum where a sizeable minority were ignored
    Spend 500.000 on a taskforce that you also ignore, I can see a pattern developing here.
    You don’t join the Tory party because you are “slightly” right of centre do you?

    I would be really pissed if my party of choice were squandering all that political capital

  4. Pascal's bookie 4

    Who wrote this:

    Don, I wish you all the very best… I am confident of your capacity to lead National and ultimately the country. And I have no doubt that the country needs the kind of clear, radical leadership that I am sure you are keen to bring… I’m less certain that the country yet appreciates the need. The task now is to build the case for change without either alienating the electorate or so compromising your manifesto that the mandate you ultimately secure isn’t worth having. This is by no means an easy and certainly not a quick task.

    Kindest regards always, [name deleted]

  5. prism 5

    This report would only be commissioned by the National Party and it fits their thinking and style well. Facts and deep thought around an issue, questioning as to how changes may damage citizens wellbeing and life chances, and destroy useful systems already operating with positive results – they aren’t asked.

    National Party, predominantly male, reveals what is supposed to be a feminine trait, that of being guided by its feelings. It wants to ‘fly by the seat of its pants’ doing whatever its privileged group feel is warranted unfettered by solid facts, disinterested research, and the aforementioned lack of interest in what damage will occur.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      National Party, predominantly male, reveals what is supposed to be a feminine trait, that of being guided by its feelings.

      I’d disagree with that, the National party is guided by its beliefs and not its feelings. Their beliefs have no grounding in reality which makes it possible to mistake their actions for being based upon their feelings.

  6. Cameron 6

    Caygill, i think that was in the Hollow Men.

    • Pascal's bookie 6.1

      bingo. worth remembering eh, when the taskforce gets described as having a ‘broad’ range of views amoungst it’s membership.

    • vto 6.2

      sorry, i dont get it. is there something conspiratorial or sneaky in that quote?

      • Pascal's bookie 6.2.1

        nope. I heard Brash yesterday saying that his report couldn’t possibly be crazy right wing stuff because former Labour party finance guy Caygill was on the committee etc and so on, which is supposed to show how non-ideological the report is.

        Brash’s argument is for shit.

        It needs a premiss along the lines of “No Labour party people are right wing nutjobs” for it to work. That’s not actually true, and that’s what the quote shows.

  7. quenchino 7

    Not forgetting of course that this despicable fool almost became PM. The report condemns it’s own conclusions:

    It is occasionally claimed that our economic problems relate to the reforms of the 1980s and early 1990s. The income gap between New Zealand on the one hand, and Australia and the rest of the OECD on the other hand, opened materially further in the 1985 to 1992 period. Some critics generally those skeptical of the merits of a market-based economy stop at that point: they simply note that the income gap widened further during this period, and has more or less stabilized since the pace of reform slowed markedly. Others, generally more supportive of an open and competitive economy, highlight issues around the way in which reforms were undertaken, and in particular around the sequencing of the reforms. They contrast the approach adopted in New Zealand with the somewhat more gradual and incremental approach to reform adopted in Australia in the 1980s and early 1990s.

    We see little or no merit in the argument. It is not surprising that the income gap widened further during the accelerated period of macroeconomic adjustment and structural reform in New Zealand. [Emphasis mine]

    Those measures were needed to control large fiscal deficits, to bring ballooning debt under control, to lower markedly an inflation rate that had averaged among the highest in the OECD, and to create the conditions encouraging resources (capital and labour) to move out of uncompetitive industries.


    They actually know that these kinds of radical reforms will cause more damage and only further increase the gap with Australia. They know that what they are proposing has the opposite effect of what they claim for it.

    There is only one word for these people. Traitors.

    • vto 7.1

      well mr quenchino, surely if significant changes are to be made in some sphere then there will be some pain or ‘adjustement’ in the initial stages. But in the longer view all comes right ya?

      Just like lancing a boil.

      Which is what Brash seems to be saying in that excerpt

    • Geek 7.2

      What I got from your quote is that he is saying that a period of poor performance is required before you will see the ultimate benefits of these ideas. He is trying to say that the only reason NZ didn’t stick to the process last time is because it tried to implement the changes in the wrong order and didn’t have the fortitude to stick it out so that the benefits might be seen. Aus did it slowly and reaped the rewards.

      It’s a load of crap but these guys honestly believe that by making themselves even more filthy rich they will improve the country.

    • quenchino 7.3

      Less like lancing a boil and more like a compound fracture of both legs. Sure eventually the patient will walk again… but they never make up for the lost time and opportunity spent recovering.

    • quenchino 7.4

      Mr Geek, you confuse the general political changes that have taken place in most nations, largely in response to post WW2 globalisation… with the radical lunacy inflicted on countries like NZ and Argentina. Of course Aus didn’t stand still 80’s and 90’s either… but they never got anything as cancerous and corrosive as the ECA. Union membership is Aus remains in the order of 76%, while here its still less than a miserable 18%.

      Of course NZ didn’t tolerate these ‘neo-liberal reforms’… the cost was far too high and there was no pay off …except as you rightly say… for the small faction of the very wealthy. The proof of this is in your face, NZ had the fastest rising GINI score (a generally accepted index of income inequality) in the period 1985 – 2005 of all OECD countries.


      • Geek 7.4.1

        I think you are under the mistaken impression that I feel there is some merit to what this task force has proposed. Try reading my post fully (it’s not that long) and I think you will see that I was merely pointing out these people aren’t just bare face lying to you. They actually believe what they are trying to sell. Mostly because they think if they are benefiting then every one must be. They just don’t see that pulling up the average wage by swelling their own coffers does nothing for those who are left at the bottom.

    • Clarke 7.5

      There is only one word for these people. Traitors.

      “Looters” also fits the bill …

  8. Tim Ellis 8

    Yes shame on National for appointing that famous National Party stalwart David Caygill to the taskforce and retaining that other famous National Party activist Peter Neilsen as deputy chairman of ACC.

    • Clarke 8.1

      … and big ups to Simon Power for appointing that hard-right libertarian champion Dr Michael Cullen to the board of NZ Post.

      What’s your point, Tim?

    • snoozer 8.2

      Caygill is a rightwinger. You’re not seriously denying that are you Tim?

      • Tim Ellis 8.2.1

        Mr Caygill was Mr Electricity for the last Labour Government snoozer. He’s obviously got very good board and governance skills.

        • felix

          Economically, is Caygill a right wing neoliberal?

          Simple question, Tim. Yes or no?

          • Tim Ellis

            I don’t know Felix, I haven’t asked him. He has obviously known Dr Brash for a long time, given that Dr Brash was governor of the reserve bank when Mr Caygill was finance minister.

            Did Labour want a neoliberal in charge of the electricity industry? If he is a neoliberal then I guess the answer is yes.

            • felix

              Yes or no will do, thank you Tim.

              It’s really simple.

            • Lanthanide

              “Did Labour want a neoliberal in charge of the electricity industry?”

              I guess that would explain the rapid rise in power prices in the last 9 years that you blamed Labour for – turns out it was really a righties’ fault.

            • felix

              Anything to avoid confronting even the most simple and obvious truth if said confrontation would require you to admit to your own deceptive behaviour, eh Timmy?

              Don’t know why they call you “nice but dim” – you’re not very nice at all really.

            • Tim Ellis

              Thanks for your review Felix, but troll on somebody else today if you don’t mind.

            • felix

              Oh Timmy.

              You’ve spent all morning saying that Brash’s taskforce can’t be considered a right-wing neoliberal ideologically motivated group because Caygill is on it.

              I’m simply asking you to back up that assertion by showing that Caygill is not a right-wing neoliberal ideologue.

              If you’re unwilling to stand by your own claims then I take it you’ve backed down from them and won’t be repeating them.

              If you don’t like being questioned on your assertions then don’t make such blatantly false ones, Timmy.

              Simple eh?

  9. gitmo 9

    So instead of all the howling and wailing how about some ideas palatable to those who lean towards the left about how we should reduce the quarter of a billion we’re borrowing per week and whether the large increases in govt spending during the later parts of this decade were value for money.

    • quenchino 9.1


      Impose a range of new taxes on land and financial transactions.

      Regulate the crap out of the banks and finance industry to stop inflation in its tracks.

      Use the Super Fund to build some depth in NZ’s own capital markets so we aren’t bloody begging, borrowing bludgers on the rest of the world.

      Stop wasting money on useless new motorways.

      Reduce or eliminate our enormous oil import costs. Pick the enormous low-hanging fruit from energy and materials efficiency lies there begging.

      Train our business and bureacracy managers to be real leaders, instead of micro-managing nit-pickers.

      Despise snobbery and social privilege in all its forms.

    • Clarke 9.2

      … whether the large increases in govt spending during the later parts of this decade were value for money.

      Let’s see … under Labour, unemployment fell, numbers of people on the benefit fell, the deficit reduced and economic growth was continuously in positive territory.

      Under National, unemployment has risen, the number of people on benefits has grown, the deficit has blown out, and economic growth is negative

      What part of “cause and effect” are you struggling to understand?

      • gitmo 9.2.1

        Do you actually believe that governments have much real effect on employment ?

        IMO they tend to take the credit or blame for many things over which they have little or no influence.

        • Clarke

          IMO they tend to take the credit or blame for many things over which they have little or no influence.

          Sure, a rising tide lifts all boats – and that absolutely applies to governments. But it’s pretty clear from the failed experiments of the late 80’s and early 90’s that governments are well capable of having a negative effect on unemployment, if not necessarily a hugely positive one.

          But let’s take your assertion to its logical conclusion. If governments don’t have much influence, then what was the point of the Brash 2025 report, other than an expensive taxpayer-funded boondoggle for their mates? Which I think was the original point of Marty’s post …

          • gitmo

            “then what was the point of the Brash 2025 report,”

            See Ari’s response below pretty much spot on, these reports which are trotted out by the government of the day are almost always a load of old wank (and expensive wank at that)

  10. Ari 10

    The Brash Report is a joke because it’s a sop to Act. The government is using it, however, to create the impression that their other taskforce is more reasonable, which it is not.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    Are we simply meant to take Brash’s word and hand over the country to his failed ideas?

    We’re supposed to take the word of an economic theory that isn’t based in reality and treat it as gospel – the same way that Brash and Rodders do.

  12. Olwyn 12

    Did anyone hear a guy from the business roundtable and Bryan Gould debating the Brash report this morning on Morning Report? It struck me that one good thing has come from it – it has made the terms of a particular debate explicit – that between the finance sector and the productive sector. Right wing ideologues like Brash assume that they will see their interests as identical, but this is no longer the case, if it ever was. In fact, at this point in time, the productive businesses and the workers may share more common interests than the financial sector does with either of them.

    • Rodel 12.1

      Yes I heard that.
      Brian Gould made a significant point but the interviewer didn’t follow it up and the general media haven’t grasped it.

      The business round table guy (and the rest of the right) are portraying the Brash report as TOO Radical, thereby allowing them to be seen as nice moderates. We’ll only go half way.Nice simple trick and it will probably work.

      Gould spoke intelligently and said what was wrong was not that it was radical-it proposes the opposite of what is really needed.’Wanky’ was the expression he used. What would you expect?

      • felix 12.1.1

        Dead right.

        For example, consider this online poll (tvnz):

        What do you think of Don Brash’s 2025 Taskforce financial report?

        * It’s too radical
        * It’s about right
        * It doesn’t go far enough

        All the questions imply some degree of agreement with the general direction of the proposals.

        Strange that “It’s completely arse-backwards” and “It’s insulting to my intelligence” or “It’s been tried and failed” don’t get a look in, eh?

        I know it’s just a meaningless online poll but it more or less represents the framing of the discussion across most of the media.

  13. Bored 13

    Back to the original question “what exactly are we getting out of the Government’s half million dollar 2025 Taskforce?”

    Simple answer, Some very expensive toilet paper.

  14. Unholy Alliance 14

    The reason why NZers rush for the gates at Auckland is never accounted for by the elites. Pretty simply its how much of their, the employed citizen income, is kept at the end of a days work. This is called after tax income which is not measures or analyzed. Since driving an economy forward requires the said designated driver (media, economic and political class) to actively look out and measure whether we are increasing after tax income so we can be certain that we will not crash (or continue on a divergent path to wasting opportunities in the future). Kiwis will continue to jump the border for a better life where they can keep more of their after tax income, pay capital gains, no problem! The idea that tax cuts, as opposed to quality government policy that may take increases in tax, will lead to a massive jump in productivity is a crock. Its is a disgrace that so many in the government and opposition, media, continue to accept the lying that is offered up at face value. But it is pleasing to see economists, the few fringe radicals (not the fake status quo taskforce reporters), can call it a crock when they see it. You can keep more of your income when higher taxes are imposed, look at Denmark, Sweden.

    Solution to falling economic prosperity, simple sack our elites who
    cite tax cuts as the one true solution. The taskforce was not radical it
    was a conservative manifesto of everything that has made us poorer,
    more indebted and exposed to a massive debt collapse.

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