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Roger Douglas on Key and English

Written By: - Date published: 11:54 am, June 21st, 2009 - 17 comments
Categories: act, blogs, national - Tags: , , , ,

Commenting on Key’s policy to force the Guardians of the Super Fund to invest 40% of funds in New Zealand, ACT’s Roger Douglas notices a pattern we’ve posted on here at The Standard before:

“This only enforces the emerging trend we have seen between Mr Key and Mr English. Mr Key announces a stupid idea – be it a cycleway or forced investment in New Zealand – Mr English realises the idea is stupid, and distances himself from it.

“The Prime Minister then becomes hell-bent on scoring another symbolic victory over the Finance Minister – who backs down and Mr Key gets his way. But these battles are only resulting in pyrrhic victories – neither the cycleway nor forced investment will make New Zealand better long term.

“The trend is towards an obsession with massaging Mr Key’s political image, at the expense of New Zealand’s long term prospects.

Can’t argue with that.

[Hat tip: Trevor Mallard at Red Alert.]

17 comments on “Roger Douglas on Key and English”

  1. mike 1

    But, but Douglas is a political dinosaur whose ideas are irrelevant in the modern era…

  2. craig 2

    I’m confused too – I thought the left wing would want a stipulated portion of the super fund money invested in NZ???

    And isn’t Roger Douglas’ sole purpose as an MP to try and push NZ further to the right?

    “neither the cycleway nor forced investment will make New Zealand better long term.”

    Like you know what Roger Douglas thinks would be better for NZ long term – no tax and poor people dying in the streets….

    I mean do you agree with Roger Douglas because you think the Super Fund should be invested where ever it can find the highest rate of return (even if that’s all outside NZ and possibly in immoral companies)?

    Or just because your hatred for John Key borders on irrational and anytime someone disses him you like to jump on the bandwagon?

    • Eddie 2.1

      Um, it’s not about the Super Fund per se, it’s about the pattern where Key comes up with a bright idea, English then distances himself from it and either quietly kills it or gets publicly overruled by Key. Whatever you think of the individual issues, it’s clear there are some deep divisions between English and Key.

      As for the Super Fund, I think the 40% directive goes against the entire point of the fund – to maximise returns on NZ’s investment to help smooth the costs of the retiring baby boomer generation (though personally I’m inclined to make those intergenerational thieves pay their own way).

      The fund wasn’t designed to provide cheap investment capital for NZ businesses. The Guardians don’t like the 40% directive, they think there aren’t enough investment opportunities and it’ll lead to lower returns. That means higher taxes or reduced Super entitlements in future.

  3. craig 3

    “it’s clear there are some deep divisions between English and Key.”

    Whereas Helen Clark and Phil Goff were totally best friends? Look at Obama and Clinton – a little bit of disagreement is a good thing. Key has to portray the image that he’s in charge to the public, but we have no idea to what extent he listens to or incorporates English’s ideas and suggestions behind closed doors.

    “I think the 40% directive goes against the entire point of the fund to maximise returns on NZ’s investment to help smooth the costs of the retiring baby boomer generation over time.”

    You know what could probably get great returns – chemical weapons. However a lot of people think investments should be channeled by more than just a single goal of “maximising returns”… A bit like profit vs the triple bottom line in business.

    • Eddie 3.1

      I’m all for ethical investment and agree with the Greens on that count. I don’t think the misguided economic nationalism of insisting we only invest in NZ makes sense though.

      Goff and Clark got along fine during the last term of government. Remember, she’s the one who made sure he succeeded her as leader. But where you’ve got the PM and the Finance Minister busily undermining each other in public over major policy positions it’s hard to argue that it’s just healthy competition of ideas.

      • Anita 3.1.1

        I don’t think the misguided economic nationalism of insisting we only invest in NZ makes sense though.

        Why not?

        I can never wrap my head around the economics (which, it seems to me, are a balance between higher possible gains by choosing riskier markets and increased investment through increased tax take from economic stimulation and stable investment in infrastructure), so I’m curious about your logic.

      • burt 3.1.2

        Eddie

        So are you anti nationalising NZ assets?

  4. Ianmac 4

    It is OK to have ideas rubbing against each other. It is the pattern of fanciful Key ideas versus the pragmatic English ideas which seem to highlight the odd couple. If we were brainstorming any ideas at all for a solution to a problem, then included in the list would be fanciful fantastic suggestions, BUT would the Chairman or PM announce the fanciful ones as real soloutions? (Oops! But will leave that as solo-utions.) Not a very wise step let alone examples of the “PM being from a pragmatic philosophy.”

  5. burt 5

    Eddie

    Sir Roger also makes some very valid points here;
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0906/S00272.htm

    • Anita 5.1

      I had forgotten just how pompous Douglas can sound:

      I consider it a great misfortune that Michael Joseph Savage did not live to see the effects of his vision.
      If he did, I am sure that he, like me, would realise the error of our ways

      (I think the ungrammaticality makes the pompousness more cringe inducing, but is not unusual in speeches)

  6. mike 6

    “But where you’ve got the PM and the Finance Minister busily undermining each other in public ”

    Really? not over playing it a tincy wee bit Ed?

    JK and Bill have some different ideas and are capable of thinking outside of a strict doctrine and aren’t controlled by the mothership as was labour. Very Refreshing and it looks like NZ agrees going by the latest poll

    http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2009/4391/

  7. Craig Glen Eden 7

    Successful Leader ship in Political terms ( no matter what colour the team is) will always be seen to sing from the same song sheet. I think it is you Mike that is over doing it with the rhetoric.

    Key and English make contradicting statements, they are not just differing views on how to move in the same direction they actually contradict each other.

    They have got away with it so far granted, but once Keys lack of vision and poor political management continues to be exposed things will change. I talk to people weekly who voted National who are now just realizing the mistake that they made.

    Enjoy the warm glow of the latest poll, but remember what goes up must come down and John Key will fall like a Blimp on fire. The Polling was good for National and Lee before the Mount Albert Election but time and a few stumbles and that all changed.
    Key has over promised and he will under deliver, unlike a successful National leader like Bolger, who promised nothing but always just did enough because he was seen to be reliable and a safe pair of hands.

  8. StephenR 8

    burt, interesting spiel from Douglas, especially on super. Has it been discussed anywhere that you know of? Wouldn’t be surprised if not, because I suspect it’s roughly a ‘standard’ speech on his part.

  9. Samuel Konkin 9

    @ StephenR,

    Generally speaking, there is much discussion of the fact that pay-as-you-go systems are inappropriate in places with changing demographics, and that if you save for yourself the returns are much better.

  10. StephenR 10

    the fact that pay-as-you-go systems are inappropriate in places with changing demographics

    Ta. Do you mean places with changing demographics are high population growth countries i.e. pay as you go would be suitable for somewhere like NZ?

  11. Samuel Konkin 11

    It depends on the differences in demographics, and the sustainability of population growth. So high growth in recent years will not be sufficient for the baby boomers, especially when couples with increased health costs.

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