Roundtable dog-waggers come back!

Written By: - Date published: 1:04 pm, July 20th, 2009 - 20 comments
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Roger Kerr, official spokesman for the ACT-National-Roundtable government, today announced the formation of a Productivity Commission to be headed by Don Brash, a close associate and admirer of former National Finance Minister Ruth Richardson.

The announcement was made in an article supplied to the DomPost (not on website) which also ran it as news.

The announcement explains the empty economic policy statements of the reputed Prime Minister, John Key, noted by commentators on the Standard. Key doesn’t run the cutter or set the policy; his role is simply to keep the media distracted and entertained. That’s not hard to do.

I posted earlier on the ACT-National-Roundtable government’s approach to democratic participation, evident in the Auckland SuperCity crash-through, and outlined in Roger Douglas’s speech to the Mont Pelerin Society in 1989. Mont Pelerin was the place where Friedrich Hayek convened the first meeting of those who “see danger in the expansion of government, not least in state welfare, (and) in the power of trade unions..”

Brash’s approach to productivity can be found in his Hayek lecture, delivered in 1996. His ideas will not have changed; it’s what he would have done if elected in 2005.

As the rest of the world turns away from the market excesses, New Zealand’s Hayek priests want to stick with old dogma. Sell more assets, smash more unions, slash more benefits, and cut the state to the bone.

No wonder Key blags on. He has to hide Hide and their government’s real agenda.

20 comments on “Roundtable dog-waggers come back!”

  1. Tom Semmens 1

    One can only presume that this arch priest of Hayak will happily pocket his fraudently obtained tax payer funded stipend for running this commission. Why fraudently? Because we already know what Dr. Brash’s “solutions” will be. He has not had a new idea in forty years. There is no need to allow Dr. Brash to have one more suck on the taxpayers teat. National can can simply recycle any number of his speeches and papers, and at no cost.

    From a political viewpoint, this massive political blunder from the government. Brash is a highly divisive figure and his entirely predictable “solutions” will simply be used by the Labour opposition as a stick to beat the government with. Labour probably can’t believe it’s luck.

    • stormspiral 1.1

      But wait; there’s more. Launched today, a RoundTable funded book on how to revamp the welfare system, together, I hear, with at least a tacit imprimatur from Pita Sharples.

  2. vto 2

    I don’t think they have come back – they have never left!

    Anyway, the ideas these people follow have, with a few exceptions, worked reasonably well since their introduction by the Labour govt in the 1980s.

    So why not give them some kudos and serious examination instead of the knee-jerk response evident in your post John A.

    • Pascal's bookie 2.1

      Hey v. trust you are well.

      Remember back before the election when you kept mocking people here for saying that National actually wasn’t centrist, and that they had a long term agenda to implement BRT/Brash style reform, and that they were just keeping quiet about it till after the election?

      • vto 2.1.1

        Yes PB all good. I do remember disagreeing with that view (dont know if I mocked though). It was on the basis that for the Nats to bring back Brash and all that palava was simply terrible politics hence it wouldn’t happen.

        But now that some time has passed it may be that you are correct. Which I still think would be terrible politics by the nats.

        I think its a case of ‘watch this space’ because despite all that rhetoric expressed on here about secwet agendas nothing has actually come to pass to actually prove that secwet agenda. Brash being appointed to something is not such evidence – but it is somefink..

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      looks around at the present recession that looks likely to recess into a depression…

      Um, vto, WTF are you smoking?

    • chris 2.3

      by “worked-well” you mean have created a debt and asset bubble so big since then that we’re going to be sucking on deflation’s sweet teat for the next x years as we try and pay back all the debt that their “engineering” of the financial system created? I’m all for economists having a voice, but surely the results of neo-liberal policies leave something to be desired for you? just a little?

  3. So Bored 3

    Dont you just love the vacuousness of it all, that nasty little right wing shiboleth “productivity”. For those who dont speak the same insider dialectic as High Priest Donny, here are some “productivity” concepts:
    * you Mr Worker take a pay cut cos paying you cuts into our margin”.
    * you Mr Worker are not working long enough or enough unpaid hours and it cuts into our profits”.
    * you Mr Worker are not as cheap as our Indian Call Centre workers”.
    * you Mr Worker are costing us the margin we would spend on machinery to replace you (but we are not going to because we can make you cheaper by paying third world wages”.

    I could go on. The Round Table vacuum heads have nothing to add to reality. What a joke.

  4. bobo 4

    What is the actual definition of “Productivity” ? How many worker units it take to produce “x” and in “x” amount of time for “x” amount ?

    I read something the other day not sure of the source but Bill English was saying something like NZ will have a slow recovery because they cant sell off assets like they used to, implying they would if they could. They are still in the sell assets off mindset of the 90s and its early days yet, plenty of time to still break that promise under the private partnership disguise.

  5. StephenR 5

    They are still in the sell assets off mindset of the 90s and its early days yet,

    Well that’s what the Right DOES, I don’t imagine time periods are particularly relevant.

  6. Tom Semmens 6

    And I hear today the latest piece of BRT madness – make the dole a loan.

    Right. Because piling up debt on those least likely to be able to pay it back is a great idea.

    Coming up next: Selling the resulting Social Welfare debt mountain at a discount to the private sector so they can more efficiently collect the money owing.

    • Pascal's bookie 6.1

      “Selling the resulting Social Welfare debt mountain at a discount to the private sector so they can more efficiently collect the money owing.”

      Sort of.

      Bundle it up into a big shit pile which you then break up into tranches. Get your friends at S&P to rate the top few tranches at AAA and sell those debts, the earnings from these sales can returned to the taxpayer in the form of a cut to the top marginal income tax rate.

      The lowest tranches should be either hidden in the Cayman islands, or sold for a lower price than the AAA stuff. One could create an insurance market for the buyers to protect them in the (unlikely) event that these loans won’t be repaid. Again the proceeds of all of this should be returned to the struggling wealthiest few percent.

      If it all turns to shit, the debt holders can get the taxpayer to bail them out.

      • stormspiral 6.1.1

        I hear it goes further than that. The suggestion doesn’t appear to include ‘selling’. I guess it’s a kind of devolvement. And the insidious part is that iwi would be included among the ‘private’ buccaneers, along with existing charity organisations. (a great hook for the Maori Party). But other ‘privat[-eers]’ are not excluded.

        …a bargain basement privatisation of poverty. Much cheaper than tackling the causes. And heck, the debt repayments should pay for it all.

        Slavery; sefdom, and all held in thrall to the Masters. Death by debt.

  7. Tigger 7

    When I see the words ‘Productivity Commission’ I cannot for the life of me fathom what that means. It might as well be gibberish to me. This news leaves me with so many questions. What on earth would a ‘Productivity Commission’ do that isn’t already being done? Will they be judging their own productivity? The productivity of the government? Why is Don Brash qualified for this job? Can anyone point me to something he has ‘produced’ apart from two very old essays, some speeches and co-produced children with various women? And why was Salma Hayek sponsoring lectures back in 1996?

    Oh sorry, it’s Friedrich August von Hayek! Okay, that makes it sound dreary, I’d far rather it was Salma Hayek.

    • stormspiral 7.1

      Simple. They had to call the group something, and Productivity Commission sounded like fun. It’s another term for ‘jobs for the boys’. And I’m afraid I have to include the appointment of Michael Cullen et al to public owned companies, and even poor dear Jimmy Bolger to Kiwibank.

      It’s an MP thing to try to make themselves look good…cross-party and all.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 7.1.1

        But surely if they call it that, they have to look at the real causes of productivity decline (capital investment in technology, skills shortages, poor business management), not just their pet priorities (neo-liberal dogma).

  8. MollyByGolly 8

    “Coming up next: Selling the resulting Social Welfare debt mountain at a discount to the private sector so they can more efficiently collect the money owing.”

    Hehehe, good one Tom. They could re-package the debt, get it classified according to its risk, insure the bet and on-sell it again like a pyramid scheme… and hey presto! The money flows again!

  9. Zaphod Beeblebrox 9

    Talk about reversal of fortune. Four days after the U.S. goes from GWB to Obi we go from Helen to the Chicago School of self impoverishment.

    We must have done something really bad to piss off the economic gods to deserve this.

  10. Ianmac 10

    I can see how an increase in productivity means more cows to milk for the same hours worked, or more items from a speeded up conveyor belt, or longer hours working at the Supermarket for the same pay, but do not understand greater productivity for MP’s, or teachers, or nurses or waiters, or policemen. What is this Productivity Thing and how do you feed it without destroying the people who produce?

    • So Bored 10.1

      See my previous post on this….it means you go faster and cheaper, cheaper and faster till you end up as molten butter on the toast of the rich.

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