Tale of two Irelands

Written By: - Date published: 9:41 am, February 20th, 2014 - 42 comments
Categories: bill english, Economy, john key, treasury - Tags: , , ,

In 2005 Fran O’Sullivan outlined John Key’s plans to “Key chases luck o’ the Irish

Key is clearly on a roll as he lists the options New Zealand could explore if it decided to abandon outdated ideology and take a more pragmatic approach to growing the economy.

And later she writes

By the time he left Europe to head home and stand for the 2001 election as a National candidate, Merrill Lynch had more than 400 staff in Dublin. It now has 700.

keydealerI guess for all his financial genius at deals, Key just couldn’t see what was coming for Ireland and he wasn’t alone.

But jobs weren’t so high in Irelands hub by 2008.

However in February 2010 John Key was now Prime Minister and fully cognisant of Ireland’s collapsed banking system and financial hub collapse. Nonetheless he was cock-a-hoop about New Zealand following the lead he took when he was London-based head of Merrill Lynch’s global foreign exchange business. He had shifted a lot of the bank’s business to Dublin.

The Business Herald article said in Feb 2010

Making New Zealand an international finance centre with “middle and back-office functions” in the funds management industry was one of the recommendations of the Capital Markets Taskforce report last month.

It found the “hub” notion viable but kept the detail of its advice on how to implement the plan out of the report, giving it directly to Mr Key instead.

However in May 2010, reporting for the New York Times, Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund stated

Ireland’s politicians, rather than facing up to their problems, are making things ever worse. Simply put, the Irish miracle was a mirage driven by clever use of tax-haven rules and a huge credit boom that permitted real estate prices and construction to grow quickly before declining ever more rapidly.

Not simple enough for our prime Minister it seems because by December 2010 he was publicly venting his frustrations at the slow progress of his Ireland dream. He described the Ministry of Economic development’s desire for appropriate documentation as “absolute rubbish” and that

Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee has been ordered to produce an urgent paper covering a zero tax rating for the relevant foreign funds which Key wants incorporated in the November taxation bill and passed by April 1 next year.”

Although the pet hub appeared to be coming to nothing National, with the support of its coalition parties, created part of the dream through the back door through a September 2011 law change. This resulted in the removal of some tax obligations for people not resident in New Zealand through Portfolio Investment Entities (PIE).

Mr Stobo, chair of the $500,000 government-appointed task force committee to look at his pet hub, said this about the law change in September 2011

It represented “significant progress” in establishing the environment necessary for global funds to have back-office processing occur in a New Zealand hub” that reported on the issue last year.

In May 2012 Key backed away from his pet hub. But remember he had still achieved the PIE tax change heralded by former banker Stobo.

Following queries from the Sunday Star-Times last week, Key distanced the government from the controversial aspects of the plan.

“The more costly aspects of the [hub] plan were not seen as an effective use of taxpayer money,” a spokesman said.”

But Bill English says “New Zealand ain’t no Ireland“.

Stephen Jen, from SLJ Macro Partners, and a former global head of currency research at Morgan Stanley, has compared New Zealand’s situation to that of Ireland and southern European nations and has warned it’s just a matter of time before the value of our dollar falls significantly.

Bill agrees with Jen about his view of the currency and the problem with our real estate market BUT otherwise he says Jen is wrong

I think they completely misunderstand the difference between New Zealand and Ireland, I mean Ireland had a banking crisis and they’ve got massive public debt – ours is at reasonable levels.

Bill considers a climbing public debt from 18 million when he took over, to $55 billion, and climbing daily, is “reasonable”.

Bill’s right about one thing though, they had a banking crisis and we didn’t. But it was not for the want of that greatly admired financial genius John Key pushing us toward our own. Mr Key would have his hub today but for Treasury bringing up some pesky bureaucracy and warnings about high risks.

Heck he would have had it in 2010 if he could have. And yet Jen knows we are not in a banking crisis but still fears for us. Bill had no comment about Jen’s summary of our economy as having a “fragile core” and “a growth model based on debt and credit, low savings rates, and current-account deficits”.“

John Key Nat Billboard Corproate voteSo who stopped John Key? Like the Blues Brothers he seemed to be on a mission from God

A. Treasury
B. Bill English
C. Steven Joyce
D. Other. Please specify

Tracey

42 comments on “Tale of two Irelands”

  1. TightyRighty 1

    silly me, i thought this might have been written by someone with an ounce of economic literacy. Instead it’s just a badly selective cut and paste job that completely ignores the challenges ireland was faced with when it’s currency zone and the global economy went into recession.

    • tricledrown 1.1

      Tightarse Almighty.
      Was that the Merrill Lynch Ponzi scheme that wan’t talked about above where for every dollar on deposit at ML $38 were printed and lent to speculators in Ireland while John Key was in charge.
      Or was that the Financial report that Merrill Lynch foisted on the Irish Govt who paid €14 million for 7 pages of lies on the state of the Irish economy ,while the Irish govt was waiting for this report Merrill Lynch took its money(insider trading) and ran knowing well before anyone else the Irish economy was a house of cards stacked in favour of Criminals who have got away with hundreds of billions.

      • tricledrown 1.1.1

        That’s why this hub was cancelled and Key and Nactional have not once mentioned the financial hub idea once not once.
        Because of Merrill Lynch and JohnKeys deep involvment in setting up this failed Ponzi scheme in Ireland.
        New Zealand was very lucky this Key sponseted scheme never got to be in NZ.

        • travellerev 1.1.1.1

          Rofl!!! So that is why the NZSM opened up for derivatives gambling and started a brand spanking new “slush fund” Clearing House to enable gambling on our dairy market and what not!

          And perhaps that is also why Bill English thought that investing in $112 Billion in Derivatives (As of 2011 and counting) was such a brilliant Idea!.

          If that dollar goes so goes NZ! Courtesy of John Key and his bankster mates.

    • felix 1.2

      Actually no, it’s about the challenges ireland was faced with when it’s currency zone and the global economy went into recession.

      You just don’t like being reminded that Key tried to take us down the same path.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    New Zealand will realistically never be in the same position as Ireland, because we do not have a massive export market merely 2 hours away by plane. The tyranny of distance ensures we can never replicate what Ireland achieved.

    Actually something my BF and I were talking about a while ago, around 2005 or so Japan was mulling applying to join the European Union, although they never made a formal request of it. The EU constitution doesn’t actually prohibit such a membership, Japan would just have to get enough votes from the other member countries. One of the arguments now about stopping Turkey from joining the EU is that they don’t have a similar enough cultural heritage, despite being on the edge of Europe (I think it’s really just a form of xenophobia / trying not to extend their currency to another country).

    At least if NZ petitioned to join the EU, we’d have the cultural heritage squarely on our side.

    • tricledrown 2.1

      Lanth the culture of Stupidity.
      Ireland grew initialy after economic union on the back of massive subsidies €40 billion a year it could afford to lower taxes with those sort of subsidies Now former Eastern block countries are getting their slice of subsidies from the EU.they can cut taxes in a race to the bottom.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Stobo’s group’s blueprint for the hub, tabled in Cabinet, said these deals should be contractually locked in to prevent a change of government torpedoing the deals, and the details of payments should be made “commercial in confidence” and not be available for public scrutiny.

    Perhaps the Quisling shill realised that the next government will have a mandate to tear up the contracts.

    • karol 3.1

      In trying to find where OAB got this quote from, I realised there’s a consistent typo in the post. The name is “Stobo” not “Sobo”.

      OAB’s quote is from the “May 13” link to Dom Post – but it’s dated 2012, not 2013.

      [lprent: corrected ]

  4. karol 4

    Thanks, Tracey. Some good sleuthing there.

    I was particularly interested to read the tie in between Key’s Merrill lynch connection with Ireland, and his talking up a similar approach in NZ.

    It actually shows the limitations in his approach to leading a country, and reinforced by the apparent differences between Key and English.

    • Tracey 4.1

      For me most interesting was how eager he was. It was push push… vent frustration… push then nothing.

      Did someone suggest the pie concession to make him feel like he hadnt totally backed down. If yes, who?

      Who can tell this pm not to do something he really wants to do, and succeed?

  5. ianmac 5

    Tracey. Are you suggesting that Mr Key is ignorant or incompetent? For years we have been told of Mr Key’s huge business success, and of the National Party’s superior Economic Management. So clearly your post must be wrong. Mr Key is infallible. His humble beginnings and a boyish grin must indicate great messiah promise and like Jesus he cannot make mistakes.
    Come to that are you daring to suggest that Fran O’Sullivan is not a good judge of economic matters? Shame on you!

  6. Actually he did say it was entirely foreseeable and what’s more he says in a breakfast TV interview that “the banks” must have known in their heart of harts that they would never get their money back.

    Mind you we have a choice here. Either we follow Iceland’s example, arrest our prime minister and the bankers responsible or we follow Ireland. They feel obliged to pay back unsecured gambling debts of the international elite. I hope for the first but reality tells me that Kiwi’s are suckers and hey he is the most popular of all prime ministers it seems!

  7. felix 7

    “I guess for all his financial genius at deals, Key just couldn’t see what was coming for Ireland “

    You make it sound like it was an accident.

    • Tracey 7.1

      I hope I did not. I hope I sounded like I consider Key knew exactly what he was doing. Not in our best interests or Irelands. But in the interests of “someones” for sure.

  8. captain hook 8

    Donkeyote is only any good going forward. When the shit hits the fan he hits the track.

    • When the Bankers Trust bank collapsed in 1995 because they got caught scamming their customers with, I kid you not, misleading fraudulent derivatives, John Key told Eugene Bingham from the NZ Herald: And when the shit hit the fan I said, right I’m out of here” and he left for a new position at Merrill Lynch. That position? Starting a new and exiting new product line…. Oh oops, Derivatives!!! And yes, he was mainly responsible of setting up that department in non other than Ireland.

      No wonder, Eugene Bingham, editor of the NZ Herald removed the 5 pages of the “unauthorized biography” pertaining to John Key’s career in banking from the NZ Herald after I send him an open letter confronting him with his glib and banker celebrating not so unauthorized fluff piece

  9. TightyRighty 9

    Ah tricledown, the lefty invented straw man argument that you rail against so hard.

  10. bad12 10

    Tax the speculative capitalists back to their caves, promote a tax base which grossly favors the productive capitalists over the speculative capitalists even to the extent of the provision of an even lower than the present taxation of productive capitalism using the upper level of taxation of speculative capital to fill any gaps…

    • Tracey 10.1

      So, bad, who do you think has the kind of authority to tell John to “let it go?”

      • bad12 10.1.1

        Hmmm, at a guess, Cameron, Obama,the head of the US Fed, the IMF at whose tender mercies and hands Slippery the PM and the National Government are hell bent upon placing the fortunes of New Zealand at the whim of once the bell rings and 80 billion dollars of Government debt is racked up,

        Or,

        A combination of all of the above along with anyone else in the form of countries and/or banks who have a significant amount of ‘skin’ in the ‘game’ considering that Slippery the PM would likely have had to undercut them to attract the biggest criminals the world has ever encountered to these shores…

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      Tax the speculative capitalists back to their caves,

      Not that long ago speculators like John Key were hung. I’d prefer a modernised version of this.

  11. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 11

    @ Tracey

    Thank you for the excellent article

  12. newsense 12

    So in other news Labour had run debt through the ceiling- we have much more debt now than we did then and we are at reasonable debt levels.

    Tory maths.

    • tc 12.1

      Tory maths: tax cuts/gst rise will be fiscally neutral so says the govt….treasury states they cost over 1b per annum in lost crown revenue.

      This simple example shows how the wilful lies have become MSM assisted ‘truths’, black is white, stick with us and it’ll all be OK……yeah right.

  13. captain hook 13

    The Irish economy expanded rapidly during the Celtic Tiger years (1994–2007) due to a low corporate tax rate, low ECB interest rates, and other systemic factors (such as soft surveillance of banking supervision including against observance of Basel Core Principles, underdeveloped public financial management and anti-corruption systems and adoption of poor policies including a corporate tax system that fostered non-tradable goods and services through the construction industry). This led to an expansion of credit and a property bubble which petered out in 2007. Irish banks, already over-exposed to the Irish property market, came under severe pressure in September 2008 due to the global financial crisis of 2007–2010.

    Irish banks’ foreign borrowings rose from €15bn to €110bn in 2004-08.[11] Much of this was borrowed on a three-month rollover basis to fund building projects that would not be sold for several years. When the properties could not be sold due to oversupply, the result was a classic asset–liability mismatch. At the time of the 2008 government bank guarantee the banks were said to be illiquid (but not insolvent) by €4bn, which turned out to be a huge underestimate.

    Is that enough or does anyone out there want more?

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