Thankfully, the election isn’t tomorrow

Written By: - Date published: 11:05 am, February 19th, 2009 - 147 comments
Categories: john key, national, polls - Tags:

When John Key and Pita Sharples were jostled by two Maori men opposed to the National-Maori Party alliance, the thing that stuck in my mind was Key’s smile. Like Donald Trump’s hair, it was back in place immediately, covering whatever lies underneath.

That smile, and the intensive, expensive, extensive image management it represents, are the most powerful force in New Zealand politics today. Of course it is an image fundamentally divorced from reality – an image of a government that cares about the ‘underclass’ when, in fact it has risen taxes on the poor and taken away their work rights; an image of a government that cares about the environment when it has actually cancelled the ETS, is holding a select committee to question whether climate change is real and is moving to block environmentalists opposing development under the RMA; an image of a government tackling the recession when it has done nothing of any significance, just a slight reshuffling of spending that Labour had budgeted before the recession; an image of a conservative party that has learnt to not be anti-Maori when Maori are those who suffer most from the Fire at Will law, the low and middle income tax hikes, the RMA reforms, the abuses of human rights in its law reforms; and an image of a government that is bringing a ‘new age of accountabilty’ but has abused Urgency, cancelled Question Time, and voted for laws that violate human rights.

You’ve got to respect a PR operation that can turn a broken arm into a bigger story than the removal of the work rights of a hundred thousand New Zealanders. You’ve got to acknowledge the skill of a PR operation that can entrall the media, and the people, so completely and translate that into such impressive poll results (Roy Morgan: 48%, TV3: 60%).

Of course, we’ve seen huge popularity evaporate before (Bush once polled at 90%). I remain fundamentally convinced that governing is about more than smiles; ultimately, image can’t work forever. But, by God, it’s working now. 

For the Left, well, we can at least be glad the next election isn’t tomorrow. 🙂 

We’ve got nearly three years. Three years that will expose the hollowness of Key and National, and their inability to deal with the crises we face. And three years in which the Left, in particular Labour, needs to build a compelling narrative, one of positive, real change.

147 comments on “Thankfully, the election isn’t tomorrow”

  1. Tim Ellis 1

    Quite apart from the diatribe of your rhetoric SP, it’s good that you’ve provided a forum to discuss this. It doesn’t seem to me that Labour have a clue where to go. In Parliament, they are obsessed with such trivialities as how much money senior ministerial staff are being paid, what constitutes a quantified or unquantified fiscal risk in the Crown accounts, and whether Ryall was justified in sacking the ODHB chair.

    I think Phil Goff will be hounded out of his leadership by the “Mr 3.7%” label, for the same reason that Bill English was hounded out of his leadership after getting 22% in the polls. Labour doesn’t seem to have any traction. I’ve been quite impressed with Cindy Adern and Phil Twyford, who seem to be knuckling down and getting on with it, but the old guard are floundering. Any hope of recovering within three years is in my view completely irrational.

  2. Goff’s here to stay. It’s perfectly understandable that his poll rating is low right now.

    And you might argue those are trivial issues but they are just the most trivial examples you could find, in fact most of what Labour has been talking about have been important issues. they do need to learn to ask their questions better, though. And, given the issues National used to talk about in question time, I think it’s a bit rich to be attacking Labour.

    Who calls Jacinda ‘Cindy’? Met her a number of times, never heard Cindy.

  3. Pat 3

    What most NZers are discovering, despite the best leftist spin merchants, is that there is no wolf in sheeps clothing. Instead of decades of rapid left and right wing ideologies, we finally have a Prime Minister guided by common sense.

    And those middle NZers, the productive, law-abiding, caring Kiwis now have a sense that their Prime Minister represents them. And middle NZ decide elections.

  4. Yeah, and I’m confident that in three years middle NZ will look at their do-nothing PM who passed laws favouring the rich and powerful and shuffled the cards while the recession rolled and say ‘that smile’s attraction has faded, time for competent government’

  5. Kevin Welsh 5

    When most peoples idea of being current with politics begins and ends with a Duncan Garner soundbite, is it any wonder NACT and Key are polling as high as they are?

    Considering the worst is yet to come, I think that behind the smiles they are quietly shitting their pants.

  6. Key and Sharples were jostled by a man who opposed their alliance????

    Is that what the left calls assault?

    I can imagine what you would be saying about kiwiblog, if someone assaulted Aunty Helen, and kiwiblog wrote what you just wrote.

  7. tsmithfield 7

    Perhaps the popularity is something to do with National moving as quickly as possible to keep their election promises; something voters aren’t accustomed to..

  8. @ work 8

    Labour needs some better PR operators. National are massively abusing parliamentary process, trampling the BORA, and seem to have no concept of political independance. Any kiwiblogger will retort that “labour did it first”(which in most cases is questionable at best), if that makes it ok, you have to question whether it was really wrong for labour to do it in the first place (If they did it at all that is). National are getting a free ride on way way to many scandals, its just not on.

  9. National are passing laws, something they were voted into do.

  10. Daveski 10

    Fundamentally, SP, you simply can’t admit when you are wrong.

    EFA – wrong
    Nats and Maori – wrong
    Cuts to wages – wrong

    Moreover, for a supposed Greens supporter, your slant surprises me. Surely, given everything that you’ve said in the past, now is the perfect opportunity for the Greens to grow their support at the expense of Labour and become the defacto left opposition. From your position, this should be a celebration, not a funeral.

    Sadly, the hollowness being exposed is from the left who can’t see how the world has changed. Moreover, the born to rule mentality now fairly sits with the left who still refuse to accept the election result and the changes since, as evidenced by this and other posts here.

    I’m genuinely concerned that what was an open-minded forum that encouraged robust debate based on issues and analysis has become (or perhaps more kindly is becoming) a rabid left equivalent of KB where it’s spin, fixed positions, and denigration and abuse of whatever doesn’t fit your fixed views. Prove me wrong

  11. Ari 11

    National are passing laws, something they were voted into do.

    Funny how they’re breaking all of their “conduct” promises to be a more efficient, consultative, more supportive of free speech, and less arrogant government.

    Not to mention that Paula Bennet is over-managing MSD- National seems to be unclear on the difference between ministers and chief executives, meddling in departmental affairs directly instead of setting directives and policy.

    No wonder the party and its ministries are leaking like sieves.

  12. Ari 12

    Fundamentally, SP, you simply can’t admit when you are wrong.

    EFA – wrong
    Nats and Maori – wrong
    Cuts to wages – wrong

    The EFA wasn’t wrong, it was just unclear, overcomplicated, and didn’t set the caps right. (Not to mention that it was too friendly to anonymous donations)

    I’ll give you that he was wrong on Nats and Maori working together, but then again I was against him on that too 😉 I have to agree with SP though that the Maori Party is getting a pretty terrible deal so for. Where’s the co-operation? The only good thing thus far has been the whole Maori flag issue, and while it’s a nice symbol, it’s also probably pretty irrelevant for many Maori.

    Cuts to wages- The minimum wage has pretty much stayed the same, (keeping in mind inflation and increased costs) true, but instead laws are much more friendly to employers and landlords, who already had a lot of power in their respective relationships. So instead of a paycut, National have exposed employees and tenants to potential abuse by their employers and landlords. Yay.

  13. vinsin 13

    @Work i totally agree with you, Labour do need some better Pr operators; however it’s certainly not time to panic yet, there’s still another 800 odd days for Labour to get a strong message out there.

    I think the brand new smell of the current government is starting to fade, i’ve read articles on the herald by Fran and Armstrong that have actually surprised me in terms of how critical they were of the governments stimulus package and i imagine other journos will follow suit on a myriad of issues in the near future. There are a few possibilities i see happening in the coming years that fill me with glee: a smiling Key saying, ‘we’ll have a look at it,’ then not doing anything, the lunatic fringe of National’s party support realizing Key is fairly centrist and moving further right – just look over at kiwiblog, if you dare, to see the shock at Key dancing at the big gay out – and last but not least the Maori vote coming back to Labour after the Maori Party sells their supporters down the river to hold together a government.

    Indeed it’s very lucky the election isn’t tomorrow.

  14. Kerry 14

    SP:- from your mouth to gods ears.

  15. Daniel 15

    New Zealanders seem spellbound by Key’s money and business success. That poll is scary. I suspect Key could do just about anything he wanted with New Zealand and the public would be ok with it. As a country we are very naive.

  16. Well the public seem to like what they are doing, they have the highest poll numbers in history.

  17. Felix 17

    Brett I used to think you were a bit thick but I’m starting to wonder if you’ve just been taking the piss all along.

  18. bobo 19

    Poll ratings can drop as fast as they rise, I suspect alot of Labour voters wouldn’t be bothered with answering a phone poll so soon after a loss.

  19. Felix 20

    I’m referring generally to your ability to wildly miss the point of a discussion in a way that seems humanly impossible. In this instance I don’t think you’ve even read the post.

  20. By missing the point you really mean, I disagree with your point of view.

  21. Felix 22

    No Brett, I mean you’re too thick to follow a discussion.

    Like here for example where you’ve been arguing since 10.45 this morning against what you think you have.

  22. northpaw 23

    Brett Dale,

    Civil question.. you wrote National are passing laws.. this appears to me as ‘National’ the absolute. Is this meant, if not what is ‘national’ to you?

  23. Matthew Pilott 24

    I’m genuinely concerned that what was an open-minded forum that encouraged robust debate based on issues and analysis has become (or perhaps more kindly is becoming) a rabid left equivalent of KB where it’s spin, fixed positions, and denigration and abuse of whatever doesn’t fit your fixed views. Prove me wrong

    Prove yourself right first!

  24. northpaw:

    A party that gets things done, you may not agree with the laws they are passing, but they are working.

    Kinda like here at the local level, for too long we had do nothing Garry Moore as our mayor, now we have Bob Parker who is actually working, its great!!!

    By the way, this was the first election I voted National in, I had always been a labour voter in the past.

  25. Felix:

    I stand by everything I write.

  26. Daveski 27

    MP 🙂

    If it comes down to a vote, I’ll lose.

    My point is that issues that have been raised recently would have in the past been associated with some genuine attempt at analysis.

    At least IMO, there is now too much simplistic, hyperbole and spin coupled with as I’ve noted a complete failure on behalf of some to acknowledge that they have been wrong with fundamental lines of attack.

    I know – if I don’t like it I can go. And fair enough too. Yet this site was undoubtedly different when the left were in government.

    Still, I can voice my opinion and argue semantics and still come back so that’s a positive.

  27. Felix 28

    Yes Brett, that’s why it concerns me that what you write is so riddled with contradictions of which I assumed that you were blissfully unaware, but I’m beginning to think that you’re actually quite pleased with them which makes me wonder if you’re just taking the piss and pretending to be a bit thick.

  28. higherstandard 29

    Ah everything becomes clear.

    captcha deliverance territory … he he

  29. Felix

    A little bit from column a and a little bit from column b.

    I thought you guys on the left were against name calling and the such.

  30. Matthew Pilott 31

    daveski – we had a very open and robust debate about whether there had been a clampdown on workers’ rights just the other day.

    I think you’re also posting from the position you’re protesting. Do you want an open apology from SP because some of his predictions or statements haven’t come true within the first 100 days of government? You’re asking a bit too much, and I reckon it’s fairly unreasonable. Plenty of us are waiting for the policies that will reduce wages in one way or another, and are looking at the NACT/MP relationship with interest – perhaps we have more patience!

    I’ll be happy if the former never eventuate, and ambivalent about the latter, but I won’t be expecting published retractions.

    You’ve been carrying this theme for some time now, but I just don’t see it – it’s BAU for everyone else while you’re tendering such ‘advice’…

    You may have a point about the analysis side, I can’t really comment because my time has been somewhat limited in that respect – I am picking and choosing what I comment upon – perhaps The Standard is also adapting to ‘opposition’ blog. I haven’t considered analysis lacking though, perhaps your opposition to the views posted are becoming stronger.

  31. Pat 32

    “And three years in which the Left, in particular Labour, needs to build a compelling narrative, one of positive, real change”.

    Does these mean a “change back”? Scrap Nationals tax cuts, reinstate the EFA, relax sentences and parole requirements, call the Maori party a cab etc

    Obviously not, so what room for “positive, real change” is there if Key maintains a centrist approach?

    The Left can’t spend 3 years hoping John Key is somehow a demon in disguise.

  32. Ari 33

    A party that gets things done, you may not agree with the laws they are passing, but they are working.

    So you think more people are employed now thanks to the fire at will bill? We’ll just ignore those pesky extra unemployed kiwis in the recession, who aren’t helped by National’s lack of new stimulus spending (all that’s being done is speeding up some pre-committed spending and adding in some broadband cash and two new bloody roads) and approaching job cuts in the public service.

    I think the fact that kiwis are pleased with our new PM shows how badly the news (both TV and papers) are doing their jobs of reporting on the government. Unless their jobs suddenly changed from “report all controversies” to “ignore all controversies” since the election. Kiwis are willing to trust people who haven’t got it wrong, and seeing we’re not being told about how badly this government is starting off, (after a few promising peeps before parliament got to business, I suppose) we’re still trusting Mr. Key. Sadly.

  33. Daveski 34

    MP

    Points noted. I don’t intend to preach and will desist forthwith.

    I’ve been prickly about the broad statements that I clearly disagree with. In particular, I’m positive about the Maori Party relationship (as are my Maori friends).

    I’ll just take a can of HTFU.

    Anyway, you realise your comments and Ari’s to an extent prove me wrong so perhaps i need to apologise and admit I was wrong 🙂

  34. What is the te reo equivalent for bauble?

  35. @ work 36

    The main weekness of democracy is its potential for mob rule. This is basically what National has done, ignored the rights of every one but 50% + 1 vote, for the benefit of good news headlines and re-election.

  36. Billy 37

    @work,

    Have you seen the poll? I think you mean 69% + 1%

  37. Matthew Pilott 38

    daveski – call out every broad statement you disagree with, each and every time they are made. Should you be right about them, the authors will probably stop making them so you can’t keep calling them out…but expect people to support those statements where they are percieved to be correct!

  38. Redbaiter 39

    Hey c*mmi*s, the Kl*rk government won in 1999 because the left had succeeded so marvelously over the preceding decade or so in controlling the debate in NZ. Sure sure sure, they weren’t the government, but they were still large part of the National Party and almost very public institution in NZ had gradually fallen into their grasp. The media, the education system, and public discussion revolved around issues the left wanted to be prominent. They almost fully controlled speech and thought and they attempted to pursue this even further once they were elected to government.

    Then the left’s big downer- the internet. The middle class at last had a forum. No more having their letters to the editors rejected by sneering New York Time’s style liberals editing The Dominion and The Herald. No more could those liberals or their counterparts running other sectors of NZ’s mainstream media write endlessly leftist crap and not be challenged on it.

    The internet has allowed the middle class to understand that its OK to think and speak in ways that the guardians disapprove of. They understand now that the emperor has no clothes. They see the left are helplessly mute when they’re challenged. But what can the left say anyway, when the Emperor is exposed as more naked everyday by the blogosphere and so many other sources of information that the left cannot control???

    Rearguard actions like the Standard just don’t cut it. The leftist can’t hack the realism of a political state that has had its white underbelly ripped open by the sharp knives of the fed up long ignored middle class using the internet and other means to express their disgust and anger at what the left have brought this once fine country to.

    Sure its a long way to the next election, but its only going to get worse for the left. And Hooray for that. The right say- “Let’s drive these troglodytes and their destructive religion back into the holes they crawled out of.”

    There’s only one outcome for them and its oblivion. Unless they turn to Chavez style fraud and corruption and stand over tactics. And they could very easily choose this path. For myself, I can’t wait for them to try it.

  39. Mike 40

    Strange thing about the TV3 poll is they have changed polling company but they did not mention this at all in the televised news item.
    So yes it is the “highest ever” rating for a party, but of course it would be as it’s the first ever TV3-Reid Research poll.

  40. @ work 41

    Billy
    Have you seen the poll? I think you mean 69% + 1%

    No, I mean exactly what I said.

    But oh, only trampling the rights of 30% of people, thats all right then, carry on!

  41. The Fox 42

    now we have Bob Parker who is actually working, its great!!

    Would this be the same Bob Parker who blew $17 million of rate payer’s money on a load of crap property to bail out a failed property developer when he could have waited for a mortgagee sale an got it all at a fraction of the price. And the same Bob Parker who paid a fortune for a flower show and decided to hold it in Autumn!!! If thats what you call getting things done then you must be having a laugh.

  42. Matthew Pilott 43

    Redbaiter, I see this time you’re the self-appointed spokesperson for ‘The Middle Class’. Who are they, whom do you purport to represent and speak for now?

    You’re also generously speaking on behalf ‘The Right’. If you and I put forth our ideal Government, and then asked anyone commenting on this blog who considers themself to be ‘Right Wing’ which government model they’d prefer, what do you think would result?

    As I asked you two days ago – what is this mysterious ‘Right’ you’re claiming to speak for?

    It doesn’t seem to have much in common with those who consider themselves ‘Right’, Redbaiter excluded of course.

  43. Redbaiter 44

    Naughty naughty Mr. Pillock. Ignore is the command. Please comply. Of course there’s nothing to respond to in your post anyway other than a lot of infantile questions based on false premises. What is it that makes you believe people should freely subject themselves to interrogation by the likes of you?

    Sure, over the last few decades you have succeeded in entwining socialism into NZ’s culture.

    That’s what is changing.

    Slowly but surely, you’re losing your grip.

    Can’t you feel it?

  44. Ari 45

    I don’t think asking you to explain why you claim to be able to speak for people you don’t know is too much to ask, or in any way infantile 😉

  45. jimbo 46

    @ Work – what do you mean “trampling on the rights of” people? Do you have an argument or is it just empty rhetoric?

    You guys need to get over your totally irrational belief that “left” policies are automatically good/kind/fair and right-leaning politicians are only interested in making themselves and their friends wealthy. You also need to let go some of the inflammatory language (e.g. “trampling”).

    It’s a hopeless starting point for any reasonable discussion about policy.

  46. Matthew Pilott 47

    What is it that makes you believe people should freely subject themselves to interrogation by the likes of you?

    Nothing at all. The beauty of blogs – you will be judged whether you answer or not. If someone considers my questions infantile and you don’t respond, then they will not think less of you, but will think that of me.

    If they think the questions are worth a response and you don’t give one, the next time you comment they’ll remember and be less likely to listen.

    The only thing as deafening as silence, by the way, is abuse heaped out to cover for it. Don’t presume this has been missed, Redbaiter.

    What makes you assume I expect an answer? I can ask any question I want of you, and I will be judged based upon those questions, likewise you and your answers.

    There is no presumption, apart from yours.

    Can’t you feel it?

    If anything, I feel the old forces of nationalism and protectivism creeping in as resources become more scarce, wars are on the increase and poverty and injustice spread. Is that what you’re referring to?

    The entwining in our culture – you think this is unique to NZ? You think this is something new? What are these heady pre-socialist days to which you refer? You’re pining for the halcyon days in your mind that never existed in your lifetime or mine.

  47. @ work 48

    I mean they are proposing numerous peices of legislation which obviously go agaisnt the BORA, and cannot possibly be interpreted in a way consistant with it.

  48. Redbaiter 49

    “I don’t think asking you to explain why you claim to be able to speak for people you don’t know is too much to ask, or in any way infantile”

    Wow, its such a damn knockout Ari that you would think that. Totally unexpected..!!!

    I’m not speaking for anybody in the above text in any real sense. I’m describing a public groundswell of rejection of leftist attempts to control thought and speech, as exampled by the poll that is the subject of this thread, and simultaneously advancing what I think are the reasons for this groundswell.

    Mr. Pillock’s questions are the usual incomprehensible rubbish, typical of the thinking you get from zealots whose views are blinkered by a stone age ideology and who have never managed to break free from that thinking.

    That is the difference you see. There’s hardly a right winger that hasn’t at one time in their lives (usually when they were young and impressionable and easy prey for the predators of the left that stalk the education system) been ensnared in the stupefying ideas of the left. But we broke free. We grew up, We matured. we experienced different things. We changed.

    The bottom line is tho, although most right wingers once saw things as a leftist sees them, very few leftists have ever been able to truly see things from a right wing viewpoint.

    It is this partisan blindness that makes Mr. Pillock’s questions so insufferably idiotic.

  49. jimbo 50

    Ari,

    If your only criteria for assessing a govt decision is whether “more people are employed”, then I ask you: Do you reckon more people are employed as a result of the minimum wage being increased?

    Policy-setting involves analysis of different incentives and effects. The 90 day probation period will have an impact on employers’ willingness to “try out” new employees. Raising the minimum wage will increase employers’ costs and therefore make it LESS LIKELY that new jobs are offered.

  50. Matthew Pilott 51

    And yet you think National are virtually as bad as Labour, Redbaiter – National are an order of magnitude closer to Labour than they are to your idea of Small Government; the ‘groundswell’ of support for National hardly proves your theory.

    Hence my questioning you of this mysterious ‘Real Right’, shall we call them, that you purport to speak for. They definitely aren’t where you’ve just described.

  51. jimbo 52

    Redbaiter is correct. Left-wingers who refuse to let go of the rhetoric and inflammatory slogans are effectively turning up at the debate with a big sign on their head saying “I’m not mature enough to approach this discussion is a proper way”.

    Examples of the sloganeering include repatedly referring to the 90 day probation period as “fire at will”, or calling the National govt’s tax cuts “lowering wages” based on speculation about what a re-elected Labour government might have done.

  52. Redbaiter 53

    “The beauty of blogs – you will be judged whether you answer or not.”

    Your problem Mr. Pillock is your presumption that I give a flying fuck for your “judgment”. I don’t. I merely want to defeat you politically, and in spite of your frequent attempts to inform me on the matter, I really could not care less concerning your opinion of Redbaiter.

    It is the mainstream that has to be swayed. Not the extreme left school that you represent. NZers need to be warned about the approach of Chavezism here in NZ, and it looks like (going by the poll) they might be at last awakening to that danger.

  53. Redbaiter 54

    “the ‘groundswell’ of support for National hardly proves your theory.”

    Its not theory its opinion. You can take it or leave it. National are only like Labour because after the way you have surreptitiously integrated leftist thought into NZ culture, the only way out is by incrementally dragging things back to the right. Bit by bit by bit. Just as you dragged it to the left.

    The difference I am trying to bring to your attention is that you no longer have the control of the sources of information that you once had. For one thing your media toadies have been exposed. For another thing your control of education is under threat and will eventually be wound back.

    These are factors that will allow the return to sanity to be exponentially accelerated. The recovery will be much quicker than our blind descent into the chasm of socialism.

  54. Tim Ellis 55

    You really are a bore Redbaiter. All bluff and bluster. I especially enjoy how you have the courage from behind your pseudonym to make fun of somebody else’s real name.

  55. Matthew Pilott 56

    Your problem Mr. Pillock is your presumption that I give a flying fuck for your “judgment’. I don’t. I merely want to defeat you politically, and in spite of your frequent attempts to inform me on the matter, I really could not care less concerning your opinion of Redbaiter.

    Not my judgement (I think we can forget about that…another of your flawed presumptions, learn to comprehend a comment and you’ll see I am not implying such a thing), but everyone who reads your comments. And mine.

    If you don’t care, why post here? If you think it will help defeat the Left politically, then you should care.

    Otherwise all you’re engaging in is self-indulgent grandstanding.

    Its not theory its opinion.

    That’s all I was after.

  56. Redbaiter 57

    “You really are a bore Redbaiter.”

    Thanks for that opinion Mr Ellis. You know now I’m going to rush home, run a warm bath, sit in it and slit my wrists.

    That you would so often waste time and bandwidth with such worthless crap is only proof of your inability to think logically and develop politically coherency.

    Compliant suckholing little darlings like you are the reason the left have been winning for so long. Patronising shithead. Just keep kissing c*mm*e arse and leave me out of it.

  57. Lew 58

    Oh, look – the bête noire du jour has changed from `Mugabe’ to `Chavez’!

    L

  58. Redbaiter 59

    “That’s all I was after.”

    Why would anyone capable of rational thought ever think otherwise??

  59. Tim Ellis 60

    Redbaiter I’ll take your word for it that you have managed to “develop politically coherency”.

    You write:

    I merely want to defeat you politically, and in spite of your frequent attempts to inform me on the matter,

    And how’s that going for you then, RB? Do you find you win a lot of people over, politically, by abusing them and ranting furiously?

  60. Redbaiter 61

    “Oh, look – the bête noire du jour has changed from `Mugabe’ to `Chavez’!”

    Soon it will be Obama, who is clearly another Mugabe ( at last vanquished) in the making.

  61. Matthew Pilott 62

    Why would anyone capable of rational thought ever think otherwise??

    It took you a while to admit it, so…

  62. Ag 63

    Why would the Labour Party say anything?

    We’re at the beginning of what may be the most serious economic crisis since the 1930s. What used to be capitalist countries are now effectively nationalizing the financial system, including private banks. Political elites, to put it mildly, are operating on faith, as are the majority of citizens.

    If I were Goff, I’d be using the next year to scope out a major reorientation of party policy, similar in scope to the neoliberal change of the early 80s.

    If ever there was a good election to lose, it was the last one.

  63. Redbaiter 64

    “Do you find you win a lot of people over, politically, by abusing them and ranting furiously?”

    Mr. Ellis, you need to learn to read and comprehend. It is not my mission to “win over” zealots like Mr. Pillock. It will never happen. They need to be shamed and brought into public ridicule. ..and I have succeeded well enough in those objectives over the time I have been pursuing them. Y’know, only as far back as 2000 it was considered impolite to even refer to “the left”, and at the time, I was subject to fierce and powerful criticism for doing so.

    Whilst all you have ever done with your sappy need to show them respect is allow them to drag NZ further and further into the socialist mire. You go your way I’ll go mine. I don’t need appeasers.

  64. Redbaiter 65

    “If ever there was a good election to lose, it was the last one.”

    Yep, that’s right. The electors are too damn thick as shit stupid to ever realise what is really going down right?? Typically arrogant ivory tower leftism.

  65. Tim Ellis 66

    RB, I’m sure you thought it was fierce and powerful criticism, and in that slightly unhinged little world that you inhabit, it must have been a curious mix of joyful megalomania and genuine anxiety about how the great forces of evil were determined to silence you. I suppose the true history of your courageous, and I repeat, pseudonymous endeavours to bring about an end to pinko-fascism is yet to be written. You might want to write that history yourself, since I suspect that the legions of academic historians are too cowardly or stupid to do so.

    In the meantime, I don’t think you’re winning any favours from anybody by behaving obnoxiously. It is all very well to go around abusing people and their intelligence, but it speaks volumes that you don’t appear to have the social skills to engage people in rational debate. I am saddened that you have so little respect for your own intellect that you don’t believe you can convince others of your world view. I don’t profess to be very clever, but for one I do believe that if you speak civilly and have a good argument, you can convince some people. By jumping up and down and raving I think you’ll tend to be dismissed as a nutjob.

  66. Santi 67

    “If ever there was a good election to lose, it was the last one.’

    Incredibly arrogant comment that assumes the voters are stupid and know little or nothing at all.

    Unfortunately for the lefties the next two elections will be also very good to lose. The political wilderness awaits!

  67. ak 68

    Redbaiter: Slowly but surely, you’re losing your grip. My exact thought at your every comment. Fascinating, but: just how long can one individual carry on generating such vast amounts of hate-drenched inanity before the system breaks down under it’s own toxicity? Carry on Reddy, you’re a marvel.

    Good post Steve, though a trifle pessimistic. If the RMA tinkering and Fire at Will (already de facto for most workers I would posit) are the worst of the First (100 days), then Bill and Ben’s “rolling maul” has Tinkerbell as hooker.

    No real surprise in this poll: reportage from the privately-owned media has of course tended to justify their pre-election selection, and the honeymoon is extended for their paymaster-advertisers and captive audience.

    At the same time, Kiwis naturally enjoy lower petrol prices, cheaper mortgages, gestures of inclusive leadership, retention of public assets, increased minimum wage and dole payments, willing govt intervention etc etc (as in fact they embrace most traditional Labour policies and progressive tendencies), and will reward whatever government enacts them – no matter what that govt may call themselves.

    No wonder our righties are stirred: they’re shaken. Their “evil” hate-figure is about to assert our country’s proud progressive heritage astride the world stage where it matters, and their grinning messiah is stumbling towards an abyss created by his own ilk and chosen ideology – all the while paying for his “me-too” election bribes with a rousing rendition of what can only be called National socialism.

    To re-quote the noted philosopher: “The ironing is delicious” (Simpson,B; c.2003)

  68. Pat 69

    “If I were Goff, I’d be using the next year to scope out a major reorientation of party policy, similar in scope to the neoliberal change of the early 80s”

    This is the crux of what needs to be discussed (to get the thread back on track).

    What exactly are the things Labour can do to be differernt, but not scare the electorate?

    .

  69. Tim Ellis 70

    Goodness. I must have said something rude because my last comment is in moderation.

  70. Lew 71

    RB,

    Soon it will be Obama, who is clearly another Mugabe ( at last vanquished) in the making.

    The jokes, they write themselves!

    L

  71. Redbaiter 72

    “In the meantime, I don’t think you’re winning any favours from anybody by behaving obnoxiously.”

    So you keep saying, and as long as you keep saying it, I’ll keep responding the same way. I do not care what you think.

    Why don’t you confront the real question here. What the fuck have your methods achieved?? I’ll tell you. Worse than nothing. You’ve been completely outflanked by the left. If you had some kind of track record, maybe I’d grant you an iota of credibility. You’ve got nothing but abject failure.

    ..and don’t keep telling me that rationale will win the day. If they had any regard for rationale they wouldn’t be fucken leftists (that religion that depends upon intimidation and silencing its critics for its success),in the first place.

  72. jimbo 73

    Ak, how on earth is NZ’s current economic situation “an abyss created by [John Key’s]” own ilk and chosen ideology?!

    After 9 years, what would you say is the previous Labour govt’s level of responsibility?

    50%
    10%
    5%
    0%

    Seiously – I’m fascinated by how you get to blaming John Key “and his ilk” over and above the people who governed for the previous decade.

    (The comment I am expecting is “Helen Clark couldn’t have stopped the credit crunch”, as if that somehow settles it.)

  73. Redbaiter 74

    “Goodness. I must have said something rude because my last comment is in moderation.”

    Rudeness???

    Oh you’re such a naughty naughty fellow.

    FFS..!!

    These people want to enslave us, and rob us of our income, and take away our rights to own property, and stifle our political voice, and destroy our democracy, and you’re worried about being “rude” to them???

    Jezuz H Christ on a bike- no wonder the left have been winning when the so called right has been represented for so long by panty waisted limp wristed lemmings like you.

  74. Matthew Pilott 75

    The comment I am expecting is “Helen Clark couldn’t have stopped the credit crunch’, as if that somehow settles it.)

    Umm, presaging it doesn’t make it false, you know. let’s try this tack:

    jimbo, what percentage of New Zealand’s current economic situation would you blame upon international, and not domescic, concerns.

    100%
    80%
    65%
    50%
    10%
    5%
    0%

  75. Matthew Pilott 76

    …no wonder the left have been winning when the so called right has been represented for so long by panty waisted limp wristed lemmings like you.

    Have you ever met someone like Redbaiter on the blogs or usenet, Redbaiter?

    Has anyone else out there met another Redbaiter?

    Wonder why not?

    No?

    Don’t blame you.

  76. Kevin Welsh 77

    Santi

    “Incredibly arrogant comment that assumes the voters are stupid and know little or nothing at all.”

    They are and they don’t.

    Average Joe Punter only knows what hacks like Duncan Garner and that rednecked halfwit Mark Bennett on Radio Live, tell them. They, for the most part, do not actively seek out the information that will answer their questions. A casual conversation around the smoko table at work is enough to convince me that very few have a grasp of what is going on out there and what the ramifications of political decisions will be.

    Sad, but true.

  77. Ag 78

    Incredibly arrogant comment that assumes the voters are stupid and know little or nothing at all.

    They don’t. But it’s a separate issue.

    But it has nothing to do with my point. Anyone who wants to be in government right now is obviously a masochist, because things look like getting really nasty, such that any government, no matter what it did, would end up pilloried and hated. I’d personally prefer that party to be the National Party and not the Labour Party.

  78. Kerry 79

    I fail to see what is so impressive with a government that strips away rights and rams through laws with no consultation……as we have seen in the past three months…oh sorry, 30 days since holidays finished….and righties think that Labour were anti democratic!

  79. Ag 80

    These people want to enslave us, and rob us of our income, and take away our rights to own property, and stifle our political voice, and destroy our democracy

    No they don’t.

    I know this because I am one of the few people who fits your description, and I am well aware the majority of the Labour Party and its supporters do not come anywhere close to sharing my unorthodox political beliefs. Fortunately for you, I would think.

  80. Redbaiter 81

    “Have you ever met someone like Redbaiter on the blogs or usenet, Redbaiter?”

    You know that I’m winning Mr. Pillock, or it wouldn’t be an issue. I take credit for knocking down a large part of the wall that the left had built around freedom of expression in this country. You do not have anything like the control over political expression that you had in 1999, and everyday, more and more people are speaking out against your soft tyranny, and the voices of those people will grow louder and more impatient and will increasingly express the feelings and ideas that you and your cohorts have for so long succeeded in silencing.

    An experiment for lurkers out there- just try calling them c*mme*s and see how good it feels..!!!

  81. jimbo 82

    Matthew,

    My point was never to try and prove that NZ is immune from international events and circumstances.

    A previous poster seems to believe that John Key and “his ilk”, who have governed for less than 6 months, will somehow have greater responsibility for the economic position this country finds itself in than the government that led us for 9 years up until November 2008.

    I think that previous poster’s position is comical. Do you?

  82. jimbo 83

    Kerry – a lot of people don’t believe any “stripping away of rights” has occurred. Drop the slogans, mate. Try engaging on the substance.

    [Tane: The right to a fair process in employment has been removed from more than 100,000 workers at any one time. That is a fact. The newfound insistence of right-wingers that there’s been no removal of rights is absurd and shows just how desperate they are to defend this indefensible law.]

  83. gobsmacked 84

    Shock! Horror!

    The latest poll out (Morgan) reveals that National have lost an incredible 11.5% support in just 24 hours. “The worst disaster in political history”, says Our Resident Expert Who Gets Excited Easily.

    The people have spoken: KEY MUST GO!

    (for the super-saddoes who actually take this stuff seriously, here’s the latest real poll of real voters: Beach 50% Black Caps 25% Other summer activities 24% All politicians combined 1%).

  84. Ag 85

    I take credit for knocking down a large part of the wall that the left had built around freedom of expression in this country.

    You are widely regarded as a lunatic, even by supporters of the National Party.

    All you have accomplished is a slight lowering of the online standards of debate about New Zealand politics. This is, and has been, a pattern with you for at least ten years now.

    Captcha: Old Eggers (!)

  85. northpaw 86

    Brett Dale,

    Excuse me, but again.. with some further explanation since I don’t believe you answered my question at all..
    I wrote: “Civil question.. you wrote National are passing laws.. this appears to me as ‘National’ the absolute. Is this meant, if not what is ‘national’ to you?”

    Politics.. government is about passing laws… the functional. Whereas my request related to structural and/or representational. I could hardly leave the context out of asking the question. Couldn’t say National are for instance.

    The name Labour OTOH says what it is.

    So, and perhaps the moreso significant for your change of personal views as you declare what is/are National to you. More than a promise for action surely. Given that we all have a huge external economic problem refracting through us the quality of action is most important.

    Care to tackle this now….

  86. Matthew Pilott 87

    You know that I’m winning Mr. Pillock, or it wouldn’t be an issue.

    What, that you claim to be part of a groundswell of opposition to leftist ideas, if not instigating and propagating that groundswell with your very actions and ideas, yet you’re also a one-man army and people who consider themselves Right-wing have no discourse with you?

    I await with baited breath the vast numbers of people speaking out against Leftist oppression. Shall we re-visit this discussion in six months or even six years to see what’s changed?

    You’re paradigm isn’t on the fringes of reailty for ‘Mainstream’ NZ and you know it – it’s the source of your anger and dysfunction.

    jimbo, you clearly have no idea what that comment was referring to. Nothing to do with National, but speculators in the financial market. I can see why you thought the comment was comical, given your laughable interpretation of it.

  87. Redbaiter 88

    “even by supporters of the National Party.”

    Hahahah. Its a demonstration of how fucked your own thinking is that you can’t understand that pissing the National supporters off is not something that I’m going voluntarily into rehab over. Pack of useless pricks most of them. Who the fuck lost this country??

    Mr. Pillock- “What”

    What is correct. What the fuck is that mish mash of leftist double speak meant to say?? The inescapable point is this. If I was as ineffective as you claim, there is no way you (and other leftist dickwads) would be putting such effort into discrediting me.

  88. Matthew Pilott 89

    If I was as ineffective as you claim, there is no way you (and other leftist dickwads) would be putting such effort into discrediting me.

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this.

    In case you still don’t get it, you’re sport, Sport. You’re like a marlin – ever gone sport fishing, Redbaiter? If so you might understand.

    Work on the comprehension, though, it’s not as much fun when I lose you (or you pretend to be lost, like you did with that last comment. Cut a bit too close to the bone?)…

  89. Ag 90

    Pack of useless pricks most of them. Who the fuck lost this country??

    More insane drivel. No-one needs to discredit you, as you do a fine job of it yourself.

    You annoy people, but the only opinion that changes is the one people have of you.

  90. Redbaiter 91

    “In case you still don’t get it, you’re sport, Sport. You’re like a marlin – ever gone sport fishing, Redbaiter?”

    So lame. The only sport here is shoals of reef fish like you and AG.

  91. Matthew Pilott 92

    “Lame?”, Redbaiter? …pretending not to understand what I said:

    What the fuck is that mish mash of leftist double speak meant to say??

    That was lame, Sport.

  92. jimbo 93

    Tane – more than happy to engage on the “workers rights” issue as I was doing on the other thread. You’re picking and chosing your forum now (marking up an edit on one of my comments here) so you don’t have to respond to any of the substance of my arguments.

    YES – the process for dismissing a worker has changed for people who are within the first 90 days of employment. Unless your concept of “workers’ rights” is ludicrously wide, how is that “taking away workers’ rights”?

    Was the “anti-smacking” law a case of “taking away workers rights”? Each time the speed limit goes up, are we “taking away workers rights”? (Workers used to be able to smack and speed more, you know).

    Society forms (and adjust) rules for the benefit of society as a whole. You guys keep sloganeering (“WORKERS’ RIGHTS! FIRE AT WILL!”) because you cannot be bothered to argue the merits of the change properly.

    It is a totally “defensible” law and is commonplace is many countries around the world. Once there was no employee protection at all (i.e. everything was “fire at will”). Then came “due process”. Now “due process” has been amended for the first 90 days because society belives that we’ve gone too far down that path and some adjustment is needed.

    Stop frothing at the mouth about this law because you demean your arguments by overstating your position. Which of you are prepared to state on the record now that the next Labour government will repeal 90 days probation periods when it next gets into government…?

  93. Andrew B 94

    Has anyone seen this: http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/big-rise-in-nationals-support-post-election-2493982. Listen to this:

    “Since it won power, the National-led government has spent most of its time dealing with ways to soften the impact of the international recession.

    It has announced several initiatives to help businesses survive and it is keeping its promised tax cuts which come in on April 1.

    The government has brought a batch of law and order bills to Parliament as well as it fulfils its campaign promise to get tough on crime.”

    (Complete with spelling mistakes too!) I knew reporting was bad, but not this bad! TVNZ is often slightly better than granny, but WTF?! where did this one come from? They’ve spent jack all time doing anything about the recession and anything they did “do” was already on its way through the house or in the pipeline. We all know this, so where the hell are TVNZ getting their reporters from? The national party caucus? Or are they lapsing into copying and pasting press releases?

  94. Redbaiter 95

    “You’re paradigm isn’t on the fringes of reailty for ‘Mainstream’ NZ and you know it – it’s the source of your anger and dysfunction.”

    @#%$^@&@^@%$@#@…???????

  95. Tim Ellis 96

    Let me get this right, Redbaiter. For the last eight years you have been a legend in your own time, on the interweb, verbally trolling, harassing and abusing other people into intellectual submission.

    Yet it took a mild-mannered, polite, civil, middle-of-the-road man like John Key to get rid of Helen Clark.

    Change your methods, buddy. They don’t work, and really I’m afraid you’re not as important to stamping out socialism as you think you are.

    [lprent: Surely you mean “legend in your own mind”]

  96. northpaw:

    HUH???????????????

  97. Andrew B 98

    Jimbo – I’ve used this analogy many times, particularly with fellow high school students as it applies to us.
    Imagine you get a part time job at a local cafe. You’re close to the end of your third or fourth shift and your boss has had a particularly hard and bad day. Close to the end of the day, you are carrying a tray of cups of coffee. You trip and fall into him, breaking all the cups of coffee down his front. He gets angry at you.
    Now, what does he do?
    Under the new law he could fire you without a sufficient reason, simply just because you made a mistake. You would’ve caused limited financial damage and the cafe patrons would be most likely to understand. So at the end of the day, you’re left without a job. Now extend this analogy further – perhaps you are a single parent with three or four kids. Where does this leave you?

  98. jimbo 99

    Brett Dale – that is both correct AND funny.

  99. mike 100

    “Three years that will expose the hollowness of Key”

    Gee I hope the left share your fantasy Pierson.
    Keep attacking and name calling and watch his popularity grow like it did in 2008.
    Roll on 2011 – labour under 20% I’d say

  100. jimbo 101

    Andrew,

    Your analogy leaves you designing a whole system of legal rights and remedies to deal with what I’m sure you will agree is an “outlier” – an employer who is so irrational that he will fire an employee (with the consequent inconvenience and financial costs of finding a replacement) all because of an accident.

    You’re giving far more weight to your outlier case than it deserves. The economic incentives of running a business work against it happening (I’m not saying it never would, just that it’s not a circumstance you need to design laws around).

  101. Andrew B 102

    Jimbo – Indeed. I forgot to tag on the end “However, the chances of this exact analogy happening are quite low.” Often cafes have a very high staff turnover, so the loss of one employee won’t effect them much.
    But do you see how this could affect employees? It gives employers the right to fire, when they like, without giving a reason. The ramifications of this are huge – you could be fired for a personality clash or something as petty as that. Another example comes to mind: what if you have been working in a job for two months and you and another employee (who has been working there for much longer than you) do not get on. The other employee reports that you have been doing something illegal/against company policy or whatever to your boss. Your boss fires you. Hopefully a boss would see through this, although I personally know people who have been fired because another employee said something malicious to their boss (and under old law, claimed compensation for it). Now in these current economic times, unemployment is going to rise and has already risen. The government needs to balance workers rights with the economic problems faced by business. I vaguely recall Key (or someone in the government) saying that the way out of the recession was to stimulate the economy by everybody spending. (ah, I remember Gareth Morgan opposing this on TVNZ, so someone must have said it.) Therefore, for people to spend, they must have money and if they don’t have jobs, they don’t have money, so they can’t spend. (tagged on to this could be: and more people without jobs, means more crime, which means work for the police which means more government funding and less government money means fewer infrastructure and “stimulus” plans (not to mention additional strain on the kit bag where the benefit is dished out because of rising unemployment) the government cannot cut working for families anymore, as this would mean less money for low-middle income NZers, which means less spending. (Not that national haven’t already increased tax on low/middle income families))
    Can anyone else see a vicious cycle developing here? Really the government is saying something and creating a law to oppose it. Interesting huh?

    However, this does not mean that I agree with National’s Spend Spend Spend plan.

  102. Jeez RB,

    Why don’t you take a chill pill, I worry about you. You sound like your going for a heart attack.

    I know this one will end in moderation and possibly quit rightly so and I most certainly don’t want to equate John Key with the man I’m going to mention next but there was a period in time when, while hundreds of thousands of civilians died in air raids, the corporately and governmentally owned news outlets still spoke of the then Führer as their dearly beloved infallible leader and told the dying and wounded Germans that they where winning.

    Later, when interviewed, German citizens said, “the radio kept telling us that we where winning and that the Führer was in control and every thing would be alright but everyday we heard that we where winning a little bit closer to home and when the Russians/Americans (depending on which side of Germany your lived) came the radio’s still told us that we where winning.”

    At this moment the global economy is collapsing due to the greedy actions of a small group of bankers. Here in New Zealand 9 out of 10 people still thinks that we’re going to be sweet and that someone who smiles all the time is a nice guy.

    All the crappy laws signed today don’t mean shit to Average Joe because he ain’t doing anything bad but when the shit hits the fan and Average Joe the middle class dork becomes the hungry street bum with his wife and his kids that’s when he will understand that what you wish on others will come back to bit you in the ass.

    Perhaps it dawns on him when his son just kicked out of the house he bought a year ago against inflated prices while his wife just had a baby daughter gets caught stealing a loaf of bread because he lost his job and he did not want his child to go hungry and while he promises not to do it again perhaps he gets caught stealing some more food and after the third time bingo the three strike rule kicks in and he gets send to jail for 25 years.

    Perhaps it will dawn on that Average Joe the angry middle class Pakeha that John Key was smiling for all the wrong reasons and maybe my dairying friend will finally understand that John Key really is not his friend.

    What was that again? That thing that Jesus said again? Don’t do to others what you would not have done unto you. Well, you never know when life puts you in the position where that what you wished on others is applicable to you.

    In the same time that the media kept saying that the leader was infallible and winning, some 65 years ago someone concluded:

    When they first came for the Jews, I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t Jewish, when they came back and took the Socialists I said nothing because I wasn’t a Socialist and when they came back to take all the Gypsies I kept Schtum because I wasn’t a Gypsy but when they came back to take me away there was nobody to speak up for me because there was nobody left to speak.

    First it is the young crims to boot camp, than it is the activist Maori’s, than the lefty Greenies and after than it’s the suckers who bought into the “we’ll make it right for the upstanding, angry, middle class pakeha”.

    Not long now, RB, Not long and you’ll wish there was somebody left to speak up for you.

  103. Matthew Pilott 104

    Normal discourse for Dummies One: what Redbaiter wants isn’t what everyone else (viz. ‘mainstream NZ’ ) wants, and that is why Redbaiter is angry and can’t communicate properly.

    It’s not that hard, Sport.

  104. Pascal's bookie 105

    I think the baityboy has knocked off for the day. Mum wants the computer back, so our demented hero has retired once again to his attic to reread The Turner Diaries and watch his archived news reports about the Murray building.

  105. higherstandard 106

    Eve

    ….. no I can’t be feckin bothered……

  106. northpaw 107

    Brett,

    Slow down.. take a breath.. try.. Else we shall conclude you do not know why you “changed” to National.. Not that I’d want to, y’follow, but that inane responses leave no alternative..

  107. Daniel 108

    The new Roy Morgan poll makes much more sense- their numbers show results similiar to the election night results. I think TV3 need a new polling company.

  108. jimbo 109

    Andrew –

    Understand your concerns but all your examples are basically predicated on employers acting in a way that is “wrong”. If you had a cafe owner who regularly fired people over spilt drinks, the word would get out and no one would accept his offers of employment UNLESS he was paying heaps to compensate you for the risk of being unfairly fired in the first 3 months…

    Employers have massive incentive effects to act sensibly when it comes to new employees – the incentive effect is the time and monetary cost of hiring a replacement and the consequences of being short on employees until the replacement is found. As explained above, over time the cost of being a jerk during the 3 month trial period will be greater difficulty in filling positions and eventually an increased labour cost.

    Again, that’s not to say there aren’t some d1ckhead employers out there or that morally unsupportable dismissals can and do happen. It’s just not the right thing to design your policy for the outliers (i.e. the employers who do things that are stupid, irrational, financially irresponsible, etc.)

    Here’s another example for you:

    What in your view are incentive effects that affect candidates when they apply for a job? Do you think a potential applicant is ever incentivised to “over-sell” themselves in order to get a particular job…? If the applicant “oversold” themselves (meaning that another honest – better qualified – applicant missed out), should the employer have to expend time and money on training that person (or “managing” their dismissal and replacement)? In my view, such overselling by candidates happens a lot. Sometimes it’s intentional, sometimes it’s not, but in all cases why should the employer suffer?

    I don’t disregard your examples of potential problems at all. I don’t lack sympathy for people who are unjustifiably dismissed or who miss out on getting jobs because another candidate has “oversold” themselves during the interview. I just believe my example is more likely to happen than your ones (because of incentive effects at work), and also my problem has a bigger negative impact on the wider economy than yours does.

    Hence, I like this law. It balances the position better and is therefore fairer to everyone. The policy is consistent with the incentive effects that exist in the real world.

    Andrew – you are clearly an economic conservative at heart… You are right about the need for employment to move an economy out of recession, but that’s only one small part of the equation. You don’t get employment by “forcing” it on people though. A law saying “everyone must hire an additional 4% staff” or “redundancy is temporarily outlawed until the recession is over” would not magically fix the economy. Economies grow because entreprenuers take risks – that is the essential ingredient that can never be “conjured up” by government policy. Entrepreneurs borrow money (paying the bank an interest rate), build factories (paying for land and buildings and equipment), take on employees (creating jobs and GUARANTEED income source for Joe Public) and sell products that other people want. They do all this for the CHANCE to earn profits – their own reward is not guaranteed and many of them lose the shirt off their back.

    This recession will pass only when enough business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs step back out into the world like blinking newborn lambs and start taking business risks again… Some of them will succeed, some of them will fail, but all of them will create jobs and economic activity at far greater rates than you or I could by buying a new Chinese flatscreen TV from Harvey Norman.

    When a right-winger likes me argues in favour of pro-business policies, it’s not because I have no sympathy in circumstances where an individual employee is poorly treated by their boss. It’s also not because I’m concerned for the plight of specific rich business-owning mates (I wish I had some). It’s because I understand that successful ENTREPRENEURS are essential for all of the rest of us – occasionally they need and deserve a little bit of love!

  109. mike 110

    “I think TV3 need a new polling company.”

    lol…thats before TV1 was bad and TV3 “made more sense” keep running kids

  110. haiku dave 111

    redbaiter’s comments
    are like a Big Mac, read one
    and you’ve read them all

  111. haiku dave 112

    Redbaiter: “I take credit for knocking down a large part of the wall that the left had built around freedom of expression in this country.”

    ha ha ha ha ha!
    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
    ha ha ha ha ha !

  112. Andrew B 113

    Sorry, unfortunately I don’t have the time this evening to reply to all of your reply. However, I understand where you are coming from in relation to employment only being part of the equation of ‘getting out of the recession’ and I completely agree with you. It would be ridiculous to ban redundancies etc., as then the economy would be in a much much worse shape. However, it does not make it right to not go through ‘due process’ when firing an employee. If anything, it makes sure that no one is being fired for unjust reasons. This is important as everyone has, or should have, the right to work regardless of anything that could cause discrimination – which is one of the serious risks involved with passing a law like this. It law allows employers to effectively fire at will, which seems to me could, in certain circumstance, be a breach of s19 of the Bill of Rights Act 1990 (I know that it is not in BORA anymore, but in HRA 1993, but I can’t find which section in the HRA). However, this is most likely to be limited to a few cases. To me it seems like a sort of double dealing, whilst it does allow employers some liberty to move with employees, it seems to make no sense that an employer would be able to fire someone without a reason and without the right of appeal to that dismissal. That just doesn’t seem fair, especially not being able to appeal.
    In regard to my extrapolation over National wanting the public to spend – I was just demonstrating what could happen if that was the way that the public and government went. Hence, I am not suggesting that we go to Harvey Norman and spend up!

    On to my next point, (which I had forgotten about!): You hit the nail on the head Jimbo, when you effectively talked about how entrepreneurial and business confidence is low. A lot of blame lies in the media’s camp for creating so much hype, if there wasn’t so much hype, business would be more confident and the economy would be stronger. I’m led to understand (although I have done no personal research on the topic) that confidence dropped when the credit began to crunch, if you will, in America and that affected the rest of the world (although there was also the obvious affect of the American housing crisis etc). I’m hypothesising here and feel free to critique: The media, therefore, have the power to pull us out of the recession, as news (especially here in NZ) is so sensationalised, as soon the media get bored of “the recession” and “the credit crunch” and stop reporting on it, it will leave the worlds collective consciousness and we’ll get back to business. We saw similar things happen with the avian flu. Everyone was out buying tamiflu and stock piling food like Armageddon was on its way, yet as soon as the media stopped talking about it – everything went hush and back to normal. The problem of avian flu stayed the same however. Whilst this example is radically different from the credit crisis/recession, it does demonstrate how influential the media is.

    The government also appears to be going in a radically different direction to the rest of the major politicians in the world. Whilst Obama is pouring a trillion dollars into his economy, we’re pouring just under $500million in (most of which was already planned and not part of any stimulus package). That works out to (I lost the calculations that I did last week somewhere on my desk and I can’t find them) roughly NZD$3000 per American and less than NZD$100 per NZer. Whilst NZ does not have the financial capacity (especially after tax cuts for the rich(I know I’m bitter)) to pay for $3000 per capita – we could at least come up with something better! Obama, Rudd and Brown are all taking pro-active steps to ensure the stability and growth of our economy by investing in such things like R&D, little ol’ NZ is taking a hands-off approach and waiting for our big siblings to fix the problem for us. Instead, the government takes away tax credits for resource and development – one of the sectors that will pull us out of the economy. As you said, once the entrepreneurs come out of the dark…., but hang on, the National government is keeping the closet door shut.

    (I’d like to apologise for my lack of economic knowledge – I am only 16 and have never studied economics. However, I do understand the way in which small business works as my family owns several of them)

  113. haiku dave 114

    curse of false named scribe
    on blog, smash the state but get
    no credit for it

  114. Redbaiter 115

    What kind of uneducated dumbfuck says “baited breath”. Some kind of air breathing reef fish?

  115. expat 116

    Another bitter hollow diatribe from Mr Pierson.

    Labour hate being less relevant than the Maori Party.

    [lprent: Ok that is offensive to me because it attacks the poster rather than the opinions in the post. So I’ll undertake a bit of toilet training for this puppy……

    Added you to auto-moderation. I’ll let the acceptable ones through, enhance others with probable explanations for your behaviour, or add them to the anti-spam bot in the morning. ]

  116. haiku dave 117

    Redbaiter: “I take credit for knocking down a large part of the wall that the left had built around freedom of expression in this country.’

    best redbaiter quote
    since he said whaleoil was fat,
    thinking it r nome

  117. haiku dave 118

    shine on you crazy
    righty, caught in crossfire of
    childhood and bedtime

  118. Travellerev, Godwins law at its worst! Jeez. NZ is not even close to it, nor has, in its oh so short history. Calm down… although I demand I get my 20 seconds back from reading that silliness!

  119. Andrew B 120

    Hey – Where did my post go? I spent forty minutes writing that and its not here…?

    [lprent: Can’t see it anywhere on this end. Most likely you didn’t get the recapcha correct.]

  120. Tell me Clint,

    You huntsman you, you still think the US is Democracy? LOL

  121. tsmithfield 122

    A whistling woman and a crowing hen, Is neither fit for God nor men

  122. rave 123

    Andrew its probably in quarantine because you used a naughty word by mistake. Keep up the good work. As one old enough to be your grandfather I enjoy reading thoughtful stuff from one so young.

  123. Tim Ellis 124

    I can’t help thinking that this thread has turned into a total train-wreck, caused by trolls who have nothing constructive to say about the principal topic.

  124. Redbaiter 125

    “trolls who have nothing constructive to say about the principal topic.”

    That’s rich considering most of your drivel, like some demented hen pecking school teacher, is focused on admonishing Redbaiter for his language and attitude.

    For the dipshits who still don’t get my point- its never going to be the same again. 1999 was easy because socialism held all the propaganda cards, the opposition was lame, but more importantly, the left held a large part of the culture.

    Since the internet, the left have suffered considerable damage to their flagship operation- that being their mainstream media propagandists posing as objective journalists, and have also suffered because people have finally rebelled against their attempts to control thought and speech (most often referred to as political correctness).

    The left’s objective is to make a country’s culture and leftism inseparable. A large wedge has been driven in to this plan, and NZ is at last on the way back to freedom and choice, and away from totalitarianism. Its a long voyage, and the ship is only moving slowly and steadily, but it will eventually get up momentum, and the left that won the election in 1999 will soon recede over the horizon for ever.

  125. vidiot 126

    And the 2009 Labour Party Anthem is now officially – “The only Way is Up by Yazz”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Lwlr5ZAoQ4

    ReCAPTCHA: were kicked – now what is that trying to say ?

  126. echspat 127

    [deleted]
    [lprent: expat being an idiot. I’ve deleted all of his subsequent comments and added all previously used IP’s to moderation.
    A crude form of outbreak protection…]

  127. northpaw 128

    Do I take it correctly that Andrew’s comment has appeared.. certainly the length of what appears above looks 40minutes in the making..

    touching on employment issues mentioned therein I think, will conference next week attempt benchmarking – pro tem at least – employment status.? Will this or can conference additionally consider the extent of under-employment in enzed..?

    States-wise I have it from ML’s (respectable) economist Rosenberg that unemployment at 13.2 percent is the more likely figure for the administration to be looking at and that an included under-employment summation in the order 2-3 percent ranks consideration.

    Should such significance be given here then can we rely upon subsequent government (or its agency) monitoring so as to relate actual figures etc..

  128. northpaw 129

    lprent, webbies @ thestandard blog..

    On my screen just now an ad or advice re Internet protest at (I’m guessing) some intended statute or clause or whatever..

    This ad’s bg panel is too big. The reverses could say their thing in less space.. suggest you cut 15px or so from the bottom..

    Reason for my protest being: — chopping off the definite article ‘The’ to the blog title is not on.. not really.. Whereas resize is so simple..

  129. echspat 130

    northpaw is on drugs – philu?

  130. northpaw 131

    RB,

    you don’t know what my point is

    Why not cut all yo’ crap and tell us upfront about M3 and RP.

    You don’t know about M3 and RP?—says YOU don’t know what yo’ point is..

    Nice weekend everyone.. could be some interesting listening along the way..

  131. I agree with Redbaiter, it’s never going to be the same again.

  132. northpaw 133

    echspat,

    (with contempt) Which ones, dude?

  133. Redbaiter 134

    “I agree with Redbaiter, it’s never going to be the same again.”

    Left political views are fine. Just stop trying to weave it into our culture, and stop trying to use government as a means to impose socialism. This is a corruption of democracy, and as more and more people come to realise this, and fight with all their might against this corruption, you will lose to a much greater extent than you’re losing now.

  134. northpaw 135

    repeat:

    (with contempt) Which ones, dude?

    no answer makes technical k/o.. thort yo’ should know..

  135. Alain Bonard 136

    Ah, that might explain John Key’s sunny dispositon in the face of increasingly hard times for many New Zealanders .. and that enigmatic Mona Lisa smile.

  136. Travellerev

    You dont think the US is a democracy? They have just elected African American liberal to president and the house and senate is controlled by the liberals.

    I guess you think, Cuba is more democracy.

  137. jimbo 138

    Andrew – A couple of points in response:

    Re: probations periods – again I think the reason we disagree is because you are still building your policy response around an assumption that employers, if given the “freedom” to do so, will abuse the 90 day probation period and fire workers for the fun of it. It’s interesting that your family is involved in small businesses – do your family members hire and fire based on personal prejudices?! You might have had one or two bad experiences already in your part-time jobs, but the caricature of “evil bosses” is exactly that, a caricature.

    What is an employer doing each time they hire a new worker? They are taking a risk. The risk could either help their business (making them wealthier), or it could hurt their business (making them poorer). Even without ANY employee protection laws, employers have an incentive to “get it right”. Sadly, too many abuses were happening so “due process” rules for hiring/firing now exist (which is a good thing). However, the government now believes that the “due process” rules and they way some employees are “gaming” them have dampened small business owners’ appetite for risk. So the adjustment has occurred for (1) small businesses only; and (2) 90 days only.

    Despite the inflammatory rhetoric on this site, it’s a SMALL change and a good one. It is commonplace overseas (indeed, I’ve twice been emplyed in places where I had to “survive” a 90 days probation – I can tell you it focuses your attention pretty sharply! That said, its not a keep-you-up-at-night concern.)

    Of course there are some stupid/cruel/irrational small business owners out there, but most of them can be “trusted” by the government to act reasonably and sensibly. The business owners face large financial disincentives if the decide to act irrationally during the 90 day probation periods. If you refuse to introduce a probationary period law because you are worried about *some* employers acting irrationally, you are throwing away the baby with the bathwater.

    Look at this way – some small business owners out there might make “wrong” decisions about their business which will cause the business to fold, meaning that all their employees are out of a job and the government no longer earns tax revenue from the business or the employees. That’s a fact of life. It could happen. No one suggests that the government should pass laws whereby the government checks every business decision to make sure it is “right”. Why not? (1) Because the business owner is already massively incentivised to make economically sensible decisions; and (2) because the government would not necessarily know the “right” decision anyway.

    A stupid/cruel/irrational decision during the probation period will cost the business owner money. In the long run, even if the NEW employee loses his job (which, of course, is a bad thing), at least he’s no longer working for a stupid/cruel/irrational employer.

    It’s a balancing act. “Due process” has changed for someone in the first 90 days of employment. I think the re-balancing works fine and will help the economy.

    Re: Obama/Brown spending – I wouldn’t be picking sides on this one yet! A lot of people have jumped on the word “stimulus” and now use it instead of “spending”. Taking on debt and spending it on goodies is not a magic proescription for ending a recession. Again, the government cannot “create” confidence from no-where. NZ has almost no manufacturing so even if we all bought new cars, appliances, TVs etc, the money will go to offshore enterprises. Yes – NZ needs more infrastructure but for years that type of spending has been ignored for political reasons (roads?). Spending/stimulus carries a cost – the interest payments that the government will have to meet (out of yours and my taxes) to pay off the debt. When the debt/interest payments get too high, govts have to raise taxes which discourages future entrepreneurs from going into business. What the Australians have done is crazy – giving people cash lump sums to spend on (usually Asian) imported goods helps confidence how…?! When people are worried about the future, they SAVE and wait for opportunities to emerge. I’m not saying our govt shouldn’t spend at all, just that I don’t mind being cautious at this stage because it is the sensible and natural approach.

    I suggest each time you hear the word “stimulus”, you replace it with “spending borrowed money”, and see if the solution sounds quite so good then!

    Finally, Andrew, I’d say definitely take some economics at uni. You’ll find it fascinating and far less “academic” than you might expect (as long as you don’t take microeconomics for too long because it suddenly turns into pages and pages of calculus at about year 3!).

  138. Go Redbaiter go,

    You fight corruption dude. Jihar, See that corruption go.

    Brett,

    Black men can get bought and paid for too. Most of his money came from the big financiers and all his advisors and secretaries for money business are ex CEO’s from the privately owned Money Masters.

  139. Andrew B 140

    Jimbo – a (hopefully short) note on your comment regarding Obama/Brown/Rudd “spending” policies. Whilst I’m not saying that what they are doing it correct, all three will have the best economic advice in the world, ever. NZ does not have this. Therefore, this means that some of the best economic brains in the world, ever, are advising these governments to spend spend spend. Whilst we don’t see this economic advice being given (as it does not filter through in the media) governments are not going to spend a trillion dollars on a whim. Especially if its borrowed money. Therefore, whilst I don’t think we should spent $3000/person on stimulus, a little more than $100 would be good. ( I use these ratios as a way of demonstrating the amount of money spent, not how much each person is given or whatever…) I think we should really be following the lead of countries who are being proactive in dealing with the recession, not sitting and waiting for someone else to do something about it. This action is advised by some of the best economic brains in the world who have a plan, unlike NZ’s supposed top economist, Gareth Morgan (who only sees doom and gloom).

    Whilst I don’t want to imply a sort of doomsday prophecy, we don’t know what could happen – so its better to do something now, rather than wait until there is a need for an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

    I am very aware Jimbo, of how stimulus is the buzz word for spending.

    Btw, I still do not see how roading will stimulate the economy… Moving goods from A to B a little bit faster doesn’t seem to make that much sense from a stimulus perspective. The govt seems to be repackaging roading (and other infrastructure) into an “economic stimulus” plan – however a lot of this stuff will not directly impact the economy, merely it will gain kudos for the govt.

    Also, I was thinking today about the role of the government and what their job is. The government is the people’s elected representative, therefore it is their job to enact policy/law that is for the benefit of most, if not all, people. 90-days only benefits a certain percentage of the population (although there are obviously economic considerations here). Its the same with the tax cuts for the wealthy – it benefits a minority of the population, whilst disadvantaging the low/middle income families (whilst I believe in the redistribution of wealth, unfortunately people get up in arms about the government taking away their money, even if it doesn’t impact their economic prospectives (from an investment/FOREX perspective) or their luxuriated style of living). Don’t get me started on how the Nats fooled the nation into voting for them (even people in parliament have been saying this) and how they haven’t delivered.

    Yes, I almost wrote down about spending on imported goods does not stimulate the economy in the last post, (only helps the retailers and distributors in NZ).

    Now a proposal:
    Why does the government not invest in local manufacturing? Maybe they could help save business that are about to close down because of cheaper imports – maybe subsidise their costs or something. To help them compete for a share of the local (and perhaps international market). Sure this does seem a bit like economic protectionism, but it would help stimulate the local economy.

    Another idea: why doesn’t the government utilise the unemployed by employing them to build roads/help with infrastructure improvements etc? That would keep people employed as well as helping the country. I don’t have time to discuss the ramifications of this now, but there are various problems involved. But its better to have people in work than not.

  140. jimbo 141

    Andrew – I hear what you’re saying about “best economic minds”, but ask yourself what got the world into this mess…?!

    Some of the best financial and economic minds in the US and Europe dreamt up fancy structures for dealing in sub-prime loans. Somehow those brilliant minds convinced themselves, and investors, that loans to people who could not afford them could be bundled together and sold with AAA ratings! Those people (and famously, Gordon Brown) believed that they had re-engineered risk so that it no longer existed and “boom and bust” would not occur.

    The US and Britain are still working our their reponse to the credit crunch. It is by no means a “consensus” of everyone whose opinions matter. Don’t make the mistake of following the herd on matters to do with money – that’s exactly how bubbles and crashes occur. If you take the shortcut of saying “this is what everyone else is doing”, then you are accepting you will also crash and burn when they do.

    There are smart people with sensible opinions on both sides of the debate. Even amongst the fire and brimstone on this site, you’ll notice people “talking sense” from both ends of the political spectrum. Good leaders listen to well-argued and often contradictory advice, then they make decisions that consistently turn out to be right. Key is not automatically wrong just because he is not following the path of the (socialist) governments of Britain, USA and Aus.

    Deficit spending to “stimulate” growth is not a guaranteed solution to anything. It is part of the equation, but definitely not all of it. Too much deficit spending would create problems in the future (i.e. too great a debt burden so that when the good times return internationally, NZ misses out because we’re too tied up paying out interest bill). Caution is fine at this point.

    There’s no point in trying to turn NZ into a manufacturing nation. We are a tiny island miles away from the rest of the world (meaning high transport costs). We have a high standard of living and a high cost of labour. It’s simply not where our skills and natural advantages lie. It would be like asking a 6ft 10 inch 130 kg man to become a ballerina – sure he *might* eventually be able to do it after lots of training, but it’s just not worth the wasted time and effort when you can throw him a rugby ball in the lineout.

    As to your spending proposals, the only one that I’d agree with is to spend on infrastructure.

    This is the same rule you should apply to your own financial planning. Don’t borrow for consumption, instead borrow only to buy income-producing assets or assets which increase your ability to generate income (with one exception – explained below). Despite what some people believe, some basics will ALWAYS be true – you get wealthy by spending less than you earn and, if you borrow, you’d better be earning more than the interest rate or else you’ll go bankrupt.

    Applying this rule to personal spending – you’d always pay your credit card off each month. Want a new car and the cap company offers hire purchase? You ignore it – you can’t afford the car. Nice big TV but too expensive right now? Save another couple of months.

    On the other hand, if you want to go to university but can’t afford the fees? OK to borrow because the study (should) directly improve your income-earning capacity. Want to borrow money to become a landlord? Fine, so long as your business analysis shows that you can turn a profit (your reward for taking the risk of home ownership).

    (The one exception on borrowing for consumption is borrowing to buy your own residence/house. If you want to own a house, then obviously you need to borrow. You should simply pay it off as fast as you can because it’s tax-paid dollars that pay the interest.)

    Applying this philosophy to government, I would much rather have the NZ government spending on schools, bridges, roads, internet cables etc than giving away cash gifts to the citizens. The projects themselves will keep people occupied while we wait for private businesses to regain their appetite for risk. When private business confidence returns, they will be more productive (because of the better roads, internet, bridges, etc).

    I don’t care if Rudd is the smartest economic mind in Australia, he is simply wrong with what he’s done. It is irresponsible and foolish and I would be thoroughly p1ssed off with our government if it decided to do something similar.

    My posts seem to be getting longer and longer…!

  141. northpaw 142

    Jimbo,

    There’s no point in trying to turn NZ into a manufacturing nation. We are a tiny island miles away from the rest of the world (meaning high transport costs). We have a high standard of living and a high cost of labour. It’s simply not where our skills and natural advantages lie.

    Thanks for extended response.. As to the above whatever happened to the high-value export manufacturing sector..?

  142. Andrew B 143

    Again Jimbo, how is spending money on roads going to stimulate the economy? Spending money on schools is a very long term fix (20+ years at least), internet has advantages (however, the advantages to high speed internet do not out way the importance of keeping unemployment low i.e. its better to spend that money on keeping businesses afloat and therefore keeping their employees than having faster internet (I agree this is necessary, but fast-tracking it isn’t)). I am not proposing in ANY way that we GIVE money to people. That would be ludicrous and really would be a waste. However, the government could give money or loan (perhaps with no interest) to some of our largest employers if they need to start making people redundant.

    I wasn’t agreeing with your ideas on spending on infrastructure. I was proposing that we take people who have become unemployed and the government employ them (sorry to sound a bit conservative here, but perhaps at a lower hourly rate (having a job is better than being unemployed!)) to do infrastructural work. i.e. to create a government employed work force. Not to mention the greater societal benefits of having people work in a job contributing to society:
    1. Greater sense of community within the work force – “we’re all in the same boat mentality”. This would create a greater sense of community within society in general which would contribute to a more peaceful, less violent etc nation.
    2. Sense of Pride with the work you’ve done. Whenever you or your family drove over a road that you worked on, there would be a sense of pride in what you’ve completed. (I have a personal example of this: it gives me some sense of pride to know that my great-grandfather worked on digging the hill out where Wintec now sits in Hamilton).
    4. It keeps people (and more importantly, families) off the streets – which means that there will be even less crime etc.
    5. It will give previously untrained people skills. Or even trained people new skills. That can only be a good thing.
    An example of this would be in pre-Nazi Germany (yes, fault me on using a Nazi example, however this has nothing to do with Nazism – also the idea was not concieved by Nazis – look it up on wikipedia) where they took unemployed (ignore the use of slaves, please!) and set them to work on the autobahn. Now look what they’ve got. Whilst that is a terrible example, the Germans were able to build the autobahn amazingly quickly (i.e. faster time = less government expenditure on roads).
    You may argue that the cost of getting this skilled workforce up and running would be impossible and preventative – however, it is likely that the cost of getting this team up and running would be less than the extra time it would take to build these roads with the current size work force. I guess one would have to set up a whole new department at Transit to manage and train all the new workers (not to mention all the new office jobs created by this new department), but maybe this could be a longer term solution to unemployment full stop.
    Please note, however, that I am using the example of roads as that, an EXAMPLE. I’m sure that the government would be able to find places for most unemployed people – anyone from lawyers and accountants to tool manufacturers and welders. (but, of course, we would rather have people unemployed and poor than employed by the government. Think of all those bureaucrats! gosh!)

    I don’t propose that we turn NZ into a manufacturing nation – I’m saying that the government should give incentives to local manufacturing businesses to stay open and to help them expand. Wouldn’t it be great if “Made in NZ” was seen on more locally available products? Anyway, we did once do a great deal of manufacturing – before the world was as globalised as it is today. My prediction for the future is that as warfare spreads, climate change destroys massive populations and we cannot move between continents as easily – nations will move back to a more local system of production. Therefore, we need to think ahead and start developing, not only strategies, but methods of coping with this. We need to experiment with different crops that we can grown in NZ, with renewable energy, with local manufacturing etc. If international trade suddenly falls because of some global problem (perhaps climatic), we need someway in which to sustain the population. You mentioned it yourself: we are a small island nation, far from anywhere (except Aus, which could become entirely desert and therefore be of no use to us anyway as a trading partner), therefore we need to develop systems that will be ready for use in as little as 50 years. We really need to start thinking that far ahead. I.e. building and staffing factories for everything from canning food to making clothes. Sure, we have some of these, but not enough to sustain 4.2 million people (well in 50 years, maybe 5 or 6 million people) Here, perhaps, is where the necessity to improve infrastructure comes in. However, the intention of the government is not to plan for the future, it is to improve its ratings in the polls and to fulfill their election promise. Well, at least that’s what it seems like.

    (Btw, please don’t give me financial advice. When I say I do not know much about the economy, I mean I don’t know the formula for GDP etc.)

    Anyway, I have spent far too much time discussing this, so this will be my last post for a while. Thank you jimbo for this conversation – We certainly brought up the standard of comments on this post!

  143. logie97 144

    wait up – is this the first banana skin? Remember Ashcroft’s visit and Key having difficulty in fielding reporter questions… seems the UK are investigating Ashcroft now

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7904033.stm

  144. jimbo 145

    Andrew – you are instinctively an economic conservative/libertarian, I reckon! I don’t think any of your more dramatic concerns will come to pass in our lifetimes. Trade will not collapse totally. NZ won’t have to be economically self-sufficient. The capitalist system has not irretrevieably failed and the world will go on spinning.

    There is plenty to debate in the plans you support, but in most cases I think my respose would draw upon three themes (1) the “government” is highly unlikely to have the skills needed to simply start running big high budget businesses at the drop of a hat; (2) there is not an unlimited pot of money – the govt has to borrow or raise taxes OR it has to encourage private sector economic growth so that the tax base increases (I know which one I prefer); and (3) many of the policies have very negative incentive effects.

    In a nutshell, having dealt at various times with MPs and other political leaders, I simply don’t have anywhere near your level of belief in the “government’s” ability to PLAN a big business or economic undertaking.

    Since you’re interested in history, you’ll know that previous efforts by state governments to guarantee employment for all tend to end up with a lot of people hungry or killed. It’s an idea that sounds great but does not work!

    (ps. No intention of giving you lessons in personal financial management – more trying to show how illogical it is to deal with a credit crunch (caused by people/companies borrowing and spending more than they could afford) by … borrowing and spending more. It’s not what we’re each going to do personally, so why should government do it at a macro level?)

  145. Andrew B 146

    I said I wouldn’t reply – but here we go:

    Firstly, what have I suggested that would convince you to think that I have conservative economics? Most of the stuff I’ve said has been quite socialist (excluding examples I’ve used) – particularly in the last post.

    I’m not proposing the government create a big business at the drop of the hat – merely it might be a good idea to start thinking ahead now. We do need to have the ability to become completely self-sustainable in the next 50 years, if not shorter. When one looks at how fast ice-shelfs in Antarctica can break because of Climate Change, it brings home how such a little change in temperature can do. Anyway, that is beside the point. The government and the next government in three years (because it WILL change!) and into the future, need to develop serious plans to become able to be self sustainable. NZ is lucky, cause we can become self sustainable, whilst other countries can’t (which is why, maybe, we need to build up a military to keep invaders out (that sounds a little immature, however, we will need to work out a maximum population that we can sustain and then keep everyone else out, just to be realistic). We have the opportunity now to create a significant labour force to create some of the infrastructure needed during this recession, so why not? Of course, it would be expensive and it isn’t exactly high priority (as people only ever think about the here and now, particularly NACT), but regardless, it needs to be done.

  146. Andrew B 147

    By the way, your attack on Stalinism and Maoism is a bit false – the majority of state employment schemes work. They certainly do in NZ – KiwiRail, NZ Post, the government, TVNZ plus all the other state run organisations/companies. You seem to have limited knowledge of communism if you would call Stalinism and Maoism communism – they have different names for a reason.

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