- Date published:
10:36 am, April 11th, 2015 - 67 comments
Categories: bill english, budget 2014, Economy, election 2014, john key, making shit up, national, same old national, spin, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:
John Key and National have placed a huge amount of political capital in returning the country’s books to surplus. Back in 2008 they campaigned heavily on how Labour was going to deliver “a decade of deficits” and it really was the slogan de jour. According to them Labour’s mismanagement of the economy was the cause of the global financial crisis and not the pure unadulterated greed of a bunch of merchant bankers like Key seeking never ending wealth.
That always annoyed. Helen Clark and Michael Cullen had always run a tight budget, produced nine, read that again, nine budget surpluses during the term of the fifth Labour Government, had paid off debt, put ACC on a more secure financial footing, had created the Cullen fund and had put away funds for the time that things went pear shaped.
At the time of the 2008 election the Global Financial Crisis was already causing havoc and no matter who was in power it was the right thing to do to open up the chequebook. To be fair to National the Christchurch earthquakes have certainly put considerable pressure on the country’s finances. But Key and co have created this illusion that they are sound financial managers. And this illusion needs to be shown for what it is.
If you google search the word “surplus” on John Key’s own website the results suggest that he has used the word “surplus” 1,280 times in reported speeches and press releases. And some of the quotes and passages are real doozies. Like the following:
Even the 2014 election campaign material continued this theme that a surplus was just around the corner. Remember this?
Since National came into government, we have been working towards achieving a surplus in the 2014/15 year as well as reducing debt.
But the earlier euphoric confidence started to wear off after the 2014 election.
This week Bill English (note it was Bill and not John) was forced to admit the bad news. Despite all the promises, despite all the shenanigans such as cutting funds from the Christchurch rebuild, recategorising grants to Auckland Transport as loans and hanging onto ACC surpluses, despite all the rhetoric National is going to fail.
In reality not reaching surplus this financial year is not such a big thing. Economies tend to be cyclical and a good government will save during the good times and spend up during the bad times. But when you promise for so long with such confidence that you will achieve a result and you then fail to deliver you deserve all the cynicism and opprobrium that opposition parties can muster.
Remember the decade of deficits? We are over two thirds of the way there and the end is not in sight.