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The truth makes them angry

Written By: - Date published: 8:37 am, July 17th, 2013 - 59 comments
Categories: class war, national - Tags: ,

This is disgraceful:

A visiting economist has accused Finance Minister Bill English of “bullying” and “menace” after a heated encounter in a TV studio.

London School of Economics Professor Robert Wade said Mr English made a stabbing motion with his finger towards his chest and berated him in between their separate appearances on TVNZ’s Q + A programme at the weekend. There was no physical contact.

Mr English disagreed with his remarks on inequality and capital gains tax and warned him “Don’t you say that again”, Prof Wade said.

“I was surprised by the sort of menace in his voice,” the academic said yesterday. “He was like a schoolmaster and he sort of jabbed his finger in the direction of my chest like a school master wagging the finger. I just thanked him for his kind advice and proceeded on out.” …

So, threatening gestures (like Key’s throat-slitting) rather than actual physical aggression (like Gerry Brownlee). But to a visiting academic? English is losing it.

A spokesman for Mr English said he rejected claims he was bullying or menacing.

Well he would, wouldn’t he.

“Professor Wade’s suggestions are nonsense. Mr English simply pointed out that he was wrong to say the Government was making policy for 1 to 2 per cent of the population and that those comments were offensive.

Professor Wade is not wrong at all. The Nat’s policies are benefiting the top 1 or 2%, and pretty much no one else. Here’s Bernard Hickey:

NZ shares a big problem with the US and Europe. Our household sectors are still heavily indebted and incomes in the middle and lower income groups are barely above where they were five or six years ago.

Figures this week show NZ’s real per capita GDP is still 1.3 per cent below 2007′s. Most of the gains in any economic recovery have gone to the top few per cent of the population

National’s major policy this term has been asset sales, which – guess what – benefited only a tiny few:

“National’s myth that it sold Mighty River Power to ordinary New Zealanders has been well and truly busted. John Key’s ‘mums and dad investors’ line was a con,” said Dr Norman.

“The truth is that 98 percent of New Zealanders bought no shares at all. Half the retail shares went to just 0.3 percent of the population, and a tiny group of just 400 wealthy individuals and organisations got 10 percent of the retail shares.

Here’s some other reading for Bill English:
NZ inequality at highest level
Economic growth still benefiting only a few
Inequality growing fastest in NZ – OECD
Tax cuts: High earners set to benefit most
Times tough but not for Nats’ friends
It shouldn’t be just the rich getting richer
and so on and so on.

This National government is about one thing – enriching the rich. But the truth sure does make them angry.

59 comments on “The truth makes them angry ”

  1. Tangled up 1

    Wade said he “may of spoken sloppily” in comparing New Zealand and the US, but he was “surprised” at the reaction.

    “To be fair to him, I think it is important to put that incident in the context of him being one of relatively few what you could call decent conservatives in the Government. Plenty of his colleagues are a lot less concerned about social justice than he is.”

    A decent conservative?? Hmmmm

    • Rosetinted 1.1

      Tangled up
      I think Wade would have given the shortened version of ‘have’, not said ‘of” – as in ‘may’ve’ spoken sloppily. I doubt if he would have been sloppy as in your rendition.

  2. BM 2

    Less than flattering comments about the Man here
    Apparently he’s very left so he’s hardly going to be neutral.


    I’d take whatever he says with a grain of salt.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      So you approve fully of Peter Dunne’s beliefs then BM? After all in a goldilocks way he is neither too left nor too right so he must be ok.

    • Richard Christie 2.2

      Really, BM? the NBR? – do you read that pornographic rag written for ACT party fanboys and fangirls?

    • tracey 2.3

      Do you take what Key and English say with a grain of salt based on the same “logic”?

      • BM 2.3.1

        We seem to be doing pretty well at the moment considering how most other countries are doing.
        Key and English are there at the coal face so I give their opinion and direction much more weight, an academic from England with no NZ economic experience, not so much.

        • GD

          No! Most countries are doing better than NZ. You got proof? Point it out that NZ is doing much better than MOST countries in Europe. With such a small population, NZ should be on top, but it isn’t.

          Asian countries will scatter dust as NZ eats it and gets left behind in a race towards an economic surge.

          • Rosetinted

            Ooh that’s funny. Some economist from Britain with no NZ economic experience can’t understand anything much about us!!

            We learn our economics and policy from Britain and the USA (and Australia) and follow their every move with bated breath. Anyone who doesn’t understand that is an ignoramus. And people who genuflect to politicians unreservedly are true believers who aren’t grounded in our real world. Sound like someone close to home BM?

        • Shane Gallagher

          Wade is a Kiwi and is a professor at the LSE and is therefore MUCH more highly qualified than anyone in the National Party in economics.

          His writings also deal with things like “facts” and “observable and verifiable reality” – things not really consistent with the right wing world view apparently.

          • Colonial Viper

            Ahhhh I didn’t know he was a Kiwi, thanks for that.

            • BM

              He was born in Oz(NZ parents) and has lived in England since the early 70’s

              Be a bit of a push to say he’s a kiwi.

          • David H

            Well there’s why English uis so pissed at him he only deals in .“facts”. Where as English only uses a crystal ball that’s been dropped a time or two.

        • muzza

          BM – “Doing pretty well”

          Mate you are deluded!

          Time for some disclosure, as to why you believe in the words you post!

        • Draco T Bastard

          Key and English are there at the coal face…

          No they’re not, they’re stuck in their ivory towers of privilege.

        • georgecom

          We are doing well?
          We have muddled through the economic stagnation of the last 5 years. Our economy at the point of the 2008 financial crash was a lot healthier than other countries. But, the economic settings since 2008 have not been changed in any way substantially. Income equality has not improved in recent years, housing prices are heading toward bubble status, our economy has not rebalanced toward saving and investment and out economic growth is conditional on the Christchurch rebuild and isn’t really economic growth we should be celebrating.

        • Follow-the-money

          You haven’t got a spare five bucks, have you? Some of the rest of us are a bit short…

    • georgecom 2.4

      Reading the NBR article I cannot see much of what Wade says that is wrong.

  3. mickysavage 3

    Was English upset because Wade said something that he (English) did not agree with or for letting National’s dark secret out of the bag …

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      For forcing English to face up to facts that he did not want to face up to nor be responsible for.

    • Rosetinted 3.2

      The truth is a word that must not be spoken – Voldemort will become aware as he lurks inside his chosen living host.

  4. red blooded 4

    BM, I followed your link (golly gosh, I’m sure the Natuonal Business Review must be totally impartial in these matters!). What do you think it proved? I saw claims and counter-beforeclaims, mostly about the effectiveness of CGT, but some about where the London School of Economics can be placed on the right/left spectrum. Who do you regard as an impartial commentator on this? Cactus Kate?

    Try focusing on the argument. Do you honestly think this government is working to improve the lives of the impoverished? Have another look at the welfare “reforms” and appalling attacks on collective bargaining rights (let alone the new ability to bar union officials from entering a workplace, the 90 Day Bill, the refusal to move on the issue of a longing wage, the introduction of Youth Rates…) then try saying that with a straight face.

  5. infused 5

    So, no evidence anywhere… all she said/he said…

    Seems to be happening a lot here lately. Trying to make something stick eh?


    • tracey 5.1

      Infused, on what basis do you prefer English’s stance to Wade’s? Or do you dismiss them both? If the later, where does that leave you? In the “middle” and supporting????

    • GD 5.2

      You don’t need evidence if the person can present his side with sound reasoning and expert knowledge. Bill English just shuts down anything if he doesn’t have an answer.

      And I would rather believe a professor from the London School of Economics when it comes to economic issues. Wade’s credentials are enough to convince me he is more believable than Bill English. What are Bill English’s qualifications with regards to finance and economics subjects? None at all. His major in college is English Literature.

  6. red blooded 6

    Gotta love that predictive text! Obviously I meant “living” (as opposed to “longing”) wage…

  7. saarbo 7

    National made a tax switch in Oct 2010 which reduced the income tax of the rich and imposed an additional 2.5% gst, which tends to hurt the poor. Cant see how English can refute what Wade was suggesting.

    • Mary 7.1

      I can’t see how English is correct, but I can see how he refutes it. He simply says things like “I just don’t accept that analysis” and gets away with it. Easy.

    • Sable 7.2

      He can’t that’s why he behaved as he did. English, Keys and co know what they are doing is wrong they just don’t like hearing it, especially on TV for the world to see.

    • Lloyd 7.3

      And it has been conclusively shown that when the richest 1% of the American economy gets too much of the economy it triggers recession.

      English’s policies not only hurt the poor directly, they are harming the rich by preventing growth being much bigger than it could be. A healthier economy would mean that a good proportion of that 1% would gain greater income even if they were taxed at a higher rate!

      Why does anyone think the gnats are good at government?

  8. rob 8

    English and Key are dorks who relish power
    Compare their efforts with something like Kiwisaver
    which aims at saving and investing with our own wealth
    We are an agricultural country that relies on selling our high
    quality products
    That requires infrastructure in human and structural resources
    They think that all comes from others who don’t want any say or control
    Ha ha
    They sell off any asset
    They do not understand that we are the best people to look after ourselves
    Not some foreign multinational after their cut.

  9. johnm 9

    Illustrates to me the fascist nature of this government and their media presstitutes, basically they get bullying and violent if someone tries to tell them the truth, another tactic is a massive put down of a whole section of the populace as “bludgers”. The NeoLiberal approach is fascist as it continually goes against what the majority wants. The same process is happening in the U$K. Prof Wade felt the threat. Imagine if a hefty capital gains tax was imposed on housing speculation in this country backdated for ten years, there’d be an almighty row as the capital gains profiteers were cut down to size.

  10. Sable 10

    What a class act National are This kind of oafish, bullying behaviour is what we have come to expect from them. No respect for human rights only their own selfish interests.

  11. Populuxe1 11

    Isn’t it enough that National is clearly full of bullshit without making mountains out of molehills? English was rude, yes, but the shrill indignation does nothing to attract voters to the cause.

    • emergency mike 11.1

      I wouldn’t call our Dep.PM berating with ‘menace’ an award winning visiting academic about what he can or can’t say a ‘molehill’. I’d agree that it’s disgraceful and certainly worth blogging/commenting on as indicative of the STFU tory mindset. I don’t think I can accept your ‘we already know National are a bunch of bullshitters so why bother with this’ argument. The more people who know about the true face of these bullies the better.

      I didn’t notice any ‘shrill indignation’ in the OP either.

      I am however happy to see that you’re down with ‘the cause’ Pop.

      • Populuxe1 11.1.1

        It’s tiresome. It’s like the right having to describe every left wing politician as stabbing their finger in the air. I don’t regard finger pointing as particularly intimidating.

        • emergency mike

          “It’s tiresome.”

          Yet here you are.

          “It’s like the right having to describe every left wing politician as stabbing their finger in the air.”

          Is it? This is a totally different social situation/context.

          “I don’t regard finger pointing as particularly intimidating.”

          Good for you, however I think it’s one of those body language things where you’d have to be to see the situation and the context there to judge whether it’s intimidating or not.

          • Populuxe1

            Whatever. The wussy defensiveness doesn’t play well to the public.

            • emergency mike

              Your comment might make some kind of sense if this was a PR website for ‘da left’.

              Interesting how you are trying to spin this as being indicative of some failing of judgement on the part of the people who post here because our elected DPM acting like a rank schoolyard bully towards a noted academic is apparently not worth mentioning or because it doesn’t ‘play well’.

              • felix

                When they resort to “oooh, this won’t play well” it just means they’ve run out of arguments in their quest to defend the fucking ridiculous.

            • felix

              It’s high time everyone stopped worrying how things “play to the public” (which really means “how half a dozen journos think it will play to the public and report it as if the public has already expressed an opinion”) and started just calling a spade a spade.

              Or in this case, calling Bill English a spanner.

  12. captain hook 12

    well english was just a suckup at the treasury.
    just there loking for arguments to support his own ideology and he should know that the truth is in large supply but very small demand in New Zealand.
    he couldn’t wait to get out of there and rebstock the country.
    you know.
    make it over in his own punitive image..

  13. marsman 13

    Bullying is in the English family it seems. I heard of a meeting of GP’s discussing abortion issues, Mary English and her cohorts stormed in and shut it down.

  14. vto 14

    Sounds exactly like when you question farmers about their environmental record.

    Their position is under attack, their unquestioned wisdom questioned, their lack of actual knowledge exposed.

    They are pretty weak, as this exposes.

    • farmboy 14.1

      or city dwellers on wear there shit ends up when theres a lot of rain, but no one talks about that do they vto.

      • ropata 14.1.1

        in a settling pond?

        whereas farmers just let cowshit drain into streams and aquifers, too bad about city drinking water

        and then the Natz take over ECan so the pollution can continue

  15. Grantoc 15

    Nationals only governing for the top 1 -2%? Nonsense.

    If this was the case then the nat’s would have gotten rid of labour policies like ‘working for families’, ‘interest free student loans’ and ‘kiwi saver’ to name a few, but nevertheless, significant policies that reach out to much of society. Certainly much beyond the top 1 -2%

    Nick Smith’s decision tonight not to approve the tunnel to Milford Sound is another example. This decision specifically and deliberately does not benefit the top 1-2% – it benefits the whole country.

    The academic Wade simply does not know what he’s talking about. He has no credibility.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Wade knows exactly what he is talking about, as a top economist from the London School of Economics.

      National knows that it needs to get around 50% of the vote to stay in power (the means). So it cannot alienate large proportions of the population on a continuous basis.

      But don’t mistake that democratic and political reality with the fact that National do indeed cater most specifically to the top 1% to 2% (the ends), which we can all see.

      • Grantoc 15.1.1

        In the end actual political reality in a country like NZ simply makes it impossible for national or for any party for that matter to pander to the wishes of and govern for a voting bloc of 1 -2%.

        If we can ‘all see’ that national do indeed cater for the top 1 – 2% it doesn’t make sense that around 45- 50% of the population consistently continue to support national according to the polls.

        Either the voting public is absolutely gullible to the point of stupidity, which I don’t believe, or they simply don’t buy the argument that the nats govern for the top 1 – 2%.

        They see political reality for what it is.

        btw I’m not impressed by the fact that Wade is a top economist at the LSE. He is not infallible, and his statements in relation to this matter demonstrate that.

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