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Joyce’s voodoo politics and zombie economics

Written By: - Date published: 9:34 pm, August 23rd, 2012 - 11 comments
Categories: Economy, exports - Tags:

On The Nation last weekend  Steven Joyce insisted he was busy talking to business about export growth; he obviously wasn’t listening  to  exporters whose number one problem is our over-valued and highly speculated exchange rate.

Joyce described Labour’s sensible approach to taking a fresh look at ways to manage this problem as “voodoo economics.”This only holds if one believes that countries as far from the febrile as Switzerland, Singapore and Denmark are wildly out of line in finding different ways to keep their exchange rates low and stable.

Steven Joyce was most unimpressive as he patronised Rachel Smalley and tried to bully John Hartevelt and Alex Tarrant.  His unconvincing attempt at the put-down smacked more of desperate pin-sticking – the “voodoo politics” of the fearful.

National’s old wine in old bottles approach to economic policy looks much more like what Queensland University’s John Quiggin described as “zombie economics,” in his book of that name published last year.

“In the graveyard of economic ideology, dead ideas still stalk the land” says Quiggin. Dead ideas include privatisation and trickle-down economics, and also:

 the policy package of central bank independence, inflation targeting, and reliance on interest rate adjustments that have failed so spectacularly in the crisis.

Labour’s economic team are busy looking for real alternatives, in a world that is crying out for them. This week David Cunliffe will be on The Nation. He has just returned from a trip looking at economic development in Denmark; as David Parker leaves to meet world experts with fresh ideas in the US. They make a very good team – very much alive to the new ideas that are so desperately needed.



11 comments on “Joyce’s voodoo politics and zombie economics”

  1. alex 1

    It was funny how he tried to bully the younger journalists, especially Alex Tarrant (no relation to this pseudonym) but neither were in any mood to be talked down to. Ended up looking like a pompous ass.

    Also, good to see Cunliffe is allowed back out again.

  2. Michael 2

    So far, all we’ve got from Labour is a “promise” of a Capital Gains Tax (no details), a “promise” of delayed entitlement for NZ Super (more a threat really), a “promise” of restored KiwiSaver (no details, especially of employer contributions), plus vague “promises” of higher economic growth (no details of how or at what cost, to the environment, etc) and “jobs” (no details, especially concerning wage rates, conditions, collective bargaining, or dispute resolution). Oh yes, a Members’ Bill to increase the minimum wage, which may or may not make it onto Labour’s 2014 agenda. At least Labour has some ideas, even if they are nebulous, but still not enough to convince people that it will work for them if elected to office again, instead of suffering a recurrence of the selective amnesia and anaesthetised social conscience that afflicted it between 1999 and 2008 (perhaps it’s something the bureaucrats tip into the air conditioners in the Beehive?).

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Labour’s economic team are busy looking for real alternatives, in a world that is crying out for them.

      So after 30 years we still claim not to have any “real world alternatives”? ***SIGH*** Or is that more accurately, “real world alternatives” acceptable to the free market and banking cartels?

    • Tom Gould 2.2

      And all we have from the Tory dream team of business-savvy oligarchs are a bunch of lists and the “promise” of a brighter future. Oh, and tax cuts and borrowing, and bene bashing, to be fair to them.

    • Dr Terry 2.3

      Labour’s ideas have been nebulous for long, but there are glimmers of hope on the horizon now that Cunliffe is back and about to speak, with Twyford very sharp, and (dare I hope?) Parker looking like he might be learning how to communicate well.

  3. Carol 3

    I never saw last Sunday’s Nation, but Bomber wasn’t as complimentary about the interviewers as Mike:


    It always comes across like two school kids getting chastised, let them both off the leash and have a real go at their subject. Tarrant and Hartevelt are far smarter than this and I can see why Government Ministers are lining up trying to get on the Nation when they are given this kind of love in.

    How the hell can a Government that has mismanaged the economy as badly as this one has manage to get through an interview without so much as a dent on their leadership credentials? Is it the lack of skill of the journalists interviewing Joyce or is it poor researchers? The Nation are so hard right, they maybe don’t have the ability to critique their own free market dogma?

    However, Bomber also wasn’t very complimentary about Joyce’s performance either:

    Joyce is so sanctimonious and arrogant in the interview, it’s worth watching to listen to the hubris of the man. Tarrant and Hartevelt are simply too polite and they never savage their interview subject in the manner they get savaged.

    It’ll be interesting to see if The Nation gives Cunliffe as easy a ride as they (allegedly) gave Joyce, and how Cunliffe handles it.

  4. Tracey 4

    Michael, promise is all you can do in Opposition, it’s what you DO when you become government, and I have seen little evidence that this government has ever moved from drawing blue sky pictures for everyone to make them feel cosy inside.

    I will always respect Cambell for his interview with Ms Clark which became corngate. He ignored convention and asked hard questions. We need more of this. IF it means our top politicians wont give interviews, so be it, we will all be the better for it and eventually they will realise they have cut off their nose to spite their face.

    MEDIA have to step up, and like all of us it starts one individual at a time.

    PS I also admire Ms Clark so was not being partisan with my example, just that I struggle to find such examples in our media.

    • Dv 4.1

      The memory I have about corngate was the media couldn’t tell the difference between a 5% chance and difference at the 5% level of confidence.

  5. Dr Terry 5

    I tend to suspect that opposition politicians and journalists are easily intimidated by the likes of Joyce, even scared of him, fatal when faced by a bully. Cunliffe is not afraid of bullies as he has self-respect and confidence, not to mention superior intelligence. The worst thing Cunliffe faces is the envy of his own colleagues. At least one other guy is showing real promise, and that is Twyford.

  6. aerobubble 6

    Joyce believes that a private tax on a product, for the purpose of branding, does not
    increase the value of the company. He can’t see that cheapening NZ by not taxing
    capital gain, which energies bubble markets and shorting, is pushing up demand for
    our currency and harming exporters. Most voters live in suburbs and are fooled into
    believing Joyce’s freaky insane economics because shows like the Nation have no
    active non-establishment journalists to call upon to balance (and so expose the
    framing for what it is, bizarre pleadings of idiots).

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