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What do you think Righty – a perfect score?

Written By: - Date published: 1:30 pm, February 17th, 2011 - 50 comments
Categories: act, john key, maori party, national, national/act government, united future - Tags:

Even the most optimistic lefty can’t deny that National are continuing to dominate the opinion polls. That must be quite a source of pride and confidence for the Right. But I wonder, is there anything that rightwing voters believe this National-led Government has done wrong?

A couple of years ago I asked what rightwing voters thought was good about their Government and that produced quite an enlightening discussion.

Now we’re further down the track I’d be interested to know if the right believe NACT have played their hand well – or have they made mistakes along the way?

50 comments on “What do you think Righty – a perfect score?”

  1. Well, 3 years ago I was so right-wing that I volunteered as a National scrutineer, and attended their post-election party at Sky City. (Lots of free Deutz.)

    And I’m ashamed to say I voted Act.

    I genuinely believed that National would reward hard-working individuals like myself – that I would be better off under a right-wing government.

    However, now….. I’m thinking I’ll probably vote Labour, as will a number of my friends. National haven’t helped the normal, working-class people – even professionals like myself – they’ve helped the very, very rich elite at everyone else’s expense. I’m worse off under NACT, and that’s in spite of being on an above-average income. I hate to think how hard things must be for those on low incomes.

    • big bruv 1.1

      What utter rubbish, are you guys that desperate that you have to invent people who pretend to have seen the light?


      [lprent: before you run off at the mouth too much see http://thestandard.org.nz/jami-lee-ross-runs-scared/#comment-296961 ]

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        When I was younger I put in a vote for ACT. Might have been 1995 or 1998. National too.

        But it became really clear to me over time that NZ can’t get ahead by stripping out its guts, and that economic growth which gives nothing – and sometimes actually takes away – from most of your friends and neighbours (even if you do well out of it yourself) was the wrong way ahead.

        So yeah, its LAB all the way now, there is simply more money in more peoples’ pockets and more money in the economy when LAB is in charge. All the new and second hand car yards do well when people have dosh on hand, and not just the ones stocking brand new ordered in BMW’s for the wealthy.

  2. On ya Blondie. Welcome to the fold!

  3. Craig Glen Eden 3

    Yup you wont be the first or last person to realize the error however most are not so brave as to admit it.Labour dosnt get it all right but they did a good job for 9 years.

  4. Rob A 4

    I’m a classic swing voter who gave my tick to the Nats last time. They wont be getting my vote this time around, this government has struck me as one of the most self serving bunch of do-nothings I can recall. Their announcement that the next election will be treated by them as a mandate to hock off more of our assets overseas was the final straw.

    Am I worse off? Hard to say since the wife and I added to the clan last year and I’ve been lucky enough to not only keep my job but also get promoted to a supervisors position, plus the union got us a pretty good rise last year. But I can say for sure that I wouldn’t be any worse off under a left leaning government. The tax cuts were also a wasted opportunity, after years of hype I basically ended up with nothing.
    And I really cant remember much else of substance this government has done to comment on, another reason for them to go.

    Labour aren’t looking likely to get my tick either, Goff strikes me as a bit of a nil and the top of thier list is in serious need of new blood. It still annoys me when they make grand promises of very sensible things that if they’d done three years ago would have earned them my vote. Maybe when Little is at the helm I’ll take a look

    The Greens are looking like a better option than in the past. They have shed some of the MPs that bugged me recently.

    I love Hone but he lost my respect when he was admitting his racism. If the election was tomorrow I would most likely vote Winston. I think Wellington could use his brand of mongrel at the moment.

    For the record, because I’ve never had a problem telling people, the last few elections I have voted (from most recent)

    No to the smacking bill
    Yes to MMP

  5. Crashcart 5

    Almost the same story Blondie. Voted National last election as I always have and cheered with many others when they got in. Between my wife and I we earn over $150K. We do however have a mortgage and 2 under 3’s and under this government have just seen things get harder and harder.

    As Blondie says, if things have gotten harder for us I hate to think how bad things have gotten for people on minimum wage. I have been there in better times and it was hard, must be near impossible now.

    Voting Green this election.

  6. NX 6

    is there anything that rightwing voters believe this National-led Government has done wrong?

    I suggest you read the comments section of Kiwiblog. They differ to TheStandard commenters by complaining about the National Govt for semi-rational reasons.

    As a political moderate, I’m a big fan of the Key govt & I’d much rather debate with you loonie lefties than my own side.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      I would’ve thought a “political moderate” (as you call yourself) you would be all for policies which support and promote the interests of those earning between $30K p.a. and $60K p.a. i.e. middle working NZ

      To tell you the truth, I can’t really see how Key / NACT has been any good for that segment of the country.

  7. NX 7

    Read and weep Viper.

    1999 – 2008 Labour

    19.5% – $1 to $38,000
    33% – $38,000 to $60,000

    2010 – 2011 National

    10.5% – $1 to $14,000
    17.5% – $14,000 to $48,000
    30% – $48,000 to $70,000

  8. bbfloyd 8

    you need to read your own graphs nx, so that, when you understand what you’ve posted well enough, you can give your own analysis on it. that’s why most put them up in the first place. so they can illistrate the POINT they’re making…

    so, are you capable of making a meaningless set of numbers an illuminating set of numbers.. i’m all ears.. always wanted to hear a rational argument from a nat apologist… still waiting…….

  9. JRM 9

    If the author of this article reads any blog other than this fine example, they will see that most (if not all) ‘right-wing’ blogs are critical of the National and Act parties (albeit with slightly more restraint and logic than the criticisms elsewhere) a good percentage of the time.

    Of course, most are critical for the opposite reasons (usually the ‘labour-lite’ criticisms or not reforming enough).

  10. Tanz 10

    The PM (the very rich PM), saying that people on benefits are making poor choices, and that is why they are running short of money (more or less!). For once I am in agreement with Sue Bradford, and would love to see Key surviving for a while on a benefit only. (Fat chance!). So much for empathy and caring, but not surprising, when do millionaires ever care about the less-than-rich?

    The PM ignoring the smackng referendum, and in such a smug way. The lie about GST, the introduction of their own ETS, EFA, and the general deafness to the public. Such arrogance. The awful handling of their coalition partners, the snide, self-important behaviour fron front-bench National.

    Worst of all, Key playing up to the media relentlessly. I will never ever give Key my vote again, so tired of his mug all over the press, but that’s not the only reason. Key is not right wing, he lied about that, also.

    A trophy PM with no real ideas or true courage. There for the limlight and glory, a ‘look at me’ man. Not there for the right reasons at all. Winston has my vote at this point! A vote for Labour, that’s fine too. Anyone but poster boy!

  11. Nick C 11

    Well since you asked Sprout

    Thinks I like:

    Tax cuts – and would like to see them promise another round in 2013 conditional on the deficit being significantly lower by then. I thought cutting the 39% rate at the top was a good one off move and signaling a long term plan to align business, rust and top personal rates in order to maximise tax efficiency, but from now on I would like more across the board stuff.

    Spending restraint – It’s good to have a lower deficit so that future generations arent burdened with debt and it ultimatly avoids harsher austerity measures later on. Mounting tax burdens to pay for debt would be a surefire way to send the next generation oversees.

    Voluntary Student Membership – Would have been really angry had they opposed this one; not big in the overall scheme of things but shows a willingness to defy well funded special interest groups who gain at the expense of the few and support core principles of individual choice.

    Electoral reform – Bipartisan and not used as a weapon.

    Privitisation – National are selling it poorly but the economic theory supports it.

    Things i’d like to see more of:

    Plans to reduce spiraling prison population – Drug liberalisation would be a good start. Maybe someone other than Crusher Collins in charge of corrections would be a good move

    School Choice – It’s an outrage that our poorest kids are trapped in our worst schools

    Plans to reduce wealfare burden from superannuation – Although Key has really hog tied himself on that one. Lets hope the next PM sees it as enough of an issue to risk losing older voters.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      How do we reduce unemployment back down to 2-3%?

      • Nick C 11.1.1

        Well firstly I would challenge your premise that it should ever be that low. The ‘natural rate of unemployment’ is the most desirable level (anything below that is unsustainable in the long run and will be inflationary). I don’t know what that rate would be in NZ but probably something more like 3%-3.5% is more ideal.

        I think we need to be realistic and realise that unemployment was always going to be high even after growth resumed (and it may well not have). The US still has very high unemployment even after a giant stimulus package. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobless_recovery. Thats because recessions where considerable amounts of resourses become unemployed represent oppourtunities to redeploy those resourses across the economy in areas where they are more needed. Make work projects may reduce short run unemployment but actually hamper this process of redeployment. The reason for unemployment taking the longest to fall is that labour is the resourse which takes longest to redeploy: recruitment processes are generally sluggish, often it involves workers retraining or even moving to a different area, and most importantly sticky wages make it hard to justify taking on more workers as wages generally do not adjust downwards to a new equalibrium.

        So what can we do about it? I would 1) Avoid make work schemes 2) Deregulate labour markets to make recruitment easier 3) Tax cuts to take upward pressure off wages while at the same time stimulating demand 4) Low benefit levels. Believe me when I say im not comfortable with this part, but there needs to be a strong incentive for people to make really hard choices like moving to areas where there is more demand for workers 5) Expansionary monetary policy to increase inflation and counter sticky wages.

        I know that is pretty much what the current government is doing (although I would like more of 1, 2 and 3) and it doesnt seem to be working, but nor is the massive stimulus spending in America. And once the economy is back in equalibrium you will see a much more efficient deployment of the labour force.

        • Colonial Viper

          To end the Great Depression, the US Govt created very many massive “make work” schemes. Schemes which helped spread art and literature across the US, did massive civil works on highways, created many of the US’ great National Parks.

          And of course, the greatest “make work” scheme is what finally broke the back of the Great Depression: World War II.

          Personally I am ok with an employment rate of 4% as long as there is a rapid cycling through of people. No one unemployed for longer than 3-6 months as that is damaging to the soul.

          You also don’t seem to recognise a characteristic of the highly financialised economy: companies make more profits firing people and offshoring their jobs rather than hiring them. Hence the number of long term unemployed in the US (>6 months off work and those permanently discouraged) continues to climb even as corporate profits hit record levels.

          IMO redeployment of workers into new industries is not happening not because retraining is slow (and what is a lawyer or machine operator of 25 years going to retrain into?), but because no new workers are needed.

          One other thing that you do not appear to recognise about the failure of businesses to generate employment (I suppose you can’t blame capitalist businesses for this because the basis of their existence is generating earnings for shareholders, not generating good jobs) is the societal, and psychological costs of having large numbers of people unemployed for long periods.

          Now the full costs of unemployment costs are held external to private sector P&L statements so form a capitalist’s perspective they are irrelevant. But, they are very real costs to our communities and to families’ lives.

          My bottom line: if the private sector fails to generates the jobs a society requires, then the public sector must.

    • Bored 11.2

      Nick C, you are a worry. I may be a “lefty” but I have worked in business for long enough (in fact too bloody long) to know a bad deal when I see one. You say “Privitisation – National are selling it poorly but the economic theory supports it.. Where have you been recently? The business papers, Standard and Poors and any number of real world economists see privatisation as a total crock.

      The only economists coming up with theories that privatisation makes sense are those paid for by carpet baggers (i.e the beneficiaries of privatisation) or those who bought their degrees from some dodgy online site. In this case a common garden ant knows enough common sense and arithmetic to do the ledger and to understand who benefits from privatisation.

  12. NX 12

    My bottom line: if the private sector fails to generates the jobs a society requires, then the public sector must.

    How – just make up positions? Manager in charge of paper-clips or something.
    How does the public sector generate income? How does it determine if something is worth doing?

    I’ve worked in both the public and private sectors.

    • Inventory2 12.1

      Quite so NX – the recent furore over job creation schem,es, and the similar lack of success between 1999 and 2008 strongly suggests that governments should stay out of job creation. Instead it should focus on creating an environment which encourages business to increase their staff numbers, as mine has done by 10% this month alone.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        Private sector fails, public sector has to fill the gap. Not rocket science.

        Instead it should focus on creating an environment which encourages business to increase their staff numbers, as mine has done by 10% this month alone.

        Hey so you took on one or two people, good on you, only another 159,999 to go.

        So how’s Bill and John’s “environment” building going eh?

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      How does the public sector generate income? (1) How does it determine if something is worth doing? (2)

      I’ve worked in both the public and private sectors.

      (1) Ummm just look at where the Crown gets its current revenue from.
      (2) Plenty of community and societal needs out there waiting to be met. Health, education, social welfare, work and income, civil defence, corrections, justice…Figure out what communities need the most where and get it done.

      • NX 12.2.1

        Instead it should focus on creating an environment which encourages business to increase their staff numbers, as mine has done by 10% this month alone.

        Here here. While ‘job creation’ sounds good, it’s unfortunately use by governments to appear proactive – hence it becomes a political ‘smoke and mirrors’ type thing.

        Any jobs the govt actually manages to create dwindles in comparison to the private sector when the economy picks up.

        • Colonial Viper

          Any jobs the govt actually manages to create dwindles in comparison to the private sector when the economy picks up.

          But you can’t wait for the economy to pick up at some undeterminate time during a lengthy multiple dip recession. You end up leaving too many citizens on the unemployment scrap heap for >12 months. That’s long enough for people and families to really suffer damage.

          If the private sector fails to provide jobs, the public sector must.

          • NX

            Recessions are bad for the govt and private sectors.

            It’s not fair that the private sector shoulders all the pain, while paying the taxes that fund the public sector jobs.

            • lprent

              And yet the demand for government services rises during recessions. I pay my taxes in the good times to ensure that there is a cushion in the bad times, not only for me, but also for my whole extended family and friends.

              That is why Cullen did such a good job in paying down government debt, we pay less in total on government debt and therefore have more to use on productive activities.

              The only problem was the short sighted idiots (like yourself) who could only see a revenue surplus in the good times and not consider what happens to it during a recession. Probably absolute worst thing that could be done is to have tax cuts during a recession. It is the worst type of stimulus.

              Businesses pay tax on profit (and GST is usually neutral for them). During a recession they make less profit and therefore pay less tax. You can see this in the tax take figures. Consequently tax changes don’t ak any particular difference.

              They are also laying off staff at all levels either to survive or because they failed to survive. Tax changes are of less interest to their employees than retaining their jobs.

              And finally, the myth of the bloated public sector.. This pack of idiots that got voted in, ame in saying that they would cut governmen waste without hitting front line services. The cuts and savings they made to date have been minimal. Most of them have come from cutting frontline services.

              To stop the bleeding of debt caused by their idiotic tax cuts, they will have to cut more front line services mostly by bene bashing. That will do exactly what happened in the 90s – it will extend and prolong the recession.

              But I guess as in the past, people like you are too stupid to think through the consequences of your demands for tax cuts.

              • NX

                In terms of government spending, between 1999 and ~2004 it is true Cullen ran a pretty modest ship. Budget increases weren’t excessive. And yes, debt was repaid (Cullen actually didn’t increase the percentage of debt repayment – the only reason debt was repaid was because the economy grew).

                But after 2005 he went nuts. 2.2 billion budget increases a year! Far outstripping GDP growth. And the tradable parts of the economy has been in recession since 2005.

                No wonder Cullen was having trouble sleeping at night (he confessed as much himself that stress was keeping him awake).

                The Nats have only been in just over 2 years. The current tax rates aren’t too different from the ones Cullen set in the 2008 budget.

  13. Do what Vogel did .Build up the railway . Connect all North Island cities to Auckland by rail . Build a few thousand state houses. That will employ a lot of `people and creat apprentiships . Use the army system to train apprentices . Require all firms over a certain size to employ an apprentice / s . Maybe a tax rebate on the number of apprentices. Open up the Polytechs to part- time students . Make farm workers conditions more atractive .Alternative weekends off for a start , and better wages . This would encourage young people to consider farm work, and encourage farm workers to improve their farm knowledge by making part time educational time available. Expensive of course but not so expensive as wasting lives, high crime rates and high health costs all due to long term unemployment .

    Two more weeks annual holiday and a ban on overtime except for emergencies . Retirement at 65 or sooner . Better pay the older person the benefit than a young unemployed . Cap the top wage and a progresive tax system to shortenn the gap between rich and poor.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Man I like all your ideas.

      and 30 hour/4 day working weeks please, with people able to make a living wage from it.

  14. Neoleftie 14

    Nic C – not so long ago i discussed the same point with the labour minister of employment about the ‘natural state of employment’ being about 3% according to treasury. My come back was thats hardly a fair, just and equatable country that deems 3% of the potential workforce to the scrapheap.

    If we have fullish employment then we get higher wages due to basic supply and demand. Higher wages and fullish participation rates generate increased spending and SAVING. Under free market rationale increased demand creates more competition combined with the higher wages all equals less profit for the owners. So it is benefical to the elites to have a greater supply of labour to increase competition soas to keep wages increases down to allow a maxamium return on a owner return on their capital.
    Now the mechanism to empower labour and correct the overbalance in the power structure between labour and the capital classes is either a strong and united Unionised work force or the State. interesting the make up of labour these days

    Now if we have fullish employment and irrational spending then we create inflationary pressures but that Cullen introduced Kiwi Saver as a method to improve our saving. If you Save it and invest it then you cant spend it or get credit to buy stuff.
    Wait wait isnt that how the rich actaully got rich – they saved money and invested it. imagine that a nation where all citizens throught kiwi saver have a chance to save and at some stage become better off, if not now but for there kids.

    • 300kpimpkin 14.1

      I agree the 3-4% optimal unemployment target rationale is stupid. If a nations economy is truly functioning well there should be numerous opportunities available for employment to it’s citizens, a diverse range of income/work available to engage a diverse range of skillsets. There would also be an environment encouraging people to be proactive in putting forward new ideas for productive ventures.

      A truly well organised, governed and ambitious nation should need significantly more employment positions for it’s economy than there are available.

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        In the 1950’s and 1960’s anything over 2% unemployment was seen as a disaster. 1% was more typical.

        I’ll tell you what I would like to see: people able to live decently with 30 hour working weeks. Essentially 4 day weeks. To contrast, we work too many hours for too little pay at the moment, often just to try and make ends meet or to buy otherwise meaningless consumer stuff. Oh yeah, I think we need 5 weeks annual leave for all. Geee I might even be open to the idea of the fifth week being tradeable 😛

        Moving in that general direction will create a lot of new positions for everyone.

        It has to happen because increasing labour productivity means that fewer and fewer people will be needed to do the work, even as our population increases. That is not sustainable, socially. We are lucky we have Australia to take our surplus labour pool. Otherwise there is every chance that we would have half a million unemployed.

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