Whatever, Roger

Written By: - Date published: 5:38 pm, March 20th, 2008 - 74 comments
Categories: act, wages, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

NZers’ wallets will bulge under Act, says Roger Douglas.

Sure they will Roger – with the bills from our kids’ user-pays schools, our privatised hospital fees, water charges, private accident insurance premiums and, if your party gets half a chance, the privatised oxygen from the air we breathe.

Because we all know who gets rich from Roger’s policies, and it sure ain’t regular Kiwis:

income-450.jpg

74 comments on “Whatever, Roger”

  1. But..but…but ah I know, “The market is the most rational way to distribute resources” – got you now!

  2. Tane 2

    Yeah, and as I’m sure you already know ‘nome, the GDP and Productivity graphs ain’t too flash either.

  3. Dean 3

    Roger: After tax income. Figured it out, yet?

    Tane: To be fair that graph doesn’t include what may or may not have happened if Lange hadn’t decided to have a cup of tea and a nice lie down, does it? I realise that’s navel gazing, but you can’t have this discussion without recognising that Douglas’ aspirations were hampered by cold feet from other parties.

    Along the same lines, we were paying out the proverbial rear end for most of the state owned assets at the time when Douglas came into power, which were pretty much just glorified unemployment schemes dressed up in socialist gowns and made to parade around like corpses that hadn’t quite figured it out yet. I’m old enough to remember how long it used to take to get a phone line installed for instance.

    I’m not arguing against state owned assets because as you’ve pointed out before, some present day ones perform pretty damn well. But what choices do you believe Douglas had with the likes of some of the “family jewels” when faced with the ridiculous state they were in?

  4. AncientGeek 4

    …without recognising that Douglas’ aspirations were hampered by cold feet from other parties.

    …at the time when Douglas came into power…

    Ah – actually his own party. He was a minister in the 4th labour government. It was the party that was in power, not Douglas (not that he appeared to believe that).

    He was so traumatized that anyone else could disagree with him, that he went off to form a party of one. It built up eventually with other rejects from the political process. Anyway sarcasm aside….

    the state owned assets at the time ……, which were pretty much just glorified unemployment schemes dressed up in socialist gowns and made to parade around like corpses that hadn’t quite figured it out yet.

    That I agree with. The question is really about the speed of the sales, and if some of those sales were bad for the country subsequently – especially for infrastructure development.

  5. Dean 5

    “Ah – actually his own party.”

    I should have phrased that better. I meant other people within his own party, as in “interested parties”, not political parties.

    “That I agree with. The question is really about the speed of the sales, and if some of those sales were bad for the country subsequently – especially for infrastructure development.”

    Yeah, the speed of the sales may have been a problem in the long term, but remember the financial state the country was left in after Muldoon. I’m not sure there was much of a choice, and together with the abysmal state said assets were in in terms of cost to the country, I’m not sure what else could have been done.

  6. AncientGeek 6

    I think that spending more time on splitting the assets up into operating units would have been preferable. As it was they sold whole vertically integrated natural monopolies. On behalf of their shareholders, those companies then charged as much as they could get, while simultaneously putting in minimal investment.

    But that is what you get when you put a lawyer/politician in charge of a fire sale.

  7. Dean 7

    “On behalf of their shareholders, those companies then charged as much as they could get, while simultaneously putting in minimal investment.”

    That’s how businesses operate though.
    Sure, they were monopolies and that made for a poor situation, but I really don’t think they had a lot of time to spend on splitting them up. New Zealan’s economy was right up against the wall at that stage and time really was of the essence.

  8. “Roger: After tax income. Figured it out, yet?”

    Don’t see that making a hell of a lot of difference to the graph actually. Presumably you can show that it would?

  9. Dean:

    “Along the same lines, we were paying out the proverbial rear end for most of the state owned assets at the time when Douglas came into power, which were pretty much just glorified unemployment schemes dressed up in socialist gowns”

    Socialist schemes like that have unemployment down at 2% in Norway (i.e. state funded recycling, tree planting, etc….). You pay someone who has been cast upon the scrap-heap of the market $20,000 a year, to stop them from ending up in jail – which costs you $100,000 a year. Got it yet?

  10. Dean:

    “But what choices do you believe Douglas had with the likes of some of the “family jewels’ when faced with the ridiculous state they were in?”

    I agree that some of the SOEs needed restructuring, and possibly some of them could have benefited from a PPP type of arrangement. But selling off the assets to be striped by opportunistic crony capitalists wasn’t the best idea was it?

  11. AncientGeek 11

    …and time really was of the essence.

    Personally I think that wasn’t the problem. The actual money they got from the sales wasn’t that much in terms of the debt, and it came after the fiscal crisis was over. Similarly the reduction in losses wasn’t that great.

    I think that there were two problems.

    Firstly there was a simple lack of competence to be able to pick the people to manage the reduction in inflated staff levels (hiding unemployment). I’m afraid that at the time, and in 20-20 hindsight, I didn’t think much of the people handling or managerial/political skills of the politicians doing the task. I’m afraid that Douglas, Prebble, Basset, and others didn’t impress as being particularly effective in those areas.

    Secondly because of those lack of skills, they tried to do everything in a hell of a hurry. Both because they knew there were parts of the LP that disagreed, and they didn’t take time to get a agreement in principle, and because they thought they’d only get a term to do it in. FPP didn’t help with that – I think Labour was surprised as hell when they won a second term.

    Anyway, it is a long-winded way of saying that I think Douglas is dreaming about getting into cabinet. I don’t think that he has the skills to do much in a MMP environ – it is a much more long-term system, with less tolerance for quick fix approaches.

  12. randal 12

    I think roger has had too much bzp…did he get it from rodknee?

  13. AncientGeek 13

    oops…

    I meant to say “…to manage the reduction in inflated staff levels (hiding unemployment), and preparing the SOE’s for sale.”

    The point about that was they’d have gotten a far better price if they’d previously broken up the monoliths into smaller units for sale, and gone part of the way towards pruning the obvious fat.

    captcha: Arrested VOTING
    The mind boggles with implications…. Sounds like a tabloid headline

  14. Dean 14

    roger:

    “Socialist schemes like that have unemployment down at 2% in Norway (i.e. state funded recycling, tree planting, etc .). You pay someone who has been cast upon the scrap-heap of the market $20,000 a year, to stop them from ending up in jail – which costs you $100,000 a year. Got it yet?”

    Because everyone who’s poor ends up in jail? Seriously, what does that say about your faith in humanity? Besides, it still cost more than what you’d like to think in the case of former NZ SOEs because of the vast subsidies the taxpayer was forced to hand over. They were nothing more than money go rounds, where it took 3 people to install a telephone line. But at least 3 people were employed instead of 1, right? And herein lies the folly in your thinking, because 3 people weren’t actually gainfully employed at all – they were nothing more than subsidised work for the dole participants, with everyone else forced by the state to contribute towards.

    It’s called productivity. Now, I’ll agree that Key and co have made a lot of irrational statements about productivity recently, but you cannot deny that the SOEs in the time of Roger Douglas were anything but unproductive. Look at the railways, that was a joke of massive proportions.

    Honestly, I think you’ve been listening to people with agendas on this topic rather than people who had to experience the business end of it.

    “I agree that some of the SOEs needed restructuring, and possibly some of them could have benefited from a PPP type of arrangement. But selling off the assets to be striped by opportunistic crony capitalists wasn’t the best idea was it?”

    Yes, I agree, and the way they were sold could have done with some more thought. Fay and Richwhite in particular did a lot of damage to these former SOEs. But you need to remember the dire straights the NZ economy was in at the time. You’re aware of the defecits we were facing then, right? Right?

  15. Dean 15

    Ancient:

    “Secondly because of those lack of skills, they tried to do everything in a hell of a hurry.”

    You’re not factoring into your equation the ultimatum delivered to the Labour party by the IMF and the various institutions they owed money to. These were a huge incentive to prove that the economy could be turned around quickly. Muldoon was almost responsible for turning NZ into another Somalia, and given enough time he could have very well done so.

    What Douglas, Prebble and co did was far from perfect. But they did the best they could in a situation they were unprepared for. Anyone who claims otherwise has mist in their eyes and is denying the stark reality the Labour government was met with upon winning power in ’84. That’s why I have precious little time for people who want to link Clark to these actions and try and prove her to be a hypocrite.

  16. burt 16

    People who were not financially literate during ‘Rogernomics’ do have a field day with the wage decrease as noted. However nobody seems to remind them, perhaps conveniently, that prices fell considerably during that time on most (if not all) consumer goods. The price of cars dropped about 30% as import duties were slashed. Whiteware and electronic equipment prices decreased by about 15%-20%, once again removal of tariffs.

    For myself, as a low income earner it was actually a bonus. But keep quoting the time without full reference to detail and you might even convince a few people that it increased the cost of living when it actually lowered it significantly.

    The value of things changed, including salaries, I know it’s hard to be honest about this when big bad nasty Roger Douglass is back on the scene, but do try to be a little bit balanced.

    Yes there were consequences for mass sudden removal of tariffs, eg car manufacturing was hammered. But don’t forget that the nett result of that was affordable modern cars. Anyone who wasn’t buying cars in the late 70’s and early 80’s in NZ is never going to understand how much was paid for so little – to subdisise inefficient operations that were not viable without a license to charge excessive prices for (on a world scale) poor quality goods.

  17. dave 17

    Tane, thats the best post you`ve ever written. Well done. You`re absolutely right. Keep it up.As for renting out hospital wards, Douglas woud privatise womens wombs if he could sos that as soon as babies are born they`ll be given proper privatised care… piss-poor policiesfrom Douglas

    captcha “bronze urine” classic!

  18. AncientGeek 18

    I’d agree with most of that. I was preparing to leave NZ in ’85, our government (and private) debt levels were horrendous. We had to change the economy pretty fast.

    However, they prepared to divest almost all of the assets/liabilities virtually at once. In 20-20 hindsight, they’d have been better to have divested some of the more saleable immediately to show intent. There were a number of clearly commercial enterprises that the government really had no reason to be in, and where there were competitors. For instance the government print office. They should have been sold, or shut down.

    Others should have moved to what is now an SOE model where the politicians are mainly an investor. The managers have shed staff quite successfully under that model. Some of those would have been prepared for sale.

    That would have been a plan to go to the IMF et al with. A phased movement of government out of the non-governmental functions.

    You probably remember that the real money issues in ’84 were from the simple bleeding of cash. SMP’s to pay farmers to have more sheep. The enormous dollars going into ‘think stupid’ projects.

    The bankers would have also been concerned with the tariff barriers protecting obviously uncompetitive industries that raised the costs for everyone, and idiocies like the wage and price freeze.

    If I had to bet, I’d say that those were what the IMF and banks were pressuring on. They nled money directly out of the economy.

    My opinion is that the biggest single waste with the government departments and the tariff systems was that they soaked up all of the effective people in unproductive enterprises. Almost every good electronics tech was in the NZPO, we didn’t really start to get an electronics industry until after they got released.

    The problem with the way that douglas et al did it, was that it wasted a *lot* of people into unemployment. There simply weren’t the jobs for them to move to, because the transition was just too fast. We lost a lot of a decade of kids because their parents were on the dole, and when they looked for a job, there weren’t any. The primary economic asset in NZ is the people.

  19. burt 19

    A tax free threshold of $20,000 will instantly add $75 week to any full time workers take home pay. Has Labour a policy to deliver this sort of pay increase to low income earners? If not why not?

  20. Daveo 20

    Burt- a couple of things:

    1) The graph above is based on real incomes in March 1996 dollars so it takes changes in the cost of living into account.

    2) Douglas’ policies are a fraud.

    Firstly, only some low income earners would get a $75 tax cut. Many on WFF – the low income workers who need it the most – would actually be worse off.

    Secondly, given the amount of social spening he’ll have to cut to reduce taxes at that scale (most of which will go to the very wealthy) low income workers will probably be worse off in real terms – which is the point of this post.

    Thirdly, Douglas’ extremist neoliberalism on labour markets means workers will see a massive hit to their wages. Workers are far better off under the Fifth Labour Government.

  21. AncientGeek 21

    burt – you notice I’m not arguing about that it had to be done. I’m arguing about the method. We wound up paying for generations of long-term unemployed – we still have the residuals now, simply because Douglas et al wanted it done too fast.

    You missed out in the cost side of the equation for the mid to late 80’s. For instance interest rates dropped from over 20% to something that people could pay. But milk rose massively in price. Cars dropped in price, but mechanics fees rose because the apprenticeships weren’t available.

    I tend to feel that the cost side was a mixed bag, and wasn’t that much difference in the 80’s. It was really after the planned tariff reductions dropped significantly in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Then people started putting money and effort into more productive enterprises. The warehouse (good import indicator) didn’t really start to hit its stride until 90/91.

  22. AncientGeek 22

    A tax free threshold of $20,000 will instantly add $75 week to any full time workers take home pay.

    When I see the clearly defined spending reductions that should accompany that policy, then I’ll talk about the downstream costs of the policy.

    How about coming up with a workable suggestion, burt.

    But I do agree that any tax cut should be in that bottom tier only. That is the bracket with the most fiscal drag. I’d suggest moving it up.

  23. Dean 23

    Daveo:

    “Firstly, only some low income earners would get a $75 tax cut. Many on WFF – the low income workers who need it the most – would actually be worse off.”

    Why is the decision to have children automatically more deserving of everyone else’s money compared with those who don’t?

    Do you even believe in any kind of individual responsibility or the idea of the pride someone can take from providing for the decisions they have chosen to make in their lives?

    “Secondly, given the amount of social spening he’ll have to cut to reduce taxes at that scale (most of which will go to the very wealthy) low income workers will probably be worse off in real terms – which is the point of this post.”

    Yeah, I hate “rich pricks” too. Stuff working hard to get ahead, right? Let’s just all be comrades and pretend that one person’s skills are the same as the next persons.

    Daveo, please try harder.

  24. Dean:

    “but you cannot deny that the SOEs in the time of Roger Douglas were anything but unproductive.”

    Um – didn’t you read what I wrote? “Some restructuring would have been justified”. The point is that through active labour market policies, such as those used in Scandinavian countries unemployment has been lowered substantially. Because of this they’ve avoid a lot of associated negative social impacts (i.e. violent crime and youth suicide – both tripled between 1984 and 1994 in NZ I might add).

    See how active labour market policies have worked in Sweden for example.

    i.e. Figure 1 on page 3 of the following link shows that active labour market policies reduced unemployment by around 4% between 1991 and 1998 in Sweden.

    http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp0203.pdf

    But as you say, there is a trade off. I just think that it’s worth the money.

    “It’s called productivity.”

    Actually, long run productivity growth hasn’t increased since the reforms.

    “Because everyone who’s poor ends up in jail? Seriously, what does that say about your faith in humanity?”

    Do some reading Dean – As most people know, all around the world crime is linked to measures of socio-economic disadvantage.

    http://rogernome.blogspot.com/2007/11/link-between-imprisonment-rates-and.html

    “Fay and Richwhite in particular did a lot of damage to these former SOEs. But you need to remember the dire straights the NZ economy was in at the time.”

    I know – the problem is those sales barely helped with the fiscal debt – from memory 2-3% of the debt was paid off by those sales.

  25. Daveo 25

    Why is the decision to have children automatically more deserving of everyone else’s money compared with those who don’t?

    Because we live in a society Dean. Why are the disabled any more deserving of everyone else’s money? Why are farmers? Why are the elderly?

    “…given the amount of social spening he’ll have to cut to reduce taxes at that scale (most of which will go to the very wealthy) low income workers will probably be worse off in real terms…”

    Yeah, I hate “rich pricks’ too. Stuff working hard to get ahead, right? Let’s just all be comrades and pretend that one person’s skills are the same as the next persons.

    I wasn’t talking about hating rich pricks, stuffing hard work or being comrades. I was saying Roger Douglas’ plans to cut social spending will make most low income workers worse off after their tax cut. The point was to show that Douglas’ concern for the poor is a fraud. His policies will hurt the poor like they did last time.

    Daveo, please try harder.

    Dean, stop being a patronising wanker.

  26. Dan 26

    Bill English, Gerry Brownlee, Nick Smith, Tony Ryall, Judith Collins, Lockwood Smith, and now, inevitably in coalition Roger Douglas. It would be an interesting Cabinet when you consider their respective contributions over the years. Key’s moderate aspirations will not fit in.
    It is not the NZ I want.

  27. Dean 27

    “Because we live in a society Dean. Why are the disabled any more deserving of everyone else’s money? Why are farmers? Why are the elderly?”

    The disabled certainly are. The farmers and the eldery aren’t though. Especially the eldery. I look forward to you explaining to me exactly why people with their whole working lives available to them ought to expect to be propped up by everyone else in any case apart from those with extremely extenuatiing circumstances.

    Personal responsibility is very empoweing, and you should try it sometime.

    “I wasn’t talking about hating rich pricks, stuffing hard work or being comrades. I was saying Roger Douglas’ plans to cut social spending will make most low income workers worse off after their tax cut. The point was to show that Douglas’ concern for the poor is a fraud. His policies will hurt the poor like they did last time.”

    But you were. The low income earners deserve to be propped up by everybody else according to your last post. In fact, your exact words were “Thirdly, Douglas’ extremist neoliberalism on labour markets means workers will see a massive hit to their wages. Workers are far better off under the Fifth Labour Government.”

    Now please explain to me how reduced tax rates, including a tax free bracket higher than the current middle tax rate, together with school vouchers for everybody regardless of income will adversely effect low income earners. You do understand after tax income, don’t you?

    Daveo, please try harder.

    Dean, stop being a patronising wanker.”

  28. Dean 28

    Roger:

    “Um – didn’t you read what I wrote? “Some restructuring would have been justified’. The point is that through active labour market policies, such as those used in Scandinavian countries unemployment has been lowered substantially. Because of this they’ve avoid a lot of associated negative social impacts (i.e. violent crime and youth suicide – both tripled between 1984 and 1994 in NZ I might add).”

    Some restructuring? I don’t think you fully understand the state of SOEs when the 4th Labour government came to power.

    And National was to blame for increased suicide rates? Right. Keep on believing that if it makes you happy. As we all know, economics have such a massive effect on suicide rates, despite all international data on the subject. It must be true, because it’s something else to blame on National.

    “But as you say, there is a trade off. I just think that it’s worth the money.”

    I’d agree, except you can’t compare a country like Sweden with a country like New Zealand and expect to be taken seriously. Population and proximity to other markets, for instance.

    “Do some reading Dean – As most people know, all around the world crime is linked to measures of socio-economic disadvantage.”

    Only in the western countries you want to choose to graph, Roger.

    “I know – the problem is those sales barely helped with the fiscal debt – from memory 2-3% of the debt was paid off by those sales.”

    That was enough. Until you are converstant with just how dire NZs situation was at that time, you won’t understand just how important it was to free up money to pay off debts incurred by the previous National government.

  29. “The low income earners deserve to be propped up by everybody else according to your last post.”

    If you want to live in a cohesive, just society with low imprisonment rates, low crime, high levels of social mobility (this means people born into poor families get a fair go) then yes. Personally i would prefer this to living amongst a collection of petty individuals trying to outdo each other in meaningless ways (i.e. who can afford the largest penis extension).

  30. Dean 30

    Roger:

    “If you want to live in a cohesive, just society with low imprisonment rates, low crime, high levels of social mobility (this means people born into poor families get a fair go) then yes. Personally i would prefer this to living amongst a collection of petty individuals trying to outdo each other in meaningless ways (i.e. who can afford the largest penis extension).”

    Because everyone who wants to be successful automatically has no sense of personal or social responsibility, right?

    yawn.

  31. r0b 31

    Fortunately any talk of Roger back in cabinet bas become moot:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4447173a10.html

    Must be the shortest second coming ever! Wise move by Key though, for a change.

  32. randal 32

    roger is just a dork and when he realised he was never going to be p.m. he figured out a particularly nasty way of having revenge on his party…nice guy

  33. “Because everyone who wants to be successful automatically has no sense of personal or social responsibility, right?”

    I believe that’s what’s called a non-sequitur Dean.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non_sequitur_(logic)

    I merely said that having a “large underclass” that’s largely alienated from society has profoundly negative social costs. This is the reason for my endorsing the welfare state.

  34. Dean 34

    randal:

    “roger is just a dork and when he realised he was never going to be p.m. he figured out a particularly nasty way of having revenge on his party nice guy”

    If only life were that simple.

    “I merely said that having a “large underclass’ that’s largely alienated from society has profoundly negative social costs. This is the reason for my endorsing the welfare state.”

    According to Clark, the large underclass is grossly exaggerated.

    Which is it to be?

  35. Dean:

    “Some restructuring? I don’t think you fully understand the state of SOEs when the 4th Labour government came to power”

    Got anything other than bluster to support your point? Didn’t think so.

    “And National was to blame for increased suicide rates? Right. Keep on believing that if it makes you happy. As we all know, economics have such a massive effect on suicide rates”

    Well, got any other explanations for youth suicide and youth violent crime tripling in the ten years between 1984 and 1994? Thought not. BTW – i’m not blaming this solely on National – they didn’t come to power until 1991 … idiot.

    “I’d agree, except you can’t compare a country like Sweden with a country like New Zealand and expect to be taken seriously.”

    My point was that ALPs decrease unemployment. I don’t see what population and proximity to markets have to do with that.

    “”Do some reading Dean – As most people know, all around the world crime is linked to measures of socio-economic disadvantage.’

    Only in the western countries you want to choose to graph, Roger.”

    Only in OECD countries that I could get the figures for. And then there were all the academic studies I sited as well. Guess you ignored them because they weren’t convenient for you.

    “”I know – the problem is those sales barely helped with the fiscal debt – from memory 2-3% of the debt was paid off by those sales.’

    That was enough. Until you are converstant with just how dire NZs situation was at that time”

    You haven’t shown that you’re “conversant with the issues” (my bet is you actually don’t have a clue – thus all your bluster). And you certainly haven’t shown that the 2-3% of the debt that the asset sales achieved made any significant improvement on our economy.

  36. milo 36

    Okay, just to keep you all honest.

    Need I remind you that Douglas was a LABOUR minister, and everything he did was supported by the LABOUR cabinet, that in the process perpetrated a GIANT FRAUD on the public that voted for them. Mentions of LABOUR seem strangely absent in the left wing blogosphere discussions of Roger Douglas.

  37. “According to Clark, the large underclass is grossly exaggerated.”

    Really? Well if that’s the case (citation?), her MSD social report contradicts her (income inequality has barely improved since that National days). Though labour has made some improvements since National was in power – i.e. lower unemployment, higher minimum wage etc….

  38. “Need I remind you that Douglas was a LABOUR minister, and everything he did was supported by the LABOUR cabinet, that in the process perpetrated a GIANT FRAUD on the public that voted for them. Mentions of Labour seem strangely absent in the left wing blogosphere discussions of Roger Douglas.”

    um yeah – I’ve never actually voted LABOUR. BTW – all the far righties had resigned out by the time Clark and Cullen had risen to power. The kitchen cabinet at the time (Douglas, Prebble and Lange) led the rest of the cabinet, and so led he rest of the party. The blame really does lie solely with just a few men (parties don’t usually like to implode while they’re in power).

  39. Dean 39

    Roger:

    “You haven’t shown that you’re “conversant with the issues’ (my bet is you actually don’t have a clue – thus all your bluster). And you certainly haven’t shown that the 2-3% of the debt that the asset sales achieved made any significant improvement on our economy.”

    How much was NZ Rail losing per day in 1983?

    Put up, or shut up.

  40. “How much was NZ Rail losing per day in 1983?

    Put up, or shut up”

    indeed can you answer your own question? Put up or shut up.

  41. r0b 41

    Okay, just to keep you all honest. Need I remind you that Douglas was a LABOUR minister

    Yeah, thanks Milo. We kinda know that here. Besides, see AG’s comment, 4th in this thread.

  42. Dean 42

    roger:

    “indeed can you answer your own question? Put up or shut up.”

    Over a million dollars a day, back in ’83. Adjust that for inflation, if you can.

    You were saying?

  43. milo 43

    The Labour policies have certainly changed, and kudos to Helen Clark for the formal apology in the late 1990s. But has the party changed? Is it still capable of throwing people up who will value power over democracy?

    I don’t think the current government is like that; they are highly poll driven. So perhaps those ghosts can be put to rest. But it’s worth pointing out that Labour’s main agenda in recent years was, in effect, another unelected secret agenda. In this case, the only major thing they’ve actually believed in and tried to achieve is a radical social agenda. In fact, I personally agree with every bit of that agenda. But they didn’t exactly campaign on it.

  44. Dean 44

    roger:

    “Really? Well if that’s the case (citation?), her MSD social report contradicts her (income inequality has barely improved since that National days). Though labour has made some improvements since National was in power – i.e. lower unemployment, higher minimum wage etc .”

    John Key, waqitangi day, little girl he took to the marae… you remember Clark’s comment, dont you? Surely?

  45. milo 45

    Hmmn. Let me add a bit. To be fair Labour have also had a rollback towards the centre – restoration of superannuation, abolition of market related rents and the like. But that is all pretty old hat now (policies from 1999). Cullen has done some stuff, but it’s mostly been reactive or ad hoc – not campaigned on.

    Now I’m not saying National is better. What I’m suggesting is that Labour hasn’t necessarily changed that much in terms of process. We just happen not to object to the policies so much.

  46. “Over a million dollars a day, back in ‘83. Adjust that for inflation, if you can.

    You were saying?”

    Citation?

    “John Key, waqitangi day, little girl he took to the marae”

    meh – not the sort of thing that really interests me. Still waiting for a citation though.

  47. Dean – IMHO we should have followed an approach similar to Australia, with gradual and mild reform, coupled with real wage restraint in the state sector. With that approach we would have avoided the massive social upheaval we got.

  48. Dean 48

    roger:

    “Citation?”

    It’s freely available from the government financial statements of the day. Don’t tell me you haven’t read them before you chose to pretend you knew what you were talking about?

    “meh – not the sort of thing that really interests me. Still waiting for a citation though.”

    You need a citation for Clark saying what she said about the underclass at this time? Are you really that ill informed?

  49. ak 49

    rOb: “Wise move by Key though, for a change”.

    Mmmmmm….hardly a change rOb, just more poll-driven vote-hunting from Slippery “Mitu” Hoani if you ask me.

    Douglas is deeply despised – and for good reason.
    Macroeconomics is Archaic Greek (apols AG) to Joanna Public – and contrary to what all the burt-nice-but-dims might think, it’s not all about cheap cars. Think for a nano-second: your grandparents’ income and worldly possessions would make them piteous paupers by today’s standards – were they less fulfilled/happy than us? (rhetorical question from one whose first glorious pay packet contained 10/6)

    Douglas et al will forever be remembered and utterly reviled by all but the partisan (ie those who pick our leaders) for the most blatant act of political betrayal and treachery ever perpetuated on the kiwi public – and the arrogance was breathtaking. Interviewer: “Why didn’t you tell the public before the election what you had planned?” Lange: (smirking) “Because we wanted to get it done”.
    Douglas: (repeatedly) “Oh we are way ahead of Australia, and will soon be the Switzerland of the South Pacific. Soon? Three to five years at the most.”

    Key’s pollsters have determined all the tory announcements to date: the problem for TricKey now is that their next message from Joanna will be a demand for substance and reassurance – a hard act to pull off after years of flipflop and flimflam.

    Watch the next poll: with Uncle Sam looking shakey and the global boat rocking, what’s the bet Aunty Helen’s warm tweed skirt is starting to lure more than a few punters away from the smiling assassin’s flashy snake-oil routine.

    No wonder there’s angst in the tory camp: a geriatric Douglas trying to hitch his revolting carcass to their fading circus is the last thing they need in a receding market.

  50. “It’s freely available from the government financial statements of the day. Don’t tell me you haven’t read them before you chose to pretend you knew what you were talking about?”

    You still haven’t shown that you know what you’re talking about. Bluster won’t cut it mate.
    “It’s freely available from the government financial statements of the day. Don’t tell me you haven’t read them before you chose to pretend you knew what you were talking about?”

    You still haven’t shown that you know what you’re talking about. Bluster won’t cut it mate.

    “You need a citation for Clark saying what she said about the underclass at this time? Are you really that ill informed?”

    You seem like the kind of person who would lie. Sorry.

    “You need a citation for Clark saying what she said about the underclass at this time? Are you really that ill informed?”

    You seem like the kind of person who would lie. Sorry.

  51. wow – that last post was really screwed up. Sorry bout that.

  52. Draco TB 52

    I’m old enough to remember how long it used to take to get a phone line installed for instance.

    And still probably don’t realise don’t realise that the change to that was due to technology that was mostly put in place before Telecom was sold. Interestingly enough that technology under state ownership was scheduled to be completed a number of years sooner than it was eventually completed under private ownership.

    In the 1980s telecommunication technology went through a massive change. Cables, instead of having paper insulation on each wire which was then wrapped in lead, tar, steel, tar and hessian changed to plastic. Exchanges went digital allowing phone lines to remain connected and be able to turn them on or off from a remote location instead of having to organise someone to go to the exchange and the premises to physically connect them. It took time to get phones connected simply because we were busy upgrading the entire national network. This meant that a lot more could be done for a lot less.

    The fire-sale of our assets was basically stupid and purely ideologically driven. Telecom was broken up into regional companies but then the buyers wanted all of it in one piece. Considering their profits due to their monopoly position it isn’t hard to see why. Telecom was making a massive profit even before the restructuring BTW – who the hell would be so stupid as to sell off a profit making venture? Oh, that’s right – Roger Fucken Douglas.

  53. AncientGeek 53

    Dean: Reaching far back into the conversation…

    Why is the decision to have children automatically more deserving of everyone else’s money compared with those who don’t?

    Societies are living organisms like any other social structure. They have strong survival instincts. Certainly their members do.

    Children are a scarce resource these days. Societies do a lot of things that are based on gradualism, and one of those things is for children to eventually take care of the elderly. This is directly (my parents cared for my grandmother) or via taxes.

    Now when I was a kid in the 60’s, the replacement rate in NZ was well over 1.0 – somewhere about 1.4 or so. More than one kid produced per adult (even after disease and accidents), in fact there seemed to be more kids than adults. I was in an abnormal family – we only had 3 kids for 2 adults.

    Currently the replacement is about 0.8 last time I looked (after you allow for accidents etc), but improved recently. Now some of that is due to improved family planning – but there was effective birth control when I was born. Some of it is the changing role of women in society. But a large chunk of it is economic – it is simply more expensive to have kids now than it was 40 odd years ago – as much in lost opportunity costs as anything else.

    When you stop paying for society to operate via your taxes, then your share has to be taken up by other people for society to continue operate. In particular to pay for the infrastructure and services you’re using. Guess what – your use of those services increases rather than decreases as you get old and infirm.

    Someone has to pay for it. We could go to a stronger user-pays individualistic policy and simply increase your taxes as you get older (and as your income diminishes) – but that is a zero-sum game. We could look at the cost-cutting – say death camps for the elderly – but it is hard to get people to vote for too early a retirement even if it is 30 years off.

    So what we do is make sure we have enough kids. At this point in time, that means making it easier for people to decide to become parents. It is actually usually cheaper to raise our own rather than importing because you usually get a longer tax-paying period out of them – something to do with better health care and education.

    Now that means that people like me, who don’t have kids (I just get everyone elses) gets to assist in paying for our retirement services. Ultimately the alternative is involuntary euthanasia either by disease and poverty or……….

  54. Monty 54

    Problem for you socialists is that National’s support has increased to 51% in the latest Roy Morgan Poll, and Act is up 2% – obviously the electorate is reasonably comfortable with a Majority National Government supported by Act (and hopefully the Maori Party athough not needed)

    Labour continue to lose support – (and good job too) but here is the clincher and why things will get worse

    “Gary Morgan says:

    The drop in Consumer Confidence in New Zealand, down to a near record low of 106.6 should be a concern for Helen Clark. As well, the Opposition National Party has maintained its Election winning lead over the Government as the worsening economic conditions start to impact upon New Zealanders.

    The unhelpful comments this week by Finance Minister Michael Cullen, who gave voice to fears New Zealand may be headed for a recession, are clearly something the Government can do without as it attempts to claw back ground on the National Party heading towards the elections later in the year.

    The consistent lead the National Party has held over the past year means winning re-election for Helen Clark and her Government is her biggest challenge since becoming Prime Minister.’

    Better call an election early before you socialists bleed even more support. And then there is the unauthorised Biography of Helen Clark yet to come out.

    captcha “huge split” – how appropriate

  55. randal 55

    problem for you righties is you want everything…psychologically it eats your hearts out to see anyone with anything and deep down you want to take it away so as to deny anyone the privilege of enjoying anything…begone blackhearted scum!

  56. RedLogix 56

    Right wing politics can be summarised thus:

    After 8 years of Republican administration:

    USA = Bankrupt.

    Righties have nowhere to hide.

  57. higherstandard 57

    RedLogix

    Hmmmm

    How do you explain the Reagan years then ?

    Sweeping economic reforms and deep across-the-board tax cuts, market deregulation, and sound monetary policies to contain inflation. His policies resulted in the largest peacetime economic boom in American history and nearly 35 million more jobs

  58. the sprout 58

    i guess it’s just me but i thought in his tv apprearances Douglas looked like a Nazi war criminal returned from exile in Paraguay.

  59. RedLogix 59

    HigherStandard

    Hmmmmm

    The “Reagan years”?

    America at the height of it’s influence, the dollar hegemony unchallenged globally, US foreign policy projected almost without limit to protect it’s interests, the end of the Cold War, it’s manufacturing base dominant and a recovery from the low base of the mid-1970’s OPEC oil price crash all combined for a set of very favourable conditions for the US.

    Besides according to the wikipedia entry on Reagan, his policies actually resulted in large tax cuts for the wealthy while only reducing total govt tax income by about 1%. Hence the now derisory term “trickle-down economics”.

    By promoting a massive build up in armaments expenditure, the largest in peace time, he created the illusion of improved economic growth. And BTW according to the article, jobs growth was only 16m.

  60. higherstandard 60

    Red Logix

    I suggest you try some wider reading than Wikipaedia. (it is generally not peer reviewed and open to extreme bias)

    Despite the steep recession in 1982 brought on by tight money policies that were instituted to squeeze out the historic inflation level of the late 1970s – by 1983, the Reagan policies of reducing taxes, spending, regulation, and inflation were in place. The result was unprecedented economic growth:

    Perhaps the greatest myth concerning the 1980s is that Ronald Reagan slashed taxes so dramatically for the rich that they no longer have paid their fair share.

    In 1991, after the Reagan’s cuts were well in place, the top 1 percent of taxpayers in income paid 25 percent of all income taxes; the top 5 percent paid 43 percent; and the bottom 50 percent paid only 5 percent. To suggest that this distribution is unfair because it is too easy on upper-income groups can’t stand up to serious scrutiny.

    The proportion of total income taxes paid by the top 1 percent rose sharply under President Reagan, from 18 percent in 1981 to 28 percent in 1988.

    Average effective income tax rates were cut even more for lower-income groups than for higher-income groups. While the average effective tax rate for the top 1 percent fell by 30 percent between 1980 and 1992, and by 35 percent for the top 20 percent of income earners, it fell by 44 percent for the second-highest quintile, 46 percent for the middle quintile, 64 percent for the second-lowest quintile, and 263 percent for the bottom quintile.

    While inflation-adjusted defense spending increased by 50 percent between 1980 and 1989, it was curtailed when the Cold War ended and fell by 15 percent between 1989 and 1993. However, means-tested entitlements, not including Social Security or the US Medicare, rose by over 102 percent between 1980 and 1993.

    If you’re interested I’d direct you to the following

    Joint Economic Committee, The Great Expansion: How It Was Achieved and How It Can Be Sustained, U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, 106th Cong., 2nd Sess., April 2000,

  61. Tane 61

    Monty, the poll you’re referencing was taken between 3-16 March, so does not take the re-emergence of Douglas into account. Try getting your facts straight if you’re going to be an arrogant prat.

    I’d also take Gary Morgan’s ‘analysis’ with a grain of salt. The dude has made some embarassing blunders in the past and reading his stuff you get the impression he’s reading the transtasman newswires and just making it up as he goes along.

    I’ll try and get the poll up at some point this weekend, but I’m out of town on family business so no guarantees.

  62. big bruv 62

    Like it not Comrades Sir Roger will be in the next Parliament, one can only hope that he has a major say in the way our economy is run.

    Just imagine parents being allowed to send their kids to the school of their choice, just imagine having a real health service one that does not have to dump people off its waiting lists to make the govt look good.

    Just imagine people having to work for a living and imagine the joy that a small public service will bring to those who are frustrated dealing with the current red tape and jobs-worths who infest Wellington.

    Now I know that scares a lot of you, after all you chaps honestly believe that you can spend my money better than I can but that will all change when Sir Roger is back, I will get to keep a lot more of my money.
    Ultimately of course it will be great for the entire nation, once the fools who still believe in socialism realise that you can actually do something about bettering yourself with hard work the sooner we sill stop being a nation of bludgers.

  63. Pascal's bookie 63

    HS, It should be remembered that Reagan raised taxes quite steeply as well, when he saw the effects his cuts had on the budget.

    Modern Repub’s won’t do that, they mostly sign pledges from Grover Norquist (Club for Growth) stating that they will not raise taxes. If they don’t sign they get little support from the GOP machine.

    The fed had as much to do with getting things going again as Reagan did, and the Chairman who nade the tough decisions was appointed by Carter I believe, though I stand to be corrected.

    Reagan didn’t muck things up as much as many like to claim, but he also gets much more credit than is his due IMHO. The stagflation of the 70’s had run it’s course, and the oil cartel calmed down. That helped get things going again.

    With regard to deregulation in the markets, you might remember the Savings and Loans debacle (and the role John McCain played?).

    It’s also worth noting that our own markets under Douglas had very little regulation, and that 87 hit us harder and the effects (particularly confidence, which is the heart of any market) lasted much longer as well.

  64. the sprout 64

    “trickle-down’, as in when somebody pisses on you.

  65. higherstandard 65

    Pascal

    Your right Volckner (sp?) was appointed by Carter and reappointed by Reagan and the fed was critical to the economic reforms.

    The gist of my post was in response and to refute RedLogixs tongue in the cheek comment that 8 years of republicanism equals bankruptcy.

    There are good and bad economic managers on both side of the political spectrum and often their success or failure has more to do with factors extraneous to their own skills or lack thereof

  66. Pascal's bookie 66

    Indeed.
    Though Reagan (as he actually existed, rather than the myth) would be unnaceptable to the modern GOP.

    He raised taxes.

    He cut and run from Lebanon, showing weakness to the Islamofacsists who were then free to fight them here not there.

    He actually talked to the Russians. With diplomacy and actual negotiations. The neocons at the time pilloried him for this claiming that the USSR was still very powerful and that it was all a dirty commie plot and that Reagan was a traitorous fool. These commenters are inexplicably still listened to.

    He granted amnesty to “illegals”.

    Todays Rebublican party is not Reagan, so the comparison is flawed. They have severely damaged America. Torture. Wiretaps (preceding 9/11). Habeas Corpus. A “unitary Executive” that claims to be the determiner of it’s own powers.

    But on the effects of Bush’s tax cuts heeeeeere’s Krugman:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/12699486/paul_krugman_on_the_great_wealth_transfer/print

  67. higherstandard 67

    I agree that today’s Republican Party is not the same as at Reagans time nether will it be the same under four of eight years of McCain.

    I am no fan of Bush so I’m not sure what point you are trying to make ?

  68. RedLogix 68

    HigherStandard,

    Removing tongue from cheek, my original comment is based on the old idea that the NZ socio/political pendulum, although following a beat of it’s own, rather tends to ape US trends with a 5-10 year delay. One of the most interesting global trends has been the nett shift of all parties towards the right. The leftists have become centrists (Blair’s New Labour?), and in order to be remain differentiated the right parties have assumed extreme neoliberal ideas that would have been considered fringe crazy just a generation ago.

    So with NZ polling like mad in favour of a one of these latter-day right wing Party’s, I was merely pointing put that the US has done us all a big favour by trying the real thing out for the last 8 years…and if we had any wit at all we could take a quick peek over the Pacific to see how this has turned out.

  69. higherstandard 69

    Red

    Point taken as I hope you tok my point regarding Reagan.

    However I think it’s as much of a stretch comparing bush and the republicans in the USA to Key and National as it would be comparing Bill Clinton’s democrats to Helen Clark’s Labour.

    What people on this blog (and other blogs of the political spectrum) are unwilling to freely admit is that National and Labour are far more closer to the centre and each other than they are to the extreme right or left respectively.

  70. Pascal's bookie 70

    ” am no fan of Bush so I’m not sure what point you are trying to make ?”

    I just thought the present could have some some bearing on the discussion. I mean it’s interesting talking about things that happened in decades past, and sure McCain may, in the future, kick the current GOP in the teeth, but then again he may not.

    He talks a lot about being a Maverick but he usually folds once the journo’s stop watching.

    Case in point, torture. You may have heard that Bush vetoed a recent piece of legislation banning the use of torture by the CIA. McCain gets a lot of play for bucking the party, however inneffectually, about torture.

    Guess how he actually voted on this bill, banning torture. Against.
    If you look at who he’s got as advisors, I’m not expecting too much change in the Republican party.

    Of course I could be wrong, maybe if McCain wins the Presidency he’ll tack hard to port, and act like Reagan, grant amnesty to “illegals” raise some taxes to sort out the defict, enter discussions with America’s foes and so on. Then maybe your defence of the GOP by citing Reagan would have more merit. I only see evidence of more of the same however.

    On this I agree:

    What people on this blog (and other blogs of the political spectrum) are unwilling to freely admit is that National and Labour are far more closer to the centre and each other than they are to the extreme right or left respectively.

    But there is some goal post shifting going on. Red talked about rightwingers, not the National Party. You then cited Reagan as a successful rightwinger, but then we’ve noted that the centre has shifted and Reagan would be a lot closer to the centre these days. So in the present, the right is like the gop today, not the gop under Reagan.

    So I guess if I had to be concise I’d say that my point is that we are talking about rightwingers (not exclusively the National party), and the GOP today. With rightwing being defined by where the centre is today, not where it was under Reagan. Bearing that in mind I thought Bush’s GOP to be relevent, and Reagans GOP not so much.

    Your mileage, of course, may vary.

  71. higherstandard 71

    Rodger on Rodger

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10499730

    Worthy of some healthy debate maybe ?

  72. burt 72

    higherstandard

    Well worthy. Sir Roger rips John Armstrong to shreds. Imagine having fair social policies, social policies that are not designed with the sole purpose of winning elections.

  73. randal 73

    the only purpose fro roger hanging around is a cunning plot so the right wing press can bludgeon the populace with neo con philosophy and other right wing garbage…get real dudes

  74. imcheezy 74

    I think my favourite of the above posts was bigbruv’s, with his constant refrain of ‘just imagine’ life under Sir Rog… Funnily enough though, I don’t think we have to imagine too hard… No… We just have to have been alive, and living in New Zealand, in 1988.

    Nir-fucking-vana, wasn’t it? From memory?

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