English can’t help himself digging deeper in his hole.
Caught out in Question 4 today at Question Time contradicting himself on whether the economy was growing or shrinking, he fell back on challenging the truth of the quotes.
Here they are, both sourced from Hansard:
“Because we did not think either policy was appropriate in the circumstances of what, under his party’s management, was a very poorly performing New Zealand economy, which was then hit by the global financial crisis”(Question 2, 23 February 2010)
‘Yes we could make substantial gains in the integrity of the tax system. Under the previous Government the number of people paying tax on $4 million did not change in 10 years even though the economy grew significantly” (Question3, 23 February 2010)
His main thrust, however was to repeat old lines that “the tradeable sector had been in recession for five years”, because the economy was “unbalanced” – ie NZ does not export or save enough and consumes and borrows too much.
Leaving aside his use of language – let’s be clear that Labour agrees that the economy is currently unbalanced (I blogged as much last week)
The key issue is what the government is doing about it, or not doing. On this commentators are scathing:
- Bernard Hickey said the PM’s opening speech to Parliament “did nothing….worse than nothing. He shut down the debate… saying ‘tough. My backers own property….I’m not brave enough to challenge them’…”
- The Manufacturers and Exporters Association said the government “would do no more than tinker” and noted “How the PM expects a broken tax system to be fixed without any changes is beyond me”.
- John Armstrong said “Yesterday’s programme is a tax cut package masquerading as an economic growth package….Those expecting something special will be disappointed”.
So, has Mr English deliberately set out to embarrass his leader by reminding everyone how weak, shoddy and indecisive his government is perceived to be right across the political spectrum?
Or is it just another “accident” in what was a slow motion train wreck of a week for National in the House.