Reading the 2025 Taskforce report #2 reinforces what a lucky escape we had in 2005 when Don Brash and National were beaten by Labour in the general election.
If that hadn’t happened, by now we would be in Brashimania – the country’s assets would be sold off or privatised, NZ Rail and Air NZ would be in the hands of overseas interests, steadily being stripped again of assets, the minimum wage would be gone, the labour market re-regulated in an even more draconian way than the ECA, public health and education would be kneecapped with “competition”, early childhood education would only for those who could afford it, and welfare reforms would ensure that only the “deserving poor” had any assistance – with Dr Brash deciding who they were.
Don’t get me wrong. John Key’s NACTs are just as dangerous. They’re just a bit more careful and devious, because they’re scared of public opinion and know the electorate won’t tolerate another Douglas, Ruth or Brash attack.
The 2025 Taskforce, led by Dr Brash and his cheerleading group for ACT is costing NZers half a million bucks. It’s got another year to run. Yet, its members continue to insist that the failed policies of the 1980s and 1990′s will work now – even when they didn’t work before. Cuts to workers rights, minimum wage, cuts in Working for Families, an increase in the cost of student loans, and severe cuts in other government programmes,along with privatisation of more assets and services, including health and education are all there in report # 2.
Its pleasing to see the NZ Manufacturers and Exporters Association (NZMEA) criticising the report. The NZMEA says that the report is long on diagnosis – (yes, that’s right, we all know Australian wages are way ahead of ours)- but short on therapy.
They say, in their press release that
The Taskforce’s recommendations largely echo the Washington Consensus. This approach has not seen substantial export growth from the countries that have applied it. Earlier this year, the IMF recommended more pragmatism on exchange rates from small economies instead.
And Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Managing Director of the IMF said more just last Monday with this :
…Such ‘growth models’ were unbalanced and unsustainable and inequality may have actually stoked this unsustainable model. In countries like the United States, borrowing seemed to allow ordinary people to share in the rising prosperity…. Inequality can dampen economic opportunity, by preventing the poor from accessing the financing needed to pursue profitable investments. It can divert people toward unproductive activities.
The Washington Consensus is dead. What we need are new ideas and new thinking – the kind that is coming through in Labour policy development that had Labour Party conference delegates buzzing about a different future under a Labour government.
The Taskforce seems incapable of new thinking and should be disbanded. It discredits the government who will once again ignore its recommendations – and it makes ACT look even more stupid than they are.
Dr Brash should give NZ taxpayers our half a million bucks back and accept that the party’s over.