Red Alert

The right-wing track

Posted by on November 13th, 2012

History suggests the “right track” in politics often leads to inequality and bad outcomes for ordinary people.

Back when today’s university students were still in kindergarten Bill English was New Zealand’s Finance Minister. English’s first half-life at Treasury is mainly remembered for setting a new record in unemployment.

Decades later, zombie-like, Bill English is back with responsibility for our economy. And last week history repeated when the National Government set a new record for unemployment in our country: 7.3% and trending upwards.

A reasonable person might expect the minister to reconsider his policies now he’s won a double-crown for atrocious economic management. After all English was a dry neoliberal obsessed with his ideologies and prejudices and wholly unmoved by evidence last time around. Now in John Key’s government he’s exactly the same and it’s delivered exactly the same awful result.

But no, there is no reflection. Today Bill English was asked in Parliament “What results has he seen of progress in the Government’s programme to build a more competitive economy?”

He replied “We have seen good, steady results.”

If record and growing unemployment is a good result for Bill English then what on earth would a bad result be? Probably it’s an economy where his mates have to pay their fair share of taxes like the rest of us.

But the Finance Minister’s boss sets the tone. And John Key has Steven Joyce as his as Economic Development Minister alongside Bill English so that says it all really.

Almost as soon as the Finance Minister had resumed his seat the Prime Minister jumped up to proclaim “I definitely think we are on the right track”.

The “right track”? Seriously?

Every fair-minded Kiwi can see that 7.3% unemployment is unacceptable. People know that declines in job ads, and over-speculated currencies, and unaffordable housing, and manufacturers in crisis, and the exodus of young people to Australia might be the result of right-wing policies. But the policies are not right.

Under National, the only track New Zealand is on is the right-wing track to ruin.

17 Responses to “The right-wing track”

  1. Draco T Bastard says:

    If you recall, Bill English told the country at the time that getting unemployment down below 6% was impossible, a fiction dreamed up by the left.

  2. Richard says:

    Of course 7.3% is unacceptable, but NZ is still below average OECD figure, so perhaps even you can realise that this is a worldwide problem. Even the Greek and Irish governments can’t create jobs from thin air. You fail to say how YOU would create all these ghost jobs you seem to think are just waiting for a magic touch. Don’t just be a roadblock, like the Republican Party. If you have a revolutionary idea put it to the public as a suggestion to the Government and see what comes of it. Or are you too partisan for that.

  3. Andrew says:

    i think you will find that unaffordable housing happened under your watch. that ship has already sailed i’m afraid.

  4. Quoth the Raven says:

    We know from the international evidence that economic freedom is a positive correlate of reduced unemployment. The path toward greater freedom is the path that neither National or Labour seem willing to take.

    In the 2010 Economic Freedom of the World Report they specifically examine the relationship between economic freedom and unemployment. Firstly they look at previous research on the hypothesis that economic freedom affects unemployment favourably.

    A substantial body of evidence supporting these hypotheses has accumulated in recent years. For example, using country averages from 45 industrial and developing countries, Feldmann (2007) finds that a higher level of economic freedom in 1980/1985 is correlated with a decline in both the unemployment and the youth unemployment rate over the period to 2000–2003. Furthermore, he finds an increase in economic freedom from 1980/1985 to 2000–2003 to be associated with a fall in the youth unemployment rate over the same period. Additionally, using panel data from 81 industrial and developing countries he finds that a higher level of economic freedom is correlated with a lower youth unemployment rate.

    Specifically it was found that:

    A smaller size of the government sector is likely to reduce unemployment, both among the total labor force as well as among young people. This is the result of a study covering both industrial and developing countries (Feldmann, 2007), study that focuses on industrial countries (Feldmann, 2006a), as well as two studies on developing countries that use different methodologies (Feldmann, 2009a, 2010).

    This comports with the empirical evidence that government size negatively correlates with economic growth.

    The conclusion from the report’s own results was the following.

    According to our regression results, more economic freedom appears to reduce unemployment. The magnitude of the effect seems to be substantial, especially among young people. Given the substantial costs of unemployment and the enormous number of jobless people worldwide, particularly in the wake of the current financial and economic crisis, governments should consider increasing economic freedom as a means of reducing unemployment.

  5. Jack Ramaka says:

    Double Dipper makes up the story as he goes along. The problem is the Tories do not have a plan where we are going hence we are taken along for the ride.

    You will notice he Bill always refers to GFC as the cause of the country’s problems, it is a very easy cop-out.

    Can some one expain to me the TAX CUTS and how they were going to improve life for lower socio-economic groups of people. The tax cuts were miniscule for lower income groups yet the gst increase was damaging to these groups as it has a multiplier effect on costs. In my words the TAX CUTS were sadistic and cruel. They were basically a one fingered salute to the working class, and what actually makes me puke is we had to borrow the money offshore to actually fund these tax cuts.

  6. Allyson says:

    Hi David. We’ve been having a chat about effects a CG tax will have on rents, inflation, and house prices on another post.

    Will you let us have your thoughts on the effects a CG Tax would most likely have on employment, and ordinary incomes?
    Am particularly interested in short term effects cos short term is where its at for those hurting.

    My blessing,

  7. Spud says:

    Woe is NZ with the tories tearing at its jugular 😥


  8. redfred says:

    Retail down 0.8 percent, more unemployment, the economy is surely shrinking?

  9. kjt says:

    Unfortunately apart from a few speeches from yourself, I have seen little sign that Labour is breaking away from the right wing neo-liberal religion that have caused so much strife and destroyed the lives of so many. An apology for 1984 to 1990 would be a good start.

    Giving into “we cannot afford super” (Code for we will leave our old people begging in the streets, like the USA) is indicative of a typical right wing meme. If they get away with that one, they will work their way through all State social spending.
    “Since the 70’s they have been constant in the meme that we cannot afford super. A meme that has been driven entirely by the self interest of those, who are too wealthy to need super and too mean to pay taxes, and a greedy finance industry.

    Unfortunately, it is true, that if you repeat bullshit often enough, even those who should know better come to believe it.

    We cannot afford super is code for, “we should leave our elderly to beg on the streets”. So that wealthy people can pay less tax and the finance industry can again lose our savings for us.

    In fact the idea that State super is unaffordable is crap from the same people that cry TINA and reckon that all social insurance is unaffordable.

    If they win with super, they will just start on other social wages/insurance”.

  10. jennifer says:

    To my mind, there is a parallel between Key and Muldoon. Both clung to an outdated orthodoxy far too long, because they truly believed it, regardless of the damage it was doing, regardless of all the evidence and regardless of what the rest of the world was doing. Maybe it is just Labour’s destiny to come in and catch the country up with everyone else? Savage did it. Nordmeyer did it. Lange did it. Now it’s Shearer’s turn.

  11. Jack Ramaka says:

    Evidently they were all panicking at the National Party HQ when the unemployment figures came out, they wanted some news to take the pressure off the Unemployment Story maybe thats where the Johnnie Key Fruitcake Story eventuated.

    After all the NZ Public is more interested in what John Key is doing socially rather than how the economy is going, I guess thats what happens when you are a media celebrity voted New Zealand’s most sexy man.

    The Labour Party Leadership Crisis is just another Red Herring stirred up by the Tories,Right Wing Bloggers and the Press. If Labour change Shearer now they will lose all credibility with the NZ Public. John Key is advocating a change interesting to see whether Labour will follow his advice.

  12. The Al1en says:

    “If Labour change Shearer now they will lose all credibility with the NZ Public.”

    Like 92% opposed in preferred pm polls isn’t 100% credibility killing already.

    If there is a leader-in-waiting, times running out.

  13. Jack Ramaka says:

    The problem in NZ the NZ public and the press are infatuated with John Key and his extreme wealth created trading shares and currency on the World Markets and they think he is going to weave his magic spell on NZ. Some of us are waking up to his antics of spreading pixie dust around the place.

    Time will tell how successful Johnnie Sparkles and his Merryman have been at driving the NZ Economy Forward.

    Shearer at least has some integrity where as Key will say whatever he and his stooges think the majority of the public want to hear.

  14. Juliet says:

    Hi David
    Well done for putting personal ambition before the needs of the country and for derailing the conference.

  15. Juliet says:

    Hi David
    Well done for putting personal ambition before the needs of the country and for derailing the conference. And no i haven’t said that before but probably others have.

  16. sean taylor says:

    A STRONG involved Conference,committed grass roots and GOVT faltering Cmon get in behind the PARTY Leader. We should be developing significant relationships with the greens and “flirting with the rump of the Maori party. Converse with workers in Language they understand, reassure those on Benefits and encourage middle class that for most this is thier Family. GET IN BEHIND Y’ALL>>>>

  17. bbfloyd says:

    @jolliet……Well done for reminding everyone what a mob of spoilt children the “born to rule” clique really are….

    Your comment has all the perspicacity of the “road apples” I have to avoid on my jogs around my neigbourhood……

    Which is to say that, if this is an example of the kind of thinking? the raiding partys(national to the unimaginative)supporters rely on, then we have every reason to be seriously afraid for the future ability to have a say in our own destiny…..

    Why anyone in their right mind would be prepared to simply attack individuals who are perspicacious enough to be able to clearly point out the obvious weaknesses in the tory philosophies(if you could glorify them as such), using nothing more than petty personal insult, and deliberate misrepresentation, is quite beyond me….

    But then, I’m handicapped with a knowledge of history, and a keen sense of the strengths of true social equity…

    Why, oh why, can’t I just be another mindless ditto head!!?? Life would be so much easier if I had nothing but ignorance, and zenophobia to refer to as my yardstick…..

    More to the point…. Does anyone with a brain really think that 7.3% is where the escalation of the unemployment figures will stop??

    Every day, there are more redundancies, factories closing, businesses going broke…. I can see us getting closer to 10% by the middle of next year…

    God help us if the slowdown in mining/infrastructure work means that some of the 200,000 plus kiwis in australia try to come back here to find work…(or failing that, at least get the dole)…. then 13-15% unemployment will start looking like another tory “success” story…