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.