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Du Fresne unloads on National

with 7 comments

But not in the way that Chris Trotter (A Failure of Tone: The National Party’s Week of Woe) and the rest of the Left are.

For me this is letting other people watch the NZ MSM so that I don’t have to and unfortunately it’s entirely predictable, unsurprising and the reason I don’t watch or read their crap.

The article, Mistress Tova’s latest discipline session, deals with National MP, Paul Goldsmith, and his recent opining about how colonisation has been good for Maori, or at least not too bad. Apparently Goldsmith has received a real pile on from Labour, Green, and Maori Party politicians as well as seemingly every Lefty activist in the nation.

But it’s these passages that are key to National’s real problem as du Fresne describes how the rest of the Party dealt with the issue:

A procession of National MPs, all looking like frightened rabbits, eagerly dissociated themselves from Goldsmith before running for the hills.

There is scope for a balanced, nuanced debate on the effects of colonisation, but don’t expect to see it in the mainstream media, and least of all in anything Lynch or Tova O’Brien have a hand in.

And don’t expect it, either, from Goldsmith’s spineless caucus colleagues, who are so cowed by media bullying and so lacking in political conviction that they appear to have completely lost sight of what a centre-right party is supposed to stand for.

A day ending in “Y”. This is the Todd Muller show all over again, where National MP’s voided themselves about the expected failure of Bridges and made the panic room choice of Todd, which promptly blew up in their faces with the MAGA hat episode, Tova gleefully featuring in that as well.

When it comes to the National Party leader it also sounds Toddishly familiar:

No matter. It provided another opportunity to torment Collins. And once again, she meekly submitted to the dominatrix’s querulous questioning. Is there no limit to the mortification Collins is prepared to endure? I loathed the style of Robert Muldoon and Winston Peters, but sometimes I find myself wishing for a politician bold enough to put amoral, mischief-making journalists in their place.

This is the same problem the US Republican Party had up until the arrival of Trump, as I pointed out last year in Gravedodger’s piece on Muller and the MAGA hat:

The real message Muller’s action delivers is that it demonstrates that he not only does not have the courage of his convictions, he does not even have the ability to defend himself in argument or take it to the MSM.

A simple “so what?” and showing off his Clnton and Obama memorabilia should have been enough and if they persisted with this bullshit, some serves back at them about being lying lightweights.

One lesson Trump should have taught every Right-wing politician in the world is that the MSM will never give them a break and that fighting back is not just a sensible strategy but the the only one that has a hope of working. Playing nice no longer works.

Muller can hide all this stuff, but that’s not going to get the jackals off his back until he both goes around them via Social Media and gives them a regular serve as well.

So nothing has changed and no lessons have been learnt.

At this rate, when National finally win power again (2026?) they’ll probably vote more money to keep this Fourth Estate alive.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 13, 2021 at 8:45 am

The Precious Midpoint

It’s a truism of politics that you win the centre to gain and hold political power.

But there’s a difference between acting on that and worshipping it as a religious principle that requires politicians to do nothing but sniff the winds and bend accordingly to what they detect.

Politicians and political parties that do that are doomed to accomplish nothing in power beyond managing the status quo until they tire and are voted out in favour of the next new, shiny thing. And if enough time goes by and the status quo breaks down, such a party will simply be left on the side of the road.

Strangely this seems to be the fate of the old socialist parties of France and Germany, which are facing extinction as major players, and the British Labour Party seems to be intent on joining them, as noted in this article, The Road to Hartlepool Pier:

But worst of all is that this transmogrified middle-class party views its old working-class constituency not simply with incomprehension but with contempt. “Yep”, Liddle quotes a “Starmer superfan” as tweeting about the result, “as expected the working class love a bit of nationalism and racism. Well done Hartlepool, you turkeys. I’ve never been and I never will”.

“The Labour Party we knew is gone,” Liddle concludes, “gone for good. Those votes are not coming back”. Stirring stuff and written from the depths of a Social Democrat’s soul.

But the article points out that this is nothing new for British Labour or British Socialism, as implied with the title of the article, cribbing from one of Orwell’s famous books:

“The truth is,” Orwell concludes, “that to many people calling themselves Socialists, revolution does not mean a movement of the masses with which they hope to associate themselves; it means a set of reforms which ‘we’, the clever ones, are going to impose upon ‘them’, the Lower Orders.”

That was written in 1937.

Here in New Zealand I have to wonder if the same thing is true of the National Party? Certainly Chris Trotter notes the problems that Centre-Left parties are having overseas but is cocksure that the same won’t happen to NZ Labour, with his “Four Houses” analogy:

Far from losing touch with its brown working-class base, New Zealand Labour’s liberal, university-educated middle class: the house members of Working With My Brain and Taking Care of Others; are doing everything they can to empower Maori and Pasefika New Zealanders. They are doing this by strengthening their unions; by increasing their benefits; by more appropriately tailoring health and educational services to their needs; and, most significantly, by reconfiguring New Zealand’s constitutional structures to ensure their voices are heard and their cultural needs recognised.

Ironically, this leaves New Zealand’s National Party where British Labour now appears to be standing: with insufficient allies to win a nationwide election. Of New Zealand’s four houses, only Taking Care of Business (especially rural business) is overwhelmingly loyal to National. Increasingly, the house members of Working With My Brain, once more-or-less evenly split between National and Labour, are clustering around like-minded “progressives”.

And here also:

The only real questions, after Thursday’s Budget, is how long will it take National to realise how profoundly the political game has been – and is being – transformed by Covid and Climate Change? Will it be two, three, or four terms? And, how many leaders will the party have to elect, and discard, before it finally masters the new language of electoral victory?

While that’s amusing and something to think about, it must be said that poor old Chris has a long, repeated habit of swinging from orgasmic joy at Labour electoral victories followed by dark mood swings as they flail around and fail to recreate the wonders of Micky Savage’s First Labour Government. That second article might as well have been titled the same as the famous cover of Newsweek in 2008, heralding the arrival of Saint Obama and following the spending spree of the Bush Administration as they effectively nationalised a stack of financial firms.

Things turned out differently of course.

However, the reason for my post’s title was the thought that National may actually be thinking the same as Chris, and it’s been foremost with ex-Cabinet Minister Wayne Mapp, commenting on a number of blogs, including Trotter’s. Here on No Minister he has of course regularly lambasted me as being to the Right of 90% of New Zealanders and I have acknowledged as much.

But over on Kiwiblog this comment from Wayne in a DPF post on electric cars, made it clear that it’s not just me he’s concerned about:

Fourteen out of twenty four comments criticising DPF, either directly or indirectly, for choosing an EV. It does show how far Kiwiblog commenters are from the midpoint of NZ voters.

Given that the vast majority of those comments were not knee-jerk reactions but accurate observations about the cost, range, life-span and capabilities of EV’s, and given that many of those people are or have been National voters, I thought that was a foolish and reactionary comment itself.

But it does show the thinking that’s evolving here, at least with one ex-National MP, and it’s thinking that fits perfectly with Trotter’s about what’s wrong with National and where they have to go to regain power – which is basically to just cede all these fundamental arguments to the Left, roll over and awaken when the electorate eventually tires of Jacindamania.

Given that Labour and its policies were floating around the low twenty percent mark in mid-2017 before the Hail Mary pass to Jacinda yielded a massive increase in Labour’s vote share, even as the policies remained the same, I think that simply following them in those basic policies, if not in detail, is stupid beyond belief.

Having talked to countless Jacinda worshippers and having always asked them the key question, “Would you vote for Labour policies if Jacinda vanished today?”, I’ve not been surprised to find them answering that they’re not actually aware of Labour policies and a hesitant answer that they might still vote for them. In other words, at rock bottom, the popularity of Labour is still in the pre-Jacinda range of early 2017.

As the threat of Chinese Sinus AIDS retreats and the costs of being a NoRightTurn extremist on AGW mount up, especially for that “brown working-class base”, I don’t think even the magic pixie dust of Jacinda will be enough.

Instead of aping the strategic goals of Labour and sneering at their own voters, what National should be thinking about is what the votes for Brexit and Trump in 2016 and for the British Conservatives in 2020 meant, and what the changing politics of things like the recent Hartlepool election meant – rather than imagining that the forces driving them can be wiped away by defeating Trump-like politicians.

National is not going to be rewarded by simply saying that it will do the same as Labour but with better management. In the face of failing public systems, especially education, that’s no longer good enough. The 2020 election told National that when voters are presented with such a choice they’ll just vote Labour.

And the lesson is not to be like the New Zealand equivalent of Mitt Romney, Theresa May or David Cameron – all squishes who either failed to get elected or if they were, failed to grasp the actual electoral environment they claimed their “moderate” noses could sniff out.

That approach just won’t cut it anymore with Centre-Right parties. Real, practical solutions based around giving incentives to individuals – in education, healthcare and other areas – are what is required. Certainly not something that “‘we’, the clever ones, are going to impose upon ‘them’, the Lower Orders“, from the hearts of wealthy suburbs sporting myriad electric cars.

The midpoint is there to be moved, not just accommodated with as others move it.

Just as important is that all this needs to be backed by a willingness to fight with the likes of Tova and John Campbell when they use their usual emotional bullshit arguments in opposition. That’s yet another lesson that Trump has taught at least the next generation of GOP politicians. I see Nikki Halley is already being talked up, but the future actually lies with the likes of Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Tom Cotton, Mike Pompeo, and Kristi Noem.

Who National’s future lies with I have no idea.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 6, 2021 at 10:23 am

NICK SMITH

Has announced his resignation from Parliament where, after 30 years as an MP, he was ‘Father of the House’. The resignation follows on from an allegation of workplace bullying.

Nick has been a ‘colorful’ character with all that this implies. Word from the traps is that Mallard, in his capacity as Head of Parliamentary Services, leaked this to the media. Smith and Mallard have form. No matter, you can be assured that Smiths departure will not cost the taxpayer the third of a million dollars (and climbing) that Mallard has incurred after falsely accusing a Labour Party staffer of being a rapist.

Contrast the two actions. Smith resigns. Mallard stays. Any guesses as to which one of the two has acted honorably.

Thank you Nick for your service. We have agreed to disagree on a number of issues including the gun control legislation. But you have always been upfront and forcefully defended your position and it’s right and proper that the National Party gives you the space to do so.

Written by The Veteran

May 31, 2021 at 7:11 pm

NEW ZEALAND … THE WAY YOU’VE GOT IT

Can I start this off by making this simple statement … the Mongrel Mob are a criminal gang … no ifs, buts or maybes.

And their response to the widespread outrage spearheaded by National’s Simeon Brown over the mob being allowed to take over a portion of the State Highway in contravention of any number of traffic laws supposedly as part of ‘tangihanga’ was to have their media relations person, a certain Lou Hutchinson, launch a petition calling for Brown to be forced to apologise to the affected whanau for his racist outburst; that he be censured by the National Party and stripped of his portfolio responsibilities (Police, Corrections, Serious Fraud Office and Youth); that he be censured by the Speaker of the House and that his Facebook, Twitter and Social Media Accounts be suspended until he completes cultural sensitivity training and the Speaker deems him fit.

About the only thing they didn’t call for was his hanging, drawing and quartering without trial.

Kudos to Brown for his response … “if the gangs are trying to get me sacked then I must be doing the right thing”. Brown has previously received death threats for speaking out on gangs whose membership has grown by over 50% since Labour took office in 2017.

I finish where I started. The Mongrel Mob et al are major players in a whole range of serious criminal activity. Any hugs and kindness shown to them will be taken as a sign of weakness and the green light to continue on doing what they do best … thumbing their noses at the law. But its all hugs and kindness that gangs can look forward to from this soft cock on crime government and its not going to get any better soon.

Written by The Veteran

May 27, 2021 at 4:16 pm

TOXIC TOVA SCORES,

Unable to access Hosking this morning so am light on an alternative reporting of the latest Reid research Poll but who as a voter is unaware Key has been gone for so long, like four, yes FOUR years. How come James Anderton did not figure in the Labour leader?

Placing Judith Collins and Key as possible leaders in the poll is kindergarten stuff, do the maths and Collins has lost nothing.

Before the pile on arrives I did recently suggest perhaps Judith Collins had been overtaken by history but she is the only freekin leader of National. Very crafty Read research Tova got her weapons.

Written by Gravedodger

May 17, 2021 at 10:41 am

Posted in MSM, NZ National Party

They’re catching up

Romania that is, to our economy.

But they’re not the only ones, as Michael Reddell demonstrates in his blog article, Productivity growth: failures and successes.

As regular readers know I have highlighted from time to time the eastern and central European OECD countries – all Communist-run until about 1989 – that were catching or moving past us. I first noticed this when I helped write the 2025 Taskforce’s report – remember, the idea that we might close the gaps to Australia by 2025, when in fact policy indifference has meant they’ve kept widening – in 2009, so that must have been data for 2007 or 2008.

Back then only Slovenia had matched us, and they were (a) small and (b) just over the border from Italy and Austria. The OECD and Conference Board numbers are slightly different, but by now probably four of the eight have matched or exceeded us (and all eight managed faster productivity growth than us over the last cycle). Turkey – also in the OECD – has also now passed us.

But in this post he decided to focus on an Eastern European nation that’s not in the OECD. Romania.

That trend looks relentless. Reddell also points out that Romania’s population has been shrinking as ours grew, courtesy of what he calls the “big New Zealand” approach. It should be noted that since GDP is calculated based on spending, largely consumer spending, which in turn means its pushed by population growth, the annual average GDP growth rate of 2.78% circa 2010-2017 was largely the product of a population growing at 1.52% per year in that period, which automatically gives you that much annual GDP growth. You’d have needed a Soviet style economy to not have at least 1.5% per annum growth.

If the last National government was bad, the Labour or Labour-led governments since 2017 have been worse. It is hard to think of a single thing they’ve done to improve the climate for market-driven business investment and productivity growth, and easy to identify a growing list of things that worsen the outlook – most individually probably quite small effects, but the cumulative direction is pretty clear.

One of the ways of seeing the utter failure – the indifference, the betrayal of New Zealanders – is to look at the growing list of countries that are either moving past us, or fast approaching us. Recall that for 50 years or more New Zealand was among the handful of very highest income countries on earth.

We still have advantages over such nations of course, largely thanks to our natural environment but also because we inherited an economy that counted as a developed one over a century ago; we had almost everything technological that nations like Britain and the USA had.

Most New Zealanders would rather live as we do than as Romanians do. They’re still recovering from decades of communist rule.

But that’s Riddell’s point: how much longer will that continue to be the case as these nations pass us in terms first of productivity and then economically, powered by that productivity advantage?

In the agricultural work I did this season almost every one of the drivers said they could earn more money doing the same work in Australia, Britain, Ireland and the USA, and many of them were heading to those places as soon as the season here was done and the Covid-border issues eased. In every case their flights and accomodation was being paid for. The foreign drivers mainly came for a working holiday, the locals were held back a little by family, but that was all.

The recent pay freeze on all government workers, which includes frontline staff like nurses and police, is not going to help, as this Kiwiblog commentator noted:

Yup, nurses are furious. They are already paid such a low salary that a nurse cannot dream of owning their own home without help from a male partner.

Two nurses on my partners ward have resigned already and shifting to Australia.

This one notes one method that will be applied:

But many are doing what my wife plans to do. Take unpaid leave while keeping her contract in NZ and go and work in Northern territories where she can earn 3 times her wage in NZ. Ok its hard work but she gets accommodation and food free plus her flights and a bonus. She will do one month every 6.

That is the future for New Zealand. It won’t be a collapse, but we will find it increasingly harder to compete with former “developing” nations for teachers, doctors, and nurses. Those well-trained doctors from Africa and the Indian continent that you so often see in NZ hospitals will not be replaced from the same sources as their nations catch up to us in wealth and can afford to pay as well, or perhaps better. Where we will get the replacements from if we’re increasingly doing little better or worse than the Developing World?

As far as Kiwis themselves are concerned, the older generations will stay here because we’ve done our stints overseas. However…

Before I had kids I used to idly talk about not encouraging any I had to stay in New Zealand, so relatively poor were the prospects becoming. It is harder to take that stance when it is real young people one enjoys being around, but…..at least from an economic perspective New Zealand looks like an ever-worse option, increasingly an inward-looking backwater.

My kids have not yet decided whether they’ll make the jump, but as they engage with the workforce they are under no illusions about the pay gaps with overseas nations as well as the housing costs (and other costs) here in our rather expensive little paradise.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 14, 2021 at 5:37 pm

The Clown Show Hit The Big Time.

One more step to absurdity, too much even for the worst speaker ever. Pity the virtue signaller for the east Polynesian thoroughly racist Party only got tossed out for the remainder of that session. Time for “The Privileges Committee to make a stand and condemn the idiots for bringing disrespect to the House of Representatives.

It was preordained when groups in the public gallery began demonstrating with singing and haka to mark what they saw as progress they approved of, now the Waititi clown replete with his cowboy headgear goes to the floor of the house to demonstrate his warped thinking.

I recall a time when I sat there for a visit, only to be admonished and warned not to lean forward to see more of those sitting as my rulers, another such indiscretion would see me and those accompanying ejected. Yes that was forty years ago, I guess times they are a’changing

To even suggest Judith Collins merely doing what is expected of her as Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition was motivated by racism in its self was bringing “The House into disrepute” is a total nonsense as her Husband David is of Samoan and Chinese descent and as related in her book all was not plain sailing when she introduced David to her Family.

Judith Collins and David Seymour are certainly representing me with their questions of the Government as to what He Puapua actually exists as, in current policy emanating from the ninth floor with no racism involved whereas Mr Waititi and his enablers clearly not wanting any discussion let alone debate around a clear to me, lurch into a form of Apartheid in much of the legislative actions of the current government on matters never offered as “policy” before the last general election.

Btw what was the faux Hawaiian garlands about I understand just another virtue signal but a mystery to moi.

Written by Gravedodger

May 13, 2021 at 8:27 am

The spoon is long enough

In the spirit of blogs supporting one another I urge readers to read this rather long article, Economic Coercion, over at the Croaking Cassandra blog site run by economist Michael Riddell.

The article deals with the question of whether New Zealand can afford to confront China over its actions in recent years, specifically in the South China Sea and with its Uighur minority.

Most articles have focused on the geo-political and human rights aspects of these actions, of which this article over at the Kiwipolitico blogsite, by foreign policy analyst Paul Buchanan, Facing Facts, is a good example. I recommend you read it also. Buchanan argues that the 5-eyes partnership is not going away and is not going to be materially affected by any frictions that may arise between the partners in dealing with China. He also points out that China has nothing like the 5-eyes network but is instead reliant on old-fashioned human intelligence. But he also includes this piece regarding our economic relationship:

New Zealand is now essentially trade dependent on the PRC. Approximately 30 percent of NZ’s trade is with China, with the value and percentage of trade between the two countries more than tripling since the signing of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement in 2008. In some export industries like logging and crayfish fisheries, more than 75 percent of all exports go to the PRC, while in others (dairy) the figure hovers around 40 percent.

The top four types of export from NZ to the PRC are dairy, wood and meat products (primary goods), followed by travel services. To that can be added the international education industry (considered part of the export sector), where Chinese students represent 47 percent of total enrollees (and who are a suspected source of human intelligence gathering along with some PRC business visa holders).

Buchanan argues that this is why, in her recent “Taniwha and Dragon” speech, our Minister of Foreign Affairs was subtly saying that New Zealand needed to diversify away from China, without actually sticking it to them in a way that would get their backs up. I’m not sure I would read that much into such “subtlety” as it appeared to be one small sentence rather than a sustained argument and as such it amounted to the bleeding obvious.

Riddell’s expertise is economics and his article tackles this assumption, quoting National’s Gerry Brownley for a start:

“But you have got to bear in mind that there are hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders at work today largely because of our trade with China. It is not a simple matter, it is not a straightforward matter, it is one the Government should definitely have a position on.”

But as Riddell points out, statistics like “30 percent of NZ’s trade” can be deceptive:

And, yes the PRC recently moved a bit ahead of Australia as the country where the most two-way trade is done with, but – as people have noted for decades – one notable thing about New Zealand is that our trade isn’t very concentrated with any single other country/region (much less so than is the case for Australia). Total New Zealand exports to China, pre-Covid, were about 5 per cent of GDP.

Moreover, he points out that coping with economic blows from general things like recessions in the USA, or China, is what we try to do all the time, and what our systems are set up for:

A severe and sustained recession in China would represent a significant (but cyclical) blow to the world economy, and to New Zealand – and would do so whether or not New Zealand firms traded much directly with PRC counterparts. That is also true – as we saw in 2008/09 – of severe US recessions. That sort of shock – and others like them, at home or abroad – is why we have a floating exchange rate and discretionary monetary and fiscal policy.

And this is before we consider the rather strange fact that…

… contrary to the rhetoric about being a “small highly open economy”, actually the share of our economy accounted for by foreign trade (exports and imports) is (a) much less than one would normally expect for a country our size, and (b) has been shrinking. 

Like Buchanan he lists the areas of exposure as export education, tourism, and our commodity exports of dairy, forestry, meat, and seafood, and then looks at those specifically, noting in particular that the first two would be the ones most exposed to China, but which have already been dealt a huge blow by Covid-19 anyway so at present they’re not a factor when thinking about Chinese retaliation.

Riddell acknowledges the obvious, which is that specific businesses could get hurt, but there are some general economic aspects that apply.

The world price for commodity products is determined by world demand and supply conditions, a point given far too little attention in the timid New Zealand discussion of PRC issues.

To a very large extent, countries (all of them) make their own prosperity (or lack of it).

China didn’t make us rich or poor. It made China first (last century) poor, and eventually middle-income.

In other words, the argument that our FTA with China “saved” us after the 2008/9 recession, is a myth in the face of the fact that our total trade share of GDP was falling not rising over this period, that New Zealand’s productivity performance over this period was woeful, and that it took 10 years for our unemployment rate to get back to pre-recession levels.

By the same token, China is not actually in a position to “punish” us if we speak out against some of the things they’re doing. Riddell takes the specific example of Australia, much in the news recently as having been given some of that punishment. Again, there are specific businesses that have been hurt. However:

What we don’t see is any sign of severe economywide consequences: there is no mention of the issue (or risks) in the Reserve Bank of Australia’s latest (lengthy) minutes (by contrast, changes in New Zealand population growth actually get a mention). It seems to a third-order issue at a macroeconomic level – and the overall economy is what governments should be thinking about when they consider economic risks and consequences.

Of course, people will point out that China has not yet tried sanctions on Australian iron ore (but they did with coal, only to run into problems, because they still needed coal).

Australia, has 30 per cent of the world’s iron ore reserves (and a larger share of production) and China currently consumes a very large share of world iron ore production, so how badly are the Chinese willing to hurt themselves? The classic problem for people who want to use trade as a weapon is that you end up punishing yourself. Admittedly that may worry the CCP less than it would a democratically elected government, but even the CCP treads carefully when it comes to economically screwing over its people. Riddell makes that point in looking at the specifics of some of the other countries that China has targeted and notes the gap between China’s demand for dairy products and their local production.

He also makes the point that while these firms might have warranted sympathy a few years ago when these issues were not present and coercive tactics were not known, they are now trading with their eyes wide open to the risks and if they continue to do so that is no reason for a New Zealand government to cover for them.

He sums it up:

… we have macroeconomic policy for, fiscal and monetary, to help smooth the economy in the face of disruptions, whether Covid, coercion, or whatever.

Whatever the potential disruptions for individual firms – and they are real (for them) – it simply is not credible – given the (smallish) size of our total exports, the commodity nature of most, the share of trade with China – that any sort of conceivable economic coercion would represent a serious sustained threat to the New Zealand economy.

It’s worth that cost to confront the PRC about the stunts they’re pulling, and if they want to punish us then we’d be better off reducing our exposure with them anyway.

For the last twenty years I’d hoped that trading with China might soften the CCP’s approach to things: not that I expected them to become a democracy, but that they’d go easy on Hong Kong (as they did for twenty years) and Taiwan. And for a while – especially with term limits applied to their Communist party General Secretaries, which while not exactly democracy, at least had the same effect of preventing the rise of the usual Communist cult-of-personality – it seemed to be okay, as former Australian PM, Tony Abbot pointed out in recent article in The Australian. He had the same hopes most of us had.

But the rise of Xi Jinping has changed all that. The trade approach hasn’t worked. Worse than that, rather than us exporting our values to China they’re exporting theirs to us, primarily the choice to throw our morals and ethics to the floor for the sake of money. It worked with the Chinese people after Tiananmen Square and the CCP leaders are betting it will work with us too.

So far they’re right.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 2, 2021 at 6:00 am

TWO IMPORTANT POLICY ANNOUNCEMENTS BY JUDITH COLLINS

The first that an incoming National government will work with Rio Tinto to keep the Bluff aluminum smelter operational through until 2026. I have previously opined that the smelter is a strategic asset deserving of government support although you can fairly argue that even strategic assets must stand on their own feet. But that is pre-pandemic thinking overtaken by events. The hit to the Southland economy, including the loss of 2,600 jobs, at a time when the second wave of job loses from the pandemic is likely to see an additional 80,000 Kiwis hit the dole queue makes the decision a no-brainer.

OK, I accept this may cause heart palpitations among my more flinty eyed National Party colleagues (not to mention ACT) but it’s a pragmatic decision by a Party that refuses to bind itself in an ideological straight-jacket and I applaud that.

The second that the Regulation setting standards for intensive winter grazing will be repealed (by lunchtime). The standards, which include limiting grazing (1) on pastures which have a mean slope of 10% or more and (2) have pugging more than 20 cm, are stupid and unenforceable … unless they foresee the establishment of a farm police force with an aerial surveillance capability.

The reaction of a Northland farmer friend of mind … “Crazy stuff. 60% of my pasture is sloping. Do they expect me to virtually de-stock the farm every winter? Do that I might just as well sell up.”

Laws/regulations must be seen as fair and reasonable and have community buy-in if they are to be effective. If they result in otherwise good people thumbing their nose at them then you have problems.

This from National …

“National recognises the need for a sustainable approach and encourages the constant improvement of our waterways. We want to build on the existing structures around freshwater, while many of the Government’s freshwater proposals will have perverse effects on our primary sector and the wider economy.

National will repeal or review the nine regulations announced on 5 August. Instead National will work with farmers and environmental stakeholders to put in place alternatives that are practical, science-based, and achievable.

“We all want improved fresh water outcomes but we have to back farmers to farm their way to better outcomes as they have been doing. Farmers must see a pathway to improve while being profitable, our rural communities and economic wealth as a country depends on it.

While the country was focused on the worst economic downturn in 160 years, David Parker was busy rushing through new rules that will enforce impractical restrictions on farmers with no consideration for regional variances.

National understands you can’t apply a blanket approach to this issue and will work with regions to ensure the rules are suited to every area.

This Government’s changes will put the shackles on our farmers’ ability to innovate and will heap costs on to a sector that is vitally important to our country.

Agriculture will lead our post-covid recovery. Unlike Labour, National will work with farmers rather than against them.”

And to that rural New Zealand sez hear, hear.

Written by The Veteran

September 2, 2020 at 2:04 pm

Posted in NZ National Party

BEING HONEST WITH VOTERS

My Profile

St Jacinda has already indicated that Labour is planning on a policy free election. What you see now is whats on offer. That all the current policy settings are to remain in place with no thought given to paring back the debt mountain projected to reach in excess of $200 billion in 2024. Currently the Treasury is forecasting seven years of budget deficits averaging $28 billion for the next three years before dropping back to $4.9 billion in 2024 with the economy projected to shrink by 4.6% this year and by a further 1% in 2021.

Only National and ACT are being honest with voters. Both agree this level of borrowing can’t sustained. They differ however on the scale and timings of cutbacks while ACT, to date, has only talked in generalities.

And so it was refreshing to see National’s Paul Goldsmith muse on what we might expect to see when the Party unveils its economic policy due out shortly. Clearly National is committed to shrinking the government debt projected to reach 53.6% of GDP by 2023. In working to achieve that Goldsmith indicated it was likely an incoming National led government would take a holiday on payments to the Government Superannuation Fund (the Cullen Fund) while the first years free student fees bribe would be scrapped.

Taking a holiday on payments to the GSF makes sense especially were that to be twinned with a progressive increase to the age of eligibility to New Zealand Superannuation. At this stage it appears that no changes to the Government’s contribution payments to KiwiSaver are planned … which will be music to the ears of the likes of Kimbo.

But bottom line is that there must be a scaling back on government borrowing. Labour inherited the books in surplus and then proceeded to squander it on a variety of vanity projects. Having blown the surplus it now has to borrow and, if there is no scaling back, just how will they have the capacity to cope when the next rainy day comes along … Covid-20?

Problem for Labour is that its imprisoned by its own rhetoric and incapable of taking the hard decisions, straitjacketed and held in thrall by its Union luvlies.

New Zealand deserves better.

Written by The Veteran

August 10, 2020 at 5:12 pm