No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand

CLEARLY LABOUR AND WAYNE BROWN ARE AS OF ONE

reference the Government’s refusal to join with our Five Eyes partners in calling out China over the arrest and detention of 55 politicians and activists in Hongkong for violating the new security laws forced on the supposedly autonomous region by their CCVP masters.

Ardern and Mahuta are walking a diplomatic tightrope in not wishing to offend a major trading partner. They may just find that sitting on the fence can lead to a lose, lose situation particularly if Australia, the United States, the UK and Canada tire of New Zealand being seen as placing a bet both ways.

Our ‘independent’ foreign policy (so called) appears to be predicated on us not upsetting China. Right now China seems to be calling the shots with New Zealand reduced to saying ‘how high sir’. An independent foreign policy in name only dictated by China.

New Zealand the way you’ve got it.

Written by The Veteran

January 13, 2021 at 1:35 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with , , ,

Not Subservient

An interesting little New Zealand documentary I came across the other day is Wahine Warrior.

It’s about a woman, Pania Tepaiho-Marsh, who has taught herself how to hunt and is now teaching others, focusing on women who are desperate to escape their circumstances of being trapped on Welfare and in abusive relationships.

Watching the reactions of the woman as they learn to shoot and hunt is just great. It’s only 8 minutes long and worth every second.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 2, 2020 at 6:31 pm

A Glorious New Dawn Has Broken Over Our Harmonious Society

… With the news that National MP, Jian Yang, is “retiring” from politics in New Zealand.

He announced today that he won’t stand in the 2020 General Election after serving “three rewarding terms” in the National Party caucus.

Funnily enough he announced as recently as March that he was being reselected as a list-only candidate for the party – but true to form that was in a press release for Chinese-language media only.

“Accordingly, I have informed the Party President that I should not be considered by the regional list ranking committee of the Northern Region in its meeting tomorrow, hence my announcement today.”

I do like DPF’s take on this over at Kiwiblog:

Many in National will be relieved at this news. Its not that Dr Yang has even done anything wrong, or been anything other than a loyal MP, but his background has raised issues that frankly are a distraction for National. 

So the resignation and the retirement, while messy in themselves, do tidy up some issues that may have caused problems for National in the future.

The “resignation” being that of Ms Boag… snicker, chuckle…

Meanwhile the People of New Zealand hail Jian Yang’s heroic decision to step down for the greater good of the people and thank him for his unceasing efforts at tidying things up for The Party. The Workers salute Jian Yang’s 五毛 efforts and wish him only great joy and great happiness during his return visits 在天堂之下.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 10, 2020 at 2:32 am

Gumbies or Kittens? You Choose!

My PhotoReaders of this blog will likely know or suspect that I’m not particularly excited at the prospect of a National-led government after this year’s election.

However, there’s no denying that the current Labour-led government has got all sorts of big problems to deal with, almost all of their own creation, and with almost a zero track record on implementing their ideas – for which I am grateful. The last thing we need is a competent Socialist government like that of Peter Fraser’s.

This has been the government of “NO” – which works well with banning things and telling everybody to stay home for a few weeks under pain of arrest and prosecution.

Saying “YES” to things is a different matter. Building or creating stuff that will last – stuff more substantial than yet another government Department or Ministry – is much tougher to do, especially when government is already such a big part of our society.

As such I figured that it would be better to have a comedic analysis of our situation, and of the following two comedy items, I can’t decide which is the better take on our current government and politics.

So readers are invited to listen and watch, and then make a choice. Please try not to let the cuteness of the second item influence your choice.

First up is an audio-only version of Monty Python’s effort to perform Chekhov’s famous play, The Cherry Orchard, using the Gumby Players. I’m reminded of this every time I read something about the latest adventures of Cabinet Ministers Twyford and Clark.

The second is video of kittens having fun with a $2 thrift-shop purchase of a WrestleMania toy. Bonus points for choosing which parties they represent: my choice is that the two light-coloured ones are Labour and National, while the red-headed step-child is the Green Party.

**NOTE: You have to click the link “watch this video on YouTube” as the owner has disabled it playing on other sites.

 

Written by Tom Hunter

June 26, 2020 at 12:00 am

Winter is here

Winter is coming?

No! Winter is here, and in more ways than one.

From Stats NZ today:

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell 1.6 percent in the March 2020 quarter, the largest drop in 29 years, as the initial effects of COVID-19 restrictions impacted on economic activity, Stats NZ said today.

Breaking it down by sector:

  • Agriculture -1.9%
  • Mining +4.3%
  • Manufacturing -2.4%
  • Construction -4.1%
  • Retail Trade/Accom -2.2%
  • Transport -5.2%

And remember that this is a quarter almost entirely not under lockdown; only six days under Level 4 and two under Level 3.

What the hell is the GDP figure going to be like for the June quarter?

 

And this is where Visible Death vs Invisible Death is going to come into play – and for years to come.

The impact of making us poorer:

In other words, if real per capita GDP in New Zealand falls by ten percent due to the lockdown and other effects associated with Covid-19, life expectancy would be predicted to fall by 1.4 years.

That’s the equivalent of 8,750 dead people.

And as I pointed out in that article that’s before we look at the deaths that will arise in the short-term because of the impact of healthcare delayed or missed due to the lockdown, which has happened in every other country so must be happening here as well:

Matt Hancock, the [British] health secretary, refuses to give a figure for the potential non-Covid fatalities from this catastrophe but the cabinet was told it could be up to 150,000 avoidable deaths.

At least the British government asked the question of their public health experts.

Oh – and Australia’s 1st quarter GDP drop was just 0.3%.

Readers should also take a look at this article written by Alex Davis at The Emperor’s Robes, Both of New Zealand’s Post Covid19 Futures are Bad, where he looks at two futures:

Future 1: Covid19 is not eliminated and breaks out or returns

Future 2: New Zealand eliminates Covid19 and becomes a South Pacific Prison for its Citizens

 

From that second future:

Whatever hope we may have to eradicate Covid19 in New Zealand one thing is certain – it will not be eliminated from the rest of the world. So, what then? New Zealand is confronted with a lose:lose scenario. We can lower the draw bridge and let the world back in but if we do so it is highly likely we will reimport Covid19

it is highly likely someone, somewhere will slip through.

That was written on June 4, but it actually was not a hard prediction to make. Alex wraps up the detailed piece with his own pick for out future:

Eventually however whoever is in power in New Zealand will have to accept the inevitable: they will *have to* re-open the borders and watch Covid19 do what it has done everywhere else: slightly shorten the long lives of a small number of already very sick old people. Their deaths will be tragic and very public (unlike those for example of cancer sufferers whose treatment was delayed by lock down). The ship of New Zealand will come to rest exactly where it would have otherwise, Covid19 will be among us causing little harm to all but a handful, but we will be vastly indebted, causing harm to many.

One final point is that this is also another example of how crap New Zealand is at collecting and processing statistics compared to other OECD nations. It’s been two-and-a-half months since the end of the March quarter, so that means we’re not likely to see the June quarter stats until mid-September, for which the government will be grateful with the election on September 19.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 18, 2020 at 1:25 am

The Penny Begins To Drop

We usually think that the reason that laws are obeyed is that if they’re not we’re going to be punished in some way, starting with regulatory refusals and escalating all the way to the use of armed force by the Police.

 
Where you sit on that scale is entirely dependent upon the degree to which you are willing to cooperate with the law. The more you resist the State the worse it gets for you.
 
Certainly the Left, always under the yoke of opppression in our societies, feel all this keenly and thus yearn to be the ones with the power to enforce the laws they want. And in the last three months in New Zealand they’ve had their chance – and then some.
 
But in fact our entire system of law and order actually relies upon cooperation by we as a people, not on the State’s use or threat of force. We cooperate because the alternative is anarchy of the most primitive sort, as we are now seeing in Minneapolis and other American cities. We cooperate because we collectively think it best to do so.
 
That theory also works from a utilitarian viewpoint; were we to choose not to obey a law or laws on a mass scale then there is no amount of Police that could stop it, at least not in a free society. In a Police State huge numbers of people can be controlled by very small numbers, but even to reach that point requires the people to be terrorised and murdered in large numbers for years to really have an effect, and the effect never lasts. Such regimes always collapse from the very conditions they enforce.

 

 
There was an interesting article published ten years ago in the depth of the GFC that pointed this out, at least from one perspective of financial problems, The Coming Middle-Class Anarchy:

True story: A retired couple I know, Brian and Ilsa, own a home in the Southwest. It’s a pretty house, right on the manicured golf course of their gated community (they’re crazy about golf). 

The only problem is, they bought the house near the top of the market in 2005, and now find themselves underwater. They’ve never missed a mortgage payment — Brian and Ilsa are the kind upright, not to say uptight 60-ish white semi-upper-middle-class couple who follow every rule, fill out every form, comply with every norm

Brian and Ilsa are salt-of-the-earth people: They put four kids through college, they always paid their taxes. The last time Brian broke the law was in 1998: An illegal U-turn on a suburban street.

So they applied to the HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) program to help and after jumping through many paper hoops for three months they get approved. Then they get a letter from the bank saying that they don’t qualify and on top of that, they owe backpayments for the months of reduced rent, plus interest. So they’re depressed and pissed off – although as the writer says:

Now, up to this point, this is just another sob story of the Mortgage Mess—and as sob stories go, up to this point, it’s no big deal.

But then he goes on to point out that something else is going on here:

Brian and Ilsa — the nice upper-middle-class retired couple, who always follow the rules, and never ever break the law — who don’t even cheat on their golf scores — even when they’re playing alone (“Because if you cheat at golf, you’re only cheating yourself”) — have decided to give their bank the middle finger.

They have essentially said, Fuckit.

“We follow the rules, and look where that’s gotten us?” she says, furious and depressed. “Nowhere. They run us around, like lab rats in a cage.”

They decide not to default but to simply keep paying the minimum and dare the bank to foreclose.

But Ilsa is quietly, constantly insisting that they stop paying the mortgage altogether: “Everybody else is doing it—so why shouldn’t we?”

A terrible sentence, when a law-abiding citizen speaks it: Everybody else is doing it — so why don’t we?

Shades of what I wrote about in Middle Class Warfare, but I was also reminded of this while reading the following article by Elle at Homepaddock yesterday, Rules only for the rule-abiding:

Businesses are failing.
Jobs are being lost.
Diagnosis and treatment of serious illnesses have been delayed.
People have died and given birth alone.
Funerals, weddings and other gatherings have been restricted.
Rest home residents have been denied visits from family.
People have been prevented from worshiping, playing sport, celebrating and socializing with family and friends.
For more than two months we’ve been severely restricted in what we can do and where, with whom and when we choose to do it.

But thousands of people have been allowed to protest over the death of George Floyd.
That murder was atrocious but it’s no excuse for flouting the Level 2 rules by which  most of us, however unwillingly, have been abiding.

Black lives matter and so do all the lives and livelihoods of everyone else.

If there is no risk from ignoring the rules for a protest, there is absolutely no excuse for keeping us at Level 2 where the rules are obviously only there to curtail the rule-abiding.

Going back to the 2010 article:

TV has given us the illusion that anarchy is people rioting in the streets, smashing car windows and looting every store in sight. But there’s also the polite, quiet, far deadlier anarchy of the core citizenry — the upright citizenry — throwing in the towel and deciding it’s just not worth it anymore.

UPDATE:
Heh, when I talked of the Middle Class revolting I didn’t mean this:

A pair of Brooklyn lawyers are facing federal charges for throwing a Molotov cocktail into a New York Police Department cruiser during riots following the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Colinford Mattis, 32, a Princeton graduate and member of a New York community board, and Urooj Rahman, 31, a lawyer and Fordham alumnus who recently lost her job, were arrested and charged with attempting to damage or destroy law-enforcement vehicles on Saturday after a surveillance camera recorded the incident.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 1, 2020 at 9:16 pm

INCONVENIENT QUESTION

Are we entitled to ask why is the Gummit so focused on opening the border with Oz where there are continuing numbers of  Covit-19 infections (and, by extension, Israel FFS) while Samoa and the Cook Islands (no infections ever), countries with whom we supposedly enjoy a special relationship and who are totally dependent on tourism, remain off the table.

So much for looking after our own.

Just askin.

Written by The Veteran

May 31, 2020 at 7:54 am

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with , , ,

History never repeats?

Oh yes it bloody well does, and with more than rhyming Mr Twain.

In The Vet’s post the other day, What Has Louisa Wall Done To Offend?, he made the point that her being challenged for her seat from within the Labour Party was a mystery given that she ticks so many boxes for them: Maori, Female, Lesbian, smart, high achiever in sport, academia and now politics…

Amidst much discussion some points were made about Chris Trotter’s constant raging against the Identity Politics Warriors like Wall messing up his beloved Class Warfare purity that he thinks Labour should return to. I was reminded of a piece of satire that Danyl McLauchlan wrote a few years ago on his old blog, The DimPost. Once he started writing serious stuff for places like The Spinoff he made his blog private, but thanks to The Wayback Machine, a commentator’s suggestion, and more searching than I usually care to do, I found it: Chris Trotter on Party Central (2010):

So “Party Central” is no longer central to the party that is central to the party at the centre of our party politics. 

Am I the only Kiwi who experiences tightness in my jaw and a numb feeling in my left-arm when I contemplate the disarray that has befallen Auckland governance?

we have all supped from the golden poison chalice of satanic robot run regional and local government only to find ourselves regaining conciousness yet again in our neighbour’s toolshed with our clothes drenched in urine.
 

Danyl really should try satire again, although it may be that he can find no one to pay for it. But it was the next section that I remembered the best:

It was the radical right-wing feminist government of William Massey that spread open the labile pink floodgates of change and swept away the egalitarian order in a wave of capitalist frenzy, separatist Maori entitlement and so-called-women who threaten to press charges because that is what their liberal puppetmasters at our elitist universities have brainwashed them to do. 

Like most real New Zealanders I yearn for the days when our great little country was ruled by stocky, moustached trade-unionists but I fear that those days are gone forever, swept away by a great wave that swept everything away like a wave.

During my history search I found a 2014 article by Trotter advocating pretty much the treatment that Wall is getting, Labour’s Caucus Still In Charge, where he admiringly quotes Matt McCarten from 1988:

“So we should call a special conference of the party and expel them … The Labour Party made a mistake selecting these people so sack them. Throw them out and let them stand against us. They’ll lose and the Labour Party can rebuild itself.”

To be fair, Chris appears to now be in total thrall to “the labile pink floodgates of change“. Funny how  winning elections and obtaining a measure of power can do that.

Speaking of which, during my search I also found an old comment of mine from Kiwiblog in 2011, in a thread which dealt with us losing people to a more successful Australia and DPF’s lament that we need to boost productivity and lift wages.

Shorter message: Vote for us because we suck less than the other guys.

Actually that’s the entire National message as NZ slowly reverses into the 21st century. And it’s an effective one as they undoubtedly know; the smug, cynical response being who else are you going to vote for? 

And they’re correct.

As far as the media coverage is concerned I say to all lefties, welcome to our world circa 2000-2005. The shallow, pathetic coverage of stories combined with gushing over various aspects of [PM Key] is really very little different than in Clark’s time. Sure, there are the blogs but they aren’t there yet in supporting a narrative the way the old MSM still can. 

But don’t worry. National and Key will tire sooner or later, Labour will find some “new” material as candidates and even a fresh leader, the pendulum will swing and you will find yourselves benefiting from exactly the same uselessness of media coverage. 

Yeah. History repeats all right.
 

Written by Tom Hunter

May 26, 2020 at 12:00 pm

A different economic starter motor

Although Germany has lost her way occasionally over the last century she’s been in pretty good economic shape for some decades now. Possibly a little too good if you listen to some other members of the EU, particularly the likes of Greece, Italy and Spain, who grumble about the huge German trade surpluses and their tight control over the value of the Euro via the EU Central Bank.

Those nations relied for decades upon devaluation of their money as a key economic tool and since it has gone they’ve struggled to impose upon themselves the sort of economic discipline the Germans are famous for.

But you can hardly blame the Germans for their paranoia about the  value of money. Twice in the last hundred years they have suffered terrible bouts of inflation that wrecked their economy.

Let’s make paper machie out of it!

The most well-known of these is the hyperinflation that hit Germany just after World War I had ended. So much money was printed by the government that children played with it various ways.

To be worn only once

But there actually was a second period of inflation that is not as well known, mainly because it was not quite as bad, the goverment kept a lid on the pressures it created, and it was soon put in the background by the World War II.

All of this is documented in an article first published in 1978, The German Non-Miracle, which looked at what Germany did to re-start it’s economy after WWII ended. It should be a valuable lesson as to how the world today gets out of our locked down economies.

Germany faced a similar problem to what we have now: it had suffered a supply shock, courtesy of having almost all its industries and business smashed in the war.

The advantage we have is to have not suffered physical destruction.

But the problem of re-starting the economy is similar.

Governments the world over are doing what they usually do – applying Keynesian solutions by printing vast quantities of new money and regulating the hell out of everything.

But Keynesian economics is really designed to deal with demand shock recessions like the Great Depression, where money seems to just vanish out of the economy and demand shrinks. In that situation having the government push money into the economy via a central bank, and to a lesser extent by increased spending, is a workable solution, within boundaries (all economic theories have boundaries).

The Keynesian approach has proved itself for things like the 1987 Stock Market crash, the Asian crisis of the late 90’s and, to a lesser extent, the GFC of 2008-09. But even with that last one there were signs that it had reached its limits. Economic growth barely recovered at all, despite all the trillions thrown around by governments. That likely had a lot to do with the fact that most Western economies were already heavily indebted both publically and privately. People were simply leary of taking on more debt to “recover”, even when it was being given to them cheap, or for free (no interest).

It should also be noted that – very much against Keynes own advice – when economic growth resumed, most governments did not get around to paying down all that debt from the credit they’d created. Keynes’s basic lesson was that you don’t try and balance the budget during a recession: you let it go into deficit but when the economy improves you run surpluses and pay it down. New Zealand was one of the few nations that did that after the GFC, and Michael Cullen and Bill Birch did the same in an earlier period, although I think Cullen went overboard, running huge surpluses even after the debt was largely paid down. All that did was increase private debt.

But Keynesian economcs has also failed, most notably with the smaller recessions of the 1960’s and 1970’s, when no amount of stimulation seemed to work. In fact we got “stagflation”, inflation while an economy was moribund or even in recession; something that Keynesian theory said could not happen.

This lesson had actually been learned by the Germans via their inflationary periods; sometimes just throwing money at the economy doesn’t work:

Under the Third Reich, the German government had financed a colossal industrial build-up to accommodate the designs of the Nazi war machine. The tremendous industrial expansion was paid for with rampant monetary expansion. All the screws of the Nazi State had to be tightened to their breaking point to suppress the resultant inflation; the guns of the Gestapo turned on black marketeers and others who sought to evade the officially posted prices of goods and services. The result of the effective price controls under Fascism was the explosion of liquidity after Fascism.

And that explosion of liquidity meant inflation after 1945 – lots of it Worse, to combat this the Allied governments in charge of West Germany went for controls:

Government policy fluctuated among the vengeance of the French, the reformist zeal of the British (Labourites), and the bewilderment of the Americans. About the only consensus to be found anywhere was to rely on economic controls.

In an effort to forestall the inevitable realignment of money and prices, the Allied commanders of France, Britain, and the United States slapped on an extensive control network that fixed wages and prices at preinflation (1936) levels.

The victors attempted to administer the economy through a patchwork assortment of price regulations, allocation details, and rationing.

Setting prices back a decade might have sounded smart but the actual price of resources had moved on:

The economically obvious occurred: goods disappeared from legal markets and were sold illegally at prices far above the official prices. Severe misallocation of resources took place

The stupendous gap between the legal and illegal prices grew to such proportions that a general collapse of the currency ensued. People resorted to barter, and German cities typically saw a mass exodus on weekends as city-dwellers flocked to the countryside to trade with the farmers in kind.

In the fall of 1946 the mechanism had reached bankruptcy, the officially rationed food allotment being under 1,500 calories per person per day.

Clearly things could not go on like this, so a debate began inside Germany itself, rather than with the Allied controllers. The debate settled down into two predominant schools of thought: the Social Democrats and the “Freiburg School.”

The major SPD [Social Democrats] economic ideologue was Dr. Kreyssig, who in June 1948 told the 18th Bizonal Economic Council that, since the society had been under control for such a long period, any decontrol or currency reform would be ineffectual. To Dr. Kreyssig’s mind, not only would recovery not follow, but collapse was inevitable if prices were set free; the only course for the German economy was one of strong central direction. Another SPD spokesman was Herr Schoettle, who joined the argument against free markets by claiming that the task of reconstruction was too big for individual enterprise alone—massive State involvement was imperative if Germany was to recover.

And all of this would also be primed with lots of credit:

Not surprisingly, the Social Democrats favored an aggressive fiscal and monetary expansion policy and the “full employment” policies that had gained political popularity elsewhere. The SPD was joined in this expansionary position by the labor unions, the British authorities, most German manufacturing interests, and, in a slightly more moderate tone, by the Americans.

The Freiburg school – named after the University of Freiburg where a liberal resistance movement to the Nazis had started during the war, safely couched in talk of economic freedom – took a different approach: the Soziate Marktwirtschaft.

The idea of a “socially conscious free market,” as the translation goes, was that totalitarianism is the evil to be most guarded against and that the only way to prevent tyranny is to promote freedom. The theory spread freedom across political and economic lines and espoused a policy of noncontrol—by either the State or individuals—of individual choice. 

In other words it was philosophy first and the economics flowed from that.

The Freiburg approach was not laissez-faire: government was to be active in promoting competition and protecting free markets from monopoly, public or private. It also allowed for a small degree of wealth redistribution through graduated income taxation and social welfare programs, but it was insistent on keeping tax rates low enough to prevent economic disincentives to productive effort.

So not the cut-throat ruthlessness with which opposition to Keynesians and Central Big Government is always cast. Somewhat to their own surprise the Freiburg school won and although they had a lot of intellectual grunt it seems just as likely that the SDR side lost because the German people were psychologically scarred by the idea of printing money and creating credit. They didn’t need an economics degree and they knew it less intellectually than in their gut.

The Freiburgers did not just fight an academic battle. They had a specific plan which you can read in detail at the link but which summarised as:

  • Create a new currency, with a central monetary authority and held to what would nowadays be called a monetarist perspective.
  • Tight money policies would be pursued to create ‘buyers’ rather than ‘sellers’ markets.
  • Decontrol the economy by eliminating what they called “the strangling devices of economic repression … ‘directing,’ ‘licensing,’ ‘prohibiting,’ and what not.” One exception that should be noted was that rent controls were retained all through the 1950’s.
  • The German people would be allowed to produce. Looking at the destruction around them was a powerful incentive, but they had to be freed from controls to take advantage of that as well as giving incentives to saving, investment, and overtime
  • There would be expenditures on social welfare through transfer payments, and they would be comparable with those of other European nations.
  • However, the State would abstain from further economic intrusions via “full employment” policies, subsidies, and income redistribution.
  •  The government would push steadily and firmly for free(..ish) trade with the rest of Europe since exports would have to be a big part of the recovery. This would take years but it led to the European Commission on Coal and Steel and then to the EEC.

I did have to laugh at this comment about the price controls by the most prominent political member of the Freiburg school, Ludwig Erhard, when they were dumped in June 1948:

“It was strictly laid down by the British and American control authorities that permission had to be obtained before any definite price changes could be made. The Allies never seemed to have thought it possible that someone could have the idea, not to alter price controls, but simply to remove them.”

The effects were dramatic and almost instantaneous, as two non-German observers, Jacques Rueff and Andre Piettre, reported:

“Only an eye-witness can give an account of the sudden effect which currency reform had on the size of stocks and the wealth of goods on display. Shops filled up with goods from one day to the next; the factories began to work. On the eve of currency reform the Germans were aimlessly wandering about their towns in search of a few additional items of food. A day later they thought of nothing but producing them. One day apathy was mirrored on their faces while on the next a whole nation looked hopefully into the future.”

Industrial output increased 50 percent within the year, and national income, which had fallen 20% below that of 1936, was restored to that level in just over a year and continued to climb fast. Unemployment did climb and peaked at 10.4% by 1950, but steadily dropped for the rest of the decade.

Morever, this approach beat the publicised plans of the proponents of central planning. Their “Long Term Plan of 1948 predicted that by 1952-53 the industrial  production would reach 110 percent of the 1936 level and agriculture 100%. Another study done in 1950 by four German research institutes – which supposedly already took account of things like the Marshall Plan, the Korean War and the success of the Freiburg plan to that date – said that five years would be needed by government planners to hit their goals – and needed another $1.5 billion in US aid beyond the Marshall Plan.

Under the Freiburg plan all those targets were met and exceeded: Industrial production in 1952-53 averaged about 150 instead of 110. Net agricultural output was 111 percent of pre-war instead of 100. The overall balance of payments was highly favorable and even the dollar sector was approaching balance.

It should be no surprise that Ludwig Erhard would become Economics Minister in the Adenauer administration from 1949-57 and then Chancellor from 1963-66. Such are the fruits of success for politicians who don’t go down the path of centralised command and control route of their peoples but are willing to stand and argue for individual freedom in all spheres of life.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 20, 2020 at 11:42 pm

The Old Rogue Makes His Play

My PhotoIt was inevitable really. He always does this in election year if he’s in government.

Winston Peters is the most cunning politician in recent NZ history. He knows how to negotiate to form coalition governments and out-maneuver stronger opponents for personal and political gains seemingly out of reach of a party that polls not much above 5% at the best of times.

And as an experienced fisher of men he knows when it’s time to cut bait with coalition governments as an election draws near.


He also knows how to reach out to his supporters and get them back, even after having betrayed them repeatedly. How many times has he bemoaned immigration over the last thirty years? Yet despite being a powerful member of three coalition governments now since 1996 he has done not a damned thing to restrict it.

But of course. Why fix a problem when you may need it to rark up your supporters once again in the next go-round that will net you the subsidies and tax breaks and other protections you want for the people you really care about.

And so we come to China. Just the other day he was spotted making his first play in an interview with two Stuff journalists. Two specific quotes from Winston:

“They wanted a discussion as to why we were doing it because they thought it was an overreaction”

That is a Cabinet Minister – the Minister of Foreign Affairs FFS – telling the world something the Chinese government absolutely would not want revealed. As Cactus Kate puts it:

Winston Peters is many things but an idiot who speaks out of turn, he is not.  He let this bat out of the bag entirely on purpose.  He is also in this instance not going to be telling a bunch of H1N1.  Every word that came out of his mouth was for a stone cold sober purpose.

In doing so Peters has breached the confidence of his counterpart and taken a giant dump over the relationship.

On purpose.

And he has already succeeded in getting the key factor he needs for the 2020 election, the factor that was behind his bullshit about those terrible “leaks” that revealed his minor scamming of superannuation in 2017: media campaign oxygen. The Chinese have walked right into it:

China respects the lockdown decision made by New Zealand Government and has never dissuaded New Zealand from going into lockdown,” the Chinese Embassy said.

I guess I’m giving the old bastard oxygen as well with this article, but I’m not the only one, Peters goes hard on China:

Foreign Minister Winston Peters has been challenged over his robust approach to China.

First, he disclosed this week that Beijing’s foreign minister had tried to talk him out of NZ’s coronavirus lockdown.

Second, China’s diplomats in Wellington have become much more active.  The ambassador has already been called into MFAT over some of her remarks.

Not a surprise. China is pulling what basketball teams call a Full Court Press on this issue globally. They have to.

Now the NZ ambassador in Beijing has been called into the foreign ministry to “explain” why NZ supports admission of Taiwan as an observer to the World Health Assembly, run by the World Health Organisation.

As I said some days ago: good on Jacinda Adern and Labour for doing at least this much. It’s mere diplomacy but for China it’s a nightmare they need to stamp out and fast. But it seems that Winston is going to be a bigger obstacle for China in New Zealand.

I don’t know how much Winston relies on polling vs. his gut instinct but after four decades of observing him in action on the hustings I’d say it’s the latter. That means he sometimes gets it wrong and has to back away quickly.

But on China he’s found this year’s wedge issue to gain that precious 5% +. He knows the following things:

  • Anger at China is growing around the world because of the way they dealt with the rest of the world over the Wuhan Flu.
  • The leader in that charge is the USA and although he has always played his hand carefully there’s no question that Winston feels more comfortable with the USA than just about any other nation. We probably should not ignore the fact that he is the last of the Cold War brigade and there is likely an instinctive distrust of anything “communist”.
  • His domestic opponents, Labour and especially the National Party, are terrified of confronting China too openly. That leaves the field wide-open for him.
  • He can point back twenty years to his opposition to the FTA that the Clarke Labour government signed. He has been derided for that ever since and as with his SOP he never did anything to seriously stuff it up, but his opposition to it is on record.
  • It ties in so nicely with his three decade plays on xenophobia, particularly around “Asians”, which he can now tie into rational and legitimate opposition to China.

I personally can’t stand the guy, have never voted for him, and never would. But there’s no question that he’s a “charming and lovable rogue” and that some of his stunts – like “good looking” horses in tax legislation – are so on-the-nose and filled with chutzpah that you find yourself laughing and shaking your head with disgust at the same time.

Winston has found his election year issue for 2020. It’s opposition to China and he’ll ride it all the way to the September election – and promptly drop it like a hot cake the day after if he makes it back into government.

And his voters will learn nothing, as they have learned nothing for thirty years now in supporting him.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 15, 2020 at 11:14 pm