What matters

August 31, 2014

Trans Tasman on what matters to voters:

The vital factor for NZers as they come to vote are issues which impact on their lives: the trajectory of the economy, jobs, living standards, inflation, house prices, education and health services. Voters’ assessments on the credibility, competency and leadership of the parties weigh equally heavily. And a primary concern is stability of the Govt to be elected under the MMP system. . .

Anyone who understands the issues, the policies, the parties has a clear choice.

A stable, National-led government will continue with the policies which are working in these important areas; a weak unstable Labour-led government propped up by the Green, New Zealand First and Internet Mana parties won’t.

There are major differences in policies too, not the least of which is tax:

Where Labour is talking of raising taxes, National is dropping broad hints it wants to lower taxes by revising tax thresholds to provide some relief for those on low and middle incomes.  . .

The PREFU supported the government’s claims that the books will be back in surplus.

There is no justification for increasing tax rates. If conditions allow, there could be a case for some reductions, if only to counter bracket creep.

The only justification for adding a new tax would be by taking away an existing one.

Labour and its left-wing cling-ons want to increase tax rates and introduce new ones as extras not replacements.

High tax and high spending under the last Labour-led government put New Zealand into recession long before the rest of the world. That they haven’t learned from that mistake shows they can’t be trusted with the public purse again.
In their last five years in government, Labour’s spending increased by 50%, pushing mortgage rates to 11%, causing inflation to exceed 5%, and putting the economy into recession well before the global financial crisis. Now they want to make the same mistakes all over again.

In stark contrast National has spent the last six years working for New Zealand with policies that are working for New Zealanders and this week announced more of its plan for the next three years:

We’re focused on the things that matter to New Zealanders. If you’ve missed any of our policy announcements this week, we’ve summed them up below. If you want more information on any of these announcements visit: www.national.org.nz/plan #Working4NZ


Prudence best recipe for sustainability

August 15, 2014

Trans Tasman previews next weeks PREFU:

. . . What the PREFU will highlight are Treasury forecasts on economic growth remaining robust, but “normalising” after the dairy boom last season, and on fiscal surpluses thinner than those set out in the budget.

There’s no windfall in revenue as there was in 2005 when the Govt of the day, caught by surprise, scrambled to splash out big spending programmes like Working for Families. The economic situation NZ finds itself in during this cycle is very different. Then credit growth was running at around 10%, compared with 4% now, inflation was high, and consumption was fuelled by rampant debt. This time round, the Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler jumped in early, and has got the surge in house prices under control. Inflation is subdued, wage growth is only moderate, productivity is rising, households are keeping their spending in check, and corporate balance sheets are in good shape. 

So the cycle this time will have a flatter, steadier profile, but growth will be at a sustainable pace, lasting longer. The economy is growing another “leg,” with hi-tech exports rising exponentially. For the Govt, the aim is to keep the economy running on a smooth, upward trajectory. Its eyes are on winning not just this election, but in 2017 as well. For this to be achieved, it has to deliver rising standards of living through the whole cycle. It can’t yet risk another boom-bust, of the kind which has dogged NZ over the last half century, if is to capitalise on the reputation it has sought to nurture of being the most prudent economic managers the country has had in the modern era. . .

The improving outlook for the country has been hard-won and is a result of careful management.

The expected outlook for growth at a sustainable pace and lasting longer is encouraging but it’s not assured.

We know what a National-led government has achieved and can be confident they will continue with the same prudent recipe to ensure that growth is sustainable

A prospect of a weak Labour Party leading a coalition propped up by the Green, New Zealand First and Internet Mana Parties gives no cause for confidence.

Policies announced so far are repeating the failed recipe of the past based on the toxic ingredients of  higher taxing, higher spending.


Need to earn respect

August 1, 2014

Trans Tasman on complaints of media bias:

The tawdry cry of media bias, marinated in bitterness and misanthropy, has been held aloft by Labour activitists. They have a point, but not the one they think they are making. How journalists’ view political parties is affected by many factors, and individual political biases and prejudgements is only one of them – and seldom the most important. Almost every journalist in the press gallery has tales of slow or non-existent response from Labour to requests for information, or of interviews/appearances agreed to and then “pulled” at the last minute.

It isn’t a matter of incompetent staff: the almost total turnover in the past three years is only one indication something deeper is the problem. No one knows what is going on because people who should be told are not told, and the big reason for this is internal levels of mistrust are so toxic. It adds up to an organisation – and we use the word ‘organisation’ with some degree of over-stretch here – which cannot do the political equivalent of walk from Mum’s car to the kindergarten gate without having a trouser incident.

And of course this affects coverage. Journalists experience this level of cluster-fornication every day and it has a deep impact. And this is before we get to the public snafus, the destructive and bitter factionalism and the way many electorate candidates are distancing themselves from the current, official election strategy. Almost everything Labour does at the moment sends the message it is in no position to run anything.

If there is a tone of disrespect in how journalists cover Labour – and there very definitely is – it is because Labour is not behaving in a way which earns respect.

Daily displays of cluster-fornication don’t earn respect.

Nor do obvious internal divisions, a predilection for sideshows and failure to learn from mistakes.

Labour is in a mess and that’s reflected in media coverage.

It’s a mess of the party’s own making and the media can’t be blamed for showing it in a negative light when there’s so little positive to focus on.


Gonna tell on you

July 18, 2014

Quote of the day from Trans Tasman:

. . . Meanwhile Dotcom, is now promising to reveal all he knows about John Key just before the election. And it’s pretty damn big, he says. Oh yes. In political terms, this is a bit like the playground “gonna tell on you and my father is a policeman and my aunt is a wrestler and you’re gonna be REAL SORRY!” . . .

This reminds me of Labour’s desperate smear attempts before the 2008 election when they sent Mike WIlliams to Australia to dig the dirt.

He came up with egg on his own face and no dirt at all.

If Dotcom really has something on Key he’d spill it now which would give the opposition a strong foundaiton on which to build an all-out assault.

The only advantage in waiting is to keep himself in the headlines.


The importance of certainty

July 4, 2014

Trans-Tasman notes the appeal of certainty and stability:

National emerged neat and tidy from its election year conference. Delegates went home knowing what they have to do to ensure the party can re-form a governing coalition. It’s this disciplined approach which carries its own message to the electorate, contrasting with the inchoate array of parties lined up on the other side of the fence. Private polling shows within the electorate, opinion is beginning to harden on the parties of the left being so disparate, (even if they gained a majority of seats in the next Parliament), a coalition of those parties would be highly unstable and couldn’t last.

Certainty, along with stability, is the priority for most voters. The difficulty for the parties of the left is they project not just instability, but incoherence in the policies they are espousing. The realisation has grown Labour would have to share power with the Greens, NZ First and possibly the Mana/Internet alliance. How would it work? In the NZ Herald this week John Armstrong noted Labour seems to be increasingly paralysed by the division between MPs who put a priority on economic development and those who want environmental concerns to be very much part of that development.

The Opposition has forgotten what Helen Clark did in the run-up to the 1999 election, staging a reconciliation with Jim Anderton and his Alliance to project a united front and give electors an idea of what a Clark-led Govt would look like (even though it must have savaged her personal pride to cosy up to her old foe). . . 

 The more voters see of what a Cunliffe-led Labour/Green/NZ First/Mana/Internet Party might look like the less appeal it has.

There are enough uncertainties in most people’s lives without adding an uncertain coalition and the instability that would come with it especially when its contrast with the certainty and stability of a National-led government with John Key as Prime Minister.


Regions bouyant

June 28, 2014

Opposition parties have been trying to convince us the regions are in decline, but the reverse is true:

. . . The latest Westpac survey shows economic confidence has declined in most regions but remains buoyant. Respondents in the quarterly survey are not so upbeat as previously. It follows reports from some economic groups and unions that some regions outside Auckland are at risk of stagnating. ANZ Bank economists disagree with the stagnation theory. They say the idea the regions are being plundered for the benefit of the cities is simply not backed up by the statistics. “Our own Regional Trends proxy for regional economic activity puts Northland at the top of the annual growth stakes in the year to March 2014.” Canterbury and Auckland have led economic growth over the past few years. Strong rises have also been recorded by Waikato, Otago, Taranaki and Nelson-Marlborough. The ANZ commentary says to get the full story, it’s worth doing a bit of knife-and-fork economics (that’s a few dinners chatting along the way).

“While everyone talks about Christchurch, 100km down the road is a place called Ashburton; it’s booming. That’s irrigation for you. South Canterbury is riding the same wave. Central Otago is going very well with evening flights the icing on Queenstown’s cake. Ironically in Otago, it’s the city (Dunedin) that is underperforming the region. Southland is just Southland and getting on with business and not crowing about it. Blenheim just had a bumper grape harvest; Nelson has a reasonable vibe (was there last Wednesday). Taranaki – white and black gold working in tandem. Bay of Plenty – Psa being worked through (kiwifruit land prices have rebounded), they’re seeing Aucklanders relocate, and the port is going well (though the forestry sector is grinding to a halt, which is something we’re watching). Wellington – no Govt spend but lots of IT spend and investment, and Kapiti is doing nicely. Waikato – a 2-hour wait to get into Fieldays the other Friday told us something. Manawatu – trundling along solidly. There are weak spots, but this talk of cities surging and the regions being down in the dumps is just hubris. In many cases it’s not a lack of demand or opportunities holding regions back, it’s getting the available resources (particularly labour). That’s not a bad problem to have!” . .

Just like the manufactured manufacturing crisis opposition parties tried to promote, regions aren’t in decline, they’re buoyant.

 


Compounding moral bankruptcy

June 9, 2014

John Banks served as an electorate MP and Minister, retired then returned to parliament representing a party with whose principles and philosophy he had something in common but which weren’t best matched to his own.

Laila Harre served as a list MP and Minister, retired and is now seeking to return to parliament leading a party which doesn’t appear to have much in the way of principles.

Worse it’s led by man whose actions appear to be diametrically opposed to all she professes to believe in.

As Trans Tasman pointed out last week:

. . . It is possible, back when she was an ardent campaigner for feminism and against capitalism, racism and corporatism, Harre foresaw the day she would sign up to front a party funded by a convicted German fraudster who made much of his money from pornography and who also has a fetish for racist, not to say outright Nazi, humour. Harre wasn’t even elected: she was anointed by the aforementioned convicted German fraudster who has trafficked in pornography and who thinks n-word jokes are hilarious.

There are many terms for this sort of thing, none of them complimentary. We will avoid the ‘h’ word – not just because MPs are not allowed to use the term hypocrisy in the House, but mostly because hypocrisy is part of the human condition. All of us fall short of our ideals. But this is not mere hypocrisy, not a minor falling short. This is moral bankruptcy of a particularly shameless kind. . .

At least Banks had some positive things in common with Act.

All Harre has is negative – the aim to get rid of John Key and National.

And Banks wasn’t bought by anyone.

Harre is accepting Kim Dotcom’s money – a salary of more than $100,000 for herself and millions for the party.

If she thinks he won’t expect her to dance to whatever tune he calls, she’s compounding the moral bankruptcy with stupidity.

 


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