He’s talking sense, whoever he is.

At the National Party Southern regional conference three weeks ago John Key said when he’d walked into a room the previous evening someone called him Mr English and a few minutes later he heard someone addressing Bill English as Mr Key.

 The NBR is similarly confused this morning with a headline saying English attacks socialist dreamworld over a photo of Key.

 Regardless of that, English is talking sense.

Bill English has delivered a riposte to finance minister Michael Cullen’s latest  budget. 
Speaking to a Grant Thornton lunch in Christchurch, Mr English condemned the government for concentrating on managing the risks of an ageing population, though its Super fund, KiwiSaver, and new boons for superannuants.
Although he agrees that the problem of an ageing population is important – describing it as a certainty rather than a risk – he says it is better to deal with the problem as part of an over-riding strategy of economic development.


National’s budgets would have a sharp focus on economic growth. The goal would be to lift New Zealand’s economic status in the OECD. At present it is number 23, below Czechoslovakia.

 This is the difference between people who understand that wealth creation is better than redistribution not just for individuals but the nation. 

He explained to NBR that Dr. Cullen had used technicalities to conceal a warchest of $8 billion which he is now spending.


 Moreover, he accuses Dr. Cullen of overcoming his stated aversion to debt funding, to the tune of around $4 billion of the last budget. Mr English says this will leave the cupboard bare by 2011.

He says National will get New Zealand concentrated on earning rather than borrowing, and believes it can obtain a higher income, despite the present slowdown. The country should benefit from a fortunate change in the terms of trade which is boosting the price of food exports.
 People who have worked in the real world know there is opportunity in adversity.

 The planks in National’s policy outlined by Mr English are:  broad-based  tax changes, improved regulation, effective control of government spending, improved education – especially improving the numeracy and literacy of about 10,000 kids who fail each year, and “have not got a dog’s show” – and infrastructure. 

The real risk facing us not the aging population, it’s the young people coming out of school ill-equipped for work and life.




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