Brilliant column from Rob Hosking in the NBR: Statism and Sanctimony – the Clark-Cullen Years.
I recommend reading it in full so will jsut give a couple of teasers:
One small example of the shift in attitude since the change of government was in an exchange . . . at a select committee a couple of weeks ago.
Labour and Green MPs were worrying about tax cuts, and what people would do with those cuts. . .
English simply observed people would do with their money what they thought was right for them, and he wasn’t going to get into nagging them about it.
Isn’t it a relief to know someone trusts us to make our own decisions with our own money?
We have heard a lot from Labour and its apologists about how grateful we should be for the way Cullen got the government debt down.
There are two responses to that.
First, New Zealand’s business sector also got its debt down over that period, and, with a few unwise exceptions, resisted the temptation to gear itself up. Our business sector should be equally congratulated (and the fact it is not shows, again, the underlying statism being exhibited.
The more important point, made by the OECD in its recent report on New Zealand, is that private debt ballooned over that period – and a more balanced approach to tax reductions over the Labour government might have ameliorated that.
Taking more than was needed and using too much of it to increase the dead weight of the state has left us in a much worse position than we would have been had Labour not been convinced the state knows best and individuals can’t be trusted with our own money.