OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Taskforce 2025: A Space Odyssey

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  • andin,

    It's hard to avoid the conclusion that this is a big fat patsy, generating outrage so that whatever the Tax Working Group report suggests will look moderate and sensible by comparison.

    Yes that conclusion virtually leapt off the TV screen at me, as I listened to first Don then Bill.

    And a side note to the gentlemanly Geoff Lealand I will get around to a decrypted version of my comments on the SPADA Media 7 if I bump into you over the festive season.
    Sheez what am I doing still awake at this hour. I curse the afterwork wind down and the muggy weather. Not reelly.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1175 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Gracewood,

    The one great thing that has come out of this is a word-of-the-year candidate from Twitter:

    Re-brash (verb): to re-hash failed right-wing policies.

    Orkland • Since Nov 2006 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The government shouldn’t even aim for goals like “more savings ..

    Indeed. It's as if the authors believe that we should be actively discouraged from saving.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18711 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Saving is betting against your own enterprising future. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16491 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Southgate,

    I like the "What's the question again?"

    Because when I read the bullet point list, I couldn't help but wonder exactly what the point of the whole thing was.

    I haven't bothered reading the report, but did they include any evidence that their suggestions would actually achieve what I thought was the goal - parity with Australia by 2025?

    Wellingtown • Since Nov 2006 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I am consoled by two words: corned beef.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16491 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    I haven't bothered reading the report, but did they include any evidence that their suggestions would actually achieve what I thought was the goal - parity with Australia by 2025?

    If we sacrifice enough poor people to the Gods of the Market, they will gaze favourably upon our unworthy selves, and lo, we will be transformed. Possibly with an unexpected discovery of mineral wealth.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this is a big fat patsy, generating outrage so that whatever the Tax Working Group report suggests will look moderate and sensible by comparison.

    Maybe, but I'm starting to think that Key's version of National is sticking to its "Don't rock the boat" strategy. They are of the opinion that Labour lost because they pissed off too many people, so National's going to avoid doing anything too controversial to the wider populace. (In their first term at least.)

    I have no doubt there are genuine, significant policy changes planned, but I haven't seen any indication that they'll try to get away with them this early.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    A lyrical turn of phrase:

    Labour leader Phil Goff said the task force was a waste of time and public money. Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton described it as "the return of dracula".

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16491 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    And the entire operation cost $400,000, if I'm not mistaken?
    Money well-spent by the fiscally responsible govt.

    The thing is that the ideas underlying their recommendations are based on pure Monetarism, the belief in the rationality of the market and conceiving of people as "Rational Utitlity Maximsers". All crap, and we saw last year how rational a deregulated market is.

    But like any fundamentalists they cling to their sacred texts and claim that they have the truth.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 229 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I haven't seen any indication that they'll try to get away with them this early

    What, ACC not a clue? Let's see what the Tax Working Group comes up with. Probably more magical thinking that if you let rich folk pay less tax they will invest the bounty in productive enterprise rather than german cars, italian marble and coastal real estate.

    Much more privatisation in a National second term would be consistent - and that's not necessarily as far away as you think. Early election to seek a mandate..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16491 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    From that Chch Press story:

    The task force report cost $150,000.
    The task force has a total $477,000 budget for the next three years.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16491 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    Perhaps we are producing too many economists? Soaking up so much resource but adding very little value...

    What is the economic value of an economist?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The Herald editorial is in love with the Taskforce, so much so that it can include a paragraph like this without blushing:

    For the public health and education services the taskforce would restore contestable funding and competitive provision, much as occurred in health in the 1990s but was resisted by the education unions. Other public savings it proposes include raising the age of eligibility for national superannuation and targeting doctors' and pharmaceutical subsidies to the lower paid.

    Yeah, that would be that competitive provision model in health that was such a disaster that Labour rolled it it back and National is now rolling it back even further. It's quite clear that nothing that actually happened on Planet Earth is regarded as significant by the authors.

    In this dream world, would Pharmac still bulk-buy our prescription medicines and sell them to us without further subsidy -- or would even that be considered an unwarranted intervention in market glory?

    And I like how the all-powerful teacher unions were apparently able to hold back the tide of contestable progress in the 1990s -- as opposed to considerations of risk, practicality and public opinion.

    This is like a kind of ideological trainset. Fun to play with for big boys, but doesn't actually carry any passengers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18711 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    And what's the value of a neolib cheerleader? Business roundtabler Roger Kerr on RNZ this morning has clearly not learned a thing from his existence on the planet.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16491 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    I forced myself to read the damn thing. What an appalling pile of tosh. There's barely one recommendation in it that isn't entirely objectionable.

    There is no serious analysis in the report about how this hard-right prescription will cure our economy. Brash and his cohorts spout this rubbish as if its truth is self-evident and doesn't need to be justified.

    I have an idea: if we want to catch up with Australia, why don't we start by looking at what they are actually doing? They don't have low taxes, low government spending, or minimal regulation. Nor have they slashed spending on health and education.

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 789 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    targeting doctors' and pharmaceutical subsidies to the lower paid.

    Look. I have spent the last six months gloating (unconscionably, probably) to Americans about most of our prescriptions costing three dollars. Stop *trying to make our system more like the shitty American one*, you idiots!

    all-powerful teacher unions

    And it seems pretty clear that they're spoiling for a fight over pay with the teachers next year. Joy.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3628 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    John Armstrong doesn't <3 the report the way today's Herald leader-writer does:

    Key will not be seduced by the taskforce's talk of "successful" political leaders being the ones capable of finding ways of taking the public with them when they make "courageous" reforms. Neither will he be fooled by the report's assertion that the apparent belief that far-reaching economic reform means inevitable electoral suicide has simply not been the experience in New Zealand.

    Tell that to Ruth Richardson. She was dumped as finance minister after the National Party leadership held her 1991 Mother of All Budgets as responsible for National's near defeat at the 1993 election. The only difference between Richardson's magnum opus and that produced by the 2025 Taskforce is that the latter would be the longer suicide note for any party thinking of following it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18711 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Here's a question I'd like a task force to look at: when you have a skills shortage, you need skilled labour. You can only get that by growing it, or importing it. People train or immigrate in response to higher wages. So why don't local employers pay more for skilled labour? Everybody knows that you get paid more elsewhere -- but why? What are the structural reasons for that?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

  • Hamish,

    Yet another Good Cop Bad Cop routine from National. They've really got the Act down now.

    The A.K. • Since Nov 2006 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I am consoled by two words: corned beef.

    Hey, Sacha -- Kiwibog-grade dick more. How about sticking to critiquing the report and avoiding the cheap, random shots at the man's personal life?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11867 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    So why don't local employers pay more for skilled labour?

    Because the pure market approach for some reason should never apply to labour.

    Brash and his cohorts spout this rubbish as if its truth is self-evident and doesn't need to be justified.

    Quite. Bryan Gould was forceful and reasoned opposition on Morning Report. That only emphasised the meek acceptance by most commentators that there is no alternative and that this report should be rejected on political tactical grounds rather than because its reasoning is plain wrong.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16491 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Craig, anyone purporting to tell the rest of the country how we should live is open to having his own description of his sorry life repeated.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16491 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, anyone purporting to tell the rest of the country how we should live is open to having his own description of his sorry life repeated.

    Dear Moderators: Ian Wishart has hacked Sacha's profile. Help!

    Still, nice to know I get a pass to gratuitously bring up the Labour health spokeswoman's drunk driving conviction every time she opens her mouth. Since she does "purport to tell the rest of the country how we should live..." Doesn't add a damn thing to any public policy debate worth having, but fair's fair...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11867 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    The list of the Tsk Tsk Force on the front page of the Herald this morning caused me to choke on my toast. The only recommendations missing were: Bring back children as chimney sweepers and Cut off the hands of petty thieves.

    And a side note to the gentlemanly Geoff Lealand I will get around to a decrypted version of my comments on the SPADA Media 7 if I bump into you over the festive season.

    I will be at the do on Friday night, staying over for The Civic tour on Saturday.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2288 posts Report Reply

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