OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Did you know we're in a recession?

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  • Sam F,

    Knew the inflation thing was nonsense, but good to see the increasing real wages bizarroworld claim taken to bits as well.

    Sadly I don't know if your final claim will be heeded by thos responsible but hopefully others will read this and spread the knowledge about. Cheers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1549 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Nothing magically happened when John Key took office.

    Want to tell David Cunliffe? I almost expect to trip over a mound of exsanguinated kittens on the doorstep... :)

    And I'm sure someone will nerd-fu my arse on this, but hysterical media and English over-egging the pudding aside is it such a bad thing if we're slowly (and painfully) getting off the debt-fuelled consumption crack?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11853 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Please stop making shit up.

    And media, stop repeating it like muppets.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16419 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    And I'm sure someone will nerd-fu my arse on this, but hysterical media and English over-egging the pudding aside is it such a bad thing if we're slowly (and painfully) getting off the debt-fuelled consumption crack?

    No, but the ideal scenario is that we become more productive and export more, so that we can earn more money and save more. Not consuming because you've been fired doesn't really help our debt situation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 530 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And media, stop repeating it like muppets.

    Well, Rod Oram seem to keep writing out the calm, measured reality checks. I really hope both English and Cunliffe will pay close attention to his Nat Radio effort today, but won't hold my breath.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11853 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Well, Rod Oram seem to keep writing out the calm, measured reality checks. I really hope both English and Cunliffe will pay close attention to his Nat Radio effort today, but won't hold my breath.

    Yeah, I thought he was good today too. Policy that responds to new realities, yes. Policy for the sake of political branding, not so much.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18656 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Just to remind people, Bill English worked for Treasury at the height of it's new-right agenda and was a member of the Bolger cabinet and a committed acolyte of Ruth Richardson's brand of neo-liberalism. Nothing he has said since then indicates he has substantively recanted these extremist views, and he is now minister of finance operating in an environment of zero political oversight from his nominal boss.

    He was and remains a small minded man from a small town with the mindset of a small town Tory shopkeeper. The only thing surprising about his discredited, Herbert Hoover like, economic prescriptions for the recession (budget austerity, cuts for the poor and in services, tax cuts for the rich with faith in the trickle down effect) is that anyone is surprised at his actions. They are the utterly predictable actions of a dogmatic fool who has learnt absolutely nothing from the GFC - least of all the lesson that it signalled the final and period failure of his economic religion.

    The eerie similarity of the graphs detailing our faltering economic performance under the slash and burn of another conservative dim-wit rural minister of finance (Bill Birch) post the Asian financial crisis and now again under English post(?) the GFC means New Zealand now finds itself in a remarkable economic groundhog day.

    Birch and Brash prolonged the recession of the 1990's and sacrificed our working class on the alter of their doctrinaire monetarism. They left our country wallowing in feeble or zero growth when the rest of the world powered on to strong post-recession growth in the 1990's. They presided over the collapse of wage growth and we saw the Australian wage gap emerge.

    All this Bill English seems to determined to repeat, while his lazy boss complains about how hard his job is before taking another vacation in Hawaii.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1768 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Policy for the sake of political branding, not so much.

    Indeed - the nasty (but popular) dog-whistling subtext to Key and Goff frothing about turning Kiwis into "tenants in their own country." Contemptible. Perhaps Keith and Oram could fire up the Fiskmobile and run over that weasel...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11853 posts Report Reply

  • Public Servant on a tea-break.,

    Excellent post Keith. Nice to see someone is actually checking the lines English is using against statistics.

    Of course Bill English should know every point you have made, or his time at Treasury was wasted. It is just a sign of how much the government needs good news in the current recession that Bill English is running these lines. I'm sure he would rather report good news, if there was some.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2008 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1094 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    English was also Minister of Finance at the end of the 1990s, so he knows exactly how to turn a global financial crisis (Asian in that case) into a local diasaster for all but the richest New Zealanders and gleeful foreign buyers and banks.

    Cutting public spending to solve private debt and lack of savings and export earnings is just loony neoliberalism.

    Voters who elected this government can hardly be surprised that most of Cabinet who were there in the 90s have not improved their intellect in the meantime.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16419 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Bill English, when he cites real after tax wages (of which some of the recent boost was also due to tax cuts) in Parliament likes to say that these are the very figure Labour used to set super.

    1) That doesn't make the a measure of prosperity
    2) Surely that happened because Winston manged to hitch super to the most inflated measure he could.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1094 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    1) That doesn't make the a measure of prosperity
    2) Surely that happened because Winston manged to hitch super to the most inflated measure he could.

    [Like]

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 530 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Keith, do you read Robert Reich?
    His diagnosis: the US economy suffers from an excessive divide between rich and poor. In a nutshell: too much money in the hands of the uber-wealthy is unproductive and promotes investment bubbles; too little in the pockets of the poor (and middle) constrains the very consumption needed to pull out of recession.
    That is, the widening gap between the richest 1% and poorest 20% is not just morally smelly and socially toxic: it's (yet another way in which the neoliberal model is) bad economics.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1457 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Thank you Keith for checking the numbers, this is just a childish,arrogant way for our Finance Minister to communicate with us. This is propaganda, plain and simple.

    The unemployed are being made to look invisible in the economic debate.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Mind you, on the other team we have, as Giovanni pointed out, Phill Goff:

    We have to be the party that helps those on lower incomes, and also those on middle incomes - 60-thousand, and 70-thousand, and 80-thousand dollars a year.

    From the words I wouldn't have though he was referring to household incomes, but that's the only way he'd be right.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1094 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    The unemployed are being made to look invisible in the economic debate.

    As Gio notes in reference to Phil Goff's speech on the weekend:

    [Bomber Bradbury refers to] Goff's first New Zealand: the good people who buy the second hand cars and the fish and chips and go camping, engulfed. Not the weakest members of society, because those have long since been discounted. There is a passage in Goff's speech that underscores this rather brilliantly:

    "In this New Zealand your pay doesn’t go as far as it used to because prices are going up. There’s not as much left over at the end of the week as there used to be. People are worried about their jobs. Some of their friends have lost their jobs."

    Some of their friends, see? Not them. Because when you lose your job you drop out of the first New Zealand, and into a zone of darkness. And if you end up there, Phil Goff isn't prepared to talk about you except as victims of the conservatives' failed economic policies, people thrown on 'the scrap heap'. And the scrap heap is, well, a scrap heap, all jagged bits of metal and old tires and broken glass. If Labour intends to so much as throw a mattress on it, they haven't indicated it at this stage.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1549 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Massively cool post, Keith. Thanks once again for turning the lights on. Good grief.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 191 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    From the words I wouldn't have though he was referring to household incomes, but that's the only way he'd be right.

    Even if you gave him a massive benefit of the doubt on that one, he's still equating 'people' with 'families', which is of even greater concern to me than economic illiteracy or disingenousness for the sake of broadening what 'middle class' means.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7343 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    There is a "switch" working population that switches between low income work and unemployment depending on the availability of work. We call them bludgers,we snide at them as they buy copious amounts of $1.40 pies and tobacco nerve strengtheners.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • elsketcho,

    Our mainstream media is becoming a disgrace. Why are these lying twats not being held to account for their misinformation and spin? English spouts lies, smirks while he's doing it, and does so with impunity.
    Too much "thank you for your time, we really appreciate it" and not enough "would you care to explain why your comments are totally inaccurate and misleading"!

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Exactly. Our mainstream media is becoming a disgrace. Why are these lying twats not being held to account for their misinformation and spin?

    Because that's the job of the opposition?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 899 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Which would make the job of the mainstream media to spread misinformation and spin. Thanks for playing The End of Civil Discourse.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7343 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    Dear Keith,

    You are rubbish at poker but phenomenal at sifting out bullshit. Long may that never reverse.

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 216 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    Oh Keith! You and your fact checking and analysis!

    That's so unfashionable. No-one does that anymore. Not even, as Danyl just pointed out, the opposition. Maybe that would set a dangerous precedent where they might be on the receiving end of nasty criticism should they ever get into power again.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

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