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The Letter – Monday, 6 November 2006

The Letter – Monday, 6 November 2006

The Letter Limited -

The Haps

A national stadium on Auckland’s waterfront. Helen Clark off to Europe. Parliament resumes. Leading the world again? Readers like “Out of the Red”.

Monument on the water

The NZRFU did not ask for it so where has the stadium on the water come from? The Prime Minister. Helen Clark lives about 200 metres from Eden Park and hates it. Her restored villa is part of the gentrification of the suburb. She has showed before when it comes to her own house she wants an exclusive neighbourhood. She opposed a proposal to build low cost accommodation claiming it would bring undesirables into the area - it has not. When games are on fans take every parking space for around two kilometres. Clark who does not follow sport is always caught out.

A Bribe

Mayor Dick Hubbard’s planners told him having 60,000 fans at the bottom of the town would be a boost to the CBD. Hubbard offered to pay 10% of the cost only to be told “The taxpayer paid the full costs of the national museum, Te Papa, this is a national stadium and the taxpayer will pay.” Auckland City Councillors think the government is nuts but they will vote for it.

Politicians will spend it

Central government has never built or run a stadium. The Ministry of Economic Development, cabinet’s advisor, has never built an outhouse. This is the danger of an $11.5 billion surplus. Government spending has risen steeply under Labour and is now 42% of GDP. Australian government spending is just 35%. The OECD and a recent major report from the NZIER have both argued the single step the government could take to help close the growing gap between Australia and NZ would be to bring our spending down.

Flat tax

Labour’s own McLeod Tax Review advocated lower and flatter tax rates. The US and Australia have lowered taxes without creating inflationary pressure. There is plenty of capacity to borrow for infrastructure.

Slogans instead of policy

Political parties die when they swallow their own propaganda. The rhetoric of “tax cuts for the rich” has led Labour to turn down a wealth creating tax cut in order to build monuments. The idea that stadiums create jobs and wealth is voodoo economics.

Annual pilgrimage to Europe

Clark has been travelling to Europe every year since she was 18 when she went as Labour’s youth representative to the Socialist Fourth International. It is the highlight of her year. We cannot understand our PM’s agenda unless we appreciate how important these visits to Europe are to her. She is lionized by the left in Europe and has been working for 30 years towards a European job.

Parliament drifting along

Without the PM and without a legislative program of any significance parliament is going to fill in time for the rest of the year on private members’ bills like the Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction; Purchase Age) Amendment Bill. Parliament knows that prohibition for 19 year olds may be popular with 60 year olds but it is not a solution. One private bill that the accountants have described as important as the Fiscal Responsibility Bill is Rodney Hide’s Regulatory Responsibility Bill that could be voted on before Christmas. Under this measure departments will have to do a regulatory test explaining whether the Bill takes away property rights, why the common law is not sufficient etc. The results will have to be published and every five years departments must review existing legislation. As the Bill is not ideological and is sensible we think it must have a chance of getting to select committee. But we were always optimists.

Praying for low polls

The real action is going on within the National caucus. National MPs have decided Don Brash has to go and they are hoping their poll ratings will fall to justify the change. Will John Key put Don out of his misery this year? We think so.

“World Leading” - warning of disaster

PNZ’ers have always been suckers for the claim that a measure will make us world leaders. Only economically illiterate commentators could praise the PM’s call for NZ to be the first country in the world that will be “carbon neutral”. Reducing green house gasses is going to require new technology like zero emission coal fired power stations, (the biggest producer of green house gasses), and zero emission cars. Neither will be developed in this country. Even if it was achievable, how would we benefit? While we are told that China opens a new coal fired station every 5 days, what we are not told is how large they are. The Letter has viewed a Chinese power station that made Huntly look like a midget. It burnt sulfur rich coal that could be smelt 4 kilometres away, producing as much green house gasses as the whole of the North Island.

The Vision thing

The target came as a complete surprise to the civil service who are struggling to see how we are going to meet our Kyoto targets. When people start to have visions they are a danger to themselves; when Prime Ministers start having visions, it is a danger to the nation.

Reader reviews

The reader reaction to “Out of the Red” has been very flattering. “Could not put it down. I read until 3 in the morning”. “Your best book”. “A page turner”. “The book explained a great deal. I really enjoyed it”. “I am recommending the book to my class.” Available in good book shops or over the net from A must buy Christmas present.


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Please Note: Formerly the column The Letter was circulated by the ACT Party. It no longer is.

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