Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Ukrainian crisis proves need for fiscal discipline

Ukrainian crisis proves need for fiscal discipline

The crisis in the Ukraine is a perfect example of what people in my former profession, risk management, warn their clients about. As they say, you need to expect the unexpected. That means making sure your business (or country) will be resilient in the face of unforeseen shocks.

Many politicians and commentators nowadays are unjustifiably sceptical about the possibility of major conflicts and attendant economic crises. The Russian occupation of Crimea is an aggressive act which risks provoking a military response from the West or the new government in Ukraine.

The Russians under President Putin seized a good portion of Georgia and got away with it. But that was significantly different. The Georgians started the fighting. Georgia is a long way from Europe and not strategically significant. And Georgia had no treaties with anyone. None of that is true of Ukraine.

When the USSR broke up, Ukraine posed two military problems. The Russian Black Sea fleet was based in Ukraine and so were many nuclear weapons. The nuclear states did not want another nuclear-armed country and persuaded the Ukrainian government to give up its nuclear weapons. In return Russia, the USA and the UK pledged that Ukraine's borders would be respected.

If Russia can simply seize Crimea (perhaps by setting up a puppet regime) then why should any state, such as Iran, accept assurances from the nuclear powers? American and British credibility are on the line.

President Putin surely wants to avoid either war or civil war in the Ukraine A deal will probably be done. But we should not take it for granted. Twice last century Europe brought war to the entire world.

What does this risk mean for New Zealand? We cannot influence the direction of events in Ukraine but we can be affected by them. If the European economy is seriously affected, the knock-on effects will be felt around the world.

Resilience in the face of shocks requires capital (savings) – either your own or those of your insurer. The more indebted you are, the more vulnerable you are to shocks.

The New Zealand government’s debt has grown substantially in recent years. It is now projecting surpluses in the coming years. These should not be used to fund government spending on election bribes. They should be returned to taxpayers, either directly through tax cuts or by paying off government debt. Now is not the right time for tax and spend. Our government must be prudent.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

'Tea Break Bill' Passes: Gordon Campbell On Bad Labour Laws And Poor Safety

By co-incidence, one of the prime dangers of the government’s new employment relations law has been underlined by the release of the death and injury statistics among workers at New Zealand ports. These are highly profitable enterprises for the port owners.

The Port of Tauranga for instance, is expecting its current full-year profit to be between $78 million and $83 million and other ports are enjoying similar boom times – but they are also highly dangerous places for the people who work on or around the port premises. At the Port of Tauranga, there have been 26 serious accidents since 2011, and two deaths. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

No Charges: Outcome Of Operation Clover Investigation

Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls in the Waitemata Police district and wider Auckland area... More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF Report: NZ Cautioned On "Stagnating" Child Poverty

An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession. More>>

ALSO:

Funding Report: Two Pathways For Transport In Auckland

Commissioned by Auckland Council, the group was asked to investigate two possible pathways for raising $300 million per year ($12 billion over 30 years) to pay for the improvements needed to help fix Auckland’s transport system. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity: Equal Pay Win In Court Of Appeal

CTU: The Court of Appeal has made a historic decision paving the way for a substantial equal pay claim for aged care workers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Finishing Line, And Amazon’s Woes

If the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal wasn’t such a serious matter, this would be pretty funny… More>>

ALSO:

TV3 Video: Three Die On Roads Over Labour Weekend

The official holiday period ended at 6am Tuesday, with three deaths on the roads during the Labour Day weekend. More>>

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news