Robson-on-Politics 28 June 2006
7 days of National misery
The first report on the state of the economy in 2006 found that the value of goods and services produced in Aotearoa rose 0.7% in the three months to March 31, a bitter blow to National which had so gleefully predicted recession.
GDP report after Greens pulled the rug
That positive news came less than 12 hours after the Greens knee-capped the Nats' plans for two long years of non-stop touring the provinces highlighting the Cabinet's indifference to the farming sector over the working dog microchipping issue.
It wasn't just the dogs the Greens saved, but the Cabinet itself from a damaging, unwinnable, and debilitating rift with farmers, the backbone of our exporting sector and on whom we all largely depend to mend our balance of payments problem.
Current account highlights why progressive governments save
But the really heavy blow to the heart of everything the Right stands for came on Thursday morning with the publication of the March Quarter current account report.
The report examines the balance on New Zealanders' merchandise and services trade with the world, together with the balance on investment income (the difference between the income NZ-based companies get from their overseas' investments and the income foreign-based companies get from their assets in NZ).
There was deterioration across the board as the former State-owned enterprises that Labour so gaily gave away in the '80s continued their endless flow of dividends offshore and the radical income tax cuts of previous Lab and Nat governments continued to fuel consumer imports at the expense of national savings and investment.
While the Lab-Progressive government has been running surpluses big enough to pay down inherited government debt levels, and also to put money away ahead of the ageing of the population, the non-government sector lived on the credit card to the tune of $14.5 billion in the 12 months to March 31.
Standard & Poor's pulled the rug on the Right's tax policies
The report prompted ratings agency, Standard & Poor's, to issue a statement saying the "chronic, high and unsustainable" current account deficit is putting pressure on New Zealand's credit rating.
"Credit analyst Kyran Curry said that importantly, the government had maintained a steady course of fiscal discipline, which had provided the vital buffer needed to mitigate the effects of the country's high external debt. Consequently, maintaining a strong (government) fiscal position remains a critical factor underpinning the AA-plus foreign currency rating," NZPA news service reported. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/search/story.cfm?storyid=0008BD4A-09D5-149A-976783027AF1010F
This is stinging criticism of Nats
_These are incredibly strong comments.
For those that still don't get it, perhaps because they never read this on the front page of their newspapers because it wasn't on the front page of their newspapers, this criticism was 100% directed at National, its allies and its mainstream media cheerleaders:
The ones who tirelessly relitigate last September's election contest in which the losing side had threatend to establish a government which would join the credit-card funded overseas' borrowing binge to deliver unsustainable, indiscriminate and across-the-board income tax rate cuts that would mainly benefit childless high income earners.
National's policies would fuel consumer imports and destroy the government's savings and investment programmes and would be met with an immediate rating downgrade which would, by definition, deliver higher mortgage rates for every working family.
Last Nat government got downgrade after tax cuts
The last time we had a National-led government (supported by United, ACT and over half the MPs elected on the NZ First list, it delivered income tax cuts. It also sold off the family silver (Contact Energy, Auckland International Airport etc.).
It was also the last time Standard &Poor's put our ratings on a 'negative outlook' (10 September 1998).
It took this coalition government two-and-a-half long years to get our rating back to its current stable outlook, but it is clear S&P is very worried about the risk of National, United, NZ First, et al delivering on their threat to put in place unaffordable tax cuts.
Labour + United + NZ First = 60 seats
I don't believe in gossip, but I heard someone say there might remain the odd poll-driven fruitcake in Labour's ranks who would do a deal with United and NZ First to wreck the economy by mimicking National's overseas debt-funded income tax rate cuts if they thought that is what it would take to win the the 2008 election.
I find that hard to believe. But, anyway, we need not worry because Labour+United+NZ First=60 seats, a seat shy of a majority.
And after failing to listen to the commonsense of Progressive on microchipping farmdogs, commonsense that had it been heeded would have avoided the 'Greens save dogs' and 'Labour's dogged incompetence' headlines, I feel sure any Labour opportunists that may still exist will pay attention to that critical 61st vote on something as progressive as protecting the tax base and working families' mortgage rates.
Infometrics expects growth of 3% a year
On Friday, Infometrics released its quarterly forecasts which predict that economic growth will recover to over 3% a year by early 2008. Infometrics believes conditions are "pretty positive for a rebound in exports" and "manufacturing activity confirm a turnaround is occurring in this sector."
National is headed for its 4th consecutive defeat
National is headed for its 4th consecutive election defeat in October 2008. It hasn't managed to be that incompetent since 1946. National isn't up to leading New Zealand.
Its dangerous, simplistic and unworkable debt and tax policies are only part of the problem. The party is acting like a permanent opposition party on everything these days from foreign policy to Maori-Pakeha relations.
National has 2 policies on foreign aid & vote buying
In the past seven days we saw one Nat complain the Japanese were using their aid to developing countries to "buy" developing countries' support on commercial whaling while another Nat called on the Lab-Progressive government to threaten our neighbours with NZAid cuts if they don't vote with us to conserve whaling populations.
National thinks it can tell overseas judges what to do
National's foreign affairs spokesman, meanwhile, seems to think the NZ government can interfere in court decisions of other democratic countries when those decisions aren't to our (or the foreign government's) liking.
Nats spoil reconciliation in Tamaki Makaurau
And while the whole of Auckland has been impressed with the dignity of Ngati Whatua, whose property rights were trashed by governments for 100 years but who have shown only respect for all Aucklanders with their desire to heal, build and move forward, some Nats have been going around trying to whip up uncertainty about what the Ngati Whatua Settlement might mean for North Shore property values. I rekon the Maori Party will vote against Wayne Mapp's anti-workers' Bill.