So trust Michael Cullen to get down and dirty, blaming John Key for the failure of bankers Merril Lynch yesterday.
But, as David Farrar notes at Kiwiblog, Cullen's attack was all the more desperate because:
1-Umm Michael, John Key stopped working there around eight years ago.
2-The recent losses are from bad investments primarily mortgages, and John was in charge of currency trading 3-When John was there, his section of the business was highly profitable - that is why he made so much money. It is called being successful.
4-Merrill Lynch has written down around $50 billion of investments. However they have not gone belly up - they have been purchased by the Bank of America for US$44 billion - a sum a bit larger than the turnover of the NZ Government.
You just might as well blame Michael Cullen for being a finance minister. But as John Armstrong notes today:
Michael Cullen was powerless as Asian stock markets plunged on news of the collapse of American investment bank Lehman Brothers, the takeover of Merrill Lynch (John Key's former stamping ground) and big asset sales by a major American insurance group.
That was just what the doctor did not order - further havoc in international financial markets just eight weeks out from election day.
But let us look at something where Cullen does have power, something where he played a major role: The buyback of rail. The government paid Toll $690million, even though government officials in 2006 estimated the value of rail at just $120 million.
The paper trail clearly shows that throughout the lengthy sale process, Toll had the upper hand in the negotiations because it knew the government was not buying for commercial reasons.
So there we have it. Cullen condemns John Key for his successful career in finance, while at best Cullen himself is impotent amidworld events, but where it matters, Cullen screws up big time. I am sure had John Key been negotiating with Toll, he would have secured a much better deal for the New Zealnd taxpayer. Key could hardly have done worse.
Indeed, if we do face global financial turmoil, even though it was just the other day Cullen said the 'worst was over' , it reinforces the need for New Zealnd to be run by someone wih financal acumen and an understanding of global markets. The academic backgrounds of Clark and Cullen have delivered New Zealand into an early recession, the pair have wasted what were until recently the most benign of economic conditions, and our slide down economic league tables has continued further.
So yes, trust Michael Cullen to play dirty, but also trust Liarbour to expose themselves as the incompetent and cretinous buffoons that they are!