Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Telling it as it is!

When 9-11 happened, an advisor to the UK Blair government said that was a good day to bury bad news.

Such a statement could have been made yesterday, with the bloggers taking the morning off.

And there was some bad news too, not that I am suggesting Billy Boy deliberately made his statement knowing the bloggers were protesting.

Yes, Finance Minister Bill English noted the cupboards were bare, and following reports the government's tax take was down a billion on what was expected, New Zealand was set for a tight budget. Such tight times were here to stay he said.

Indeed, Audrey Young continued the gloomy theme, saying a war chest might be needed to save various large Kiwi businesses.

Now, a week ago, I quizzed about how open John Key is about the state of the economy.

Indeed, the UK Tories are grappling about how honest they need to be with the public before Britain goes to the polls.

The News of the World has noted the perilous state of Bankrupt Britain's finances, which leaves its likely future Tory government one helluva mess to clear up, especially if it means making unpopular measures.

The Conservative Home blog in Britain fears such unpopular policies, however necessary, could see the quick demise of a Cameron-led government and the return of ZanuLiarbore. So how best can the UK Tories hang on? And for us, what can John Key, Bill English and National learn from the UK situation? It might help their survival too.

Conservative Home says the UK Tories must level with the people about the mess Britain faces, the blame must also be given to Liarbour UK, and the Conservatives must be parepared for government with no on the job training.

Certainly National has appeared more cheerful and confident than the UK government and yes, the Kiwi economy is not in the same abysmal state that Britain's is in. It has experienced ministers on board too.

Thus, Bill English is right to raise the prospect of tough times ahead. Indeed, it may well be that New Zealand has been protected from the harsh economic relaities for far too long. But when it comes to preparing his budget, one that may well include cuts and be unpopular, National and English know full well who to blame, Liarbour.

And this is the message National must drive home in the months and years ahead. It has to hammer the folly and waste of the Helengrad years and the incompetent Liarbour Party.
For they made our 'home grown recession' arrive earlier and be deeper than it need otherwise have been thanks to their own economic mismanagement, giving Bill English even less money to spend.
So go for it Billy Boy. Come clean and don't forget to stick the boot in!


Simon said...

Confidence is important. Yep got rid of Dear Leader and it gave a real boost to the country plus of course Key is very sound. (unlike flakes like Rudd & Obama)

Clunking Fist said...

"A good day to bury bad news"?

The fall-out from that little gem went on to spawn:
"We're all f*cked. I'm f*cked. You're f*cked. The whole department is f*cked. It's the biggest c*ck-up ever. We're all completely f*cked."




Anonymous said...

Bernard Hickey offers a fair way out for National if indeed we are fucked.
The UK Tories are waking up to it too.
Of course the Brits have had their banking bailouts to deal with.
What have we faced?
Nothing but the waste and extravagance of the Cullen Clark years.
WFF, Kiwirail, rapidly rising government expenditure, etc, etc.


Baxter said...

The good news spin started with the comment by the financial wizard BOLLARD last November that the recession was over. KEY has little option but to try an maintain National morale. ENGLISH on the other hand has to face the reality and I am not being critical of either. I don't think the forthcoming Jobs talkfest will achieve anything too many interest groups are bitching about being left out, though they would add nothing. The Government needs to come up with it's own strategies not repeat the unproductive farce that was Liabour's knowledge wave conference.To a major extent we are the prisoners of our would be customer Nations. The US and Euro nations spout open trade while hastily putting up their own barriers. None of the others have the money to buy our goods, and that is a real predicament for our approaching employment problems.

Anonymous said...

as truman said We have nothing to fear but fear itself

If we talk ourselves into a self fulling prophecy it will happen.

Best thing is to take a business as usual approach and not be spooked. If everyone stops spending them the shit will hit the fan

the media are our worst enemy as they have a history of promoting gloom and doom to sell more of what they sell.

As just returned from UK on business IMHO NZ is only at 35% at most of the bad situation there.

Chins up keep working and be thankful Helen and Micky are gone


Anonymous said...

NZ is only at 35% at most of the bad situation there

Give us time, that's all, give us time.

be thankful Helen and Micky are gone

they are gone but make no mistake: their policies - especially their economic policies - remain!

Anonymous said...

To a major extent we are the prisoners of our would be customer Nations

we are the prisoner of the huge percentage of GDP that is totally unproductive.

Roger Douglas had it right: labour cost index has increased from 100 (in 2000) to 160 now. The first order of government has to be to get that down to 100, and then ideally down to about 25.

Key is simply not going to do that. In the end, his betrayal of NZ's population will be seen as even worse than Clark.

PhilBest said...

That (update link) Bernard Hickey Article is outstanding.

Our private sector overseas debt and household debt relative to GDP and incomes, are actually worse than the USA's was prior to the bursting of their bubble. Our net overseas debt per capita is second in the world only to Iceland. Our housing bubble is worst equal with Ireland and Spain.

The only reason we aren't already in doo-doo at least as deep as USA and UK and Europe, is that we have simply kept on in a state of blissful ignorance, whereas they have had all the dirty linen out all over the MSM right from the start.

I reckon our two main political parties and our news media actually have some sort of gentleman's agreement to try and prevent the crash starting by simply not talking about the truth. This is doomed to failure, for the simple reason that we are on the edge of collapse and to get away from that edge rather than closer to it, we are going to need around 5% per annum growth for several years.

We aren't even thinking about things like the ACT 20 point plan that might actually get us there. We still think the tooth fairy owes us a high standard of living, including "free" this and that from nanny state; the fact that these things carry a cost in economic growth, is simply unthinkable.

Anonymous said...

OK. So I went and read the Hickey article.

His diagonsis is correct, but I'm damn surprised to find you like his prescription:

We need to work together to make sure our social safety net catches everyone as they fall

"We” as citizens cannot afford these tax cuts that we promised before the election

We must first ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable in our society are healthy and safe.

We must invest in public assets that will keep generating essential public services for decades to come.

The poorest kids should not be hungry or sick.

I refuse to accept a drop in my standard of living to make Hickey or Key happy. I particularly refuse to accept a drop in my standard of living so that those in NZ who contribute nothing can keep their standard of living.

How about this plan: we keep and increase the tax cuts. We cut benefits, health, and welfare faster than we cut taxes, to ensure the government remains in surplus. We eliminate the minimum wage, unions, and the EFA to make NZ efficient and competitive again.


Don Brash was sounding a little gloomy on Newstalk ZB today, but he appreciates a government has to maintain confidence.