THE COMING ELECTION

Despite the polls I have a gut feeling the election will be a close-run race.

The Nats have taken a beating thanks to MP scandals plus the party’s extraordinary decision to pick as their leader, an obscure MP, who in two terms had never made a mark.

But with politics, memories are short and now with the obvious leader finally installed, it’s a new ball-game.

As the great Angelo Dundee once said to me, the critical key to win in competitive activity, be it sport, politics or commerce, is to set the agenda. Well, Judith’s certainly done that since gaining the driver’s seat. Furthermore, Jacinda’s playing into her hands by refusing to issue any policy announcements on the nonsensical grounds that she’s concentrating on the covid issue. Doing what? Is she in a laboratory working on a vaccine?

It’s no secret I prefer Labour politicians. There’s a good reason for that, namely they’re mostly much more interesting people.

In government they do bold things. Past Labour governments set the framework for our broadly successful nation.

The first created our welfare state. The Lange government established our successful market economy.

Often overlooked is the Nash government’s huge contribution, in erecting tariff walls resulting in a rapid creation of home-grown industries.

And it was a Labour government, and notably Roger Douglas, who three decades later tore them down, ensuring that the most economic (which turned out to be quite a large number) survived and prospered.

The problem with Labour governments however, is their cornucopian approach to expenditure and their faith in the state’s ability to do stuff it can’t. This can manifest itself in harebrain ideas.

For example; the Clark government’s announcement of an unemployed artists benefit. I was outraged and per chance, the following evening at a function, encountered Judith Tizard, the Junior Minister responsible. The following exchange ensued.

“Judith,” I protested. “There’s no such bloody thing as unemployed artists; only unsuccessful ones”.

“Look it’s trivia Bob. Our people (the public servants) assure me they’re only anticipating about 10 applicants”.

From memory, two months later the applicants list, nearly all from the East Coast, hit 20,000. They were indeed artists; bullshit artists. Anyway, the scheme was abandoned.

National governments sole raison d’etre is to prevent Labour governments. They are stolid and sound, but uninspiring.

They can point to only two game-changing achievements.

The first, by the Holland government, in line with their expressed goal of a home-owner democracy, was their family benefit capitalisation scheme enabling state house occupants to buy their homes. This built a much bigger middle-class, a necessary foundation for a successfully functioning society. It should be resurrected and was a huge achievement.

The second was the Bolger government’s introduction of voluntary unionism.

Offsetting that desirable action was that government’s lumpen acceptance of the Reserve Bank Act which caused devastation and mass migration.

The incoming Clark government, and notably Michael Cullen and it may surprise you, Jim Anderton, understood that and immediately reversed the Act’s high exchange rate and high interest rates strategies. Two years later the economy went into growth mode.

The Key government copped two major crises; first the international Bank collapse, then the Christchurch earthquake. The rebuild was largely paid for by insurance and boosted the economic statistics.

The Banking crisis was simply ridden through. It was a laissez faire government which matched the nation’s mood and thus politically, was highly successful, albeit uninspiring.

It may well be the electorate opt for National’s safe pair of hands management in the economic disaster days looming. Conversely, they may feel the need for radicalism. Either way, I’m convinced it will be a close-run race, decided by the fate of the three key smaller parties.

I’ll deal with those in my next offering.

11 Comments

Brilliant. A delightful high-level near-century romp, unencumbered by NZ’s increasing penchant for unreflective left- or right-centric views by amateur commenters, professional pundits, experts, and media alike, proclaiming ‘their’ side is always right and the other always wrong. A breath of fresh air, wittily expelled, thank you Sir Bob.

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Great summary. The only thing I would add to the list of significant National Party achievements is National Superannuation introduced by the Muldoon government in 1977. Collins is prone to self-inflicted own goals or “eyebrow raising” moments as Winston humourously mentioned in Parliament today. It can almost be guaranteed that there will be more of them before the election with a very good chance that one of them may lead to her undoing on Sept. 19th.

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Disagree with you that Labour’s welfare state set the “framework for our broadly successful nation.” Welfare states undergo cyclical stages. They start well because contributors share common values. But as they age, poor behavioural incentives and responses increase through normalisation. The pendulum swing between private and state provision can be traced in countries older than NZ. If Michael Joseph Savage was alive today he’d be aghast at what taxpayers are forced to support.

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frederickwilliscroft August 6, 2020 at 9:41 pm

Frankly at this time I would take boring/staid National then the current govt who are utterly shambolic. They are the worst govt I have seen in my lifetime (worse than Labour 72-75, National 96-99). Every major policy espoused in 2017 has either been abandoned (CGT) or is a flop (Kiwibuild,Light Rail). Their ministers are hapless (Twyford,Jackson,Davis). They have absolutely screwed the economy with barely a ripple of protest from the sheeple aided by an apathetic,lack lustre media.

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Not entirely true about thr Bolger government They took over from a disastrous labour 87/90 government,who left us in deficit and recession and added 34 billion dollars of dept , despite selling most of Muldoon think big ! assets By 99 ,when labour took office, we had several years of surplus ,dept was paid down, and the economy was growing at an annualised 5:5% So it wasn’t hard for Cullen to run a good economy, while Helen Clarke made he social engineering programs, as the economy was set up for them to do so
I do agree bob , that the austerity of the 90s ,and fear of inflation, held us back and putting up interest rates to cool growth rather than inflation, seems more logical to me

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Yes this government is a failure and conservative leadership tends to have a better understanding and track record regards financial management but have we not come to a place where none of that is going to matter? Recently I was at a website “WEF” or World Economic Forum. This site documents (you have to supply email address to access their site info properly) a massive plan to control every aspect of your life. Money management, recourse management, art n culture, health, education, artificial intelligence and on and on. The scale of the plans is massive. Your wealth and way of life is soon to be taken from you and new rules will govern how you fit into the new order of things, if indeed there is a place for you and me in that order. Our election issues then centre on maintenance of sovereignty, self governance, a trading nation not simply a territory in the new order. The planning has been in place for a long time but the middle finger has been raised by independent self governing nations who have rightly rejected globalist thinking. Now this has changed through “education” of new generations and main stream media indoctrination of almost everybody. The middle finger is now suffering from ED. The only political push-back of any consequence in this country is coming from Billy TK and the NZPP along with JL Ross and Advance as far as I can see. People are scared to vote for minority political parties because they are worried about their money. You won’t have your money when your freedom has gone, or if you get to keep it you will have done so much butt kissing you won’t be able to feel your face.

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    Very true comment, but we have still a democracy and in three years time we can reverse the trend for this new world order that is taking control of our lives The sad part is , the country will be in an economic mess and will take a generation to recover I still believe that kiwis will not accept a second world economy and have the guts and determination to fight our way back to where we are now But it will be in the 2030s before that happens The next decade will be really tough and left wing historians will blame Covid, but there wasno need for an economic collapse Just incompetence

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You’ve walked back from your earlier strong prediction it appears…

Recent developments with the delay no doubt complicate things a bit, but probably to National’s favour.

That said, this and its companion were/are probably the most spot on analysis I’ve encountered for the coming election to date.

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