Sir Roger Re-emerges

Last Friday 8 August I had the interesting experience of sharing  a political platform with Sir Roger Douglas, nearly 20 years after our last encounter when I was part of an unemployed workers’ demonstration challenging what he and his Labour colleagues had done to the country.

Like a ghost from Christmas past, Sir Roger re-emerged in the somewhat incongruous setting of the Te Awaharahi Marae deep in rural Waikato.

Addressing a large hui of unionised Maori nurses, he held forth on how much they would benefit from Act’s intention to cut taxes while privatising the health system and ACC, forcing people to take out private health and accident insurance.

The response to Sir Roger was underwhelming, but I have to admire his gumption in standing for Parliament again at his rather senior age, twenty years after he and the fourth Labour Government gutted the economic infrastructure of the country, putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work.

The impacts of what Sir Roger and his colleagues did in the 80s are still felt keenly in places like South Auckland, Northland, the Bay of Plenty and Tairawhiti where a lot of the ongoing unemployment, poverty, family violence and crime is a direct or indirect result of what happened way back then.

My deepest fear now is that with or without Act as part of the mix, a National-led Government would be more than happy to lead us all down the same path again, putting into place policies which deliberately create unemployment while further harassing and penalising those who end up in the benefit system as a result.

54 thoughts on “Sir Roger Re-emerges

  1. StephenR
    There were several factors behind the large increases in revenue following the corporatisation of the New Zealand Forest Service. “Increased efficiency” was at best of minor significance. The practice of “overcutting” was a much larger contributor to the overall result. Briefly, foresters normally work to a system of sustainable yield. If you cut less than the sustainable yield your revenue is reduced but your capital stock is augmented and your future sustainable yield level increases. If you cut more than the sustainable yield your revenue is increased, but your capital stock is depleted and your future sustainable yield level is reduced. Foresters are usually required to advise their stakeholders when they are cutting at a rate greater than the sustainable yield, and that is why you will see an “overcutting” item in the annual reports of the Forestry Corporation of New Zealand SOE.

  2. The agency responsible for managing state forests up till 1987 was the New Zealand Forest Service. While much good work was done by the men and women of the NZFS, to its shame the organisation was instrumental in the destruction of much of New Zealand’s native forests, and was also plagued by the bureaucratic inefficiency and petty corruption that seemed to be the lot of many state agencies in New Zealand. So by 1987 the organisation was ready for a shakeup, and it was also an appropriate time to begin looking at new models for production forestry in New Zealand. I was personally supportive of the privatisation principle, and so got involved with forestry workers like myself who were interested in bidding for state forest cutting rights.

    There were a few obstacles put in our path however. First was that the forests on offer were large, comprising many thousands of hectares with multi-million dollar market valuations. And then we were required to pay a $5000 fee for each set of tender documents, which basically just told us what the state was putting up for sale. When we approached the Associate Minister of Forests, Mr Ken Shirley, with the suggestion that the sale process be altered in such a way as to allow people such as ourselves to participate in the sale process, without compromising the nett financial return to the Crown, Mr Shirley candidly told us that the Labour government preferred the forests to be sold to overseas forestry corporations, in order to generate overseas funds for the Crown. So the sale process was biassed in favour of multinational corporations from the beginning. The Labour Party of Douglas, Prebble et al never intended to foster genuine “free enterprise” or a “property owning democracy”. Their programme was to replace monopolistic and bureaucratic state organisations with monopolistic and bureaucratic private corporations. Along they way some people who had very little connection with or understanding of forestry but who had close links to the Labour Party, made huge amounts of money by buying up and flicking on state forests – just as was done in the case of New Zealand Rail.

    And of course, as I alluded to earlier, Roger Douglas tried to justify the whole process with a lot of political claptrap about “jobs” and “opportunities”. But Rogernomics was never intended to be a way of kickstarting the free enterprise economy in New Zealand. The intention was to provide a means by which the non-productive classes in New Zealand society could plunder and appropriate to themselves the state assets built up over the previous century. And nothing much has changed in the two decades since.

  3. StephenR

    The forestry industry in NZ is now effectivly broke. They have broken up and sold off the huge plantations cheap because they are almost worthless.

    Dumb dumb idea to plant so much low quality wood when if we had started plantations of hard woods in the 1930s (including natives) we would be harvesting them now.

    Lack of planning. The curse of the short investment horizon

    peace
    W

  4. BB

    Your alternatives still involve a degree of protectionism and elitism which is what got us into trouble in the first place, basally you are suggesting SMP’s (and we know how terrible they were) for industry.

    Not really. In the first part of the 20th century protectionism was needed to develop industry. All developing contries need to protect their fledging industries otherwise they are not “developing countries” they are and remain “undeveloped countries”.

    Itwas done in an elitist way because we are, unfortunatly, an elitist society. I work to change that. One of the reasons I am a Green.

    You also (and you are not alone in this) refuse to admit that the reason we have enjoyed such good economic times of late are the direct result of the Douglas and Richardson policies, if they are/were so bad can you name one that Labour have reversed?

    Employments contracts act was the main one. They also have taken regional development seriously. I live in Dunedin, and things are much much different here now.

    The main reason we have enjoyed good times under labour is our terms of trade (especially dairy). Despite our currency problems and monetary policy out of the ark tha commodity boom has been good for us.

    National would have enjoyed the boom too, but would have kept wages lower.

    Gerrit

    the car assembly industry was highly ineficient and unsustainable.

    Yes it was. It had to stop. Douglas was *right* about that. But it should not have been shut down with no effort at all to find a replacement that could be more efficient and sustainable.

    Now Douglas has the cheek to attempt a come back. Geezze

    peace
    W

  5. With regards to the formerly state-run Forestry Corporation, if I remember correctly (i’m pretty sure i’m right, I read this in the last week or so) it went from costing the state $100m a year, to making a $1 billion a year (I don’t know if that is revenue or profit or what, but obviously a gigantic improvement).

  6. As a forestry worker, I remember Roger Douglas promising “30,000 new jobs in forestry” as a result of privatisation. In fact, there was a net loss of jobs. Worse, the value of the national forest estate plummetted due to over-cutting, replacement of high value species with low value radiata pine crops, badly informed decisions on silvicultural regimes and misconceived tree breeding policies. All in all Douglas was about as successful in his re-structuring of the national forest estate as he was in running his own pig farm. But if he wants to finish the job, and the New Zealand voters want to give him the chance, then so be it…

  7. If you must go back in time then I’d say the opportunity was lost at the time England joined the EEC. NZ then had lots of money as a result of many years of positive terms of trade (top of OECD?), if only it had been prudently managed. Had we had a Rodger/Ruth then who was brave enough to declare the party over at that time. Instead politicians and the people kept on partying and spent the lot. We still do even today.
    I’m with the others; Mudloon was the problem, Rodga was the (painful) remedy.
    Whats the Green’s remedy?

  8. Bliss,

    Good summation. except you left out the fact that the car assembly industry was highly ineficient and unsustainable.

    The only way that industry could survive was by protectionism on the governments part PLUS the car manufactureres to keep sending CKD components.

    While you could control government regulation to keep out cheaper overseas assembled cars, you had no control on the other.

    Car manufacturers were not keen to carry on as they were much more efficient at assembling cars in one factory (located where labour was the best and the cheapest) rather then packaging up components to be assembled in far off New Zealand.

    Just think of the shipping plus inventory cost to assemble ust one type of car here.

    In my distant past worked at the Ford Papatoetoe plant assembling escorts. Did 20 cars per day. If you consider the capital outlay for that plant for 20 cars per day it was just not sustainable in capacity nor providing a return on investment.

    Now multiply this with the other car manufacturers assembly facilites, you had gross over capacity in that industry.

    Soemthing had to give and they closed down.

  9. New Zealand seems to be full of all these old-timers who spend all their time harking back to pre-roger NZ as though it was somehow great and we should return there. So to Toad and his friends stop living in the past the NZ pre-roger was not a great place it was a fairy land and an illusion that was always destined to fail.

  10. Ever wondered why two of America’s biggest mortgage companies are called Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae?

    Or why Congress was so eager to bail them out?

    http://www.villagevoice.com/content/printVersion/541234

    “Perhaps the only domestic issue George Bush and Bill Clinton were in complete agreement about was maximizing home ownership, each trying to lay claim to a record percentage of homeowners, and both describing their efforts as a boon to blacks and Hispanics. HUD, Fannie, and Freddie were their instruments, and, as is now apparent, the more unsavory the means, the greater the growth.”

  11. Before he was railroaded by Holyoak’s government Dr. William Sutch had presented an extremely well researched argument against increased import substitution. Very simply NZ lacked the resources, human, material and financial to develop export industries simultaneously with developing import substitution industries. The focus on import substitution, especially the diversion of resources to ckd car assembly stifled the access to investment capital that was so essential to developing innovative secondary exports, especially when applied to primary produce.

  12. Bliss

    And of course you do not suffer from any form of idealogical blindness do you.

    Your alternatives still involve a degree of protectionism and elitism which is what got us into trouble in the first place, basally you are suggesting SMP’s (and we know how terrible they were) for industry.

    Productivity is the enemy of the people (worker) Bliss, under Richardson our productivity increased fantastically, while under Comrade Cullen we have regressed to a figure that puts us at the bottom of the OECD.

    Your assertion that all the CKD factories were for foreign owned is false by the way, at the time Douglas and Lange came to power there was at least one still in NZ ownership.

    And PLEASE….”gave us a social debt of poverty and marginalisation that we are still repaying”….that is utter rubbish, even if it were not it does not say a lot for nine years of a Labour govt does it….or are you another one who is seeking to blame all of today’s ills on the last National govt?

    You also (and you are not alone in this) refuse to admit that the reason we have enjoyed such good economic times of late are the direct result of the Douglas and Richardson policies, if they are/were so bad can you name one that Labour have reversed?

  13. Love it Bliss – good analysis.

    Had been hoping Sue Bradford could come on here tonight to reply to some of the responses to her post, but have just found out there is a two day Green Caucus meeting going on today and tomorrow in some isolated location and she’s incommunicado, so we’ll have to wait for another day to hear from her in response to some of the comments.

  14. I’ll bite on the TINA idea.

    There was no choice between Rogernomics and Muldoonism. It was not one or the other. A full spectrum of alternatives was available to both Muldoon and Douglas but because they both suffered from ideological blindness they ignored them and did what they wanted.

    I am a bit confused about what Muldoon thought he was doing.

    Douglas was following a theory that basically held that people are rational and free economic agents. By acting in their own interests they would, together, do what was best for society.

    This is an old idea, but in the past it was one idea among many. For poor old Roger it was an all consuming obsession.

    In the past the state realised it hasd an important place to play in the economy to ensure that the economy developed reasonably evenly over the whole country. This was why we had import substitution. It may seem stupid now that it was not legal to import toilet paper, but the pulp and paper industry developed (for good and ill).

    As the economy developed things have to change. I still wipe my bum with cheap toilet paper made from NZ pine but I have the choice to use toilet paper made from rags in China. But the way that the changes were done was *stupid*!

    Roger and his gnomes were obsessed with markets to the point that they talked (and still talk) as if markets have thoughts and feelings. They seemed to believe that there was no economic problem that markets could not solve. They became (and remain) seriously deluded. They took away all the supports put into the economy that enabled it to develop mostly overnight and expected competition and markets to fill the gaps.

    One example was the CKD car factories in South Auckland. They were large factories making cars from kits and employed thousands of people at all skill levels. It was not sustainable to keep building cars from kits like that, but it was a good way to provide mass employment when it was needed and industrial development.

    When the car market was liberalised it was done with *no* effort to establish industry that would provide similar employment, and at an appropriate technological level. The result was mass unemployment, a flood of unemployed engineers and business failures. The market contains no magic mechinism to get around this.

    The alternative was to do some planning, figure out what sort of industry would make sense than find some of way of encouraging such an industry to develop. Provide land, low interest loans, appropriate training in local technical collages….

    This may well have involved forign companies investing here, almost certainly, just as the CKD car factories were foreign owned.

    So there was an alternative. Douglas and his cronies were (are) deluded idiots who do not understand how economies work, and their fixation in the eighties gave us a social debt of poverty and marginalisation that we are still repaying.

    Rogernomics: The gift that keeps on taking.

    peace
    W

  15. Sue Bradford, a challenge to you….
    Tell us, please tell us something
    anything
    you have done in your time with the Green party that is/was an environmental issue.
    Is that too much to ask?

  16. Watching the cycling races at the olympics I was astounded to see the course go through the toll gate for a motorway.

    A toll road in a communist country?

    Do they do PPP’s?

    Maybe something for the Labour government (so adament PPP will not happen here) to get their heads around and for the Greens to support National on?

    After all if communist country has PPP’s then could we not?

  17. Is there anyone in the Greens who went beyond Economics 101? There must be *someone* in the party who can tell us why Douglas was wrong to make the changes he did given the circumstances, and what they would have done better?

    Or will the silence be deafening?

  18. Toad

    Rogernomics was about fiscal changes. Or are you spinning it as a social directive to change the way New Zealand society operates?

    And after nine years of supporting rogernomics through the Greens support of the Labour party , are you still saying it was not a good scheme? Why support Labour?

    Having berated the nats for not releasing policy, the Greens are now doing the same. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm goose and gander anyone?

    Will look forward to that policy. Plus all the others.

    Maybe we even get to see the Greens alternative budget. The one wih the “good’ tax cuts to neutralise the ‘bad” tax increases as promised by Russel.

  19. Toad

    It is frustrating debating the rights or supposed wrongs of Sir Roger Douglas with you simply because you have such a closed mind on the issue.
    You refuse to admit that the policies he introduced saved this country from bankruptcy, yes some people lost their jobs but the reality is that most of them were in unsustainable (a word I know you do not like) employment anyway.
    The railways, forestry and the vast and inefficient Post office were little more than sheltered workshops, Douglas and Lange (the left seem to be trying to rewrite history by leaving Lange out of the reforms) were brave enough to make those decisions in the interest of doing what was right as apposed to doing what was popular.

    When you write things like this……… “There were alternatives to deliberately casting thousands of people into unemployment. Like making those who could afford to pay for the much-needed restructuring after Muldoon’s failed Stalinist experiment pay for the cost of it”……. you do yourself a disservice, you are a lot smarter than that.

    It is easy to say that there were alternatives, how about you tell me what those alternatives were?

    You and I both know that the reasonably good economic conditions we have enjoyed in the last nine years have nothing to do with this left wing govt (indeed there is a good argument to support the accusation that Cullen and Clark have squandered the chance to really improve things) and all to do with the reforms of the 80’s and 90’s.

    You rightly state that we have a low wage economy yet you offer no suggestions as to how we might improve wages, productivity under Richardson improved greatly yet under Cullen we have slipped well back into the OECD pack, where do you think the extra money for wages is going to come from if not from productivity?

  20. >>You and Gerrit are notable exceptions, but I think most posters here want to talk politics rather than economic analysis.

    That is evasion, Toad.

    You’re happy to bring Rogernomics up as some Hussain-style monster, but we’re asking “why?”. We’re also asking for your plan on “how” you would do it differently.

    That IS politics i.e. is there any substance to your party?

  21. I am certainly not holding my breathe for Frog to post a response to either Gerrit or kevyn’s posts

  22. Had another thought frog while doing my machine warm up routine before staarting work.

    What would New Zealand look like if rogernomics had not occurred. You rubbish rogernomics yet are not painting a picture of what New Zealand society and economy would have looked like without that fiscal correction.

    So put on your thinking hat and paint that picture. Start with Kevyn’s scenario and tell me what the Greens would have done, and how New Zealand would look like today.

    Be interesting as it could set up your “policies” for when englishnomics occurs.

  23. Kevyn,

    Excellent summation. Should be required reading for all who dont understand the history of New Zealand economic affairs.

    Frog,

    I want to lend my voice to the chorus that ask again off the Greens.

    What costed policy (yes toad, the $150M for pokies funding replacement is the first and so far only costed policy) on how you will achieve the nirvana outlined in the Green policy statements.

    Those warm fussy policies that promise sweetness and light are all very well but what is the implmentaion plan?

    And going on and on about rogernomics is passe and spin meistery of the highest order. After all you are supporting Helen Clarks government. A government that is being led by a person who endorsed rogernomics and who for the last nine years has done very little to improve the conditions of “places like South Auckland, Northland, the Bay of Plenty and Tairawhiti”.

    So by all means shoot down what rogernomics did, but please put up the alternative. That alternative is not the published wishy washy policies you have currently.

    Policies such as warm housing for all. A noble policy but please tell me how the Greens are going to achieve that, rather then rubbishing rogernomics.

    With the economy heading towards another situation where we may well face a bout of englishnomics (Bill being the finance minister in the next parliament). What will the Greens do to help prevent this?

    Because Clark is behaving like her nemesis Muldoon (although she wont annouce a snap election while two sheets to the wind).

    So frog, the question is simple, what will the Greens do to propel the New Zealand economy forward so that all can live in warm houses?

  24. Well I supose it depends on the form of the PPP’s.
    I encourage State ownership of vital networks such as rail, road, local broadband and the national power grids in a SOE form so that Private enterprises can access the grid at a set proportion of network upkeep costs and thus enable greater market fluidity. That could be considered a PPP and i would whole-heartidly support that.
    PPP could also, as you say, have a place in the electricity market, though to me this is justified more by the challanges associated with new infrastructure than anything else.
    In other areas I find it somewhat more dubious, large government loans at slightly over inflation rate may work well for overcoming funding problems associated with new private sector infrastructure but I dont see joint ownership to be a good idea when the state has a less than majority share in the enterprise (essentially making it a SOE anyway).
    So ive pretty much just refuted my own PPP = bad arguement, but yeah, thats one of the good things about being a teen; you have so much more room to use the naivity excuse.

  25. Sapient, PPPs will reduce carbon emissions the same way the electricity reforms improved energy efficiency. Add the cost of mergers and takeovers and the profit motive when state assets are placed on a commercial footing and prices have to go up. When prices go up demand goes down. As long as you have the demand elasticities that exist with electricity and cars you can increase the price till you get the right balance where total revenue and profits will go up even though demand goes down.
    Chicago seems to have found this is the solution to parking-induced congestion. It will be interesting to see if it works.
    http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/008331.html

  26. Toad, I think everybody who focuses on Douglas or Muldoon as the culprit is ignoring the impact the the producer boards had on the economy in the decades beore SMPs were inroduced. The main aim of the producer boards was to smooth out the annual fluctuations in produce prices. They did this by paying farmers the average price that the board had sold produce for in the previous three years. If prices were rising the board would have a surplus which it would pay to the government, if prices were falling the the board would have a deficit which the government would fund. This system worked well when prices were only rising and falling by small amounts. But in 1967 wool prices crashed. The Minister of Finance, one Rob Muldoon, had to divert motor registration fees into the consolidated fund to fund the government’s liabilities to the Wool Board. A couple pf years later the price recovered and led to a an economic boom. Unfortunately prices then crashed for a whole range of agricultural commodities in 1973 and 1974. Bill Rowling had to double the petrol tax to fund the payments to the producer boards and to try and stifle demand for petrol. This time prices never recovered but with the three year averaging farmers and freezing works didn’t feel the full impact of the price crash till the mid-70s. To make matters worse lending by government and local bodies for public works almost ceased as interest rates rose and that combined with the completion of the major hydro schemes led to a surge of unemployment. The early response to the surge in umployment was to employ more workers on rail and telephone works. The problem was that money wasn’t available for the materials these works required so they quickly became make-work schemes that didn’t actually produce anything.

    The other more enduring legacy of the producer board payment system and SMPs is that in providing farmers with stable incomes to prevent the cycles of borrowing and foreclosures that had occurred in the 1920s they also made farmers unresponsive to global market changes. By reducing risk to banks they encouraged extravagant lending with the result that the surge in interest rates in the ’70s was a major factor in introducing SMPs, in effect a subsidy to the banks rather than to the farmers. As should be expected when governments intervene in this way resistance to change became the order of the day in farming and when the interventions were finally ended the collapse was spectacular. Instead of farmers being weaned off subsidies and diversifying gradually we saw farmers being thrown off their farms in large numbers. The shockwave through the rural support industries and communities were really only covered by the news media if a major freezing works was closed. The banks had to find somewhere else to lend their money and instead of lending to manufacturers to switch from import substitution to added value exports the banks chose to lend to corporate raiders who were going to “streamline” the country’s manufacturing economy. All they actually succeeded in doing was to inflate share prices to unsustainable heights. The inevitable crash of the sharemarkets wiped out such a huge amount of bank loans that they clamped down on industry just when it was most critical for them have access to funds for switching from import substitution to exporting.

    More complex than the simple blame the boogeyman explanation but more helpful if we don’t want to repeat those same mistakes. The real worry is that the MSM is far more city focused than it was 25 years ago and there seems to be an even stronger belief in city’s independence from the rural economy than there was back then. Farming is still by far the biggest part of the foundations that the rest of the economy is built on. Soaring oil prices and global recession are going to hit forestry, fishing and tourism much harder than farming. Manufactured exports have already taken a big hit from the high dollar. If there is a repeat of those commodity price lurches that hit Muldoon and Rowling I think we could be just as badly affected. Today we are dependent on high dairy prices the same way we were dependent on high wool prices back then.

  27. Lol, phil, one can see why you got banned.
    His use of ‘parasites’ may of been harsh (though technicly correct) but it hardly justifies that. I dont even bother with DPF or Kiwiblog, its a waste of time, atleast here and even on G-blog one can find some rational debate.

    As much as I hate the borrowing; It is an economicly wise move so long as it remains state assets rather than getting given to their buddies, I dont know exactly what they plan to use it on but aslong as PPP isint mentioned it seems a rational use of funds to me; a rite mix of classical and keynsian economic growth paths; lower tax increases reinvestment and job opportunities which decreases unemployment which decreases need for tax which further increases job opportunities and borrowing for investment allows for investment in infrastructure that would otherwise require higher taxes but in being invested in can vastly increase growth and particuarly high wage growth. it seems to me just what the Greens sould be promoting. Though one wonders of how great the resultant inflation will be and the wisdom of massive borrowing in the present economy.

  28. >>I imagine we could sustain John Key’s borrowing programme indefinitely. Now, remind me how Muldoon nearly bankrupted the country again?

    So long as borrowing levels are sustainable, and they are – we’re talking a few extra billion on infrastructure – then there is no problem.

    The spend is necessary. There is no more tax revenue to be had. So, pray tell, HOW are you and Sue going to do it?

    Cost it out, else the Greens are just blowing smoke, as usual.

  29. “So much for Sir Roger’s economic mangement expertise then. By your own admission, john-ston, he stuffed it up. Or was it all Muldoon’s fault.

    Some was, to be sure, but I guess the neo-cons will argue that it all was, and that Douglas had only TINA – “There Was No Alternative? – as an option.”

    While some of it was Muldoon’s fault, some of it was Douglas’ fault, and some of it was due to the fall out from the 1987 Crash (to which blame has not been allocated to this day), you forgot something else – the Labour Party. They knew they were doomed from as early as 1989, and what better thing to do than empty the Treasury and give National a poisoned chalice.

    Anyway, what would you have done with the situation in 1984? I would be very interested in what the Greens would have done had they inherited the situation from Muldoon.

  30. and this is the response from my ‘curse’..

    “..Monty (222) Add karma Subtract karma +6 Says:
    August 11th, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks Phil for the endorsement with why parasites on welfare need to work rather than sponge off hard working people such as myself. Don’t worry – my marriage is very strong and safe – because we both do work hard, take responsibility for our lives, are careful with our money (and we do have a fair bit of money). We also spend a lot of time with our three children and are teaching them responsibility – they are of course fit healthy and have good role models. They will not become welfare parasites in the future. Miss 10 is already planning to be a Lawyer, Miss 8 wants to be an artist, and Master 4 wants to be an All Black. They may not acheive their current ambitions – but at least at their young age they have ambbition.

    Ambition is something the parasite classes do not have.

    we both have skill sets that are highly in demand and this year our house hold income will top $400k. Of course we deserve every cent we earn, but the problem with that Helen will rob me blind with 40% tax – so i am seriously considering like so many others to take our skill sets and go where I can be appreciated and earn even more..”

    phil(whoar.co.nz

    as he tells you..toad feels you must be ‘polite’ to scum like this..

    ..i think you should call them on/as being ‘scum’..

  31. Phil, I’ve never responded to one of Monty’s posts, nor he to mine (from memory). So to call him one of my “right wing buddies” is a bit rich, don’t you think.

    Just because I engage in civil conversation (as opposed to abusive attacks) with right wingers on Kiwiblog doesn’t make me one of them. Some will be hardened right wing ideologues, but others who read Kiwiblog, not necessarily those who post, will be open to debate and persuasion.

    That is what I try to do. Be nice to people and you might persuade them of your point of view. Be abusive, as you do, and you will alienate them from us to the Dark Side forever.

  32. and this is what ‘lit’ my fuse..

    (quite the ‘dissembler’..aren’t you toad..?)

    “..Monty (222) Add karma Subtract karma +11 Says:
    August 11th, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    The sad and predictable cries of welfare bashing are ringing loud from those parasites who want to waste their lives while sponging on the hardworking and long suffering taxpayers.

    Their pathetic cries of wanting “to be there for the children? are pathetic. To have the choice for both parents not to work is now the privilage of the rich.

    My wife and I both work and pay the highest tax rates so the parasites can take no responsibility for their lives. Good policy John Key – I look forward to more that force self responsibility upon the parasite classes..”

    (one of toads’ rightwing buddies..eh..?..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  33. john-ston said: The other thing was that at the time of the Mother of All Budgets, the government was facing a $5 billion deficit that it had inherited from the Fourth Labour Government that National was unaware of.

    So much for Sir Roger’s economic mangement expertise then. By your own admission, john-ston, he stuffed it up. Or was it all Muldoon’s fault.

    Some was, to be sure, but I guess the neo-cons will argue that it all was, and that Douglas had only TINA – “There Was No Alternative” – as an option.

  34. jh said: Join the club Phil.

    jh, I enjoy your posts, although often may not agree with them. You are always polite, and usually make sense (although I have to admit I sometimes don’t grasp the point).

    Philu is a different matter. He is frequently personally abusive, and has been to me over on Kiwiblog. I have tried to post what he actually got banned for over on Kiwiblog (which is not the posts he has claimed it is on this thread), but the frogblog filters would not let his comment through (which says something in itself).

    I suspect frog will eventually clear my post. Anyway, Philu’s offending comments that got him banned on Kiwiblog are here.

  35. “Philu (2751) Says:
    August 11th, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    scum like mr & mrs monty..and many of you..would tear away the whole social support system..if you could..

    ..they/you would step over starving widows/orphans in gutters..

    ..this is the real face of ‘nice’ mr key/the national party/your foul rightwing ideology..”
    …………………..
    No no no Phil, there may be some like that but as others say there is intergenerational welfare…. people planning welfare into their futures. We need to be realistic and efficient so that widows/ orphans can be looked after.
    When you are old you’ll have grandchildren visiting yet people like my wife and I (and I can think of single women who would love to have children who wouldn’t dream of going on dpb) wont have anyone yet we pay for you lifestylers.

  36. “There were alternatives to deliberately casting thousands of people into unemployment. Like making those who could afford to pay for the much-needed restructuring after Muldoon’s failed Stalinist experiment pay for the cost of it.”

    They were already paying a fortune in tax. IIRC, the top personal and corporate tax rates in New Zealand were 66% in 1984 – had you increased it any further, tax revenue would have gone down you idiot. The other thing was that much of the much-needed restructuring required hurting the ordinary people – many of the trading departments were de-facto dumping grounds for the unemployed. At least now, those who are employed are in productive work and are not pen pushers – would you not agree that this is far better?

    “Instead, the Alan Hawkinses, the Bob Joneses, the Michael Fays, the David Richwhites (unfortunate name) and the Selwyn Cushings became extraordinarily wealthy, while thousands of New Zealanders, through no fault of their own, were left to eke out an existence on the unemployment benefit.”

    Like jh mentioned, Jones was already wealthy before 1984; and the others either made money during the ridiculous bull market that existed prior to 1987 or in the case of Fay and Richwhite, did make money off New Zealanders. The problem was that the government needed money extremely quickly to keep the country a float.

    “There had to be a better way to implement reforms, paid for by those who could afford the reforms, than throwing thousands of honest and hard-working, but low skilled, New Zealanders out of work and then paying them the dole (at the expense of those of us who were lucky enought to retain our jobs).”

    Explain how you would have done it? As much as I believe the reforms happened too quickly, given the situation, what was done was probably the best situation. Also, many of the honest and hard-working New Zealanders were already working for the trading departments, so it was simply moving them from NZR to the unemployment benefit. Also, unemployment surged after the fall-out from the 1987 crash – had the crash not occurred, I don’t think that you would have had the steep amounts of unemployment.

    “Then we had Richardson’s benefit cuts, supposedly to bail out the BNZ. Yep, the BNZ was in real strife, I agree. I’m not normally a fan of privatisation, but couldn’t that problem have been dealt with by a partial share float, with the Government still retaining a majority shareholding, rather than the injection of $600m cash at the expense of beneficiaries?”

    The BNZ was already partially listed – it was floated in 1987, with 70% stake held by the Government. Douglas, I recall, mentioned that he would have liked to have floated the SOEs on the Stock Exchange, but at the time, the market was quite small and a $1 billion listing would have overwhelmed it (he was referring to Air New Zealand). Of course, who would have invested in the Stock Exchange? Certainly not the mum and dads who were out of money and had been burnt four years earlier. The other thing was that at the time of the Mother of All Budgets, the government was facing a $5 billion deficit that it had inherited from the Fourth Labour Government that National was unaware of.

    The thing is that New Zealand desperately needed the reforms of the 1980s and it was unfortunate that it was rushed. Had the “Rogernomics” reforms started in 1981, let us say, then it would have been far slower and I don’t think that it would have been as painful. Also, had Labour not been so deceptive in 1990, I believe that Bolger would have probably been able to keep to his promise (or not make it at all). At least, we can be thankful that we have learnt our lessons and it is unlikely that we will need to go through such a process again. Of course, “Think Big” serves as a lesson – never build projects on the assumption that high oil prices are here to stay :P

  37. “There were alternatives to deliberately casting thousands of people into unemployment. Like making those who could afford to pay for the much-needed restructuring after Muldoon’s failed Stalinist experiment pay for the cost of it.”

    I had a family next door renting. The father was a farmer who had lost his farm when subsidies were removed. The nieghbour on the other side remarked: “he spends a lot of time with his head in his hands”. Eventually he got a job and was tickled pink. He didn’t migrate to South Auckland and become a child abuser, but he might have been “one of the lucky ones” in Sues narrative.

    “Instead, the Alan Hawkinses, the Bob Joneses, the Michael Fays, the David Richwhites (unfortunate name) and the Selwyn Cushings became extraordinarily wealthy, while thousands of New Zealanders, through no fault of their own, were left to eke out an existence on the unemployment benefit.”

    It’s a fact of life that whole sections of the economy can shed jobs as in technological change. But:
    Bob Jones: inflation during Muldoon era?
    Fay /Richwhite bough rail cheaply and resold….. You could maybe blame Roger Douglas?
    What about the sharemarket boom… that’s part of the irrational exuberance of the business cycle.

    “There had to be a better way to implement reforms, paid for by those who could afford the reforms, than throwing thousands of honest and hard-working, but low skilled, New Zealanders out of work and then paying them the dole (at the expense of those of us who were lucky enought to retain our jobs).”

    heard Sue today arguing that a lot of those jobs are “at night” “poorly paid”
    “shift”…. Don’t think I’d employ Sue.

  38. “Sue You and the truth do not see a lot of each other do you??

    BB, after reading Whaleoil I’m beginning to think Sue has been telling a few porkies around the traps!

    “We are told by Sue Bradford and others that the repeal of Section 59 law is working and that there have been no prosecutions. Thanks to Family First we now know the reason why There have been no prosecutions because the Police have 2 categories of ‘smacking’ and ‘minor acts of physical discipline’ (without any legal definition) and have then said “no prosecutions for smacking.? Documents obtained under the OIA from the Police prove this to be the case. In fact there have been 8 prosecutions in just first 6 months – for minor acts. NOT child assault which is a separate category, and another 6 are yet to be resolved?

    >http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/?q=content/no-prosecutions-yeah-right#comments

  39. BB, usually you and I can have a reasoned debate. But your defending the Rogernomics TINA approach really sticks in my craw.

    There were alternatives to deliberately casting thousands of people into unemployment. Like making those who could afford to pay for the much-needed restructuring after Muldoon’s failed Stalinist experiment pay for the cost of it.

    Instead, the Alan Hawkinses, the Bob Joneses, the Michael Fays, the David Richwhites (unfortunate name) and the Selwyn Cushings became extraordinarily wealthy, while thousands of New Zealanders, through no fault of their own, were left to eke out an existence on the unemployment benefit.

    I was a member of the protest that Sue refers to in her post – it was at a meeting in Northcote, around the time Lange (belatedly but correctly) sacked Douglas as Finance Minister.

    The heckling of Douglas’ speech that night was sufficiently loud and frequent that he gave up on delivering it. At one stage, I seem to recall Sue Bradford delivering a short speech of her own, which was much better recieved by the assembled audience than Sir Roger’s.

    There had to be a better way to implement reforms, paid for by those who could afford the reforms, than throwing thousands of honest and hard-working, but low skilled, New Zealanders out of work and then paying them the dole (at the expense of those of us who were lucky enought to retain our jobs).

    And I think we are still feeling he effects of that today – the second-generation beneficiaries, whose parents never recovered either their self-esteem or their incomes after they were put on the scrapheap by Sir Roger.

    I often call those youngsters the Children of the Mother of All Budgets – even though that was Ruth Richardson’s Budget, it was really just progressing Sir Roger’s “unfinished business”.

    Then we had Richardson’s benefit cuts, supposedly to bail out the BNZ. Yep, the BNZ was in real strife, I agree. I’m not normally a fan of privatisation, but couldn’t that problem have been dealt with by a partial share float, with the Government still retaining a majority shareholding, rather than the injection of $600m cash at the expense of beneficiaries?

  40. ie Sues post (or should that be F for economics…. as far as any analysis goes) >”I’m from the left wing and this is the way it is!” :roll:

  41. Sue

    You and the truth do not see a lot of each other do you?

    While you may well be a practiced liar I am not prepared to let your slanderous comments about Sir Roger go without passing comment.

    His policies saved this country, the reason those polices were necessary was down to people like you, I know you still hold out hope for the peoples republic of New Zealand but I think you might find the desire for communist rule died a few years back.

  42. kahikatea, Highways is one area where Muldoon didn’t spend big. In fact there was an 80% reduction in spending on highway improvements. I’m not sure if the cosst of moving the state highway was included in the cost of the Clyde damn or if it soaked up much of the miniscule highway investment funding. If the latter is the case then think big was indirectly responsible for the failure to build motoray median barriers in the 1980s.
    During the debate of the Transit NZ Bill Richard Prebble blamed that situation on bureaucratic incompetence by the National Roads Board and stated that the solution had to be greater Government control of highway spending. So much for his belief in economic rationalism.

  43. Ergh,
    Douglas did what needed to be done. I dont like the man; but atleast he had the guts to do what we needed following the rein of muldoon.
    Many of the things he did he did terribly and I would not condone, but the overall effect was positive.

    Though this post does remind me of the ACT candidate (also 19) for otaki trying to convince the Massey Hokuwhitu Campus (teachers college) that a bulk-funded voucher system would increase the quality of education in NZ. lol, he might as well of walked to the gallows, knoted the rope and pulled the leaver himself.
    absolutly hilarious.

  44. i am about to be banned from kiwiblog..

    ..for my reaction to nationals’ benificiary-bashing..

    here is toads’ reaction to that banning..

    (was it something i said..?..)

    # toad (342) Add karma Subtract karma +0 Says:
    August 11th, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Phul

    20 + 20 + 10 + 10 + 20 + 10 + 20 = 110 Demerits.

    Enjoy your break.

    I hope that doesn’t mean we see more of him over at frogblog..”

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  45. BluePeter Says:
    August 11th, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    >>he gutted the ecnomic infrastructure of the country

    > Did what needed to be done, after that big-spending socialist loon, Muldoon, bankrupted us.

    certainly some of it did, but by no means all.

    >>ongoing unemployment, poverty, family violence and crime is a direct or indirect result of what happened way back then.

    > Given record low unemployment, it’s more a case of their total inability to get their act together. It’s their own fault.

    things are a bit different now after 9 years of Helen Clark as Prime Minister, but there is no doubt that the high levels of unemployment in the 1990s were structural features due in large part to the policies of Roger Douglas (though the policies of Ruth Richardson and, indirectly, Rob Muldoon, played a part too)

    > It doesn’t matter who the government is, they will need to cut back on government spending. We’re unsustainable now.

    Indeed. Clearly borrowing lots of money overseas to build lots more roads at a time of rising oil prices would make out economically more economically sustainable. I imagine we could sustain John Key’s borrowing programme indefinitely. Now, remind me how Muldoon nearly bankrupted the country again?

  46. I know Sue’s economic plan BP.

    1) Print money and give it away to all NZ’rs

    2) Steal money from NZ’rs and give it away

  47. “family violence and crime is a direct or indirect result of what happened way back then.”

    I’ll call bullshit on that one.

  48. >>he gutted the ecnomic infrastructure of the country

    Did what needed to be done, after that big-spending socialist loon, Muldoon, bankrupted us.

    >>ongoing unemployment, poverty, family violence and crime is a direct or indirect result of what happened way back then.

    Given record low unemployment, it’s more a case of their total inability to get their act together. It’s their own fault.

    >>National-led Government

    It doesn’t matter who the government is, they will need to cut back on government spending. We’re unsustainable now.

    What do you intend to do, hmmmm? Where is your economic plan Sue?

Comments are closed.