A year of hard leanings

Graham Adams reflects on 2017: A year of hard truths, published in North & South and now also online at Noted, begins:

2017 is the first year since 2008 that we have had to cope without John Key at the nation’s helm. It hasn’t been easy. After eight years of being soothed and distracted by our showbiz prime minister, he suddenly resigned last December and we finally woke up to what had been happening while we weren’t paying attention.

It’s been a rude awakening – and one that shaped the election, resulting in a new government of Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens, dedicated to rectifying the shameful tally of social and environmental problems built up over nine years.

Key had managed to keep a lid on growing concern over a host of problems such as high house prices, homelessness, polluted rivers, and the effect of mass immigration on infrastructure, but the jig was clearly up at the end of last year. Louder and louder criticism was being aired, including from business leaders.

Key had gone as far as he could as the pump-and-dump prime minister. He managed the economy as if it was a business he was looking to sell in a few years rather than a long-term investment. Anything that brought in money was fine by him – whether it was over-intensive dairy farming, third-rate education for overseas students, foreign trusts hiding ill-gotten loot, asset sales (including state houses), offshore buyers snapping up land and houses, or massive immigration.

I don’t know of Adams, and Noted doesn’t note his background or political affiliations, but at least it’s clear he is not politically balanced from the start.

The article ends:

It is a hard truth for us to accept but the belief that our nation is exceptional (the best little country in the world!) is increasingly true for as many dismal features as it is for uplifting ones. But, after nine years of the National-led government denying that any of our myriad problems constituted a crisis, we are finally talking about them and the new administration is looking to address them.

That’s got to be good.

Not so good if anyone wanted a good balanced review of the year, they would have been disappointed, but at least they would have been in no doubt about where Adams’ political preferences lay.

Drilling down on his name:

Graham Adams is North & South and Metro’s former chief subeditor and film critic, now a regular online contributor.

Some of his other efforts this year:

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  1. Blazer

     /  December 18, 2017

    Hard to argue with his conclusions. .regardless.

  2. robertguyton

     /  December 18, 2017

    This article reeks of truthfulness. Graham Adams pins Key and his adoring fans like cabbage whites on a cork-board. Full of pithy and revealling quotes, this piece. Thanks for posting it, Pete.

    • PDB

       /  December 18, 2017

      Reeks of bitterness you mean – past articles show an intense (almost manic) hatred of John Key and Paula Bennett. Maybe he should stick to writing fiction pieces on somewhere like the Standard where a ready audience is awaiting?

      • robertguyton

         /  December 18, 2017

        His view is totally understandable and quite valid, in my view. It hurts though, PDB, when your heroes’ nastiness is exposed.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  December 18, 2017

          The only nastiness exposed here is Adams’ – and possibly yours, Robert.

          • robertguyton

             /  December 18, 2017

            Nastiness, Alan? From me? Both Key and Bennett have nasty streaks, in my opinion; well developed and nurtured by power. I’ve none, I’m proud to say.

  3. sorethumb

     /  December 18, 2017

    Q + A
    Episode 917
    Interviewed by Corin Dann

    CORIN Let’s move on to the issue of immigration. Kerry McDonald, who’s a preeminent New Zealand businessman – for many years Comalco managing director – he wrote in a piece on his website just recently. He said immigration, and I quote, ‘The high rate of immigration is a national disaster.’ He said, ‘It’s lowering the present and future living standards of New Zealanders by serious adverse economic, social and environmental consequences.’ Now, this isn’t Winston Peters saying this; this is a respected economist and businessman who’s worried about immigration not because of who’s coming here but because we aren’t able to cope with the numbers.
    CORIN You don’t want immigration to fall, though, do you? I just want to say something. I saw you in a speech after the Budget, and you were speaking to a big room of businesspeople – some of the biggest business minds in the country – and you stood up and you said, “Don’t worry about Treasury’s figure or estimation that it will go back to the trend of 12,000.” You were confident it was going to be a lot higher than that.

    JOHN I just think it’s unlikely it will go to 12,000.

    CORIN But it was like you wanted immigration to go up, because you were telling them, “Don’t worry. The demand in the economy is going to stay there. That’s what’s keeping New Zealand afloat.”

  4. High Flying Duck

     /  December 18, 2017

    The ravings of a bitter socialist who refuses to see the multitude of gains made in the last decade.
    Just Blazer and Robert’s cup of tea.
    The polls don’t exactly show a resounding ‘coming to the light’ moment bringing everyone into the warm embrace of Jacinda.

    I see Treasury are pouring cold water on the banning of selling land to foreigners Australia and Singapore to be exempt with more countries to follow and “many unintended consequences”.

    The Greens have been told their oil and gas policies will cost us over $15B,

    The house shortage is caused by capacity constraints that are not easily resolved…

    Meanwhile Growth is expected to come in below forecast for the quarter which will impact on the razors edge costings of Grant…

    All good for the new lot going into Christmas.

    • robertguyton

       /  December 18, 2017

      Yes, they’re looking strong and confident now, HFD.
      “Growth’s performance over the past year has been underwhelming and we have scaled back our optimism for the coming years as a result” ASB
      (My bold)

      • PDB

         /  December 18, 2017

        A bit ‘selective’ in your quoting there Robert….I wonder why?

        “Business confidence began falling in the lead-up to the election, and plunged in the month following the formation of the new Government to levels not seen since the global financial crisis. Although this has had little obvious impact on activity so far, there are concerns it will hit investment and hiring.”

      • High Flying Duck

         /  December 18, 2017

        The expected GDP drop based on Dairy prices falling offsetting buoyant construction.

    • Blazer

       /  December 18, 2017

      What gains would they be…homelessness, poverty.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  December 18, 2017

        Labour has reduced poverty almost overnight by reclassifying the measurement from 60% of median income to 50%…
        I’m sure all those children will be sleeping far more soundly tonight.

        National’s now repealed budget policies would have taken more children out of poverty faster – but don’t let the facts get in the way of your one eyed nature.

  5. George

     /  December 18, 2017

    Fake news. What else is new?

  6. sorethumb

     /  December 18, 2017

    National leader John Key has revealed he would like to take the tourism portfolio if he becomes Prime Minister, arguing that it offers big economic opportunities and is all about branding the country.

    and real wages in tourism and hospitality have been sinking like a stone. Meanwhile “hotels can ask what they want”

  7. sorethumb

     /  December 18, 2017

    The distinctive feature of the New Zealand economy is that land is an important input into
    the productive process. This is obvious with the agricultural, fishing and forestry sectors but
    it also applies to international tourism. In a simple model of the New Zealand economy
    where the supply of land is fixed, and New Zealand’s isolation means it is not a ‘natural’
    location for the production of a broad range of internationally traded goods and services,
    then an increase in the labour supply through large scale immigration will reduce the
    marginal product of labour. As a result:
     Real wages will fall
     Owners of land will benefit
     There will be an outflow of ‘native’ labour in search of higher wages in Australia
     The economy will be bigger, but average incomes will fall
     Resources will flow into low value service production.

    • PartisanZ

       /  December 18, 2017

      Yes … I mostly agree (believe it or not) … except that it may be exactly the opposite to a conspiratorial Left-Wing ‘long march through institutions’ using diversity and multiculturalism as their shield? That’s much more likely to be the ‘False Flag Operation’ …

      It may be the natural, inevitable and probably intended consequence of the neoliberal paradigm, the (so-called) ‘free market’ globalization [including of the labour market] which the Right championed under Rogerednomics and Ruthanasia …

      Who should I ‘blame’? ………… Myself.

      Or ………. metamorphise out of ‘blame’ mode … It just eats us up anyhow …