Robertson u-turn on public debt

From a comment from High Flying Duck:

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!…oh no, as you were. All good.

“Out of nowhere, Finance Minister Grant Robertson has made a significant U-turn, reversing what seemed to be a core Labour position.

After years of criticising National for a significant growth in Crown debt to more than $60 billion over the last decade, Robertson now seems to think the state of public debt is the best thing about the New Zealand economy.

As sharemarket turmoil in the United States spread around the world, Robertson said in an interview that he had real confidence in New Zealand’s economic fundamentals.

“Essentially the low level of public debt is a really important part of it.”

This from a man who said that under National debt had “skyrocketed”. Barely two months ago he told Parliament he “will not be lectured” by his predecessor Steven Joyce about debt levels.

“If there is anyone in this House who needs to take responsibility for debt levels, it’s that member,” Robertson said of Joyce, which presumably now means he is in awe of his arch-rival.

As comical as it is for Robertson to now say public debt is low, it was a curious thing to name as a key economic fundamental.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has repeatedly mocked National on its record of public debt, but now says debt levels are one of New Zealand’s key economic strengths.”

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/101238392/grant-robertsons-uturn-on-public-debt-hints-at-deeper-concerns-about-debt

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46 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  February 8, 2018

    Fact…the debt did rocket under National.
    ‘Essentially the low level of public debt is a really important part of it.”..does NOT =’ the state of public debt is the best thing about the New Zealand economy.’.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  February 8, 2018

      Pre-GFC & earthquakes the Clark Labour govt should have not only paid down debt but given tax relief as well. The fact they didn’t offer tax cuts was down to spending taxpayer money like drunken sailors during their 9-year term.

      Reply
  2. PDB

     /  February 8, 2018

    Record low unemployment, a buoyant economy and low govt debt in comparison to other countries today post-GFC (remarkable considering the earthquakes cost on top of that).

    I think Robertson is preparing us for a whole lot more borrowing under this govt by saying we have room to do so. ‘Fiscal hole’ anybody?

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  February 8, 2018

      I favour running deficits,Michael Hudson makes a compelling…case.Let the politics of expediency continue.

      Reply
      • PDB

         /  February 8, 2018

        Let me correct you – you favour LABOUR running deficits. You criticised National regardless if they ran deficits or surpluses.

        Reply
      • Trevors_elbow

         /  February 8, 2018

        Socialists always favour spending other peoples money. Afterall debt accumulated by government can be repudiated… and the rentier classes would be the losers .. perfect socialist policy addressing those dirty savers and dirty financiers ay Blazer… property including financial wealth is after all THEFT in the socialist credo …..inherited that attitude from its communist parent philosophy….

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  February 8, 2018

          ‘Capitalist always favour spending other peoples money’….because they know they get bailed out when their rapacious venality goes tits…up.

          Reply
          • David

             /  February 8, 2018

            “Capitalist always favour spending other peoples money’….because they know they get bailed out when their rapacious venality goes tits…up.”

            Isn’t the point of spending other peoples money that you don’t need to care if it is bailed out or not?

            Reply
          • Trevors_elbow

             /  February 8, 2018

            Yeah yeah blazer… no business ever goes bust…

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  February 8, 2018

              all those hardworking executives.paid the going rate for talent are doing their level…best…trevor.

  3. PartisanZ

     /  February 8, 2018

    Crisis precipitates change …

    Robertson’s opportunity to change his tune … albeit a very tenuous one indeed …

    …. like Rogered’s and Bolger’s “phone calls from Treasury” etc …

    Colour me surprized!

    Reply
  4. Gezza

     /  February 8, 2018

    I don’t have any time for Robertson, tbh. I think he’s a numpty. He probably shouldn’t be the Finance Minister.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  February 8, 2018

      Robertson is a fraud – he was also an embarrassment to the gay community when on live TV during his quest for the Labour party leadership he pretended his partner Alf wasn’t in the pub he was being interviewed in.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  February 8, 2018

        Maybe Alf wasn’t expecting Grant to be there? In which case Alf might’ve had some explaining to do later on? Or Grant did?

        Reply
        • PDB

           /  February 8, 2018

          Or maybe in going for the Labour leadership he thought that playing down the fact his partner was a bloke would be a good move….especially with the union vote.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  February 8, 2018

            You never told me you were going to the pub after work!
            You never told me YOU were going to the pub! And who was that WOMAN you were chatting up??
            Never mind her – who was that BLOKE you were chatting up !
            What? I can’t even talk to other blokes now??
            Cook your own dinner! I’m going out!
            Typical! Run away!
            I hate you!

            Reply
    • High Flying Duck

       /  February 8, 2018

      You’re a wise man Gezza.
      He’s good at stringing words together, but not at making them form any sensible meaning.

      Drinks beer but, and enjoys rugby, so he’s a real bloke. He has videos showing it and everything.

      To completely take something out of all context to prove it:

      “The first is that Grant really likes rugby. And when I say he really likes rugby, I mean he really likes rugby. He played it (with more enthusiasm than natural talent, but there you are) for years. He’s watched it in the rain and the cold winds of Carisbrook, then in the rain and the cold winds of the Caketin, for even more years. Check out his twitter feed, for crying out loud – he’s not “pandering” there, he’s writing about something he genuinely enjoys.

      The second is that Grant really can drink beer. And when I say he really can drink beer, I mean he really can drink beer. I won’t tarnish the reputation of the University of Otago by revealing the basis for my knowledge on this subject, but let’s just say that in an inter-flat keg race he provided roughly the equivalent team advantage to Jonah Lomu at the ’95 World Cup. And while his appetites have mellowed with time, with craft beers replacing the dreck that we used to get from McDuff’s, every time we meet up it will be over a pint of something or other.”

      https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/i-quite-like-beer-the-rugby-no-so-much

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  February 8, 2018

        As for playing rugby and drinking beer he’s the alpha male compared to. ..honky tonks.

        Reply
    • Robertson has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Time and time again he has shown he has limited fiscal understanding. This will be catastrophic for any gravitas he imagined he had and it’s vote shedding stuff.

      He’s poorly skilled and way, way out of his depth.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  February 8, 2018

        True. .a degree in zoology is what’s required for M. O. F. ..Bol.

        Reply
        • PDB

           /  February 8, 2018

          Nothing beats ‘real world economic experience’ Blazer…something sadly Robertson also doesn’t have.

          Wikipedia: “After leaving university Joyce and a group of friends (including radio presenter Jeremy Corbett) started their own radio station, Energy FM, in New Plymouth.[4][5] With business partners, he built up RadioWorks over the next seventeen years, both organically and by acquisition, to a network of 22 radio stations and 650 staff. He retired as Managing Director of RadioWorks in April 2001, when CanWest purchased it, Joyce receiving $6 million for the sale”.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  February 8, 2018

            So what. ..on that basis. .Hart should get the. .job.

            Reply
            • High Flying Duck

               /  February 8, 2018

              To be finance minister in a Government I believe you have to be an elected politician in the ruling party first Blaze.
              With that hurdle out of the way, having some experience of how business works is a big plus in being able to show you know what you’re doing.
              Hart is big on the second part. Robertson, not so much.

            • Blazer

               /  February 8, 2018

              @Duck…tell that to perennial list M.P ..and former M.O.F. Joyce..Bol.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  February 8, 2018

              Joyce was an elected member of parliament (through the list) and had plenty of (successful) business experience. His problem was his propensity to dish out corporate welfare, which was a complete rort.

        • Listen to PDB will you blazer

          Reply
        • Listen to PDB will you blazer. Has Grant even run a raffle?

          Reply
  5. loui

     /  February 8, 2018

    Hamish Rutherford’s characterisation of comments Finance Minister Grant Robertson made on debt as a ‘u-turn’ is wrong.
    Robertson noted that relatively low government debt to GDP compared with most countries left it well placed to stand against a fresh global financial crisis.
    Rutherford claimed this represented a change of policy given Robertson had repeatedly attacked National for skyrocketing debt. The fact is that when Labour was last in power core net government debt was actually in surplus to the tune of $19 million, according the Crown Financial Statements at June 30, 2008. Nine years of National’s wonderful economic management saw net debt skyrocket to $60 billion, 22.2 percent of GDP, or about $13,000 for every man, woman and child.
    Labour’s prudent economic management allowed New Zealand to withstand the effects of the Global Financial Crisis and the Christchurch earthquake.
    Interestingly, Rutherford also reported in same day’s paper that the unemployment rate had fallen to a nine-year low of 4.5 percent. Nine years just happens to coincide with National’s term of office when unprecedented immigration pushed the unemployment rate over 6 percent for most of that time, hitting 6.9 percent in 2012. Strange coincidence that.

    Reply
      • PDB

         /  February 8, 2018

        What it does show is National in the past 30 years or so inheriting economies on the wane, turning them around and then Labour inheriting economies already on the improve. Bolger inherited dramatically rising unemployment (and an economy deep in the shit) and handed over to Clark lowering unemployment & an economy back into surplus. Clark hands over to National an economy with quickly reducing surpluses, major spending commitments and a GFC and then National hands over a booming economy well in surplus with reducing unemployment to Ardern’s govt.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  February 8, 2018

          total tosh and you know it…this is funny..’Clark hands over to National an economy with quickly reducing surpluses, ‘……got a poster on your wall of..Muldoon…financial wizard.

          Reply
          • PDB

             /  February 8, 2018

            Muldoon was like you – a socialist.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  February 8, 2018

              put this in thy…pipe…When National came to power Government Net Debt was 5.4% of debt to GDP and National grew that debt burden to 24.6 %. Robertson has every right to point that fact out. Poorly spun article.

            • PDB

               /  February 8, 2018

              Treasury predicted that a Labour-led govt going beyond 2008 would have to raise the debt burden to 40% of debt to GDP – WITHOUT the additional cost of earthquakes to deal with.

              24.6% under National was an excellent result, as Robertson is now saying.

      • Gezza

         /  February 8, 2018

        What sort of wanker downticks someone for just posting a stats department table.
        Very poor form indeed.

        Reply
    • PDB

       /  February 8, 2018

      Yet another GFC/earthquake denier joins the fray – comparing nine years of some of the most prosperous in the world during Clark’s govt (nothing to do with Labour) with the global recession the Key govt inherited (nothing to do with National) is pure nonsense. Being one of the first countries getting back into surplus after the GFC/earthquakes was far more a accomplishment than milking money off the taxpayer during global good times. As I mention above Labour spent like drunken sailors and instead should have provided tax relief along with paying down debt.

      loui: “Labour’s prudent economic management”

      The same prudent economic management that left us with the huge on-going cost of election bribes that the public has now come to expect as the norm and a projected ‘decade of deficits’ on the economic track Labour was following.

      Loui: “Nine years just happens to coincide with National’s term of office when unprecedented immigration pushed the unemployment rate over 6 percent for most of that time, hitting 6.9 percent in 2012. Strange coincidence that.”

      The really strange thing is somehow you fail to link the start of National’s term with the GFC which would have affected the unemployment rate. National did well to keep that increase as low as they did & then as economic conditions improved they brought it back down.

      Reply
      • High Flying Duck

         /  February 8, 2018

        The Clark Govt reaped the benefit of more than just “global good times”, they rode the wave of the artificial growth and money party which led to the GFC. Even the Greek economy looked wonderful and enjoyed that 9 year period of growth…
        The global hangover National were elected into was unprecedented since the great depression. They handled it better than most, if not all other economies and manged to turn the economy around and set the platform that Labour are now set to benefit from.
        I doubt they will ever get the credit they truly deserve for how they managed the GFC and earthquakes.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  February 8, 2018

          ‘I doubt they will ever get the credit they truly deserve for how they managed the GFC and earthquakes.’…what can you compare it to?All they did was borrow tens of billions….brilliant!

          Reply
          • High Flying Duck

             /  February 8, 2018

            They kept up welfare payments and family support in a time of worldwide cutbacks and austerity while reducing unemployment, growing the economy and returning to surplus.

            As Bernard Hickey wrote in 2016:

            By Bernard Hickey @bernardchickey

            Opinion – Political legacies are hard to measure in hindsight, let alone in real time, but John Key’s economic legacy can be measured just by looking at what he judges as success – wealth and incomes.

            Mr Key told his resignation news conference he thought his greatest success was the government’s economic leadership in tough times and that the economy was growing, creating jobs and building Budget surpluses.

            It is true the economy is growing at an annual rate of over 3.5 percent, which is one of the fastest growth rates in the developed world. The economy created 179,000 jobs in the last two years. It is pumping GST and income tax revenues into the government’s coffers at such a rate that Budget surpluses are “hockey-sticking” up, as Mr Key said last week. He said they would be big enough for voters to “have it all” in the form of extra social spending, tax cuts, earthquake rebuilding and debt repayment.

            All this economic vigour came after the worst Global Financial Crisis (GFC) since the 1930s, the most damaging earthquakes in our history and, recently, a prolonged collapse in the price of our biggest commodity export. Yet gross weekly earnings are growing at more than 5 percent per annum and have been for almost three years. Unemployment fell to 4.9 percent, the lowest point since Mr Key took office in the fourth quarter of 2008.

            The benefits of all that income growth have not been spread completely evenly, but they are being spread more evenly than many think – and more than in most other countries. Income inequality has been broadly unchanged over the last decade. The retention of Working For Families, increases in the minimum wage in line with the average wage and the rise in New Zealand Superannuation in line with average wages has meant pensioners and working families in their own homes have benefited over the last decade. Much of that wage growth was real because inflation has been low, while borrowers have done well because interest rates fell so far and stayed that way for most of Mr Key’s eight years.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  February 8, 2018

              as I said,nothing magic about …borrowing billions.’When National came to power Government Net Debt was 5.4% of debt to GDP and National grew that debt burden to 24.6 %. ‘.Keys old Wall St cronies caused the GFC…how do you think he made his huge bonus when he worked at Merrill.

    • PDB

       /  February 8, 2018

      Comparing Clark’s govt during global good times not of their doing with Key’s govt when inheriting a global recession is just silly. Labour were leading us to a ‘decade of deficits’ & left behind ingrained, big spending commitments/ election bribes. National got us out of the GFC faster than most countries even with major earthquakes to deal with.

      “Nine years just happens to coincide with National’s term of office when unprecedented immigration pushed the unemployment rate over 6 percent for most of that time, hitting 6.9 percent in 2012. Strange coincidence that.”

      The really ‘strange’ thing is that you have ignored the fact that unlike Labour National had a GFC to deal with that would logically increase unemployment. The fact they kept unemployment low (when compared to other countries) during that pressure and then got it back down as the economy improved is obviously lost on you.

      Reply
    • Trevors_elbow

       /  February 8, 2018

      Hahahaha the view from Labour Party central…. prudent? Racking up major new schemes 99 to 08? which are hard to pare back quickly ,off the back of huge economic boom leaving no margin for the bad times is anything but prudent….

      Reply

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