Is Winston Peters playing the PM on foreign policy?

Guest post from Gezza


Interesting Opinion Piece by Patrick Smellie:

US and Chinese officials met in Beijing this week for the first talks since both countries’ presidents agreed a trade war ceasefire at last month’s G-20 summit in Argentina.

By early March, they need a plan that simultaneously softens the impact on China of the US’s new embrace of protectionism while starting to deal with China’s rampant intellectual property theft and subsidies that make its state-backed corporations unfair global competitors.

In doing so, both leaders will be seeking a win for their respective domestic audiences.

Getting there will be no mean feat. The Chinese ‘long view’ of history is a powerful organising principle for the Middle Kingdom’s global ambitions. Unlike Trump, its leadership is capable of thinking long-term.

I don’t know if that’s a fair assessment. Trump is capable of thinking long-term. He just isn’t capable of seeing other viewpoints and considering them, or of understanding what motivates others, or of adapting his negotiation strategies when it’s evident he could approach things differently. Or of concentrating enuf on details to foresee adverse consequences or opposition that could work against him.

He’s a rich kid who’s always done whatever it takes to get what he wants. And that includes lying, going bankrupt, and paying people to arrange for him to then profit from the misery & poverty that’s sometimes caused others. His narcissism works well for him when he’s in total control & surrounded by sycophants who will do his bidding. Or when he can cheat and lie & get away with it because he can bankrupt less wealthy opponents or victims, and for him the ends (getting what he wants) has always justified any means.

But now he’s not in total control. So he’s often chaotically flailing around in pursuit of long-term plans that he might deliver, but might screw up because he’s so flawed he makes people want to get rid of him to stop the chaos and division and wrecking of America’s standing in the world.

The talks also occur against a backdrop of heightened competition for defence and security influence around the world.

There has been questionable co-ordination between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Foreign Minister and deputy Winston Peters over our relationships with China and the US.
The US-led initiative to keep Chinese-built Huawei and ZTE componentry out of Western 5G mobile networks represents the sharp point of intersection in trade and security tensions.

Nations try to pursue security and trade agendas on separate tracks, but one inevitably bleeds into the other in ways. At best, at a global level, these current tensions may be bad for global economic growth. At worst, they could become the catalyst for conflict, which an American president desperately seeking to project strength might embrace.

For New Zealand, this simultaneous escalation of trade and security tensions between our traditional western ally and our largest trading partner is fraught with the risk of becoming collateral damage in the ensuing contest of empires. As a member of the Five Eyes cyber-spying network, New Zealand sits on the US side of the anti-Huawei fence. But it also seeks an upgraded free trade agreement and legitimately worries that Beijing could turn off the tap on agricultural exports, international students, Chinese tourists – or all three.

Australia has already suffered for its more emphatically pro-US stance.

We should never put all our eggs in one basket. Both the US and the Chinese can punish us economically for simply pursuing our own issues-based foreign policy when they want to bully us into siding with them or opting out in disputes between their economic and foreign policy initiatives and engagements.

Wider free trade with as many other nations as possible is clearly desirable, but trade in what? As other countries are forced by Trade Agreements to become more productive and competitive with our major food exports, what else do we have?

Clearly, the New Zealand government needs to pursue any rebalancing in the relationships to the two biggest protagonists in our region with great care.

Just before Christmas, there were worrying signs to suggest such care is, if not absent, then lacking, with questionable co-ordination between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Foreign Minister and deputy Winston Peters.

The Ardern approach embraces multi-lateralism, ‘progressive’ free trade agreements that do more to protect national sovereignty than in the past, and a new demonstration of leadership on climate change. On the world stage, Ardern has shone as a beacon of optimism and inter-generational leadership change.

That may be how she is portrayed here but apart from US female talk show hosts, who else in the world cares? So she’s a minor celebrity abroad with people who don’t count. What impact will she have on other world leaders? How many other young intergenerational leaders are there who will hearken to her siren song and make the world a kinder place? Isn’t her government rather chaotic and it’s benefits and drawbacks & objectives all rather fuzzy? Could it all just crash and burn? Hope not, but I just don’t know until we know what the werkinggruppes produce for them to make (or justify) policies from – and what they ignore.

Meanwhile, Peters and NZ First Defence Minister Ron Mark have made the running on defence and security policy in ways that are pulling New Zealand much closer to the US.

Mark’s defence strategy paper saw New Zealand explicitly criticise China’s expansionism in the South China Sea for the first time and his announcement of a multi-billion dollar upgrade of air force surveillance capability to include potential for anti-submarine weaponry were highly significant nods to Washington DC.

Peters took that a step further last month. In a speech to an elite US audience on the Pacific region shortly before meetings with deputy vice-president Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Peters said: “We unashamedly ask the United States to engage more and we think it is in your vital interests to do so.”

Time was “of the essence” as “larger players are renewing their interest in the Pacific with an attendant level of strategic competition”. These and other parts of the speech represented serious new lines in the sand for New Zealand foreign policy.

We probably should want the US to engage more in the South Pacific. China’s interest is self-interest. And the degrading of American influence & power is vital to that. But do we want to engage more with the US under Trump? Really? Trump’s interest is American self-interest. Hopefully when Trump is gone – which may be by 2020 – sanity and a more careful, thoughtful President will make them take more of an interest in promoting & protecting the interests of free speech democracies in the South Pacific on both moral & shared interests grounds.

But when asked whether she had read the speech prior to delivery, let alone whether the Cabinet had discussed it, Ardern gave an almost breezy dismissal.

That is deeply worrying.

Regardless of whether Peters is articulating a revised foreign policy stance that the whole coalition government agrees with, such revisions require the active engagement of both the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.

Failing to insist on that fuels the narrative that Peters is successfully playing Ardern not only on domestic policy issues, but on foreign policy as well, leveraging his party’s impacts far beyond the mandate implied by its 5 per cent support at the 2017 election.

Ok. Maybe. So what? Is National likely to have any more of a coherent foreign policy or to do anything different?

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/109828977/is-winston-peters-playing-the-pm-on-foreign-policy

58 Comments

    • Duker

       /  11th January 2019

      Who is Hamish Price ? is he a foreign policy expert ? or a PR/recruitment offsider for Michelle Boag

  1. Blazer

     /  11th January 2019

    non story beat up by the…right.

    • Gezza

       /  11th January 2019

      Well, yes, that was my reaction on first read. although I thought his general commentary on the positions of China and the US and their current postures in relation to each other and other countries (China wooing, America punishing, warning or threatening those who respond to China’s economic blandishments) a good summary.

      Since penning that and sending it off to PG, I’ve been thinking this morning, isn’t Jacinda primarily focussed on internal politics?

      While she’s been happy to make herself a small time temporary celeb on the international and feminist stages much of that excitement at something new is still probably for the benefit of the domestic audience.

      One thing most commentators seem to have agreed on, when Peters had the Foreign Minister role in the past, was that he was competent in the role. A good defender of his Ministry. Someone who read his briefing papers; who had a surprisingly good grasp of international diplomacy & realpolitik. As I recall, he didn’t put a foot wrong. He did an excellent job.

      He’s the obvious best choice for this job in the coalition. Maybe Jacinda is just content to let him more or less run foreign policy because he knows what he’s doing. Which couldn’t be said for many of her other Ministers.

      At the personal level the pair of them consistently demonstrate a very good, even affectionate, working relationship. It works well. I think on foreign policy Jacinda simply trusts Winston.

      • Duker

         /  11th January 2019

        A non person ignored by those that matter ?
        https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/world/red-carpet-welcome-jacinda-ardern-she-meets-german-chancellor-angela-merkel-in-berlin

        Ah yes, we all remember Keys fun meetings with Merkel. Yes thats right Key was close to the people that mattered like:
        Cameron ( resigned) , Turnbull ( ousted) , Harper ( defeated) Obama ( 8 yrs up)

        • Gezza

           /  11th January 2019

          John Key wasn’t a minor celebrity – in fact I mainly remember him being ridiculed by John Oliver for pony-tail pulling & some of his more silly-looking local stunts. And he wasn’t notable for influencing anybody on the world stage either, from my recollection. They even gave him a tin star in Aussie for caving in to them whenever it suited.

          • Duker

             /  11th January 2019

            because NZ is minor country anyway

            The idea that anybody is awake at night ‘wondering what we think’ is laughable.

            • Gezza

               /  11th January 2019

              Eggzackery.

            • PDB

               /  11th January 2019

              Apparently Ardern made a huge international statement at the UN by talking to a bunch of empty chairs – or so the MSM reported at the time (for some reason they left the ’empty chairs’ bit out though?).

            • Blazer

               /  11th January 2019

              who cares ..Parliaments empty 1/2 the time..too.

            • Duker

               /  11th January 2019

              I bet it wasnt as empty as when JK thrilled the delegates with his word salads

    • Corky

       /  11th January 2019

      Harsh words from Hooton, Blazer. Sadly, you can’t accuse him of being a Rightie hack.

      • Gezza

         /  11th January 2019

        You sure couldn’t praise him for being a Lefty supporter.

        • Gezza

           /  11th January 2019

          Who’s downticking me? >:D

          😉

          • acrossthespectrum

             /  11th January 2019

            @Gezza “Who’s downticking me”?
            Mostly everyone Gez 🙂
            I have learned to embrace the downticks.
            It really means you’re an individual not one of the sheeple.
            And what about your Avatar?
            Looks like he is wearing a Warriors shirt .
            Lets go dem Warrioys 2019 gonna be our year.

            • acrossthespectrum

               /  11th January 2019

              @Gezza. I gave you a tick because I felt sorry for you.

            • Gezza

               /  11th January 2019

              Thanks I just gave myself one too, seeing you made me feel sorry for myself.

        • Corky

           /  11th January 2019

          That leaves a reasonably balanced commentator.

          • Gezza

             /  11th January 2019

            Well, I usually read what I see he’s written or tweeted. And any responses. He’s been in the game long enuf to be paid attention too. Same with Hosking.

      • phantom snowflake

         /  11th January 2019

        “Sadly, you can’t accuse him of being a Rightie hack.”
        What the fuck? Is this meant to be satire?

        my support for the National Party is built deep into my DNA. As recently as last week I participated in a fundraiser for the Parnell National Party and have allowed my daughter’s image to be used on National Party campaign material.

        http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1409/S00028/personal-statement-by-matthew-hooton.htm

        • Gezza

           /  11th January 2019

          Child abuse really. How old is this daughter? If old enuf to vote she’d probably vote for Jacinda, like everybody else’s daughters?

        • High Flying Duck

           /  11th January 2019

          The story was written by Patrick Smellie so I’m not sure how Hooten got involved other than in his tweet on the story.
          However this interview is more complete in where Hooten stands – definitely a “rightie” but by no means a fan of the Key Govt.

          https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/10-01-2019/im-completely-squeaky-clean-an-interview-with-matthew-hooton/

          • Duker

             /  11th January 2019

            Hooton seemed to leave out the bit he worked for ministerial offices of Phil Goff amount others.
            Doesn’t fit the dedicated rightie image does it…..but does match the image of a charletan
            “In 2000, I helped Margaret Wilson’s Labour Department communicate the Employment Relations Act to employers. Wilson, I’m told, was very happy with the work. “

            • Duker

               /  11th January 2019

              And this an example of hooton getting stuck into Key and his ministers.
              https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/68984535/null

              You couldn’t make it up the number of times he rips national new one and yet he he says he is true blue.’ That’ he is making up

            • High Flying Duck

               /  11th January 2019

              He’s also very close with Lailla Harre. So he can work with and gets along with people across the political spectrum. That doesn’t change his philosophical leanings though.

  2. Duker

     /  11th January 2019

    [Mark]his announcement of a multi-billion dollar upgrade of air force surveillance capability to include potential for anti-submarine weaponry were highly significant nods to Washington DC.”

    Absurd reasoning . The deal was initiated by national behind every ones back before the election – The reason ? Well National had campaigned some time back on NOT closing Whenuapai air base and the new planes would be transferred away to Ohakea, hence the secrecy from the electorate when national would normally trumpet such a situation.
    Due to production constraints by Boeing they had to take the deal which national had agreed to in secret or lose the chance entirely.

    • Blazer

       /  11th January 2019

      ‘Due to production constraints by Boeing they had to take the deal which national had agreed to in secret or lose the chance entirely’

      just another example of Nationals ‘most transparent Govt…ever’!

    • Pink David

       /  11th January 2019

      “Absurd reasoning”

      Agree.

      “upgrade of air force surveillance capability to include potential for anti-submarine weaponry ”

      This is completely absurd, laughable in fact. The existing p3’s are anti-submarine weapons. That is there purpose, the surveillance capability is secondary.

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  11th January 2019

    No sign that Jacinda even controls domestic policy let alone foreign policy. Struggles even to control her partner but maybe Neve.

    • PDB

       /  11th January 2019

      “Is Winston Peters playing the PM on foreign policy?”

      No he isn’t. No need to ‘play’ the PM when he has been given free & license just does what he likes. Ardern finds out more about foreign policy through the MSM then she does from her own govt. She admitted having no idea what was in Winston’s major December speech on NZ-US relations before he delivered it.

      • Blazer

         /  11th January 2019

        you head of the ‘Bring back Murray’…fan club!

        • PDB

           /  11th January 2019

          He was as hopeless as Ardern.

          • Gezza

             /  11th January 2019

            Did she larf when you read that to her?

            Or were you too scared to? 😀

            • Gezza

               /  11th January 2019

              Oops – how embarrassing. 😮 Posted in wrong place. :/
              Pretend it’s not even there, PDB. I’ll ask Sir Alan this one.

    • Gezza

       /  11th January 2019

      Struggles even to control her partner but maybe Neve

      Oh? How much control of you does the indefatigable & formidable Mrs Sir Alan have? o_O

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  11th January 2019

        Limited admittedly, Sir Gerald. And vice versa.

        • Gezza

           /  11th January 2019

          Did she larf when you read that to her?

          Or were you too scared to? 😀

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  11th January 2019

            Too busy with other stuff today. She says she knows by my grin when I am talking to you.

    • Gezza

       /  11th January 2019

      No sign that Jacinda even controls domestic policy let alone foreign policy.

      She doesn’t have to. She only has to be a credible front person competent at communication and PR for those who do – which can be a coalition Cabinet and/or more cerebral individuals such as Grant and David Parker.

      There’s plenty of precedent for democratic leaders who are the figurehead & mouthpiece for their parties. The idea that leaders must determine policy & be ruthless is currently popular in some quarters, but not all.

      • PDB

         /  11th January 2019

        As PM though she needs to be on top of what is happening throughout her govt, something Key was very good at. Not being able to do so only plays to those on social media that are saying she is a very lazy PM, something that has followed her from when she was an MP and was accused of just ‘phoning it in’.

        • Duker

           /  11th January 2019

          Rubbish . Key was notoriously laid back about his PM duties , let alone what others were doing.
          Yes he had a team of minions who provided him a daily cheat sheet briefings on matters that would come up , but on everything else would defer by saying “I havent been briefed”
          And then there were the ones when Key screwed up

          “Speaking shortly after his arrival in Indonesia for a three-day trade trip, Key sought to pour cold water on the idea of any Chinese retaliation.

          While he could not confirm whether MBIE had received a complaint about steel dumping, due to the confidentiality of the complaints regime, the Government had received “no indications” of Chinese concerns about possible anti-dumping duties, or potential retribution.

          “Even if there was a complaint, and even if it was investigated, whether a country like China would take retaliatory action against New Zealand, I don’t believe that’s the case that they would.

          “There’ll be lots and lots of ways of them looking to resolve issues if there were any, but it wouldn’t be through the sort of things that we’ve seen reported.”

          Key said there was no “substantiated source” confirming that China would take action against New Zealand exports, only speculation.

          As usual Key was ignorant/lied about of what was happening

          RNZ-“A few days later, Mr McClay said he he had been personally briefed on the matter by his ministry the week before when he was in China.

          Now, in a written statement released on Monday, he said ministry officials had been dealing with the matter for the past few months.”

          • Pink David

             /  11th January 2019

            “Yes he had a team of minions who provided him a daily cheat sheet briefings on matters that would come up ”

            How is a briefing a ‘cheat sheet’?

            • Blazer

               /  11th January 2019

              ‘ something Key was very good at.’…bullshitting and lying..you mean.

            • Duker

               /  11th January 2019

              Because the briefing notes where the beginning and end of his knowledge about particular matter.
              Nicola Willis was one of the bright things writting these things up

          • PDB

             /  11th January 2019

            Nonsense Duker – Key showed far more work ethic than Ardern ever has – what did she do as an MP again? Wasn’t it two poorly put together bills that were thrown out at first chance? Made zero impression on the opposition portfolio’s she held, in fact she was more famous for being told to “zip it, sweetie” by Paula Bennett.

            Ardern has a history of doing very little in parliament, instead playing on her youthfulness and ‘looks’ to get ahead. Didn’t help her win Auckland Central (twice) however but was enough to convince Winston to give her a go as PM as he saw opportunity to do as he pleased whilst taking advantage of Ardern’s positive MSM profile & leadership inexperience.

            In your world somehow being briefed is ‘cheating’ – I presume being totally unprepared like Ardern is more to your liking with her reading about major govt policy in the press. Mind you apparently her own party didn’t even bother to tell her about serious allegations of sexual abuse that happened at a Labour youth camp under her watch so maybe not such a surprise.

            • Blazer

               /  11th January 2019

              what did Key do as P.M again?

            • High Flying Duck

               /  11th January 2019

              Blazer, I’ve had to abreviate for space but:

              Sir John Key, Bill English and team took office in the teeth of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and it’s worth recalling that New Zealand actually entered recession a year before the rest of the world. Treasury predicted never-ending deficits, unemployment to rise to over 10%, and debt to peak at 40% of GDP.

              The government didn’t panic – and nor did it slash and burn. Social support was maintained, but poor quality programmes were rationalised, and new Budget operating allowances were pared back. In the years preceding 2008, Labour had increased spending unsustainably (50% in its last five years) for little to no effect. With Bill English in charge of the purse strings, departments were told to focus on results, not just to lobby for ever-escalating spending.

              The government books got back into the black in 2014/15. Unemployment is now down to 4.6% and labour force participation is at record levels. Our debt to GDP topped at just 25%, and is coming down (Australia’s is 40, the UK’s is 90 and the USA’s is 108%!).

              Through measured tax reform, state asset sales and welfare reform, the results are plain to see. (at the time of the election) The economy is growing at 3% per year, one of the fastest growth rates in the world, and has generated 274,000 jobs in the last two years. The job numbers are remarkable: New Zealand has the third highest employment rate in the developed world (at a time of record migration – it seems that immigrants don’t “steal” New Zealand jobs, as some like to claim).

              Economic strength has flowed through to people’s pay packets: average annual household income is up 42% since 2007, and average wages have increased by more than twice the rate of inflation. In fact after tax wages have increased twice as fast in New Zealand than in Australia since 2008.

              The economy is more diverse. When the bottom fell out of dairy in 2014/15, New Zealand kept growing. The technology sector is expanding at a dizzying rate with revenue now over $10 billion. That famous “manufacturing crisis” that Labour used to talk about? The sector’s now been expanding for 57 consecutive months.

              the facts are indisputable: child poverty measures fell on National’s watch, despite absurd hyperbole to the contrary. Using MSD’s Material Wellbeing Index, the number of children in material hardship in 2016 was 135,000. Too many, obviously, but well down on the 170,000 in hardship in 2008; and massively down on the 220,000 following the GFC (in 2011).

              For a supposed “neoliberal” government regularly accused of showing no empathy for the disadvantaged, National’s record is impressive: the first real benefit increases in 43 years, massive insulation programmes for state homes (and the private market), breakfasts in schools programmes, free GP visits for all kids under 13, and more.

              In 2012 the government did something quite profound. It set ten targets aimed at delivering results for our customers by reducing welfare dependency and crime, increasing immunisation and achievement at school, and more. This quiet revolution in the public service has led to improvements across the board: crime down 14% (youth crime is down a third), rheumatic fever has reduced 23%, 94% of 8 month olds are now fully immunised, to name a few.

              National undertook the most significant reforms to the social welfare system in a generation. Benefit categories were simplified and new expectations introduced for beneficiaries, requiring them to be available for work or getting ready for work. Social obligations for beneficiaries with dependent children were introduced to ensure they were meeting health and education goals. National established the Youth Service, where case managers and providers help young people gain education, training and employment skills. Sixteen and 17 year olds on benefits were placed under money management.

              Welfare reform demonstrably worked. The number of sole parents on a benefit is the lowest it has been since 1988. Sixty thousand fewer children are now growing up in a benefit-dependent household since 2011. The current lifetime liability of the benefit system has reduced by $13.7 billion over the last five years. This equates to clients spending 1.3 million fewer years on main benefits over their working lifetimes.

              When National came to office in 2008, one in two Māori and Pasifika kids left school without NCEA Level 2 – a passport for the future and the recognised minimum standard for other tertiary options.

              In 2016, nearly 75% of Māori students, and nearly 80% of Pasifika students, achieved the NCEA Level 2 qualification – remarkable progress by any measure.

              Under National, participation in Early Childhood Education hit record highs. The dysfunctional industry training system was overhauled. By 2016, there were 43,000 apprentices around the country, including 100,000 trainees. The Network for Learning was started and completed (on time and under budget) providing ultra-fast, uncapped, high-quality data, at no cost to schools. Pathways from school to study and work were overhauled through the Youth Guarantee and Trades Academies.

              Despite Māori overwhelmingly voting for them, and Labour liking to preen as the party of and for Māori, the Treaty Settlement process stalled between 1999 and 2006, only getting started once Michael Cullen took over the portfolio.

              Using his skills developed in a former life as a negotiator for Ngāi Tahu, and his genuine good-hearted commitment to reconciliation, Chris Finlayson just got on with the job. The results speak for themselves: 59 Deeds of Settlement signed in nine years, meaning the majority of historical Treaty settlements across New Zealand have now been resolved. And consider this: it was Chris Finlayson that delivered the long overdue apology to the Parihaka community for the atrocious actions of the Crown committed almost 140 years ago. Not only that, National gave legal personhood to Te Urewera and the Whanganui River, allowing long-overdue settlements to proceed.

              A final point. The Foreshore and Seabed confiscation was one of the most disgraceful acts of the Clark government. National restored the rule of law by restoring the right of Maori to go to court to prove customary rights through the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011.

              One of National’s most effective ads in the 2008 election featured John Key standing in Westpac Stadium, pointing to the 30,000 plus yellow seats, and noting that about the same number of New Zealanders were leaving to move to Australia every year. National said that we’d turn it around – and we did.

              Quite remarkably, net migration between New Zealand and Australia for the year to June 2017 was 560 – in our favour. Usually people move from smaller countries to much larger countries. But over the last nine years, New Zealanders literally voted with their feet: staying home and coming home in record numbers. Around 10,000 more Kiwis are coming home than under Labour, and far fewer are leaving.

            • Blazer

               /  11th January 2019

              good party political broadcast on behalf of the Nats…
              \-‘

              ‘Treasury predicted never-ending deficits, unemployment to rise to over 10%’, -Key is on record as saying Treasury predictions are a joke.

              I could dissect the rest of the snow job but can’t be arsed.
              As people know the whole GFC was caused by Keys former colleagues,but…’no one saw it coming’!

              Keys legacy…destroyed the Kiwi Dream of home ownership and introduced Stasi state sponsered spying on NZ citizens.

              Hopeless.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  11th January 2019

              NZ home ownership rates are still around 65%. Your argument is simply wrong.
              Treasury may have been wrong in it’s forecasts (however I doubt they were far out on this), but the recession we were in, the increased Government spending and the deficits we had were very real.
              The GFC was caused by many things, but currency traders were probably not high among them – so once more just incoherent ranting from you.
              The issues with spying began in the Clark era, and continued under Key – as did the oversight and winding back of it.
              Other than that, excellent rebuttal.

            • Blazer

               /  11th January 2019

              My argument is absolutely correct.
              Key worked for Merrill Lynch a Wall St bank that went tits up and had to be bailed out, as the parasites all tumbled from their top heavy ponzi schemes of rapacious greed.

              ‘Labour did it too’ is the default go to for National acolytes.
              A puerile ,benign coverall for underwhelming governance.

            • Duker

               /  11th January 2019

              Duck, you have thought about what you write, so that’s a good point.
              The slowdown in 2007-2008 was caused by the Reserve Bank pushing up interest rates very high after the strong growth previously in order to have a soft landing for the inevitable down turn. Laughable that the labour government had much say on interest rates. The rest of the world came a cropper very soon after led by John Keys ‘ex collegues’ at Lehman Bros. Yes his area of currency trading was seen as very safe, but he was happy to be called an ‘ former investment banker’ around that time, and those were as we now know fools and reckless with their ‘investments’

            • High Flying Duck

               /  11th January 2019

              Yes Duker – but JK was never at Lehman, and was only ever involved in foreign currency at Merrill. He also left the company around 2000, so was well shot of the industry before any issues arose. JK had no impact, influence or responsibility for any of the causes of the GFC – It is a cheap shot that Blazer uses when he has no argument.
              The RB put up interest rates in part to offset the unsustainable spending increases that Cullen was throwing around in his effort to avoid tax cuts. To say Labour’s conduct and policies had no impact or repercussions is disingenuous.

            • Duker

               /  11th January 2019

              Homeownership rates?
              1992 was 75%

              2013 was 64%
              Likely down almost 60% now…that’s if the census comes out….another national government stuff up… That’s because it was still running under their budget in early 2018.

            • Duker

               /  11th January 2019

              Same as your cheap shot about decade of deficits..treasury’s referrel to labour’s tax cuts enacted for the recession…which were cancelled by national , who passed there own tax cuts of the same size after the election…. And then cancelled 6 months later.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  11th January 2019

              Duker, I made no mention of any decade of deficits. Treasury forecast significant ongoing deficits however.
              And if you refer to the “chewing gum” tax cuts Cullen paraded under great duress then they deserved all the ridicule they got.
              Home ownership was just over 63%in 2017. Hardly a crisis.

  4. PartisanZ

     /  11th January 2019

    Last time Aotearoa New Zealand asserted a more truly independent foreign policy (and domestic policy too) was under Norman Kirk …

    “Following a Labour victory in the 1972 election, Kirk became Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He stressed the need for regional economic development and affirmed New Zealand’s solidarity with Australia in adopting a foreign policy more independent of the United States.” – Wikipedia

  1. Is Winston Peters playing the PM on foreign policy? — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition