National – incompetent economic policy, no ideology

National have justifiably been hammered over the mistakes made in their economic policy. This pretty much destroyed any remote hope they had of coming close to competing with Labour this election.

With their claimed economic management reputation in tatters what have they got? Not much.

What does National actually stand for, apart from trying to get power? They seem to have become an ideological vacuum.

Andrea Vance: Why Paul Goldsmith can’t read numbers or the public mood

Paul Goldsmith, you had one job.

When you are using numbers as a sales pitch, it pays to get them right.

$4 billion-dollar hole in an alternative Budget totalling tens of billions of dollars might appear insignificant.

But the mistake will dearly cost National.

In other circumstances, leader Judith Collins should demote her finance spokesman. The fiasco dominated the launch of her campaign.

She can’t sack him. Felling your number two in an election campaign would be unthinkable and an admission that the oversight was more than the ‘irritating’ slip that the party attempted to downplay.

But his blunders are unforgivable, and not just because it’s careless and demonstrates a lack of competencies.

Goldsmith has fatally wounded not just Collins’ campaign, but the last semblances of the narrative that National are the superior economic managers.

Image

With Judith Collins unable to come close to competing with Jacinda Ardern on popularity, what have National got? Does anyone know?

Damien Grant: The National Party’s problem is a lack of ideology

National Party leader Judith Collins has waited two decades for this moment. You’d think she’d be better prepared.

If National wanted to understand how to tackle a popular yet ineffective leader, they only needed to have looked to the seat of Epsom and the determined and ideologically-driven David Seymour.

The ACT Party is surging in the polls partly as a result of the dysfunction in National but more importantly because Seymour has spent nearly a decade articulating policies. When you are selling your own ideas, it does not really matter what the other candidate is doing.

Voters will either like what you have to offer or they will not. Because the opposition doesn’t appear to believe in anything, they are reduced to railing against the real or imagined failings of the incumbents. It isn’t working.

In fact, the milquetoast offerings of National are a window into their soul – and it is disappointing viewing.

The problem is ideology. Collins and Goldsmith either do not understand, do not believe in, or lack the courage to fight for the supply-side neo-liberalism that was at the heart of the Reagan-Thatcher-Douglas economic revolution. Instead, they have by ignorance, intention, or cowardice, fallen into the progressive Keynesian dogma that the only way to stimulate an economy is by boosting demand.

After reading Goldsmith’s excellent book on the history of tax in New Zealand, We Won, You Lost, Eat That!, I expected better. I’ve heard he’s been muzzled and is chafing at the constraints, but maybe the whiff of leather from a Crown limo has him distracted.

And to give him credit, he has also outlined an accelerated depreciation tax strategy. Firms will be able to expense capital expenditure up to $150,000 and there will be faster depreciation rates for certain larger investments. This will have a very real and dramatic effect on our economy and some economists credit a similar change with helping Australia avoid a recession after the global financial crisis.

Beyond this audacious but unpromoted policy and the extending of the 90-day law to all employers, National has little to offer.

Collins’ tragedy is she has waited two decades to lead her party, but has spent none of that time thinking or reading about what she would do once she had the crown.

Had she done so, she could have used her excellent communication skills to articulate to the electorate a real alternative to the status quo, not merely the unappealing promise of maintaining the ancient regime with a new titular ruler at the helm.

That may sound harsh to some, but it’s hard to argue with it.

National are in real trouble for this election, but their problems won’t stop if the come a distant second to Labour. They’re a hodge podge of politicians who seem to think they deserve power because, ah, because what?

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51 Comments

  1. Duker

     /  27th September 2020

    Even during the 9 years of neglect it was pointed out National was a fund raising franchise with a political operation on the side.
    Id pointed out earlier this week the leaked talking points of John Key, you even had his ‘off the cuff’ condolences about some tragedy were scripted for him . Unlike Goldsmith he was first rate at getting his lines across.

    Reply
  2. Corky

     /  27th September 2020

    ”What does National actually stand for, apart from trying to get power? They seem to have become an ideological vacuum.”

    I remember Lindsay Perigo hammering home this point to John Key. It was the only time I heard John Key become curt and very sharp. Key knew Perigo was right because Key had actually written a article for Perigo dissing the politics of PRAGMATISM.

    Lol..that’s the politics of the National Party.

    At least Labour stand for something: ie taking as much money as they can off us. Controlling our lives and ability to act as individuals. State control over the private sector. Political Correctness and any other ‘ness’ you can think of. And most important of all…always having the ideal of the ‘promised land’ before them where the worker will be free of the shackles of the supposed elite.The shackles in reality are self imposed by socialists themselves.

    Reply
    • I think that Labour may be in a similar situation, with their ideologies becoming very blurred.

      Perhaps this is a result of the perceived need of the two major parties to play safety first politics and to chase the votes in the centre.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  27th September 2020

        The thing is, Pete, Labour have a free pass because of Covid. If Labour have to go off-script, it will be because of Covid…and under the protection of Covid.

        I think that is right regarding the centre vote. Change may come when the center vote realise their votes are not delivering a government they want. The political landscape may then change to something we haven’t seen before. In fact, it already is to a degree. If ACT stay on course they may become the major minor party. That’s something that was unimaginable a year ago.

        Reply
    • duperez

       /  27th September 2020

      Apropos “ie taking as much money as they can off us. Controlling our lives and ability to act as individuals.”

      Will they have to take the minds or is that too late??

      Reply
  3. Reply
    • duperez

       /  27th September 2020

      ‘Standing for something’ is secondary.

      Of prime importance is the perception of standing for something and perceptions of what that is.

      The National Party is trying to sell their usual product of ‘capable, able to be trusted, competent.’ Part of that is to disparage the other lots and say or imply that they will not and cannot provide those things.

      Their leader will garner headlines tossing doubt. Meanwhile what is the picture painted by the rnz link compared to the narrative of capable and competent?

      Reply
  4. David

     /  27th September 2020

    What exactly does Labour stand for ? Arden makes all sorts of noises about all sorts of things but the actions display little more than what National did. We have a consensus in what is a very well run little country that doesnt need some crazy ideologue with all sorts of ideas that may or may not work out.
    90% of Kiwis are happy without ideologues, we have been sorted by Douglas and Richardson no need to change much.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  27th September 2020

      Who made National vote for the Zero Carbon Act…which they admit they dont believe in.
      Why dont they do what they often say , ‘we believe in the big picture’ but thats not the way to go about it thus not vote for it and we will continue for taxpayers to pay for the farmers carbon ’emisssions’. [Its all a silly carbon numbers anyway, but Bennett and Bridges went to Paris to sign up the country for it all].
      Nationals opposition to the RMA is even more window dressing , the DPFs focus groups would have said it might lose 3-5% vote and screw up existing neighborhoods and an army of nimbys

      Reply
    • Fight4nz

       /  27th September 2020

      “ What exactly does Labour stand for ? ”
      Good start. Particularly looking back to Peters speech to decide the coalition. Little sign of that. Despite the above speech little discernible change until Covid has forced it.
      “ We have a consensus in what is a very well run little country”. Well run now? Not that well. Or well run in the past. Wouldn’t agree that selling assets and citizenship to loosely screened all-comers is well run.
      “90% of Kiwis are happy without ideologues“
      About right. But then saying the most extreme idealogues ever to hold power in this country have got things sorted seems a direct contradiction?

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  27th September 2020

      “What exactly does Labour stand for ?”

      No David you tell us what national stands for ..thats the theme of the post …surely you can write a paragraph or two.
      In reality you dont know and its easier to catalogue another partys faults and doesnt trouble your own conscience.

      Reply
      • David

         /  27th September 2020

        Funny, 90% of your posts are diversions from any critique of the left with look what National did

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  27th September 2020

          Duker is a great deflector. A useful spinner for the Left.

          Reply
          • Kimbo

             /  27th September 2020

            So what you are saying is Duker both opens the batting with disciplined patient defensive stroke play that frustrates and wears out the opposition attack,

            …and bowls finger spin that has the valuable quality of turning away from right handed batsmen?!

            That is one hell of an all-rounder combination that the Black Caps could use! 😳😂🏏🇳🇿

            Reply
            • Corky

               /  27th September 2020

              I hate cricket and the Left.

              Both have many similarities. They are boring to watch. Boring to listen to.
              And are interminably slow. When commentators talk of a slow wicket, they aren’t joking.

              Us RIGHTIES are people of action.

            • Kimbo

               /  27th September 2020

              Ah, but unlike Australia where it is overpopulated by Irish Catholic larrikins, cricket in NZ is the sport of old-money Tories. Indeed, the contenders for shortest books in the world include:

              Australian wit and wisdom
              South African vegetarian braai recipes
              Italian war heroes

              and

              Polynesians I have met playing cricket. 😳😂

            • Corky

               /  27th September 2020

              ”Cricket in NZ is the sport of old-money Tories.”

              Well, that can’t be RIGHT. Our cricket team always loses at the most inopportune times.

              ”Polynesians I have met playing cricket. ”

              Ah, yes…that’s more like it.

            • Kimbo

               /  27th September 2020

              Well, that can’t be RIGHT. Our cricket team always loses at the most inopportune time

              Overlooking the South Africans (two in particular) who’ve given us a lot more spine lately, and that the All Blacks, laced with a whole swag of (probably Labour-voting) Maori and Pacific Islanders usually kick arse.

              Like any long-term successful competitive endeavour, irrespective of having the right game plan, the people leading need to give the right examples of selfless sacrifice and team work if they are to extract sufficient buy-in from the rest of the crew who have the requisite skills, training and motivation. Irrespective of the race, religion and politics of all involved.

          • Duker

             /  27th September 2020

            “Duker is a great deflector”…it seems its only a bad thing when Im supposed to be doing it.
            This post is about nationals failings and lack of nay principles – let alone ideology.
            All the usual suspects let lose their squirrels , possums and not forgetting the dead cat. Do I spy a few weasels …visitors from hawkes bay

            Reply
            • Kimbo

               /  27th September 2020

              And in frustration Corky drops a fast one short, and Duker, in fine form and with an eagle eye steps back and across and rolls the wrists in classic fashion while pulling the delivery for a boundary through the vacant mid wicket.

              That was a good reward for Duker’s patience. He’s been upsetting the opposition bowler by refusing to let them settle into the rhythm of line and length, then pouncing when the opportunity came. Call Garry Stead because we have a real prospect here! 😂

            • Corky

               /  27th September 2020

              “Duker is a great deflector”…it seems its only a bad thing when Im supposed to be doing it.”

              Always doing it. Always getting caught out. But you are great sport anyway.

              ”This post is about nationals failings and lack of nay principles – let alone ideology.”

              Excellent, for once you are keeping to the subject…of course that’s because it’s about National.

              ”All the usual suspects let lose their squirrels , possums and not forgetting the dead cat. Do I spy a few weasels …visitors from hawkes bay.”

              I wouldn’t have a clue..Maybe Bay Of Plenty?

            • Kimbo

               /  27th September 2020

              And having been stung by that boundary, Corky readjusts to a more containing line and length that is more respectful of Duker’s talents with the bat. Fascinating battle developing here at the Your NZ Oval…

  5. Gerrit

     /  27th September 2020

    There is an undercurrent of moribund decline in all political parties. The ability to do anything meaningful, in regards carrying out to fulfillment any police they get voted in for, had disappeared.

    Case in point

    “Jacinda Ardern’s Government pledged to make family violence a top priority. Three years on, those promises have led to little but disappointment.”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/300116850/strategy-to-transform-family-violence-written-off-as-too-mori

    Now this is not a Labour bashing but an insight into, no matter what political party is on the treasury benches, nothing of substance is achieved.

    “Decades of “strategies”, “ministerial groups” and “dedicated bodies” had done nothing to fix our broken system, Blue told the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in Geneva. ”

    A great insight into the Greens (Jan Logie) led multi agency “Task Force” failure to get processes and procedures againt family violence onto any sort platform.

    Reading between the lines this statement by NZ First (Tracy Martin) summing up a great underlying problem with getting anything done by government of all hues.

    “Unfortunately the piece of work that they did was trying to be used in a much wider way than they could deliver,” Martin said. “They created a document that was absolutely applicable for Māori but then it tried to get stretched to cover every other demographic in New Zealand.”

    ………..

    “There were a couple of things that were focused on how colonisation has created family and sexual violence… and I don’t disbelieve that but if you go into Pākehā and other ethnic communities there’s other drivers there,” she said.”

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  27th September 2020

      We couldnt even have the Auditor General to be uncover fraud at a tiny agency ( 120 staff or so) when it was put on a plate for him. Yet the Audit Agency was his career until he qualified to be shuffled around other agencies to do nothing and thus be now Qualified to be Auditor General.
      happens in the private sector too…Fletchers couldnt even complete buildings on budget and on time, same for the Aussie main contractor for the Christchurch hospital

      Incompetence is the new Black

      Reply
  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  27th September 2020

    I’ll take issue with the headline. It’s not the economic policy that was incompetent but the strategy. That is shown by the attacks on insignificant details rather than the ideas. The error was in providing detail that was subject to the shifting sands of departmental forecasts and decisions.

    Likewise, Labour’s policy and ideology is the best reason to vote National. Everyone knows they will tax and spend, regulate and vanity posture. National will lean the other way. Choose your fate.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  27th September 2020

      Its not the policy or the strategy…..its the weak….team,with N.F.I!

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  27th September 2020

        Yes, better to vote for the Labour “team” with a track record of proven universal incompetence except in banning things and locking down?

        Reply
    • Fight4nz

       /  27th September 2020

      Or like the last Labour government, tax and save. Such that the position we are in now is not nearly as bad as it would have been if tax cut bribes is your central win-at-all-costs strategy.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  27th September 2020

        You forget Cullen’s claim that there was nothing left in the cupboard after Labour’s attempt to bribe its way into another term?

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  27th September 2020

          No old government leaves any money behind….. do you really think that.
          Cullen actually was paying down debt AND putting money into the Cullen fund.
          Nothing was what English left behind plus no debt payed down or money in sovereign wealth super fund , even EQC fund was empty and the sale of the power companies share fund frittered away. Not even a new Harbour tunnel started like they promised

          Reply
    • Duker

       /  27th September 2020

      “The error was in providing detail that was subject to the shifting sands of departmental forecasts and decisions.”

      No it was in the Prefu financial forecast…which they said they would hold back on economic policy till after it was released…except they didnt.
      You cant be using ‘departmental forecasts’ as the basis of costings AND then say they are shifting sands.
      It was incompetence about not being able to follow your own standards.
      That was only half the $10 bill , the other half was just mumbo jumbo and was promised highways , hospitals and schools that wont be built.

      Reply
  7. Kimbo

     /  27th September 2020

    Those who look to National for ideology have been disappointed since 1949, and rightly so. They are the party of pragmatic competence, with any change being incremental rather than radical. Even Ruth Richardson in 1991 was finishing off the reforms that a Labour administration had started.

    That’s their brand, and it’s one that have made National the natural party of government, hence they have held the Treasury benches for 47 of the last 71 years.

    Instead, it is Labour who are more ideological, or more precisely the party of reform and change. Hence Rodney Hide of all people rightly described Labour as the voice of New Zealand’s political conscience.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  27th September 2020

      Labour used to be the voice of the unions. Now it is merely the voice of professional angst.

      Reply
      • Kimbo

         /  27th September 2020

        No, historically and while in government Labour have often been a disappointment to the unions. And not just in 1984-90. And no more so than National have been the voice of the farmers and employers.

        And even though, as also this year, foreign affairs is seldom an election issue (except maybe during the Vietnam War or the 1980s anti-nuclear days), Labour have usually been the voice of conscience in that matter…by the length of the strait. Especially when it comes to an independent, principled and multilateral approach suiting our size and position in the world.

        National? “What does London or Washington DC want us to do, and how many lamb carcasses will it buy from us as a result”. Last example? Helen Clark wisely keeping us out of the initial invasion of Iraq, yet still pivoting successfully with the Americans so that we were “good friends”…while Brash was channeling 1939 MJ Savage, “where America goes, New Zealand goes”.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  27th September 2020

          The foreign policy differences have mostly been at the margins.

          Reply
          • Kimbo

             /  27th September 2020

            Not how the Americans, British, Australians or French saw it in the 1980s.

            Incidentally I personally think that Geoffrey Palmer bungled things in 1985 when, in Lange’s absence on a working holiday in the Tokelaus, the Americans made the request to send a ship that was almost-certainly not nuclear armed, but Palmer still insisted they compromise their non-negotiable “neither confirm nor deny” policy.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  27th September 2020

              Essentially a difference in implementation rather than policy.

            • Kimbo

               /  27th September 2020

              What? Palmer vs Lange, or National vs Labour in that era,…or over the long haul since then?

              If it is the latter, yes I agree, but only because Labour defined the parameters which National followed, including at times dragging their Blimps with them kicking and screaming. Cases in point being Bolger adopting nuclear free in 1990, or the continual refrain of “Commies!!” that comes so easily to National supporters anytime a Labour Government does something that doesn’t involve fawning and slobbering all over the POTUS or American Secretary of State.

              But when you hear Murray McCully of all people say we co-sponsored UNSC2334 because we are a small nation that seeks to act as an honest broker in the world, you know Norman Kirk rules from beyond the grave over forty years after his death.

            • Duker

               /  27th September 2020

              “that was almost-certainly not nuclear armed”

              Not true . Just because it could fire normal and nuclear armed torpedoes doesnt mean they arent there.

              The US Navy had the nuclear tipped Asroc missile which that class of vessel could carry admidships.
              “The nuclear-armed ASROC was never used in combat. ( over 500 were in stocks) W44-armed ASROC missiles were retired by 1989, when all types of nuclear depth bombs were removed from deployment.”
              And that wouldnt be known till around 10 yrs later as ‘neither confirm nor deny’ still existed

            • Kimbo

               /  27th September 2020

              …doesn’t mean (nuclear weapons) weren’t there

              When an ally knows your expectations and legal requirements, you expect them to comply. Indeed you should trust them to do so. Especially as, if had ever become known in the fraught atmosphere of the mid-1980s, the alliance would be in jeopardy. As became the case anyway, when we chose not to trust our ally.

              https://nzhistory.govt.nz/page/uss-buchanan-refused-entry-new-zealand

              And context: it was Australia and New Zealand, more than the USA, that had wanted the ANZUS alliance in the early 1950s. And weighing it up on the scales, irrespective of being out of ANZUS, we would likely have been targeted by Soviet missiles anyway. Hence, on balance and due to American conventional weapons coverage, we gained more from them than they did from us.

              If Lange and Palmer and Labour had wanted to take us/get us thrown out of ANZUS, fair enough. Was a justifiable policy, or at least one that sections of the NZ electorate may have supported (indeed, after the Americans waved the big stick Kiwis swung in behind it). Especially as we had deliberately done the bare minimum in Vietnam under a National Government.

              But they never pitched it that way to the electorate before the 1984 election. Nor after US Secretary of State George Schulz made it very clear face to face to Lange on the day after the election that we could not have our ANZUS cake and still eat the the non-nuclear option.

            • Kimbo

               /  27th September 2020

              Eat our non-nuclear cake in the sense that they would compromise on their “neither confirm nor deny” policy.

              And to clarify, if they had nuclear weapons on the Buchanan and it had become known, it would likely have been untenable for us to continue in ANZUS, and the left wing of Labour would have got what they wanted all along.

              The Americans may have been stupid at times in how they responded to the two-faced duplicity of Lange, and the unbelievable legalistic lack of trust by Palmer which drove the change in NZ public opinion against the USA

              …but they wouldn’t have been that stupid to send the Buchanan with nuclear weapons. The risks were just not worth it.

              Hence, in the context of a close alliance, we had no justifiable or reasonable reason to distrust them.

            • Duker

               /  27th September 2020

              How niave…that the US wouldn’t lie..especially as their policy is too say nothing…when China has useful idiots to push the benefits of Huawei and how China wouldn’t Snoop….every one laughs at that pretence.
              The idea that Buchanan definitely wasn’t carrying nuclear weapons was pushed by useful idiots of an earlier era.
              As the US would always say Trust but verify…
              I had thought NZ offered they would accept another US Navy ship where there was no ambiguity but US said no…..hmmm

            • Kimbo

               /  27th September 2020

              “Trust but verify” concerned the disarmament by a potential hot war enemy, not a close and trusted ally who had saved our bacon in 1942.

  8. Tom Hunter

     /  27th September 2020

    What does National actually stand for, apart from trying to get power? They seem to have become an ideological vacuum.

    This really should not come as any surprise to any student of NZ political history. Barry Gustafson, the Labour-supporting writer whom Muldoon chose as his biographer, once said that the only reason National exists is to keep Labour out of power. Given that singular focus it should not be a surprise that they’ve been very good at it over the last seventy years.

    About the only time you could say that got religion was with Ruthless Ruth, and she got cut down by Jimmy Bolger quick smart.

    For all the pathetic, blood-curdling screaming about National from Lefty partisans in NZ the fact is that they should feel comfortably smug about the situation; Labour introduce and embed things and National simpy picks them up later. Unfortunately for the Left that includes the revolution of Rogernomics, a psychic scar they have never recovered from.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  27th September 2020

      “Barry Gustafson, the Labour-supporting writer”
      he was the rare political science professor who was later aligned with national…thats why he did their biography’s, Hamilton, Holland, Holyoake, Marshall

      “He has contested various general elections, first for the Labour Party and later for the National Party,.”
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Gustafson

      Reply
    • duperez

       /  27th September 2020

      Hard case then that there are so many truckloads of angst each and every day about how a Labour government means the end of the world.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  27th September 2020

        The Labour government doesn’t mean the end of the world..it means the end of New Zealand.

        Reply
        • duperez

           /  27th September 2020

          No doubt there’ll be refugees fleeing if Ardern flukes the PM’s job.

          I wonder if in their distraught states as they flee the apocalypse they’ll ponder how they were always in the National camp. And how when they sucked that kumara saw the writing on the wall they sulked their way to pitch their tents in the Act camp. And sort of pretended they didn’t really ever want National. Sucked in by the glory of zooming to 7% in the polls when the other meant may be creeping to 30%.

          So pathetic. Sort of quite nice to observe though. 😊

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  27th September 2020

            Please excuse my dry wit…I meant no offense. You will probably enjoy glory on election day. That day will belong to you. The next day will belong to me.

            Reply
            • duperez

               /  27th September 2020

              Three years will belong to you. Misery deserves company so the refugees can wallow electronically from afar.

              The end of New Zealand. Oh my God.😱

            • Corky

               /  27th September 2020

              You have no idea what awaits you and Labour do you. My only fear is National will win the election.

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