Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No indeed, Minister [updated]

You have to laugh.  Earlier in the week No Minister was rightly lambasting Michael Cullen for meddling with the New Zealand Superannuation Fund -- insisting that the Super Fund, which is supposed to relieve the need for taxpayers to fund NZers' retirement years, must "invest" instead in "long-term infrastructure bonds," bonds whose returns will be paid for by the taxpayer.

It's not just insane, but once you start the meddling any hint of it being an "independent fund" is gone -- and before you know it Minister for Tasteless Crap Sue Kedgley will be insisting it must "invest" in mung bean manufacturers and ethical bone carving. 

Said National-supporting No Minister about Cullen's signalled intervention this leaves Cullen "looking more like Muldoon by the minute." 

But now John Key is doing the same.  See: National to legislate for at least 40% of NZ Super Fund to be invested in NZ.

This is bad.  Crikey, even National man David Farrar thinks it's bad: "We don’t want MPs in charge of a $100 billion fund," he says.  No, we sure as hell don't.

But Key does.  Key is signaling here that he's a tinkerer.  A meddler.  An interventionist. In his facile way he thinks his laudable success in the world's finance markets qualifies him as a politician to be tinkerer in our local markets. It didn't work for Muldoon -- hell, it didn't even work for Greenspan -- and it sure as hell won't work for Key, or for us.

You have to laugh.  if you didn't laugh at what they're all doing with our money, you'd cry.

UPDATE  1: Looks like No Minister aren't the only ones from the Blue Team who will need to give their Team Leader an uppercut.  The stodgy fraud who calls himself Adam Smith wrote earlier in the week that "directing the so called ‘Cullen Fund’ to invest more in NZ for political reasons is worse than National reducing Kiwisaver contributions," and their assault on the independence of the Super Fund shows "Clark and Cullen seem determined to gain short term political advantage for themselves and the Labour Party at the expense of New Zealand and the New Zealand citizenry."

I look forward to his response now his hero has plumped for the same mess of short-term political advantage.  [UPDATE: Good to see 'Adam' rightly upset, if a little muted: "No this is not a good idea."  It's worse than that, mate.]

UPDATE 2:  "This is a defining election issue," said No Minister's Adolf about Cullen's intervention. "Nothing is sacred for these greasy pricks. Remember the Kirk superannuation fund the demise ... has been widely vilified by people of all political stripes."

What do you think Adolf will say once he realises that "greasy prick" John Key is just as much an interventionist as the other "greasy prick" Adolf so despises?

UPDATE 3: Crampton comments:

    I'm intensely disappointed in the commentariat over at Kiwiblog. The same folks who would be (and were) foaming at the mouth about the policy when proposed by Labour find all kinds of reasons to love it when proposed by National.
    More evidence that Caplan's hypothesis in The Myth of the Rational Voter is right. For most folks, politics is just cheering for the home team, without any thought given to the content of policy.

He's right, you know.

UPDATE 4: Paul Walker has a summary of blog commentary on Key's capitulation to collectivism.

Labels: , ,

13 Comments:

Blogger Berend de Boer said...

PC: and it sure as **** won't work for Key

I disagree, it will work for him. But indeed, not for us.

Well, he might do us one favour: if this move brings the support for the Greens and NZ First under 5% as their supporters will love this!

10/15/2008 02:31:00 pm  
Blogger FAIRFACTS MEDIA said...

I'm waiting for Adolf to comment on this one :)

10/15/2008 02:31:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Me too. ;^)

10/15/2008 02:41:00 pm  
Blogger Berend de Boer said...

He already did. Look at the comments on kiwiblog. As we all know the answer, you don't have to look. But as an update, it might be interesting to post their comments here.

ZenTiger has a comment too.

10/15/2008 02:52:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Yes, yes, the difference is in the type of meddling, you see.

Gordon Bennett!

10/15/2008 03:19:00 pm  
Blogger Crampton said...

My comment there, which got me two thumbs down, was

1. International portfolio diversification just makes sense.
2. Failure to engage in such diversification exposes government to massive risk where an adverse shock to the NZ economy simultaneously hits both the superfund AND the tax revenues that otherwise be used to stop the gap.
3. Keeping political meddling out of superfund constitutes a bright-line rule. Any breach of this makes any other nonsense later on much more likely.
4. If Key is elected and goes through with this, I hope he is held to proper account should #2, above, eventuate. Just like Barney Frank properly ought to be held to account for his role in creating the subprime mess. Key will be every bit as culpable.
This policy is bad enough to outweigh damn near any other marginal benefit that might have been had from a change in government. Because I’m pretty sure that even if Cullen is mouthing words in the direction of similar policy in the leadup to the election, I’d bet he’d break the promise come December. I don’t think Key would.

10/15/2008 05:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

'difference in the type of meddling' ..

But that's how the right always justify state interference!

"I don't like Nanny State, etc, but there has to be some state control, sometimes, blah, blah .."

They're happy so long as they're calling the shots, instead of Clark, Bradford & co - and then moan & groan when they find themselves in the big-govt situation they do. Sheesh.

10/15/2008 06:18:00 pm  
Blogger Duncan Bayne said...

PC,

Why do you expect people who have been trained as children not to think in principles, and who choose to self-reinforce that training in adulthood in order to make their lives superficially easier, to suddenly slip the bounds of their mental captivity on this one rare occasion?

Perhaps it's just the cynic in me coming out but you'd have more luck teaching my dog calculus.

Seriously, I have reached the point where I no longer believe the average adult is willing to engage in the kind of thinking needed to connect the dots in cases like these.

10/15/2008 07:24:00 pm  
Anonymous the drunken watchman said...

I kind of like it - the taxpayers are lending money to themselves!

I think I might lend myself some money too ...

10/15/2008 09:42:00 pm  
Blogger Crampton said...

I'm intensely disappointed in the commentariat over at Kiwiblog. The same folks who would be (and were) foaming at the mouth about the policy when proposed by Labour find all kinds of reasons to love it when proposed by National.

More evidence that Caplan's hypothesis in The Myth of the Rational Voter is right. For most folks, politics is just cheering for the home team, without any thought given to the content of policy.

10/15/2008 09:47:00 pm  
Blogger David Farrar said...

FWIW I though Eric did an excellent analysis of the shortcomings.

I remember the days when Government made pledges in the millions. Now we have $150 deposit guarantees and $100 billion funds being built up. How long until they hit he trillions?

10/16/2008 01:51:00 pm  
Blogger Berend de Boer said...

DPF: How long until they hit he trillions?

Three months.

10/16/2008 05:12:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Three months!

Crikey!

Anyone got a spare wheelbarrow they can lend me?

LGM

10/17/2008 07:29:00 am  

Post a Comment

Respond with a polite and intelligent comment. (Both will be applauded.)

Say what you mean, and mean what you say. (Do others the courtesy of being honest.)

Please put a name to your comments. (If you're prepared to give voice, then back it up with a name.)

And don't troll. Please. (Contemplate doing something more productive with your time, and ours.)

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home