What happened to small government, Mr English?
1. This government doesn't understand small government, despite electioneering on it.
The most frightening statistic I learned last year was this (and this before the recession really started to bite, with the private sector layoffs resulting from it): In New Zealand there were 1.75 million people working in the wealth-creating private sector. 1.75 million people having to pay the tax, alongside corporates, to pay for the livelihoods of 1.75 million wealth-destroying bureaucrats in the State sector, beneficiaries and retirees.
That's one for one, and that's a huge Nanny State. Put another way, there were 1.75 million private sector wealth creators having to carry a population of 4.13 million.
Quite apart from the philosophical issues surrounding freedom of the individual, and his or her woebegone pursuit of happiness in a State of this size, mathematically this state of affairs is simply not possible, hence even at that stage, the country was having to borrow a quarter of billion dollars per week (and guess who has to pay the interest and principle tab on that).
So can libertarians and freedom lovers take any heart from Bill English's comments this week on restraining the public sector? No, of course not: Bill's speech is as slippery as temporarily signing yourself out of your own Family Trust in order to gain an advantage at the cost of the taxpayer.
His comments as reported in the NBR
"Restraint on the public sector has not even started properly yet, Finance Minister Bill English told MPs today. Appearing before Parliament's finance and expenditure select committee, Mr English said government departments had been told before Christmas what sort of increase in their baseline budget they would get in the 2010 Budget. That is earlier than usual: such moves are usually made early in the new year. And most are getting a nil increase he told MPs, although 'three or four are getting some extra.' He did not say which."
Pathetic. There is no reduction of the State even envisaged in this gutless proclamation. It's past the time we needed such 'restraint', this merely means, at best, containment from Nanny's continued growth, keeping her at her current revoltingly obese size, and not even that: some departments are still to get more!
It's way too late for containment, the size of Nanny State must be slashed, and ruthlessly: small government, that's what National stands for, and we have the opposite of that. Bill English should be announcing on 20 May that one in three bureaucrats must go find a real job, with a commitment to further reductions after that. And that the number of government departments, DHB's, and all rest will be reduced from over sixty five to at the most seven. Seven Bill says, why, that's impossible! Sorry Bill, Switzerland, with a population bigger than New Zealand, has just seven government departments. So in the May budget, lets aim for that. Think of the tax cuts we could have on such a reduction, and no need to increase GST, or attack mom and dad's investment in property.
Chances of this happening?
Nil. We're still ruled by the socialist B Team.
2. A sensible approach to Cap-and-Trade
Don't do it. From The New York Times
"Citing financial worries, the State of Arizona has backed out of a broad regional effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the West through a cap-and-trade system.Note those last words: "would cripple Arizona's economy."
In an executive order issued last week, Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, said a cap-and-trade system which would impose mandatory caps on emissions and allow pollution credits to be traded among companies would cripple Arizona's economy."
And yet New Zealand's ETS is still legislated to start July 1 this year, with no political will to change it, despite the Warmists' argument melting quicker than the polar ice cap, which is not melting at all. So on top of GST increases, add increased energy charges to your personal budgets. For a country where households are much more indebted as a percentage of disposable income than the United States this government is set to make the lives of hard working individuals in New Zealand even more uncomfortable.