Thursday, 13 September 2012

Calling all National supporters

Muldoon calcified. The Lange Government liberalised. The Bolger Government revolutionised (well, sort of) then gave itself a six-year siesta. The mercifully brief Shipley Government gave us a Headmistress. Mistress Clark then gave us nine long years of screaming for mercy, and two things (civil unions & legalising sex for money) to celebrate.

These are the things we remember governments for.

So with the Key Government’s flagship “sell-part-of-the-assets” policy now on the rocks, what exactly will this government be remembered for.

They’ve done very little policy-wise. They’ve done nothing to overturn the policies against which they howled so loudly in opposition. They’ve done nothing at all to turn around the spendthrift culture of Wellington (if anything they’ve spent more on consultants than Clark, borrowed more heavily than Cullen, and with Sir Double Dipton in the chair have hardly led by example). And they’ve done nothing whatsoever, have they, to rescue NZ from the depths of economic depression.

So what exactly is their greatest achievement in government?

What will history, and you, remember them for?

This is an honest question, not a fatuous request. I really do want to know.  From National supporters especially: what do you think your government will be remembered for?

And what do you consider their greatest achievement in government?



Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

Near Martial Law in Christchurch.

A bigger dollar government spend than all previous governments.

A Revenue Minister who would rather unleash the full police-state powersof IRD, than sign up to responsible government spending.

And, here's the kicker, being the very first Western government that has actually legislated George Orwell's slogan of the Police-State in his nightmare novel, 1984, 2 + 2 = 5, into the tax law of the land.

Well, you asked ;)

13 Sep 2012, 10:35:00  
Blogger Shane Pleasance said...

Fortunately, I am not qualified to answer.

13 Sep 2012, 11:00:00  
Anonymous Julian said...

I'm not qualified to comment either but they have managed to destroy what the earthquake didn't, including the spirit of many Cantabrians.

This from the founder of Christchurch IT company Polar Bear Farm who is leaving. He says: "There is that feeling of why are we sticking around?...For someone my age, who can live wherever they want in the world, you don't want to be a passenger in a ride where you have no control and don't like the destination.

"We can see all these mistakes and that the road we are heading down is not going to create a place where people like us will want to live..."


13 Sep 2012, 12:46:00  
Blogger Kiwiwit said...

I voted for National in the early 90s so I guess that qualifies me to answer the question. The Key Government will be remembered for the following 'achievements':
- the end of prosperity
- the end of First World status (as we disappear off the bottom of the OECD table)
- the end of a sense of single nationhood (i.e. as Maori are given increasing tribal ownership of the country)
- the end of civil peace.

13 Sep 2012, 13:27:00  
Anonymous Mark said...

2 answers - for them it's staying in power at any cost :)

Real achievment is putting back real centre right politics by not articulating the issues. And of course just doing left wing policy anyway....

In Auckland we've had huge super city power grab - and now they'll remove our right of appeals under the RMA for the Unitary Plan next year. You can bet National will just roll over.

I guess real achievment is to bring a modern meaning to apeasement.

13 Sep 2012, 13:50:00  
Blogger Blair said...

Keeping Labour out of power.

Not much I know, but all I've come to expect from them. Worried that they will outlive their usefulness in that regard very soon though. This may be the first National government not to go three terms.

13 Sep 2012, 13:56:00  
Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

Actually, I think Blair wins.

13 Sep 2012, 14:55:00  
Anonymous Simon said...

Once the Labor/greens NZ First are running the show they will make Bill English look like Murray Rothbard. Cunliffe is a dangerous clown.

In 10 yrs time National will be remembered for slowing the train down for a few years before it gathers steam again under Labor and finally crashes off the tracks.

13 Sep 2012, 15:31:00  
Blogger homepaddock said...

Your question is a bit premature. Reforms take time, especially when they're implemented in the face of on going global financial problems and the Canterbury earthquakes.

You need to look a few more years ahead - if we stick to the path National is leading us on by then it'll be the government that got the rebuild of Christchurch well underway and carried the economy intact through the most trying time in recent history which is in itself not to be sniffed at.

In the meantime achievements so far include:

* policies to redirect economy from borrowing and spending to saving, investment and export led growth.

* Running zero Budgets in spite of the impact of the Canterbury earthquake and GFC.

* Cutting costs – and staff – in the public service without reducing services.

* Increasing front line policing and reducing prisoner numbers.

* Reforming welfare to require those who can work to do their best to find work.

* got health out of the headlines which means pubnlic health services are working well.

* Made several significant Treaty settlements.

13 Sep 2012, 15:56:00  
Blogger Sam P said...

Good question. I think Blair is on the money. On that, a Robert Conquest quote comes to mind:-

“The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.”

And ...

“Any organization that is not explicitly right-wing becomes left-wing over time.“

I expected someone to praise their management over the GFC. But really--to borrow your way through is hardly an achievement.

Reform? What reform?

(btw: civil unions - ie, compulsory marriage - was nothing to celebrate.)

13 Sep 2012, 18:00:00  
Blogger ngapaki said...

... their greatest achievement in government?

As revealed by several polls during their tenure: Giving us a PM we (the Royal We) would like to have a beer with.

The interests of the electorate in a puddle deep, main-stream media driven, NUTshell.:-)Ian J

13 Sep 2012, 19:15:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think this government will be remembered for?

Getting someone good in the UN.

No really what scares me about this govt are the erosion of civil rights like losing the right to remain silent, the search and surveillance bill etc. I can't wait till I can afford to leave and it is all I work and save for.


16 Sep 2012, 12:34:00  
Blogger Peter Cresswell said...

Thanks everyone for your responses. It really was an honest question, which is why I've tried to stay silent until now.

@Mark Hubbard/Julian: Yes, you're right, martial law and the destruction by govt of Chch (doing to the city what the earthquake couldn't quite manage) will surely be seen in future years as one of their main "achievements."

While as @Anonymous points out, "the erosion of civil rights like losing the right to remain silent, the search and surveillance bill etc. are another disgusting aspect of this government's attack on individual rights--but few if any commentators have or will bother to recognise that.

@Sam P. Yes, I expected someone to praise their management over the GFC, because in world terms (i.e., relative rather than absolute terms,
they've been moderately less profligate than everyone else. (But with Bill English borrowing around $300 million a week, you can see how irresponsible the standards of others have been.)

BTW, civil unions were not compulsory marriage. Civil unions was the result Tim Barnett's bill allowing homosexual unions; compulsory marriage was the result of Margaret Wilson's reprehensible revision of, I think, the Matrimonial Property Act. Two very different things.

@ngapaki: Yes, the contrast of Key with Clark, i.e., someone you can have a beer with versus someone you could have an intellectual debate with, is certainly a valid point. In several ways.

17 Sep 2012, 10:05:00  
Blogger Peter Cresswell said...

@Homepaddock's comment deserves a longer response, because I confess it just baffled me altogether.

We seem to have been watching different governments.

You say my question is "a bit premature."

Premature!? The Key Goverment has been in power for nearly a term-and-a-half! In two years they could be out. When exactly do you think they're going to begin their work?!

You say "Reforms take time, especially when they're implemented in the face of on-going global financial problems and the Canterbury earthquakes."

Sorry, which "reforms" are we talking about? Do you know about some the rest of us don't? Could you give us a list?

Unless you're talking about Simon Power's reforms of the justice system making it more unjust. Or Nick Smith's of ACC making it less responsive. Or...

You say "You need to look a few more years ahead - if we stick to the path National is leading us on by then it'll be the government that got the rebuild of Christchurch well underway and carried the economy intact through the most trying time in recent history..."

It's the long term that worries me, because this government has not reversed the decline in freedom, it has continued it.

You talk about "The Rebuild" of Chch. I say, let's talk about "rebuilding," not "The Rebuild." The two are very different things--the latter hindering and making impossible the former. King Gerry's uber planning from above has helped to make it all but impossible for any rebuilding at all to be done in Christchurch. Meanwhile, in pursuing its plans for The Rebuild (TM) he has demonstrated that to this government things like property rights, contract law and the spontaneous order of entrepreneurs in free markets are utterly foreign concepts.

And by what possible standard can you say they have "carried the economy intact"? If this anaemic under-employed over-regulated economy in depression is "intact," then what, pray tell, would the opposite have looked like?

You baffle me.


17 Sep 2012, 10:19:00  
Blogger Peter Cresswell said...


@Homepaddock: You say National's "achievements so far include policies to redirect economy from borrowing and spending to saving, investment, and export led growth..."

Could you perhaps point me to one or two of those policies? I must have missed them.

"...Running zero Budgets in spite of the impact of the Canterbury earthquake and GFC..."

Your definition of a "zero budget" is clearly different to mine. Budgets that raise spending every year, while continuing to increase borrowing, are very much NOT a zero budget.

"...Cutting costs – and staff – in the public service without reducing services..."


"...Increasing front line policing and reducing prisoner numbers..."

Have you looked at either of those figures properly? Why do you think the police minister was building new prisons, talking double-bunking and looking to house prisoners in containers?

"...Reforming welfare to require those who can work to do their best to find work."

A slow start off along run up. And you really think this will ever be anything other than beneficiary-bashing headlines giving a little red meat to supporters? You think anything at all will come of it other than a larger welfare budget?

" health out of the headlines which means public health services are working well. ..."

So ACC, EQC, CERA must not be working at all then? Which is true. But not an achievement. But do you mean to say die-while-you-wait is okay by you, just as long as it doesn't appear in headlines? Is that really true?

"...Made several significant Treaty settlements.

No, my friend, I wouldn't file one that under "achievements" either.

So that's a pretty sorry list.

* * * * *

You know, I think Blair does win. Their biggest "achievement" is not anything they've done--by keeping them out of power for two terms, it's what they've not allowed the red team to do.

Put one way then, it's just power for power's sake. Put another way, it's an acceptance that the other team have all the ideas, the best you can do is be a speed hump in their road.

Very low horizons, aren't they. It just shows how without ideas as guidance you can lose, or never know, what it was you were there for in the first place.

17 Sep 2012, 10:21:00  
Anonymous 2ndAmendment said...

But they haven't kept Labour out of power. They kept Labour in power - but with a state house state school kid smiling and waving while Hellen pussed off to the UN.

At least Cullen went to Christs!

Name one Labour policy that was reversed. Just one.

Hell even Charter Schools Hellen would have supported provided they were just for low decile Mapri & Pacifc... Oh wait a minute... Mixed ownership model - what Hellen actually did to AirNZ.

TVNZ7 - oh wait leftBenches & mediaLeft are back on again...

Ok got one and it's a doozy - signing the UN declaration on the righs of indigenous people. Helen would never have signed that, ever.

18 Sep 2012, 00:17:00  

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