David Farrar has been lying to Australians, and the fact he needs to lie tells us a lot about what the Key Government is not.
Still struggling to understand what New Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull stands for (hint: nothing), the Australian Financial Review invited David Farrar to fill them in one of the few clues Turnbull has let slip: that John Key “has been able to achieve very significant economic reforms in New Zealand … by taking on and explaining complex issues and then making the case for them.”
As curious as the rest of us were to have these reforms revealed (Michael Reddell having already supplied a short list amounting to zero of reforms they have carried out, and a large list of things they haven’t reformed, but should have, and an even longer list of things that are a genuine step backward), AFR readers would have read the piece with some eagerness.
The lying starts early: "his government has balanced the budget and achieved several significant economic reforms,” says Farrar.
I count one flat-out lie, and several significant exaggerations. (You see what he/I did there?)
First the lie: For the benefit of Australian readers, the Key government has NEVER balanced a budget. Not once. Not for want of boasting about it—but then, at the start of the global financial crisis John Key boasted to the WSJ about not overspending either, and we know how that turned out: as a commenter on Farrar’s post describes: “pissing away $100 billion in extra borrowing to oil every squeaky political wheel.”
Because not only as the Key Government NEVER balanced the goddamned budget, it has very dramatically gone out and done the opposite—blowing the budget for several years by several significant hundreds-of-millions.
And Farrar knows that full well.
So what are the "several significant economic reforms" according to Farrar? According to him, they include
"partial privatisations of three power companies and the national airline."
Neither of which is either significant, or a reform.
“Another signiﬁcant economic reform was a tax switch package—income tax rates were dropped and GST increased.”
Which ended up only in increasing the total tax take.
And that, dear readers, is that for even a Key supporter trying to talk up these alleged reforms that have allegedly been so significant.
Which, frankly, is why he has to lie.
And, ironically, his lying it comes at a lull when even government supporters are beginning to wonder if we’ve just witnessed a dirigiste turning point in the Key Cabinet, in doubling down on “the decision of two government ministers to overturn fundamental property rights and signal the political interests of the state were supreme.”
So perhaps there really is a clue in John Key’s Government to let Australians know what to expect from their new grey man across the ditch, in that “The most singular part about Malcolm Turnbull leadership is [perhaps] that he has no desire to lead anywhere except where others also on the left already want to go.” Because in that, Key is very definitely a role model.