Euro crisis keeping Finance Minister Bill English awake at night; may roll on for a couple of years

Euro crisis keeping Finance Minister Bill English awake at night; may roll on for a couple of years

By Alex Tarrant

The European sovereign debt crisis has kept Bill English awake at night, but New Zealanders' acceptance of the need to rebalance the economy was making him sleep easier, the Finance Minister said.

English was speaking to a Cullen Law breakfast on Thursday, when asked what kept him awake at night.

“One factor is the volatility in international markets," English said. "We learnt from 2008 that we have one cash pipeline coming in here, which is the Australian banks borrowing essentially in European and American financial markets," he said.

That pipeline could shut, English said, and it did. "It shut down for a number of months in 2008 and these people are getting grumpier, they’re not settling down," he said.

"So this week it’s Ireland. The euro and Ireland and Greece - that could roll on for a couple of years. We don’t want to be vulnerable to those markets. That’s one thing that keeps me awake."

Sleep easy

However English said one thing that helped him sleep was that New Zealanders really had "got a grip" on what was needed in terms of rebalancing the economy, away from debt and consumption toward savings and investment.

There was a risk when the government had a theory about what needed to happen in an economy that the public was totally disconnected from it, which had happened before, he said.

"But I think now people [and] the way they’re dealing with their own households and businesses, is the way we need to deal with the economy.

"That’s very reassuring."

English said this had become clear in the Mana by-election.

"If there was an opportunity for anyone to get a strong argument up that the economic policy was wrong, or the tax changes were wrong and politically unsustainable, then they’ve had that opportunity in the last month, and in almost the most typical New Zealand electorate you can get," he said.

The Mana electorate had everything – ethnic mix, rural, urban, old people and young people. "And they haven’t got any issues up."

"I think that tells you middle New Zealand is roughly in line, and I think the government has done a reasonable job, actually, at going at the right pace through all of this.

"So I’m sleeping reasonably easy at night," he said.

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The fact his huge State is consuming, which means cannibalising, over 45% of our entire economy every year, with this size rising, should have him far more worried about the home front: that's the only fix he can effect so he is well advised to forget those other countries that are failing because their States became far too big, such as Europe.

Slash the size of our obese Nanny to at least one tenth of what she is now, and get us all out from under her fetid skirts: now that's something he could be remembered for.

A little study of empires from the past , all of which have long since crumbled into the dust of history , reveals a common cause of their downfall : An overwhelmingly big central government . Ancient Rome is a case to observe . As success grew , battle won , foes vanquished , innocents raped , murdered and robbed ............... The powerbrokers in Rome grew ever larger in number , ever greedier  in their appetite for more goodies and power ...... Until ultimately , it fell apart . The cost of keeping Rome sated exceeded the empire's ability to pay for the whole she-bang ........... And the rest is history .

From 1999 to 2008 the Labour Government in NZ increased spending by 50 % . Cullen sucked the economy dry . And that was during a commodities boom . Labour  had all the good luck running for them  , and still stuffed it up for us all .

............ 2011 sees the return of Labour , with Goofy / Klinger / Mallard & Cunny ; and their old partner , Winsome Peters ! Geeeez , NZ is screwed .

Wow they sure ask tough questions don't they....not.

Here's one for Bill....What target in % terms, does the govt have for the destruction of the value of the dollar over the next ten years?

Or try this Bill...........Is housing in New Zealand seriously unaffordable for the average family?

Too hard?......ok what about......How will you repay the 30 billion you are borrowing to prop up the state spending?...Will it come from higher taxes charges and fees?.....or do you expect revenue to increase by that amount?

An easy one to finish Bill.......The 180 billion in residential mortgage can this be paid down when incomes are not rising but interest rates are likely to?

Billy Bob...might I suggest you attend some of Alan's speeches or at least have them recorded for your relaxation therapy.

They guarantee a good snore no matter the crisis that may beset you....

Mate the only thing keeping you awake at night is sleeping on your wallet which has grown to an uncomfortable size of late..........a free tip get a second wallet and spread the load.

Has anyone informed Bill that a rather large swathe of NZ countryside has had no spring rains. Normally this wouldnt worry me, however the last few years have been so crazy my drought prediction nose is twitching non stop. This is BAD, if Agriculture was supposed to drag NZcorp out of the mire, dont expect much headway to be made this season.

I would have thought that having zero integrity would have been enough alone to keep him awake for the rest of his life. Oh, hold on, he won't even realise he and his mates are that far up eachother rear ends....give me strength