French, Greek elections show what happens if govts delay hard choices; NZ govt took them, PM Key says; Attacks high top tax rates

Elections in France and Greece, where the incumbent pro-austerity governments have been voted out, highlight the need to make tough policy changes upfront rather than letting problems accumulate, Prime Minister John Key says.

Not doing so would eventually lead to a situation like that in Greece, where international bankers from the International Monetary Fund had effectively taken control of the country's policy-making.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was this morning voted out of office, with Socialist candidate Francois Hollande beating the incumbent by 52% to 48%. Hollande has campaigned on introducing a top tax rate in France of 75% on annual income above one million euro. See more here at Bloomberg.

Hollande has also promised to renegotiate the EU's budget discipline treaty signed in March, arguing it needed to allow for more pro-growth measures. This is seen at odds with German chancellor Angela Merkel, who has led the EU fiscal austerity drive.

Meanwhile in Greece, the incumbent socialist Pasok Party, which oversaw the introduction of IMF and EU austerity measures for receipt of bail-out funds, looks set to come in third behind the conservative New Democracy party - which had its traditional vote cut back significantly - and a radical left-wing anti-bailout party, Syriza. See more here at Bloomberg.

Market commentators are suggesting the vote could be putting the Greek government's latest 130 billion euro IMF/EU bailout - to which New Zealand is contributing - at risk.

New Democracy and Pasok, which both supported the austerity measures, have alternated with each other in government in Greece for decades, and exit polls suggest they may not be able to form a bail-out-saving coalition together.

'It shows you need to take the hard choices'

Speaking on Newstalk ZB on Monday morning, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the results had added to the challenges in Europe. They showed governments needed to have made hard economic decisions to deal with growing debts and unsustainable public spending, he said.

“If you don’t take the hard calls up front, and you allow them to accumulate, then it becomes harder and harder and harder because people just don’t want change," Key said.

“In the case of France, I think they’ve had some real luxuries for a long period of time. Ultimately they don’t want to let those good things go," he said.

“It’s the same thing with places like Greece. They’ve built up massive amounts of debt. Now they’re being forced by the IMF and others to go through an austerity package they don’t want."

New Zealand in context, was "a million miles away from that."

"[But] that’s why the government’s having a zero budget this year, it’s why we had a zero budget last year, it’s why we’ve spent very little new extra money in the four years we’ve been in office," Key said.

"Yes, it’s hard when you’re doing it, but it means our debt levels don’t rack up, and that we call the tunes for New Zealand, not some international banker,” he said.

Top French tax rate 75%

In response to Hollande’s policy to hike France’s top tax rate to 75%, Key said history in New Zealand showed when the government imposed very high top personal rates, people either left the country, stopped working, or found ways around paying.

“I don’t think that’s sustainable," he said.

Key noted a study looking at the correlation between how progressive tax rates were, and how much people paid.

"What it basically shows is, the more you lower your taxes, the more people actually pay in physical tax because they spend less time trying to avoid it," he said.

'We're better off than most'

Meanwhile, speaking on TVNZ's Breakfast programme, Key said any government would always want to spend more money as that's what voters liked.

"But in the end it’s where that money comes from [which is the problem]. If you’re borrowing from overseas and putting more debt on future generations, that’s a really irresponsible thing to do," he said.

“In four budgets we will have effectively spent very little new money. Contrast that with Labour in their last four years, they spent about NZ$15 billion more. Is that easy, no, are there some people who’ll be disappointed, yes.”

A rising unemployment rate last week - it rose from 6.4% in December to 6.7% in March as more people began actively looking for work - and low growth needed to be seen in context.

“We’ve grown in ten of the last eleven quarters, better than most other countries,” Key said.

The UK was back in recession, US jobless numbers last week were weak, and Europe’s problems were continuing.

“In terms of the unemployment rate, it’s a very weird one at the moment. We are growing jobs – we grew 9,000 in the last quarter and on track to create 170,000 in four years," Key said.

“What’s happening is the number of people looking for work or in work, is at virtually a record in New Zealand – second highest rate ever. What that shows you is New Zealanders are more confident that the economy’s coming right, and therefore bothering to actually go and look for work," he said.

“I know it sounds crazy, but in the US part of their unemployment rate coming down has been because people have given up looking.”

'We've been Keynesian enough'

Asked whether the government should be doing more to stimulate jobs growth in the economy, Key said there was a question of what the government could do.

“We can’t control monetary policy – interest rates, the amount businesses pay when the borrow money – that’s the Reserve Bank’s job. But they’ve got a pretty low rate, and they have for quite some time," he said.

The government could affect things through regulations of labour laws, and was running job creation policies like allowing construction of the Sky City convention centre, more mining and exploration, irrigation, and as Australian companies moved over here.

“Labour have rejected every one of those, and so plenty of other people have been opposed, but they will create jobs.

“In terms of the overall economy, we are growing, and getting back to surplus is very important. It gives New Zealand future strength," Key said.

That was what New Zealand households were practicing too. They had borrowed too much during last decade, were worried about the international environment, and were looking to pay that debt off, he said.

“So they’re being very conservative. If we went out there and spent like a drunken sailor, they would say, ‘there’s something very wrong with the government, they’re in denial.’"

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Hahahahahahahahha, Key you are a muppet.
Taking hard choices would be cutting WFF, increasing the superan age and ending interest free student  loans.
None of which you remotely interested in, you gutless individual.

c'mon andyh.
He has to work out whether to:
Smile & Wave
Then of course, if that is all too much he has to decide whether to have a cup of tea in a cabbage boat with banksie.

Agreed...but also a bit harsh...Key has to contend with some political realities...if he takes an axe to those policies his small majority is gone.
Key is not the problem, it's the become an advanced democracy we need to limit the voting power of irrational the more rational you are the more voting power you's called plural voting....otherwise we will continue to have the same problems....once our budget is back in surplus Labour will pile on more election bribes and swing the vote.

I thought a rational person was expected to act in his/her own self- interest - at least that was Adam Smith's contention (i.e. the basis of capitalism).
Perhaps the word you are looking for is 'altruistic' as opposed to 'rational'.

Uh no...rational is the right word:
Voting is a decision right....and the more rational (or reasonable) you are, the better decision you make for the wider society.
A rational person when offered election bribes from politicians can identify the lack of reason.
Universal suffrage is not working...not everyone is equal....why can someone with Dementia have the same voting power as a Supreme Court Judge ?

.why can someone with Dementia have the same voting power as a Supreme Court Judge ?
Given some of their decisions Ricardo I'd say dementia may well inflict those you would hold above it.
Voting is a decision right....and the more rational (or reasonable) you are, the better decision you make for the wider society.
Hmmmm....the anomaly there is that rationality eminates from the self...and most rational decisions are made with self interest  /preservation in mind.....and so if an irrational view is held by the wider public it clearly is believed by the wider public to be rational.
Rationalisation justification before the event and after.
It never means it is correct  in all permutations that arise, but rather the process of thought had a  justifiable basis . 
Please feel free to share your thoughts on the sale of SOE's.

A rational person when offered election bribes from politicians can identify the lack of reason.
Just because we can reason doesn't mean we won't vote in our individual best (self) interest.  We are but an animal - and turkeys don't vote for Christmas no matter how much joy it spreads around the world.
But the problem is more about present power/control structures and dismantling them - as per Steven's comment in this thread.
Enlightenment philosophers - from whom the notion of rationalism grew in popularity - were breaking down existing power structures of their time with these new ideas - but they were based on altruistic ideals.  Re-read the definition of altruism - and you'll find that it is what you're asking for - that being you want people to vote, not based on self-interest, but on concern for the welfare of others.
Or is that NOT what you are looking for?

Kate...I think your view of the term "rational" is too narrow....anyhow...would you be happy with plural voting if it assessed the qualities of "altruism" & "logic" about that?
Whoever scores well on those two qualities gets a turbo charged vote ?
That way, the moron factor will be apologies on the word moron...I recently met someone who voted for Winson Peters because he has great hair!

Whoever scores well on those two qualities gets a turbo charged vote ?
Who will keep score and on what basis are the levels of rationality and altruism measured..?  As I said ,rationality eminates from the self with many degrees of separation between you and the next rational person who happens to share a number of your rationalisations.........
Turbo charged vote ?..already exists if you give it some thought,
When polled a staggering pecentage of people believed politicians to be the least trustworthy and fully expected to be lied to by politicians on a regular basis.....and yet here we are rationalising a flawed process that, has been rationalised on our behalf, by notables to exclude anything deemed not to within the critera of maintaining the Status Quo.
Stupid gets to vote ...because stupid's rationale ,can be influenced though it's self interest  component....
Come to think of it , Smart can be influenced by the same process. are getting caught up in semantics.
How about this...plural voting could work as follows:
1) We want people to make good voting decisions.
2) Voters are assessed on how capable they are on making good voting decisions...whether it be based on altruism, logic, reason, rationality, emotional intelligence etc....whatever it may long as it results in good voting decisions.
3) A vote has a higher weighting according to how high the person has scored in the assessment.
There you go...a solution to bring democracy into the 21st century.

Ricardo, good for whom voting decisions?  You keep avoiding the crux of the matter.

Kate...any selfish voting practises will be picked up in the assessment...that's the whole idea....for some reason you belief that a highly reaonable person that votes on the basis of the good of our society will still vote for that's not the idea with plural voting.

So Ricardo - you are agreeing that you want people to vote, not based on self-interest, but on concern for the welfare of others?


Yes definitely.

Ricardo the "Law " itself gets caught up...caught out  in semantics.
The exploitation of any such test  for those deemed to hold an interest would become all too aparent in the short term.
How about this.....Review the high school sanitised political science studies and make them  relevant  for young people , open to debate and discussion,...those who inherit this circus we call Parliment need be informed better in the actualities rather than the idealisms if they are to make informed decisions, whether those decisions will have a basis in logic or rationality is another thing, but the worst basis to make any decision is from an uninformed position. 

Irrelevant discussion. Already happening. Not in the way you expect. How to bypass rational.
Two passports. Three names and identities. Influence. Patronage. Privilege. Then there is a question of how many votes got passed inside a brown-paper-bag while he was lobbying.
Kim DotCom got 50,000 votes. How many votes d'ya reckon this guy got. With three identities, more than one.

Wonder how much tax he has paid since 2001.

Cheers for that iconolast...better demonstrations of  points I'm  trying to make......, but while we're on it  the K.Comm affair should be the discussion basis as an example of what I'd like to see being taught in schools .....
 All permutations aside a conclusion will be formed by each individual....and will tick a Right / Wrong box with very few not sures.
 Was Banks deliberatley lying for reasons or (rationalisation if you like) of self preservation when he did not recall on so many occassions.
Was Banks morally wrong to have done so while being entitled to do so under the Act as it stands...
Was Kim Dotcom implicating Banks in a coinspiricy to falsify documents as a means to express extreme dissatisfaction in the situation he now finds himself in, inflicting maximum damage to those he felt had deserted him.
Was Kim Dotcom morally wrong to have done so, not withstanding the reasons for his involvment appear to have been in the interests of his self preservation.
These would be suitable to discuss and relevant  on many levels for 5th and 6th formers.

Christoff: I look at it through the eyes of a "high stakes poker player". You have the best winning hand you have ever had, but a high roller at your table with full wrap-around dark-glasses not giving away any tells, doubles your last bet and doubles up and raises you $50,000 and you can't match him because your bankroll is exhausted and this was your get-out-of-jail hand. What do you do? Can you beat him?

To be honest iconolast I'm not up to speed on the etiquette of the Poker table , so the analogy is a little bewildering for me....
 O.K. what do I do ...or what did I not do, by not announcing all in....?
I'm holding Aces and eights by the way. 

smoothe move .. had to look that one up.

Chuckle - there is more truth in your comments than many people wil care to admit.

exactly, and add to that list:
- reinstatement of income tax rates prior to cuts, OR, preferably, introduction of a land tax
- actually delivering on the planning / RMA reform that has been promised for so long  

AndyH is right: John Key has not made one difficult decision so far, and he is well into his second term.  Sure, the SOE sell-downs and the approval of the Crafar farm sale have been contentious, but neither issue hits voters directly in the pocket like the removal of Working For Families, the re-introduction of interest on student loans, raising the age of eligibility for Super etc.
To those advocating raising the top tax rate, you won't be punishing "the rich" as none of the people on the NBR Rich List actually pay that rate.  The people you will hurt are teachers, police officers, nurses etc, who through inflation ended up in the top tax bracket during the last Labour government's time in office.  Let's not forget that we had the farcical situation of people paying 39c in the dollar yet also being able to claim WFF. 
However, I think the biggest issue National has failed to front up to is that of deteriorating housing affordability.  The story in today's Top 10 about the obscene price of flats in London offers a glimpse into New Zealand's future: a nation divided between the wealthy property-owning class and the renters, where the high cost of living forces more people to rely on the welfare state. 
History has shown that no matter how much politicians hike taxes (France is going for a ludicrous top tax rate of 75%), there is an upper limit to how much you can forcibly extract from people.  The key to keeping government budgets under control is to contain expenditure, which is almost impossible when life is so expensive even the middle class need handouts to make ends meet.

Agreed. Despite much promise when first elected, the nats have done bugger all to address housing.
One of the best ways to get the economy moving again would be to get decent home building. Construction would generate jobs, and if we got decent supply happening, then people would pay less on housing and have more disposable income to spend in the economy   
Bernard, Gareth et al - bloody well about time you interviewed the Minister for the Environment (who is it now Smith has gone? )  and ask him what the hell is happening to RMA reform???
It's a frickin disgrace
All this bad economic news is depressing, we need positive and committed action. The solutions are out there, its a mystery to me why the govt isn't acting

MIA - there are solutions, but yours isn't one of them - it's a 'more of the same'.
You need to study energy - no building was ever built, without using it.

..... enlighten me anyone , wasn't Rodney Hide supposed to slash through the local council & RMA red-tape ?
Or was that just another of those gummibar-sugar-high spin outs that I go on , the one's where I believe politicians will actually do what they promise to do before we elect them  .......

You are correct GBH......although no one is now sure whether it was Jeckyl or Hyde making the promise.....needless to say impotence ruled the day.

The government is acting.
Just a case of observe what they do. Not what they say
Opening up the immigration gates to wealthy immigrants with few to no strings attached was one of them.
Got to keep the supply going for the growth (in prices) brigade

The hard choice seems to be knowing how much to borrow. I wonder how Greece got in its current hole?

Wasn't Key saying just the other day that he was following the Keynes recipe of borrow and hope.
Now this "made hard economic decisions to deal with growing debts and unsustainable public spending"

No - he never said that, stop making stuff up Kiwidave.
Unless you didn't realise, this is the second zero-budget in a row.  How is a zero-budget, and tightening of spending across the majority of govt departments seen as "borrow and hope"?.

"the government here was able to take a Keynesian stance and help the economy through the downturn by using its balance sheet to soften the blow", Prime Minister John Key says.
Try and keep up, Ants.

Key's the master of oxymoronism - I guess what he's saying is "If you don't accept the austerity of the IMF neoliberal prescription - you'll get a return to socialism"?
Here's the platform the new French Pres stood on:
Hollande has proposed higher taxes for big companies and cuts for small and medium-sized businesses; a 75 percent levy on incomes above 1 million euros a year and special taxes on banks and oil companies.
His platform would raise spending by 20 billion euros ($26.3 billion) over his five-year term and the retirement age for those who started working at 18 years old pushed back to 60 from 62. He said he would discuss with France’s banks the split of their retail and investment activities.
Tax increases and eliminating loopholes would seek to raise 29 billion euros. The budget plan aims to eliminate the deficit in 2017, one year later than under Sarkozy’s plan, with a 3 percent of gross domestic product deficit target for 2013.
Looks to me like an "Occupy" platform - a more equitable distribution of wealth intent.  Exactly the opposite of Key's camp.

My guessing is that it's not just 'pro-austerity' Govts will be voted out. It will be every incumbent, voted out by the increasingly-hurting mob - them what is promised 'growth' by both types.
The diffo in France, is that it has to be a tend toward default; there is no chance whatever of the current cumulative global debt being reconciled, let alone adding more. Still, it's just numbers, eh? There won't any human misery, right?
Time for another Steinbeck.

Yes, it is just numbers - the only "resource" without limits to growth, eh?  :-)

Kate - National's cuts to higher rate taxes in NZ were idiotic - and the pretence that somehow the increase in GST was going to render them fiscally neutral has of course been blown out of the water by subsequent events.
I must say however that the new French presidents pledge to CUT the superan age is the height of stupidity.

I must say however that the new French presidents pledge to CUT the superan age is the height of stupidity.
Why so andyh? - youth unemployment has to be addressed urgently and there is little chance of getting it to German levels overnight.  The elderly are resigned to their lot not so for the young.  

Well I guess making the totally empty promise to 18 year olds that they will receive a state pension at 60 MIGHT keep them off the streets for now (I'll admit it has its propaganda purposes, but its an amazingly cynical lie, even by political standards). By the way does anyone have any academic data on the direct relationship between a jobs 'created' by lowering the retirement age and the take up of said jobs by the young? I very much doubt its a 1:1 ratio?

I don't believe youth generally 'believe' state funded pensions will figure in their retirement future ... and when you're out of work in the present with little prospect of employment into the future - I doubt you even care about false future promises. 
A job vacated by a 60 year old is unlikely to be taken up by a new entrant to the workforce. I suppose the theory is that the retirement (if a job is to be re-filled) sees shifts on rungs of a ladder.

Exactly to point one.
Re cutting the age of super/retirement - I expect that has to do with the very high rate of youth unemployment in France.  Such a policy perhaps admits that 'growth' as a means to employ these unemployed just isn't realistic.
Which is why I'm open to the idea of a graduated type of super - allowing some folks to choose earlier retirement but at a reduced rate.  Those early retirees are also likely to bolster a flourishing civil society through pursuing social activity in the voluntary sector.

agreed about cutting the super age - both the left and right are entirely capable of moronic policy

He's (French guy) crazy, beats Winston for handouts/pork barrels by a huge margin but it wont work. If you go back 100 years life was tough and indeed has been for all of humanities time.  Today however ppl seem to now think they can have the easy life based on consuming ever more quantities of cheap energy........and thats just 1.5billion of us in the developed world, the other 5.5 in the developing world want the same thing....aint gonna happen.....
So the course being set all over now is default, indeed the Greek's are set for elections very soon and I think the ppl have had enough of 'austerity'. Some if not a lot are hungry, that does not bode well for stability or democracy. So that leaves a total Greek default and exit from the Euro as the only course left assuming the two major parties dont get enough votes to keep going that to watch.
Key in effect is defaulting on promises because he is making them un-payable, but then he will have 'safely" retired to Hawaii long before that eventuates.  BE on the other hand is stuck here........

Key's the master of oxymoronism - I guess what he's saying is "If you don't accept the austerity of the IMF neoliberal prescription - you'll get a return to socialism"?
As ever you are right Kate- but what I think Key and his crony capitalists are worried about is a sudden removal of corporate socialism in the form of TBTF handouts and their like such as PPP schemes, state asset sales, etc.
This whole entitlement infrastructure and preferment shell game has to be torn down whether it be by socialism for the people leading the charge or otherwise.

Hollande's campaign for change reminded me a lot of Obama's campaign and we've all seen how different he's been to Bush.
I doubt much is going to change in France.  I'm of the view that if he really did represent real change, he wouldn't made it anywhere near the Presidency.  In setting out his stock for presidency, DSK started making noises about the flaws in the neo-lib IMF policies and got sent down as a result.  No chance he was ever going to make President after that.
If Hollande tries any of the above, the banks will quietly put the hard word on him and if he's still determined to go through with those changes, they'll monster the market to destablise his administration.
The German's don't seem to be sweating too much about Hollande's success, they know the deal.

NZ has taken the hard choices?
Did Key manage to say that with a straight face?

For some people lying is not a problem:
Imagine - if you can - not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.
And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.
Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless.
You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience, that they seldom even guess at your condition.
In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world.
You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences will most likely remain undiscovered.

What the result will bring is a measured response from Christine Lagarde as she releases the grip on Sarkozy's testicles watching him plummet  groundward from The Arch de Triumph..... now comtemplating just how to get her hands into the pockets of a Socialist .
This has indeed been an unwanted outcome by the IMF....the response on both side will be swift.

how come taxation is only a discipline for lower income earners. hiking top tax rates is always seen as a disincentive to the rich and yet its always a necessity to avoid giving tax breaks to lower income earners. benefits are seen as a disincentive. yet tax breaks at the top are a benefit. whats the difference?

how come taxation is only a discipline for lower income earners. hiking top tax rates is always seen as a disincentive to the rich and yet its always a necessity to avoid giving tax breaks to lower income earners. benefits are seen as a disincentive. yet tax breaks at the top are a benefit. whats the difference?

because its voodoo breaks for the rich is silly its even been debunked by some economists as such. If anything it allows the parasites to use their extra cash to extract even more monopoly rent damaging the economy even actually a 70% top tax rate for the rich is better for the economy...

You might like to note that the 75% top tax rate is for people on income above 1 million Euros. NZ's top tax rate threshold is 70K (less than NZ$43K at today's rate)...

And yet they still leave for the Uk 

Wealthy French eye move across the Channel

yep.....70k NZ will be the new mid the UK the new top rate will start to climb steeply I say $150k for 40 or 50%....though it may not be that high a start.

according to robert reich recovery in the us has seen 93% of all gains accruing to the top 1%. any wonder things are still a mess? growth requires demand which comes from the majority- low and middle income earners. us and world growth was greatest when taxes were higher - tell me if i am wrong but top tax rates around 70%? and incomes for the majority were increasing. most people let the current state happen because they think they have a shot at becoming the 1% and to hell with anyone else. but what they dont realise is that they will only ever be the other 99% who pay for the 1%.

Key is making the tough financial decisions but they do not address the real issues.
Why do we continue to rely on an economy built around property where prices are now in bubble proportions? Property prices in Germany are mostly EUR300,000 with a very small percentage in the millions. Florida mansions can be acquired for USD300,000. Local Governments must stop this crazy ring fencing of land around our cities. This policy constrains the supply of land, drives prices up such that the proportion of land value to total property value continues to grow leaving less value in the improvements, ie there is less and less funds available for the home, leaky homes will continue. Auckland is more densely populated than the majority of cities around the globe. We do not need increased density. The argumant that density keeps infrastructure costs down is pure propaganda.
We need lower property prices and with encouragement/enforced savings to grow our productive sector. Key, and previously Muldoon, has downplayed savings by lowering the thresholds/incentives for Kiwisaver.
Peter Gluckman, as science adviser to Key, needs to address nutrition. This is the first step to ensuring our people have thinking minds and bodies that function not sugar diseased that creates large drains on our health budget. Key abolished the Healthy Lunch programme in schools, a scandal. We need "prevention of disease" programmes/solutions not "bottom of the cliff" sops to the medical profession. Our health budget is not sustainable & can be reduced. 

Good overview here on Greek election at WSJ

"Key said history in New Zealand showed when the government imposed very high top personal rates, people either left the country, stopped working, or found ways around paying."
That Mr Key is a genius. Good thing he lowered the top rate to stop people leaving the country and finding ways of tax avoidance.
When will people wake up to this nonsense.

So bring them back and set very high penalties, incl jail time for their "tax advisors".

"That was what New Zealand households were practicing too. They had borrowed too much during last decade, were worried about the international environment, and were looking to pay that debt off"

This is the only correct statement by Key. The world is in a balance sheet recession, not a crisis of government spending or being out-exported by BRIC countries. New Zealand and many European countries like Spain were run prudently before 2008 and ran a budget surplus, but ran into trouble after 2008 as their tax base dried up. What happened is households took on too much debt to buy assets (housing, farmland) on the expectation that prices would keep rising. When the bubble burst and asset prices fell, liabilities remained and households were forced to delever, taking spending out of the economy. If the government wants to remedy this, they should be matching private debt repayment with increased government spending funded by the central bank so that private debts can be paid off. This is obviously not inflationary because aggregate demand stays the same. Key is being completely dishonest to compare NZ to countries in the Euro that can't do this becaues they don't have their own currency.

Hey Sore loser, why do you highlight some seemingly unimportant words with capitals and full stops?  When reading it through it suggests emphasis and pauses are needed on those words, when emphasis is not needed it is just all a bit confusing and hard to read?  Just asking?

Take the following line Bankster B....
And they look after their OWN RETIREMENT.....OPTIONS.......not yours........FIRST
FIXING not quite what they mean...
now think of  OPTIONS like this Option's and as if the sentence began there.
Now take the next  three capitals that  run in sequence FFP......
A styley fellow 4 sure 

look - Keys not perfect but compared to the other pretenders to the throne he 'aint doing too bad.     Mr David "im the UN man dont u know" Shearer   or   Russell "an aussie economic grreenGenius in our midst" Norman  or - preserve us  - Winston " that GST is still due" Peters  dont inspire me with any confidence

Are you arguing that, as the least offensive turd in the toilet, we should hold back from criticizing him?

Maybe do like the greeks and flush.

..... you guys should've voted for Colin & the Conservatives ! ...... they're singing a new tune , and not off key ......

Criticise away. It's good for the soul. Just dont be too surprised if not much notice is taken in official circles as there seems to be cohesion deficiency in the posts here.
I gather on average Key has a cunning plan to divert the wealth of the nation to his mates, lacks courage  , has no plan, wont control the size of Government and is destroying the public service. Cant all be right.

It depends on how Key feels on the day, and what he thinks the audience want to hear.

Unless my arithmathematics is wrong , but Knickerless Sarkosy is the 11'th Eurozone leader or government to be ditched out of office since the austerity programme was dreamt up ......
.......a curious thing for me is to know Angela Merkel's " favourite " number ?
.. ... I'm guessing that it's not " 12 " .......

Presumably an early conversation between Hollande and Merkel will be something like: "We will largely ignore spending limits, and will need direct money printing to manage the deficit, rather than the current fake process of printing money to give to banks to loan to countries who will never pay it back. Agree to that Angela, or it is the end of the Euro. Either you go back to the Deutschemark, Angela, or we return to the Franc, or both. "
The Greeks will be the same; and the Spanish and Italians very close behind.
Am not trying to sound alarmist- quite the opposite. Either or the moves will let Europe finally move on, and stop being such a millstone around their own and the world's neck.

The more we see of key, the more we see he has no imagination at all, he is hard coded to the idea of selling the country down the road, and that low taxes are the answer to everything.

Not many countries with his economic policies have done that well.

The worst thing is he is using bad economic conditions as excuses for making terrible decisions, and has actually avoided making lots of hard decisions contary to what he says,

hasn't had the guts to have a serious look at the retirement age, Captital gains tax, or appropriate tax levels in relation to what the government is still spending.

These guys are putting me off National as a politcal party, they really have no one at all in the party that inspires any kind of confidence, Key seemed the part for a while, but now it's obvious he has no substance, and is all about keeping his rich mates from either here or overseas happy, not making NZ a better country.

All this argument around how much to tax high earners is only deflecting attention from the real problem, which is to many takers and not enough producers. You can tax those that earn over a million 100% and it would still not cover the deficit.
Key has taken no hard decisions, he took the soft option of trying to maintain economic activity via borrowing, vis a v the rest of the Western world. It will not work only prolong the inevitable. An increasing GDP supported via Government borrowing is not a growing economy.
The media are misleading you in calling Hollande's intentions for growth as a growth policy, his intention is to print and borrow, thats not growth. It may look good for a while but there will be a price to pay!
We are in for an interesting ride, there will be opportunites for those who are not fooled by the lure of false riches and are prepared to keep their wealth safe till asset prices reflect the real situation and are not inflated by printed currency and prolific borrowing.

Paralysed Fed, Economic Recovery Reality, The Emperor is Naked