Alex's politico-economic blog roll: Gareth Morgan's wet dream; the left's PPP tennis; thank God for a floating Kiwi$

Alex's politico-economic blog roll: Gareth Morgan's wet dream; the left's PPP tennis; thank God for a floating Kiwi$

Here's this week's politico-economic blog roll, a round-up of economic posts on various NZ blogs from the past week. I welcome links to any posts I've missed or over-looked.

A lot out there this week. Seems like Don Brash pushed a few buttons.

From the right

1. We'll begin with the right this week. - Kiwiblog's David Farrar says it's good to see come common sense emerging from Labour Finance spokesman David Cunliffe, who said last week Labour would look more closely at Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) (more on that here).

Cunliffe had talked about using PPPs for new transport infrastructure.

Yay. PPPs should be on the table as an option in pretty much all circumstances. Decisions on whether to have a PPP should be made on the merits of an individual case. Great to see Labour starting to take steps away from ideology and towards rationality.

Farrar's also initially happy that Labour will begin to look at "un-leashing" State Owned Enterprises by allowing private investment...However he takes this back due to Cunliffe's comment that this would only be for new subsidiaries of SOEs.

Now Labour have pointed out that their policy is intended to apply to new subsidiaries only, but that is frankly illogical. Take Kordia for example. A while back they purchased Orcon. This means the taxpayer now owns an ISP. Labour seems to be saying that Kordia is not allowed to sell Orcon.

This is the bizarre outcomes you get from blanket bans. Private sector investment in any state asset should be considered on a case by case basis. There is a pretty strong argument to own Transpower, and there was a very weak argument to own a chain of competitive vehicle testing stations.

How all this would fit with Labour's new foreign investment policy is anybody's guess.

Cunliffe's speech was wide-ranging but included very little detail. He said more detailed policies would be unveiled next year, no doubt after sniffing the wind on these latest comments.

2. Why Ireland went bust -  It was due to big government, not economic liberalisation, Business Roundtable boss Roger Kerr says.

  • From 2000 to 2009 average public sector salaries increased 59%
  • In 2004, 34% of income earners were exempt from tax. In 2010, 45% were exempt
  • In 2007 property taxes generated 6.7 billion euros.  In 2010 that figure will be 1.6 billion
  • In 2009 interest on government debt was 8% of tax revenues.  In 2014 it will be 20%.

Naysayers try to tell you that the Celtic Tiger was a myth and that free-market policies brought the Irish economy down.

The truth is exactly the opposite. Liberalisation caused the Irish economy to surge until a return to big government crushed it. Membership of the eurozone, poor banking regulation and the government guarantee of bank depositors and creditors were also major factors.

3. Privatise the bastards - Kerr also has a go at Prime Minister John Key for his comment on the live Stuff chat that National had ruled out total sales of any SOEs (more on that here).

Key's was asked Asked: Will the national government ever consider the total sale of any public assets? To which he replied: “We're not planning total sales, and have yet to conclude whether we might entertain the idea of partial floats.”

It is an undisputed fact that over time and on average businesses do better in private rather than public ownership.  

John Key is rightly respected as a pragmatic and trusted leader with the common touch and plenty of common sense and business acumen. He has the ability to raise public understanding of the economic gains that would ensue from privatising state assets – particularly lower prices and better services for the public. Privatisation should not be seen as ideological – it is a pragmatic course of action that the public should understand. Why not at least try?

4. Gareth Morgan's wet dream. Cactus Kate takes a look at Hong Kong's new property tax (see post 'You can't stop China'), saying it's gone slightly loopy bringing in 'special stamp duty' (SSD).

I agree with the government that Hong Kong currently is "m" for mental. Most blame the Chinese "hot" money but lending and deposit interest rates of next to nothing brought on by the HK dollar peg to the USA are I think more the issue with most of the market.

Think in New Zealand of the effect on property if interest rates were say 2% floating, liquidity was reasonably easy to come by and rents were say double what they are now. Which is precisely the HK residential property market. It is stuck with USA pegging with superior economic conditions to the USA.

SSD is something that Gareth Morgan can only have a wet dream over. Details are here.

It's like a CGT on methamphetamine.

The buyer AND the seller are jointly liable. The SSD applies to residential and not commercial property, such is its specific targeting. It is a punitive duty on the total sale price of your property. It is dutied now on all sales and if your property is sold within 2 years of purchase a sliding scale applies on the higher of the consideration or the market value:

15% for property held for six months or less

10% for property held six to twelve months

5% for property held twelve to twenty-four months

And get this, even if you don't make a profit on the sale - you are still liable for the duty.

Imagine if National tried to impose that here. Pigs flying. I wonder if the Greens would even consider it over their calls for a capital gains tax?

5. 'Good on Don Brash' - The chaps at Not PC have a piece from Libertarianz leader Richard McGrath saying he enjoyed Don Brash's latest Orewa speech (go down to Wednesday's posts).

This is a government is utterly devoid of any vision. Like the Labour one that came before it, the dominant priority is retaining power at all costs.

There is no secret agenda. There are no secret plans to privatize anything. They have no intention at all of liberating New Zealanders from excessive taxation and regulation.

What a complete waste of time these last two years have been.

What a vacuous waste of space this Key-led Government has been.

Even though he must surely know Dr Brash’s prescription is correct, I hold no expectation that John Key will have listened to anything that was said to him.

Unless serious moves are made to stop the government living beyond its means, however—which will not happen as long as Bill English retains a ministerial house—the  standard of living for Kiwis will only continue to drop further.

From the Left

6. PPP tennis.. MartyG at The Standard says he was disappointed by Labour Finance spokesman David Cunliffe's remarks on Public Private Partnerships.

Not only because PPPs essentially involve privatising business gains and socialising the losses, or because they’ve been an abject failure almost everywhere they’ve been tried, but because one of the major weak-points National has going into the next election is its second-term privatisation agenda.

By effectively backing privatisation Cunliffe has just made it a lot harder for Labour to attack National on the issue.

Cunliffe hit back on Red Alert, saying MartyG misinterpreted his stance.

1.  His opposition to PPPs appears to be as blindly ideologically based as National’s blind ideological support for them.  Labour’s policy before and since the last election has been based on providing the best value for New Zealand taxpayers, regardless of ideology. 

And

8. Labour is not soft on privatisation. Our opposition to private prisons and SOE sales underlines that.  My recent speech explicitly ruled out any dilution of any Crown equity in any state asset or existing subsidiary.  That bright line test restates our strong “no sale’” policy that provides ongoing strong differentiation form National.

MartyG returned Cunliffe's volly with a backhand to the baseline:

Now, I admit that I painted Cunliffe’s mentions of privatisation and PPPs in broad strokes. And I realise that technically this wasn’t anything new (which raises the question of why Cunliffe re-announced it). But guess what? In politics your policies will inevitably be characterised by the media and interpreted by the public in simplistic terms. 

There’s a difference between National and Labour’s policies on SOEs and privatisation  – National: we might part sell SOEs, Labour: we might part sell new subsidiaries of SOEs as long as it doesn’t dilute equity in existing SOEs – but they look very similar to the casual observer. Especially since National could just adopt Labour’s policy, carve SOEs into ‘new subsidiaries’, and sell them off for the same result as its policy.

National's seems pretty comfortable about Cunliffe's PPP policy and with the fact the two party's policies are so similar.

7. Key still wants to be like the Irish. MartyG also has a go at Key's comments that he wanted to speed up work on turning New Zealand into a financial services hub for foreign funds that won't be taxed (more on that here). The Standard last week had a go at Key's 2007 wish for New Zealand to emulate the Irish model of a services economy.

An international financial centre is kind of like a Thunderdome for financiers. Despite being in New Zealand, our normal rules, especially tax law, wouldn’t apply. You could see this hubs as the ultimate expression of late capitalism – enclaves carved out of nation-states specifically so that the capitalist elite can trade tokens of value that exist many steps removed from the real economy, acting with reference only to the holy ‘laws of the market’ and not the democratic law of the nation.

...

MED is the most-pro neoliberal ministry by a long, long way and if even they’re saying ‘hey, let’s do this properly and take our time’, it’s worth listening. But, no, instead the spider fancier has asked the woodwork teacher to slap something together and they’re going to use that as the basis of complex financial policy. As one civil servant was saying to me the other day, Labour goes to the ministries for advice and generates policy from that advice, the Nats go to ministries and say ‘here’s what we’re going to do, make it look justifible’.

8. Bedtime for Brash? Someone at Frogblog is sick and tired of hearing Don Brash waffle on.

The upside of Brash’s speech is that it was to National Party faithful. While John Key is publicly relaxed, he will privately be spewing.  Brash set out in technicolour the agenda that some in National would like to move much more quietly towards – deregulation, privatisation, and denial of indigenous rights.

I suspect whoever in the National Party cleared Brash to deliver this speech will be (very quietly) getting his or her butt kicked right now.

But there may be an upside.  That would be the divisive impact Brash’s speech will have had among the National Party faithful, and the marginalization of Brash and his extremist economic and racial views by the National Party hierarchy.

9. How should Auckland grow? Green MP David Clendon muses about Auckland growth strategies at Frogblog. He says the Greens are opposed to further low density urban sprawl around Auckland or any of out other major cities. You listening Hugh?

The government has already made their position pretty clear – both through the release of their new document “Building Competitive Cities” and through Steven Joyce’s recent comments in the Sunday Star Times.

They want to see Auckland grow outwards as they believe that removing the Metropolitan Urban Limit and zoning more land on the urban fringe for development will lower housing prices.

Building Competitive Cities even suggests that councils should allow enough land for 20 years of urban growth on the outskirts of their cities. In Auckland’s case, that would involve providing enough land for about 600,000 people or 200,000 houses.

The Green Party is opposed to allowing further low density urban sprawl around Auckland or our other major cities. We’d like to see our cities grow outwards in a planned fashion along public transport links. There are a variety of reasons for that which I hope to cover in some blogs over the next few weeks.

Economics blogs.

10. Brash working on his political legacy. Otago University politics lecturer Bryce Edwards says Don Brash's latest Orewa speech (more on that here) read more like a speech from a member of the Opposition. However, Edwards doesn't think Brash is making a political comeback or wants to regain the National leadership (he's still a member), saying: "It must be clear to Brash that his time has past. But he will be grappling with his political legacy and how to manage this."

Don Brash is clearly seeking to set himself up as the ‘critic and conscience’ of the National Party. In this way he can be the lightening rod or vehicle for those in the party that are uncomfortable with the John Key-led moderation of the current National Government. There is definitely a large section of the party that is very unhappy with the centrist direction of their own government. This is especially the case when it comes to economic and ethnicity issues, and so Brash has quite astutely taken up these two areas in his speech.

...

Don Brash’s speech will go down very well within the National Party. There is a large proportion of the party that would like to see the Government return to its original principles and show a bit more backbone. However, Prime Minister John Key will be very unimpressed with Brash’s speech. Not only is the speech a thinly veiled criticism of him and his leadership, it has the possibility of fomenting internal party dissent and dispute, which is never welcomed by a party leader.

11. Matt Nolan at TVHE has some good musings on why our situation is not like the Greek and Irish situations, despite NZ having high debt.

He takes a wee stab at those advocating we peg our dollar, saying the fact we have a floating exchange rate is one of the reasons we're not in the stook.

There are two major differences that have helped reduce the implied risk on our debt, making New Zealand much less likely to experience a bank run:

  1. Our banking system is primarily foreign owned (Eric Crampton expands on why this is a good thing),
  2. We have a freely floating exchange rate – combined with having much of our debt denominated in NZ$ this is useful.

These are important points to recognise.  While many commentators are saying we should “peg” our dollar and set up more domestic ownership of banks GIVEN the risks associated with the GFC, I tend to reach the opposite conclusion – namely, the reason why we haven’t suffered as much as these countries has been largely the result of our free floating exchange rate and the fact that a larger economy has a large stake in our banking system.

The terms of trade boost and our proximity and exposure to Asia has also helped, but I would say that the Greek and Irish crises give us a reason to hold onto the status quo – not to chuck it out!

Eric Crampton at Offsetting Behaviour agrees:

We're far more robust to shocks to the domestic economy than we would be if our banks' asset base were heavily New Zealand oriented. The Aussie parents are hardly likely to let their NZ branches fall over in the case of a liquidity problem here. But the NZ branches are operationally separate, subject to local prudential regulation, and hold reserves in New Zealand; if the Australian property market collapses, it would be very tough for an Aussie parent bank to lean on the New Zealand branch for assistance.

Systemic shocks and correlated risks are bad things for banks. Why would a small country ever want to rely primarily on "Local banks for local people"? Yeah, there are lots of systemic risks against which we can't insure easily. But that's no reason to try to make things worse.

Perhaps America should encourage Canadian banks to set up branches in the States....

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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#2 Perhaps someone should tell Roger that prior to 2000 the civil servants were being paid potatoes

I recently got offered a post in Canada - the pay was a lot higher than what I'd get here that's for sure.  I said yes, the wife said no, guess who won?!?!?

But as we are constantly at pains to teach our students here, correlation does not infer causation.  Yes Roger can pull out these facts, but I bet you there are plenty of other countries with similiar pay rates and trends that didn't collaspe.  For example, I could go and work for the Australian Government and get paid a lot higher (x2 in NZ dollars) than here, but again, the Wife is just too sweet and pretty to dash off...

I also visited Ireland in October 2009 (Galway) for a month, the country, and indeed the talk of the locals, appeared to be one massive corporation, run along free market principles, with minimal government activity. But there has been massive changes in Ireland in the last decade, and so comparing dollars to potatoes as Roger Kerr has is, I think, mischevious.

 

John Key has only himself to blame , if Don Brash's comments  cause dissention within the National party . Key's government has wasted 2 years . He has no plan . It is the night of the zombies as his lot plod towards the 2011 election .

This government is continuing the massive tax & spend policies of Michael Cullen ..... ........... We are living beyond our means .

If Gareth Morgan , or any other high profile economist with some degree of commonsense , chose to  jump into the fray with a new political party , both Labour and National would crap their nappies .

A Beehive insider accessed Brash's email and then it was leaked. Brash departed as a result. It'd be interesting to know who Brash really thinks it was who made his email available.

HUGH : The electorate got their just desserts  , 100 %  !

 JK went into the 2008 election with a " steady as she goes " platform   ;  a " me too " to all the dopey policies of Michael Cullen . And JK has delivered ! Those who voted for him have been rewarded . He has kept his word . No change to WFF / interest-free-student-loans / retirement age / etc .

That's why I didn't vote for him ( but I did vote for Don Brash in 2005 ) .

The government are still taxing and spending too much . Private endeavour is being squeezed out . The NZX is dying . National have slowed the rate of increase in government spending . But it is still growing ............. Is the economy growing too , to cope with that ?

Phil Best is correct . It is a pity that Labour didn't win a fourth term , and have to accept responsibility for cleaning up  the mess that they created .

Kill the ability of LAQC scum to rort WFF; Help people gain an education, rather than hindering them; Take a long, hard look at existing retirement policies; Etc.

The rabid right do not want to see any of the above happen, no matter what they may otherwise claim.

Well said.  I find it a bit bemusing all these attacks on student loans. What would have happened if we didn't have them? Why do we vent that we lose a little money educating our nation but are oddly quiet on welfare for the rich (RDGS)? Why do they attack WFFs so much, I don't get it myself, but I see what it is there for, to stop the middle class joining the lower class. The 'LAQC scum'just move to another see-through structure while the rest of New Zealand pays in units of quality of life...

You seem to forget that JK had a mandate to be centralist....and not swing off to extreme right wing loopy politics...

regards

That is true , but it is a pity that he didn't find a few skerricks of right thinking , to balance out 9 years of governence from the seriously dopey left .

This crisis has already left a legacy of debt to the next generation. We must not leave them the legacy of a fragile banking system too

But, neither can we leave the next generation with that legacy debt which was created by this corrupted/flawed banking system.  Therefore, if he really wants to take responsibility and be accountable for the mess created by the flawed banking system that he was very much a key player in - he has to also come up with a recommendation to re-set, windback, forgive (call it what you like) that debt.

As it stands his speech amounts to "Sorry that you have to pay for the crimes of your fathers, kids, but in case any of you ever regain your freedom, we hope to have left a blueprint of the way we should have run things".  

"Sniffing the wind".....three words that really do fit cunliffe and labour better than any others.

#4.  Hong Kong gets it right again.

Don Brash, the consience of the National Party, seems like Roger Douglas, the consience of ACT.  Brash is doomed!

April 2010 West Virginia US coal mine disaster. Mr Brownlee why didn’t you stop Pike River ?

 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36183425/ns/us_news-life/

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/25/west-virginia-mine-investigation-methane_n_694787.html

 Why not add real value to our economy and our Kiwi workforce ?

Why spend millions of $ for enquiry when we all know the government  (Supervisonry authority) disregarded safety issues ?

Why not honour the people of Greymonth and spend this money construction a safe and decent future - building “The Pike River Aqua Centre” and businesses involved in fresh water in stead of destroying peoples and other life ?

Why not go “NZ100%pure Economy” in stead of dirty coal, dirty waters - a dirty planet ?

Why not make real money in our economy ?

 Just a thought for the government and others.

An earlier link of Bernard's... someone's listening Walter.

"The $1.5 trillion, five-year investment plan will target sectors that include alternative energy, biotechnology, new-generation information technology,
high-end equipment manufacturing, advanced materials, and environmentally friendly technologies."

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B215220101203?pageNumber=2

“The Patchwork Economy” is obvious and continuous. Not to get angry with this government is irresponsible.  

Walter - do you mind if I take some time off from banging out y' widgets from 4pm on Thursday 9th December? I'd quite like to go to this repeat of Bernard and Selwyn's recent Fabians talk - "Time for a Complete Rethink" - being held at NZMEA, Mancan House, corner Cambridge Terrace and Manchester Street , Christchurch.

http://www.mea.org.nz/event.aspx?id=232

"I think New Zealand needs to have a debate about capital controls, about foreign ownership of assets, about measures to control our currency and about being openly nationalistic rather than internationalistic about our economic policy." - Bernard.

"It's time for our politicians to stop throwing the old left and right labels around with regard to economic policy, and to start thinking about right and wrong. The policies we need are those that will allow us to succeed as a nation; to judge such policies on their merits, and not on throw-away labels." - Selwyn.

There will be time for a question and answer session, and an opportunity to network at the end of the main presentation.

 Did you get the email about this Walter? I recall MEA put you on the list to keep you appraised of what they are up to - when not banging out y' widgets! If you want to attend hit the link and get registered. Note, this event is open to members and non-members alike - at NO CHARGE.

Cheers, Les.

Les- it is great to experience that a number of people are actually taking a path I’m preaching for years. One can only hope it catches the wider NZmedia too - pushing for an urgent much needed culture change among the population/ politicians/ economists etc. This could then lead into a significant reforming of our NZeconomy.

 

I’m not easy to deal with (even with myself), so I like to stay independent, but I’m always happy to contribute not so much with my talks - but my thoughts

..and Les - at NO CHARGE !

If you do change your mind Walter, do email or call NZMEA and register in advance. Same applies to anyone else who would like to attend the session described above.

TA'RA, Les.

www.mea.org.nz

Speaking of Pike River, shares were traded on Thursday, and no one from NZX fronted up with an explanation or an apology.  Yesterday there was an article on how the equity market in NZ was at risk of extinction.  No response from NZX.  In fact where is the CEO of NZX?  Offshore again?  I wonder how much time the CEO actually spends in NZ.  Running the NZX.

As this is a political post, and Libertarianz have made one mention, let me remind the forum of what hypocrites the Left are (and we have to include National in the Left camp now, given that Key''s issue with The Don's speech was that is was, quote 'right wing').

To quote myself on union hypocrisy: http://www.solopassion.com/node/8172 

Unions believe a fair world is a world that has high taxation and wealth redistribution. Given this, I reckon unions ought to put their tax money where their ideology is: with the IRD.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/busines...

One of New Zealand's largest unions, Unite, owes IRD over $130,000 including over $36,000 in tax meant to be paid on behalf of its employees … Unite head Matt McCarten admitted to BusinessDay this afternoon that the union owed money to IRD and said the union was "keen" to pay.

… Wait a Mana moment, silly me: it’s rich pricks that have to pay for unions, that’s all part of the wealth redistribution. Of course. I can assure you Matt, many, many struggling self employed contractors and businesspeople aren’t ‘keen’ to pay their tax, it would be better off rebuilding their businesses, just as you think your money is better employed running campaigns that always result in higher taxation, yet, they don’t have a choice, thanks to the brutal system you have enforced on them to extract their hard earned cash.

In 2011 we need a revolution, if not at the ballot, I'm despairing of that anymore, but at least in some peoples heads. Leave people with their own money, have a five year target of halving the government spend. That would be a start.

 

All 1000 libertarins in NZ?

very democratic eh?

regards

Lets say ten people live in a democracy, steven: eight of the citizens are orange people, two of the people  are blue. They hold a democratic election and the Orange Party electioneers  on the central platform that blue people should have to do all the work in the democracy and pay 100% of the tax burden so that orange people can sit on their fat chuffs watching daytime TV and conceiving babies. The Orange Party sweeps a landslide victory, winning eight out of the ten votes cast, and promptly legislate  the Blue People Slavery Act.

Question: what's wrong here?

What's so good about democracy?

Surely better to have a written constitution that enacts the non-initiation of force principle and have the only main goal of a very small minarchy to police that; with all citizens free to do whatever they please in their pursuit of happiness, not tied in slavery to the needs of others in our tyranny of the majority.

If a 1000 people are right, then it doesn't matter than 4.15 million other people might think something else that is erstwhile completely wrong, indeed, evil. Those 1000 people are right, and that's the end of it.

Or do you believe that because more people vote for something, such as other peoples money, then that makes it right somehow? Sort of a hotch potch morality by numbers with no link to man qua man. Why?

"Surely better to have a written constitution that enacts th......"

Written by who(m)?

Defended by who(m)?

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance - and a system where you can remove the corrupt/inept without bloodshed.

Sounds like democracy, to me. Best of the evils.

Written by who(m)? 

It's written already: a Constitution for New Freeland:

http://www.freeradical.co.nz/content/constitution/powers.php 

 

Defended by who(m)? 

Per the Constitution of New Freeland, by the very small state, also known as a minarchy: the defence of this principle is one of the few legitimate roles of the state.

steven, you're banging on in the property thread about how libertarians apparently don't live in the real world, yet you don't answer to my post on the Blue People Slavery Act: interesting.

banging on in the property thread about how libertarians apparently don't live in the real world, yet you don't answer to my post on the Blue People Slavery Act: interesting.

Perhaps that's because it's imaginary.

Actually Kakapo, look at NZ today, and you'll realise we do indeed live under the Blue People Slavery law.

And I note how you went for the silly shallow shot, not an argument around the principle I was expounding: but then there's no answer to my argument, is there.

"There is definitely a large section of the party that is very unhappy with the centrist direction of their own government. This is especially the case when it comes to economic and ethnicity issues............There is a large proportion of the party that would like to see the Government return to its original principles and show a bit more backbone."

Funny that.........they seem to forget that moving [back] to the right would lose them votes and Government even with bribary....they are the Government because they appear to be centre-right and not because of being to the right...  "just" backbone doesnt win elections, being where most ppl are which seems to be about the centre and then optionally having backbone does.....

Pity we dont have a real centre party to vote for.

regards

It's amusing to hear the tiny extreme right minority spouting off as if they are the majority!

The Nats got in because a) the fickle public were bored with Clark and Labour after all those years and felt like a change, and b) Clark and Labour had become stale and bogged down on the details.

But many Nat fanboys assume their team was elected because the majority of Kiwis love National and, like the fanboys, have posters of John Key pinned up on their bedroom walls.

National didn't win so much as not lose and, as they well know, that's because they were the only even remotely credible alternative to Labour, which is why they haven't yet been dumb enough to rock the boat by heading off into traditional Nat territory.

Not to mention that Key and Double Dipper and all their wee mates want to milk the position for all it's worth, rorting accommodation allowances, making sweetheart deals for their mates, etc...just like Labour and anyone else we elect.

Let's not forget that they received 57% of the vote, and only then because there was no one else to vote for besides Labour, the party with whom the electorate had become bored.

If the Nats ever go Don Brash on us, they will not get anywhere near as much as 57% of the vote next time, because the overwhelming majority of Kiwi voters aren't big businessmen and farmers, and because the baby boom PI fanboy types are rapidly facing extinction.

When you're trying to get elected and stay elected in a politically centrist nation, you must claim to be (and behave) politically centrist.

Totally agree....the one worry for me is a major or black swan event which the particular party in power uses as an excuse to swing towards where some ppl inside that party think they should be to "save the nation"...

Don Brash is interesting not so much for what he says as where he says it and to/with whom.....for me what he says is very ACT....yet he claims to be in National....so unless he's a an out there right winger of the right wing party its a worry...ie am I voting for what the party says it stands for or what it wants to do given half a chance...

While Im pretty sure Labour core is more left than its public image somehow they either have their lefty loons firmly gagged  or they are of no consquence....no wonder JK is spitting nails....I would be....Brash is as inept as ever...

regards

 

 

Let's hope for a close election result next year, if either main party wins well that will play into the hands of their extremist /highly ideological section. National riding high could morph into a form of ACT, and don't want to contemplate what might evolve with a dominant Labour-Green situation.

I am yet to update my new address so I can vote next year. After reading all this, maybe I shouldn't bother...

The truth is PPPs are a convenient way for goverments to keep debt off their books and keep the bond traders at bay. That is the only reason they are in fashion. 

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