Opinion: National election document has long term plan for sustainable 5% growth, says NZers must live within their means, wages & productivity fell under Labour

Opinion: National election document has long term plan for sustainable 5% growth, says NZers must live within their means, wages & productivity fell under Labour
Path to 2010: Found in the Parliamentary library from 1993

By Alex Tarrant

Take yourself back to 1993 and another National Government talking about the budget and the economy.

You might have read a bold document titled 'Path to 2010' issued near the end of the National Party's third year of its first term back in office. It was a grand vision for a New Zealand over the next 20 years with 'strong and sustainable growth' and one that 'lived within its means'.

In the document's introduction, a smiling Prime Minister tells New Zealanders the government makes no apologies for taking a longer term view that must look through three-year election cycles.

The National Party, if you vote them in for a second term (and probably third, seeing as this is a long term plan), was setting the groundwork for sustainable annual GDP growth of 3.5% to 5% by the end of the decade.

Under the previous Labour administration, productivity fell, New Zealand's terms of trade declined and wage growth in other countries outstripped wage growth in New Zealand.

This new National government had made labour laws more flexible, it had reformed the welfare system, it was investing in infrastructure. It had reformed the energy sector and dealt to the public sector. The rise of 'value-added' exports meant new markets, especially in Asia, were opening up. New Zealanders would learn to live within their means and make sure the country did not end up controlled by our creditors.

Changes will lead to strong growth

The changes made in the government's first term in office, leading to that strong growth, would enable New Zealand to "prevent a cycle of dependency and under-achievement striking the generation of at-risk young New Zealanders..."

The changes would mean New Zealand would "meet the demands that an ageing population will place on our economy..."

'Can't live beyond our means'

"New Zealand today is flexible and dynamic. We are well placed to cope with whatever the world deals us," it says in the document.

"The freedom to make our own choices about our future, to decide how we should develop our resources and ultimately how we manage our country depends on paying our way in the world," it says.

"Living beyond our means steadily erodes our sovereign independence. It we don't pay our way our creditors become our managers. No New Zealander wants that to happen.

"We must retain the right to decide our own priorities whilst integrating our country with the global economy. The strategy must therefore give priority to investing in the future rather than consuming today."

'We must overcome barriers'

In order to achieve that strong growth, there were limitations New Zealand had to overcome:

  • Expectations, as New Zealanders, of higher living standards than we have, in the past, been able to afford;
  • heavy levels of public indebtedness;
  • an understandable attitude of cynisism and negativism after a decade of upheaval made necessary by years of not facing hard issues;
  • a limited skills base by international standards with some of our most skilled people being lost to competing countries;
  • limitations to market access for traditional products;
  • a still largely production-driven, agricultural economy with long lead times and vulnerability to pests, diseases and climatic changes.

The words above, and the concerns accompanying them, were in a 1993 election campaign document released by Jim Bolger's Fourth National Government, titled: Path to 2010.

Reading through it, I could not help but think: same s**t, different decade.

What happened in between?

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It's the Kiwi cycle...we invite the idiots to make a mess and then blame National for putting things right...and so we put the idiots back in charge and round and round we go...as I said long ago, it's not the uselessness of the pollies that buggers the economy...it's the "me me" nature of the voters. Look to see Labour under new management allowed back in 2017...followed by a govt policy move to trigger a bubble in the lead up to 2020...and an even bigger splurging act of madness in 2023.....then comes the depression!!!!!!!!

Let me see:

1. made us an ETS leader instead of follower: tick.

2. Parents in jail for smacking? tick

3. Borrowing $380 million a week? tick

4. No tax cuts? tick (remember, the changes were budget neutral)

5. No welfare changes? tick (welfare working group completely dismissed)

6. More kiwis than ever going to Australia? tick


All Labour's fault isn't it Wolly?

Who knows, maybe National's 1993 visions might have been realised if we didn't have a Labour govt come in that did almost zilch about reining in the housing bubble and got us into serious debt issues with middle class welfarism like WFF etc 

But, Matt....we voted them in? This time, it will be 'different' though....

From memory, I think the credit expansion cycle kicked up a good notch from 1994. That was two terms under National before Labour stepped it up again immediately they were elected.

Go and watch the video clip of britain put up today ....same cr*p, different country.

Whats been achieved in 20, 30 years? we are no better off as a nation and in-equality has increased, thereofre the last 20 to 30 years of monterist policy is a failure....about all I can say is 30 years before it was keynesian and also a failure....and the interesting thing was in each case the Pollies screwed it up....I suspect both theories in moderation would have worked adequately, bothe were taken to political extremes and failed because of it.


ahhh the imperfections of democracy ey??? Few politicians act beyond self interest and survival instinct and ego 

Only a bit less imperfect than other alternatives!!!!!

It's like tough love with our children. Matt. That's why I have a  lot of respect for the late David Lange. He, I believe, tried to do 'the right thing'. And it traumatised him until the grave. It's hard to do what's good for the country, if it impovrishes some, for the good of all. I couldn't do it! Neither can John Key, by the look of it, nor his competitors. Maybe Don Brash?

agreed, Lange was one of the few politicians I've held in high esteem 

I knew David......... Matt ....and your right about that ...politics aside he was a GOOD man with a good heart...an incredible orator....with a razor sharp mind.......knobbled by his own people for being a little too in touch with the common folk.

But yes through and through a good man...

what's that got to do with anything? So was Nelson, and I regard him as one of the greats.

Always beware of those who shoot the messenger, but who have no message.

Empty vassals and all that.

I did not paraphrase Tor Lawn or take liberty to assert "we" needed to do the things you have suggested in your response to PDK....

I know he was a good man....I don't need your endorsement on that...either your being puritanical  mor just hanging the bait out there for PDK.....n that's kinda grubby in a cyber way...don'tcha think.

I had no recollection of his preaching the way of the willy to yourself or any other persons that I am aware of.

In any case your content has now become as was GERALD'S some vague attempt to make some vague point you clearly have not the vaguest idea how to express...

I bid you goodnight...Gute Nacht!...ya know what I mean.

And that...Tor lawn...in no way diminishes the context in which I portrayed him above.

You know piety should really be left to the Saints  to uphold...the likes of you n me need to cut each other a little more slack ...eh..?

Never cared for the man.....Arkansas wasn't it....didn't know his cigar either...so I can't help you there...

Are you just contrary for the hell of it...? or is there some agenda you'd maybe like to share...because the last few times I've popped on here your involved in some pretty heated and unhealthy discussions.

 You don't think I'm a satanist or anything like that now do you....?

and by the way giving yourself one doesn't count....that's called cheating  but then you would already know that..!

Re:- Christov, your comments about David Lange being a good man.

So what? Adolf Hitler, (another great orator) was adored by millions, loved dogs and was kind to children - well at least the Aryan ones. I guess that makes him a good man too??? It's got nothing to do with it.

Good, bad or indifferent, as politicians it’s their policies that count. And in that regard I consider David Lange, to the cause of this nation, to be the most damaging Prime Minister that this country had the misfortune to experience in the 20th Century. He tops my list as the worst Prime Minister we had by a country mile.  He certainly put poor old socialist Rob Muldoon to shame, that's for sure.

David B.......You are quite correct  about Hitler.....Look lets get this straight....on a personal basis we did not see eye to eye on many things political......but he..(David) was always  gracious...tolerant...and welcoming.....of others regardless of their differences to his leanings.

I was not trying to fuel any fire here ...just saying it as I saw it personally....no big deal..!

and for what it's worth from time to time I miss things about him....and since Matt brought it up.........

I think that we can all agree that Don Brash is the only politician of recent years to have great stature , to have a vision for the country , and to be selfless in his desire to get the economy back on track .

........ And  after election 2011 , the National Government will have  far greater spinal strength  , under his ACT control . Dr Brash will un-Cullenise the economy , he will rectify the enormous damage that Clark & Cullen inflicted upon the citizenry of this wonderful little country , girt by sea .

The future is bright , my friends  , absolutely brilliant .

It is getting brighter for me anyway GBH, my homebrew skills are getting better by the day. In fact so good it is hard to get enthusiatic about that commercially brewed rubbish.

Nothing to do with any political party though I am afraid.

Cripes GBH..! thats putting it out there .....I sit amazed your not getting rained on.....as the good Doctor finds his feet .....so to speak.

Anyhoo stay happy..........I may need some of that Antihickeystamine you got......I'm getting really bad sighness.

Go read his post over on Tuesdays top ten endorsing exactly what he condemmed Helicopter Ben for.

 Did you read his smash hit post on the FTA with America........I swear to God if i didn't know better I'd puts some bugs in his house.

There will be rain , my friend , typhoon Chebang is fast upon us . The Gummster will tootle off to test run the new rod & reel , before the tempest .

..... But I feel that my comments re. Dr Don have met with a universal thumbs up . Even PDK popped in a few choice words of encouragement .. Bravo to you , good sir .

Onwards to November , brethren , let us win this thing . And get the country back onto an even keel .

..... We all know that Don Brash is the answer , the only viable answer to get us out of the dung heap that Labour ( 1999-2008 ) & National ( 2008-2011 ) have landed us on .

fishing...bloody brilliant...!!! leave the rum at home....it'll taste way better when you get in. Good luck.

Rhum ? ........ you mad impulsive lad ! ... I have a Los Boldos 2009 Cab Sauv ( Chile )  in hand . Got the fishing  kit prepared for the morrow ....... Shagging rough out there tonight . Gone dark now anyhoo . We ain't got the fishing lights rigged up yet .

........ So Hickey's walked the economic plank again , you say .... Planking heck !

Must have a read of the Top 10 .... Pip Pip !

C'mon Grievous Bodily Harm you know we cannot agree that one.

Brash has very little stature, is blind to the needs of much of the less well off in the country and selfish to the extreme in preserving the position of his mates in the Round Table etc.

The only spinal strength for National will a steel rod up 'em and it will not be in the spine.

Lol.....He's a bumbling, senile never-was....he's appealing to the rednecks, racists, and extremists....

"spinal strength" what you mean is the tail wag the dog.....its a great idea for the swing voters who put in National last time to see that....National just needs to lose about 4 seats to the left and JK is toast....

Keep up the good work.....


Toasted JK..I doubt he would give a toss!....John's attitude is "if you want them good luck to you...I'm off to Hawaii for a holiday...see you"

Clearly they have learned nothing in 20 years.

The sad thing is, I was picking Peak Oil for the decade 2000-10 (and the obvious end-of-growth that had to go with it) back then.

They aren't even there now.



Is Brash the one to deal with that?

I think not.


They estimate we'll be using only 3 times more resources in 2050. Count me disappointed. I would have expected we had gone significantly beyond that.

BdeB - second graph down.


You won't 'believe' it, of course.

I first sqw it in '75/6, and all my investigation, all the energy-studies lectures, all the reading, can't fault it.

What we're down to - is those who get the physics, and those who 'believe' you can grow forever.

One lot are fools. Any idea - no, forget I started that sentence.......


Here is your solution to all those pine trees you have. Even the HP-21 will do up to 40m2 per hour. Heck that should keep the landcruiser going for a month:)

The true deniers are those who cannot see that the UN is a chardonnay-socialist organization , hell bent upon world control . ......... Just where is our own high priestess of control-freakism , Herr Helen clark , hanging out now ? ........ Yup , the UN !

...... The world's populence in 2050  will not be consuming 3 times the resources that are currently used ... . Such projections are mind-numbingly idiotic .

Want proof of that , tootle back to any previous era , and track forward their projections on world population growth .

....... Don Brash is the man , the only true choice we have , to re-track NZ Inc. onto a surer path . That , I believe , we all know ...... But some are still deniers . Poor , pitiful souls .

Its just a different path to hell, sure its surer.....the UN see's or reports what it thinks will happen, which is un-sustainable so it cant....Don Brash just wants to actively go down that path....

Both are wrong....

You are beginning to sound like a religious nut GBH........


Im quite surprised on the latest Roy Morgan poll, I would have though ACT would have seen a resurgence....DB expects or wants 10~15%....big ask IMHO....I will watch with interest.



Pine trees? Get thee hence, Satan.

I've got cupressus macrocarpa, eucalyptus nitens, and acacia melanoxylon.

Macs, eucs, and blackwoods.

I'd twigged the whole thing, but thought I'd leave it as long as I could, and didn't want to branch out from the direct route.

Too busy writing my photo/sin thesis.

"By 2050, humanity could devour an estimated 140 billion tons of minerals, ores, fossil fuels and biomass per year – three times its current appetite – unless the economic growth rate is “decoupled” from the rate of natural resource consumption."

This frankly is an oxy-moron.....just what is "growth" but the ever accelerating consumption of inputs.....

biomass, ie food...well we are struggling to put out enough food today to adequately feed 7billion....in the next decade fertilizer will go bye bye....so its animal/human waste ie organic production, that wont feed 7 billion.....and many wont be able to afford the transport costs to get the food to where its needed after its grown.....or get the "poo" back to where food is being grown....so 8billion at the end of the decade? I cant see it.


Don't upset yourself so steven....one good virus and it's problem over...you know that....so why worry us today...we wanna enjoy while we can....chill out man!