Key: “I’ve left NZ in a better shape than I found it”
Without a doubt, the following story by the NZ Herald on Key’s latest utterances deserves an Award for Outstanding Bullshitting – with a special mention for Self Delusion.
WARNING: do not be drinking anything when you read this – not unless you can stop your gagging-reflex from spraying over your monitor and keyboard,
If Dear Leader truly believes that,
“Personally, I think if I got hit by a bus this afternoon, I will have left New Zealand in a better shape than I found it.”
… then he is dangerously more out of touch with reality than the rest of us ever imagined.
But because John Key gives no indication of any head trauma or diagnosis for delusional psychosis, the only remaining option is that this was a pathetically weak attempt to shore up his Party’s waning public support.
Almost every poll has National’s voter support dropping. This blogger suspects very strongly that National’s own internal polling reveals a much more dramatic fall in public support – and that John Key’s credibility as an honest politician has taken some serious battering this year.
One poll in July of this year, by Fairfax/Ipsos, had this unflattering picture of Key,
” A new poll has found Prime Minister John Key is increasingly becoming a polarising figure – especially among women.
The first Fairfax Media/Ipsos political poll shows National has enough support for a third term, 44.9 per cent to Labour’s 32.6 per cent, assuming the current mix of support parties. But it also reveals a growing divide, with many still strongly backing Key, but a growing sense of anger and distrust among others.
Interviewers asked 1000 people to describe Key in as few words as possible. The pollsters said many voters rated him a straight-shooter and good or excellent leader, but a significant number thought he was arrogant, smarmy and out of touch.
Key still has the confidence of an overwhelming majority – 63 per cent saying he had a clear vision for the country, and was a strong and effective leader. “
Since that poll, National’s support has dropped to 45% and Key’s personal support has plummeted to 42%, in a One News/ Colmar Brunton poll released on 4 November.
National is clearly in trouble with the public and Key’s extraordinary statement that “I will have left New Zealand in a better shape than I found it ” is utterly laughable.
This blogger’s guess is that Key made this statement, off the cuff, and without his tax-payer funded spin doctors crafting a more credible message.
On almost every level, it is a demonstrably false assertion.
Looking at the facts on Planet Earth, rather than on Planet Key, we find the following;
When Key took office at the end of 2008, the household labour force survey reported unemployment at 4.6% or 105,000 real people.
The latest household labour force survey released on 8 November this year had unemployment at 7.3% or 175,000 living, breathing people.
In other words, there are 75,000 more unemployed people now, than there was four years ago.
This blogger accepts that the Global Financial Crisis has been a major factor for rising unemployment, but three questions still remain to be answered,
- Why has National not done anything practical to counter the effects of the GFC, despite having four years to implements job-creation programmes?
- Why did National proceed with tax cuts in 2009 and 2010 when the lost tax-revenue could have been used for upskilling; job creation; building new houses to meet our critical housing shortage; etc?
- Why does National continue to blame the unemployed for being unemployed, when they – the Nats - play the GFC Card when ever it suits them, as an excuse?
Report Card: F – Total Fail
Retail Trade dropped from NZ$18.8 buillion in December 2011 to the current NZ$16.8 billion, in September,
Sourc: Reserve Bank of New Zealand
This constitutes a $2 billion drop in retail activity.
By comparison, the drop from December 2010 to September 2011 was less - NZ$900 million. (See: Reserve Bank A1 Domestic trade)
Balance of Trade
Our Balance of Trade has definitly worsened since November 2008, when the Global Financial Crisis had begun to impact on our export sector,
In part, this may be due to our high dollar, which makes our exports less profitable – but makes imports (consumer goods, fuel, building materials, plant & equipment, etc) cheaper. However, whilst this may benefit one sector of our economy, it means that we are not paying our way with our trading partners.
Economists are expecting the figures to worsen in the coming months and year,
” The annual current account deficit has widened to 4.8 per cent of GDP and economists expect it will keep getting worse, with sharply falling export prices and rising demand for imports.
The current account records the balance of trade between New Zealand and the rest of the world for goods and services, net investment income and net transfers.
ANZ economists said the 4.8 per cent figure was worse than market expectations and given the worsening trade position with lower commodity prices, the deficit was trending closer to the 5 per cent of GDP “danger zone” for international lenders.
The falling value of dairy exports and a drop in spending by tourists after the Rugby World Cup have seen the current account deficit worsen by $600 million to $2.8 billion, seasonally adjusted, for the March quarter.
That takes the annual deficit back up to $9.7 billion for the year to March 31 or 4.8 per cent of GDP according to latest Statistics NZ figures out earlier today. The deficit was equal to 4.2 per cent of GDP in the December year. “
Despite JohnKeys perennial promises (see previous blogpost: John Key’s track record on raising wages – preface), wages have not risen to anywhere near Australia’s levels.
In fact, wage rises in the last four years have not matched those under the previous Labour government, despite Dear Leader’s pledges and claims to the contrary,
As Statistics NZ states in it’s June Quarter report,
” In the year to the June 2012 quarter, there was no significant increase in:
- median weekly income from all sources – up 1.8 percent from $550 to $560
- median weekly income for those receiving income from wages and salaries – up $6 (0.7 percent) to $806
- median hourly earnings – up 48 cents (2.4 percent) to $20.86.”
New Zealanders are generally not fools, and many have taken to voting with their feet to where there are better opportunities for jobs, wages, housing, etc…
Migration to Australia was one of John Key’s major election platforms in 2008. He was scathing of Labour and the exodus of New Zealanders to Australia,
“We want to make New Zealand an attractive place for our children and grandchildren to live – including those who are currently living in Australia, the UK, or elsewhere. To stem that flow so we must ensure Kiwis can receive competitive after-tax wages in New Zealand.
One of National’s key goals, should we lead the next Government, will be to stem the flow of New Zealanders choosing to live and work overseas. We want to make New Zealand an attractive place for our children and grandchildren to live – including those who are currently living in Australia, the UK, or elsewhere. To stem that flow so we must ensure Kiwis can receive competitive after-tax wages in New Zealand. We must cut taxes and grow our economy, and National will have policies to ensure both occur.” – John Key, 6 September 2008
“I don’t want our talented young people leaving permanently for Australia, the US, Europe, or Asia, because they feel they have to go overseas to better themselves. That’s why this Government is focused squarely on improving New Zealand’s economic performance. And to be frank, New Zealand’s economic performance over a number of years has been disappointing. ” – John Key, 15 July 2009
The result? Wholly predictable by now,
As the NZ Herald story reported,
“The number of New Zealanders moving across the Tasman hit a record 53,000 in the year to February, but the unemployment rate at home and Australia’s new tax breaks that would make millions better off are tipped to lift that number.”
As Massey University sociologist Paul Spoonley stated on TV1 on 3 September,
“We can’t afford to bleed the numbers of people we see leaving for Australia. We can’t afford to lose the skills. We’ve got to do something.”
“Maybe we want to think about doing a bit more [mining] to encourage people to stay. It’s been a 40-year problem, and if we want to resolve it, we need to get on top of all of those issues.”
Oh really? “Maybe we want to think about doing a bit more “?! Gosh, Mr Key – you think?
Key’s statement encapsulates one simple reality; that his inept “government” is utterly clueless. Dear Leader does not even know whose responsibility it is to create jobs;
“We agree with you, it’s the government’s responsibility to do everything within it’s powers to try to get people jobs.” – John Key, 17 November2011
“Nothing creates jobs and boosts incomes better than business growth. For New Zealand to build a more productive and competitive economy, we need more innovative companies out there selling their products on the world stage.” – John Key, 24 August 2012
Whenever National does become proactive, it tinkers with labour laws which will ultimately have the effect of driving down wages. This, in turn simply accelerates the flow of Kiwis to Australia and elsewhere.
On the other hand, when exporters cry out for relief from a high Kiwi Dollar that is ruining their trade, National either ignores their plight, or derides any possible remedies.
As president of the New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Managing Director of two export companies, Brian Willoughby, said in utter desperation,
“I’m concerned that this vitally important discussion is degenerating to the point that it is the guy with the biggest foghorn that is going to get heard the most. The Government had the biggest foghorn.
What is starting to irritate me is, here I am just down the road in Christchurch, representing manufacturers producing $2.6 billion [worth of product]. So why doesn’t someone from the Prime Minister’s department pop along and see me? I am far easier to get in touch with than the guys in Hollywood, and I don’t need any special concessions. The ones I need are the same ones with the dollar that the film industry needs.
But the issue is to develop a more balanced economy.
There are a whole lot of people [in manufacturing] who are hanging on by the skin of their teeth and there are a whole lot of redundancies going on that the public never hears about.
The other thing that is poorly understood is that manufacturing jobs support three jobs outside – the courier guy, the guy that cleans the towels, the cafes near the factory. We have the contractors and suppliers – the guy that supplies the nuts and bolts and screws, the guy that does the laser cutting, the guy that does the painting, the guy that does the polishing, the guy that provides the plating service.”
It’s wrong to sit on our hands and say there is nothing that we can do.
We need a proper debate because it is extremely important to the New Zealand economy as a whole, not just to my members. In the long run, exporters ensure that we have a reasonable standard of living. If we can’t sell off-shore with good added value margins, we’ll go broke.“
The Herald story goes on to reveal that Willoughby’s two Christchurch-based companies together employ twenty people. A year and a half ago, it was thirty.
On 25 October, Reserve Bank Governor, was forced to concede,
“Offsetting this, fiscal consolidation is constraining demand growth, and the high New Zealand dollar is undermining export earnings and encouraging substitution toward imported goods and services.”
Our export sector is being damaged by our over-valued dollar (pushed up by speculators); profits are down; and redundancies are occurring.
Meanwhile, John Key smiles and waves and does nothing except make derogatory comments against visiting sports people.
Report Card: E – Verging on Total Fail
One of Key’s oft stated “successes” is that “crime has dropped”.
That may well be. But their may be several factors involved here,
“New Zealand’s crime rate has dropped to an all-time low, latest figures reveal.
The annual crime statistics released by the police today showed recorded crime dropped 5.2 per cent on the previous year.
There were 394,522 recorded offences in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, compared with 416,324 the previous year – a decrease of 21,802 offences.
New Zealand’s population increased by 0.7 per cent during the period, resulting in a 5.9 per cent decrease in the number of offences recorded per 10,000 of population.”
And as well,
“The largest decrease was in Canterbury, where recorded crime fell by 11.7 per cent.
Following the earthquakes there was a sudden large decrease in recorded theft and property damage offences.
Less serious offences reduced the most.
Although small by value, these offences are large by volume.
“This decrease appears to be partly due to the public not wanting to bother us with minor matters when they knew we were dealing with the earthquake,” Mr Rickard said.”
The biggest decrease occurred in the Canterbury region in the same year as the February earthquake that killed 185 people.
Surely Dear Leader is not going to take credit for something that a natural disaster caused?! Of course he will.
This is John Key we’re talking about.
Report Card: none (someone nicked it)
As is usual for John Key, his statements often contain loose “facts”; half-truths; and often outright untruths. His claim that “if I got hit by a bus this afternoon, I will have left New Zealand in a better shape than I found it ” is patently false.
On almost every indicator known to humanity, New Zealand is nowhere near “in a better shape than [Key] found it “. Not unless he is using voodoo socio-economic ‘science’ that the rest of us are not privy to?
Perhaps they originate from Planet Key?
On an end note, I leave the reader with not just the results of my Fact Checking – but this dire warning from economists,
Roll on 2014.
= fs =