Home > The Body Politic > Post mortem #2: Phil Goff

Post mortem #2: Phil Goff

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Phil Goff – Man of The Hour

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I must admit… When Phil Goff took Labour into the 2011 General Election, I didn’t really give him much credence as a credible alternative to John Key. Due perhaps in part to Key’s popularity with the Masses, and the Key/Media love affair, Phil Goff was simply left in the background, kicking at the sand, waiting for attention.

He seemed… ok. Nothing special in terms of political leadership. Average.

What can I say? I was totally wrong.

Phil Goff led Labour into a battle-royale against one of the most popular governments since David Lange’s administration in the mid/late 1980s. He scored significant debating points against John Key in two out of three Leadership Debates, and toward the end he trounched the National Party leader in the final debate.

John Key wanted to get away from the “Teapot Tapes” saga and focus on issues? Goff agreed, and threw issue after issue at Key.  With the odd exception, Key was left smiling vacantly; looking bored;  or unable to  even make eye-contact with  Goff as the Labour leader fired  issues at the Smile & Wave Kid.

Goff had risen to the challenge, and in my view he did bloody well.

And at his greatest moment; when he made an almost Kennedy-like speech; Goff gave a concession-announcement that I thought was passionate; stirring; and came straight from the man’s soul. Phil Goff loved New Zealand and you could tell from the raw, naked emotion he revealed. He held nothing back.

This man, I thought,  had become a worthy challenger to a National Party Prime Minister who is more about photo-ops than addressing issues; bending the truth when it suits him (or when he’s caught out); and is a fine illustration of how our society values form over substance. Oh yes, we deserve John Key 100%.

In time, we will get over Key’s “smile and wave” persona. Like the children that we are, we will get bored with his vacant optimism and endless promises for a brighter future that is always just around the corner. And we will yearn for something more mature and more meaningful.

I hope Phil Goff is around when that moment comes, because by the gods, we don’t deserve him. Not when Goff gave us a viable alternative to National’s much-disliked policies – and we failed to grasp what was offered.

I hope Phil Goff stays on as Leader of the Labour Party. He shouldn’t have to resign simply because, collectively, we were too thick to connect the populist leader with unpopular policies.

I, for one, will join the Labour Party as a card-carrying member, and will work my butt off to secure a centre-left victory in 2014 – if Phil Goff stays as Leader.

C’mon, Phil. Wadaya say, boss?

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  1. 27 November 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Take Kenny Rogers advice Phil. Know when to hold ,em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away and know when to run.

    You don’t have to run away. Walk with dignity and your held held high, maybe not stick your chest out or swing your arms too much, shit looks a bit goofy eh ?…but yeah, fold em, cash up and let the youngers stare down the barrel for change.

    Well done Phil. You deserve to retire in peace and comfort as we all do.

  2. 27 November 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Not yet, Polly – there’s unfinished business to take care of first, in 2014! 🙂

  3. 27 November 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I think some of us saw right through the Smile and Wave and the “no policies” policy, and voted for Labour. I ticked that box in earnest optimism that Kiwis would wake up and smell the fool. Well the fools been exposed, and now it’s time for the naked emperor to strip us of everything we hold so dear.
    When things turn to utter crap within the next 18 months, I’ll smile, secure in the knowledge that Labour will be back in 2014.

    The first policy? Labour will buy back all state asset shares. First thing is to offer the mums and dads the current share price as at election day 2014. Explain that yes, taxes may be higher but the long term dividends from the increased shareholding will pay back what it cost to buy back our assets, and before the long term damage has been done.

  4. Jennifer Tooseman
    27 November 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I agree Frank! I really believe Phil should stay as leader. Helen Clark did after losing, and led us to 3 terms of a Labour-led government. I think Phil is every bit as professional and experienced as Helen was, and on top of that, I believe that Phil has a genuine personal warmth which Helen did not manage to express to the general public. Phil is highly regarded overseas, and I truly believe he can build on his personal popularity now that he has had some exposure from the media. If the media start to give him a fair suck of the sav publicity-wise, I know that he can connect with the ordinary kiwi! Please stay Phil, your country needs your wise counsel and experience!

    • 27 November 2011 at 5:00 pm

      “If the media start to give him a fair suck of the sav publicity-wise, I know that he can connect with the ordinary kiwi! ”

      Quite true, Jennifer. Especially as I think Key’s love-affair with the media (and vice versa) came tro an abrupt end over a cuppa tea, and a rather dodgy alleged “email” from a “friend” about Standard & Poors. There’s not quite so much teflon on The Smiling Don after this.

      And if – as I suspect – National can’t get the economy going again, and more people continue to leave New Zealand, then voters will have had a gutsful by 2014 (if not earlier).

  5. 27 November 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Agreed theres unfinished business, it’s just that business is best left to someone else to move forward.

    Phil gave it his best shot and while it was a bloody good shot, he missed the mark.

    Thing is, in this game and like eminem says… You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo

  6. Peter Martin
    27 November 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Except Goff was AWOL for the previous two years and ten months. Along with the rest of the Labour MP’s.
    I think the electorate had made its mind up before the campaign . I also think that there is little of Goff we haven’t seen along with much of the Labour caucus.
    What can Labour offer over the next three years that would stop folk from making their minds up six months before the next election?

    • 27 November 2011 at 9:31 pm

      “Except Goff was AWOL for the previous two years and ten months. Along with the rest of the Labour MP’s.”

      No, not AWOL.

      The media were simply fixated on Key and his shining optimism, to the exclusion of all else. Once the public are bored with him, they will look for alternatives.

  7. RedLogix
    27 November 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Except Goff was AWOL for the previous two years and ten months. Along with the rest of the Labour MP’s.

    What then can you say of National’s campaign? It was completely focussed on Key to the exclusion of all else; at least Labour’s election advertising incoporated a range of voices from within the Party.

    It was the media who turned it into a Presidential style campaign… not Labour.

  8. Peter Martin
    27 November 2011 at 9:03 pm

    ‘What then can you say of National’s campaign? ‘

    Even with a reduced voter turnout…they increased their parliamentary seats.

    ‘It was completely focussed on Key to the exclusion of all else’

    Indeed. Play to yer strength.

    ‘at least Labour’s election advertising incoporated a range of voices from within the Party’

    It did? I saw as much of Mallard as I did of Joyce. No I lie. I didn’t see Mallard at all.

    ‘It was the media who turned it into a Presidential style campaign… not Labour.’

    Of course. Damn those tools.

    • 27 November 2011 at 9:28 pm

      ‘It was completely focussed on Key to the exclusion of all else’

      Indeed. Play to yer strength.

      The thing is, Peter, that if Key is National’s only “strength” – then what will they have once the public are over him? Once the “smile and wave” persona becomes tedious and social and economic problems remain – that’s when the public will wake up to the fact that lack of substance is no answer to our country’s ills.

    • 27 November 2011 at 10:07 pm

      Peter,

      “Even with a reduced voter turnout…they increased their parliamentary seats.”

      With a reduced turnout, it is easier for National to increase its share of seats (low turnout favours National). You seem to think that made it harder for them. Not sure why.

      If Key is National’s ‘strength’ (I presume you mean in electoral popularity rather than anything substantive), then National is extraordinarily exposed. His use by date is fast approaching – as Key himself observed in a brief article in The Press, he realises what are now seen as his strengths will come to be seen as his weaknesses.

      • 27 November 2011 at 10:26 pm

        “His use by date is fast approaching – as Key himself observed in a brief article in The Press, he realises what are now seen as his strengths will come to be seen as his weaknesses.”

        Indeed, Puddleglum. That is best summed up in the old saying, “familiarity breeds contempt“.

        Recent events have shown up Key as vulnerable to criticism – especially when he is caught out being “economical with the truth”. The questionable “email” regarding the alleged Standard & Poors comment; and the subsequent press grilling, managed to scratch away some of the gloss from the man.

  9. Peter Martin
    27 November 2011 at 9:48 pm

    ‘The thing is, Peter, that if Key is National’s only “strength” – then what will they have once the public are over him?’

    They have a few years to sort that out Frank.
    And the real problem is that I don’t think that the public are that blind that they didn’t think Goff was the answer to the country’s ills.Labour has no-one in the wings who can counter Key’s popularity. The answer lies elsewhere. And from what I can see…the Opposition will be spilt between the Greens and NZFirst. Labour may yet starve from a lack of oxygen…will the media really want the same comments from the same people it has quoted for the last decade and more?

  10. 27 November 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Phil did surprisingly well, but where was he during the last three years? He’s a nice guy, but is not destined to be prime minister of NZ.

  11. Gosman
    28 November 2011 at 9:26 am

    The intellectual arrogance of certain people on the left of the political spectrum is a wonder to behold. The disdain for the democratic process is obvious in such comments as “…we were too thick to connect the populist leader with unpopular policies” and “Like the children that we are…”.

    I’ll tell you what Frank. How about we just allow you to hand pick a selection of ‘Progressive’ technocrats to run the country in perpetuity for us. Forget this little thing called Democracy as we aren’t obviously capable of choosing the correct people to lead us.

    • 28 November 2011 at 10:00 am

      I’ll tell you what, Gosman; you just ignore the polls that stated that over two thirds of voters opposed asset sales – and yet still voted for a Party that promoted that unpopular policy.

      If that’s not a disconnect, then I don’t know what is. it beggars bwelief that on the one hand Kiwis oppose asset sales -and then on the other, go out and vote to bring in a government that will do precisely that.

      That’s just plain daft. (Or ‘thick’, to use a colloquialism.)

      The rest of your post is rhetorical nonsense.

      • Gosman
        28 November 2011 at 11:09 am

        First of all Frank I believe it was you who implied how polls didn’t matter as much as what happened on election day. Certainly that was the implication when you were querried the poll results showing National well in the lead in the run up to Saturday.

        Secondly National campaigned on Asset sales. Labour made opposition to it a cornerstone of their campaign. National increased their share of the vote while Labour fell to it’s lowest share of the vote since the early part of the 20th Century. If that is not a mandate for them then what is?

  12. Vivie
    28 November 2011 at 6:41 pm

    On several occasions, I have requested via this media and on radio, that National party supporters advise me which policies the National Government implemented since November 2008 have benefitted all New Zealanders, including the most vulnerable members of our society. To date I have not had a response to these questions.

    When Labour left office in 2008 New Zealand had low unemployment and minimal public debt. Since National came into office over 100,000 people have left for Australia and unemployment has soared, increasing by about 64,000. Do National party supporters find it acceptable that soon after winning the 2008 election –more than a year before the Christchurch earthquakes – National cut funding to all sectors of education, apprenticeships , training programmes, health and social services and poured millions of dollars extra funding into private education?

    Is it acceptable that National has done nothing to address the crisis of youth unemployment or that National’s tax cuts have benefited primarily the top 10% of earners at a cost of approximately $1.1 billion at the expense of the rest of the population? How ironic, given that National cut apprenticeship and training funding, that three weeks before the 2011 election Paula Bennett started talking of National funding apprenticeships and training schemes.

    Once again, I ask if anyone can specify which National’s policies over the past three years have benefited all New Zealanders and which new policies that National campaigned on will benefit all New Zealanders. As 45% of those who voted in 2011 supported National, these voters must be able to explain their reasons for doing this. Surely, it cannot be something as basic as being taken in by John Key’s daily superficial media comments and photo opportunities, while avoiding being asked any specific questions about policies.

    A biased media denied Phil Goff coverage in 2009, and then gave him minimal sound bites for most of the next two years, often editing his comments so that he seemed ineffective. Consequently, he could not gain traction. If you doubt this, records of Mr Goff’s in-depth interviews via Radio New Zealand and his debates during Parliament throughout this period will validate my statements.

    I look forward to responses from National voters, justifying how National’s policies have and will benefit all New Zealanders.

    • Gosman
      28 November 2011 at 9:03 pm

      You could be given answers to those questions but I suspect you would just choose to ignore them or try and argue that they really don’t benefit all of New Zealanders.

      National is a party from the right of the political spectrum. It believes that supporting the private sector through making it easier to do business helps an economy and ultimately everybody in that society will benefit from increased wealth.

      Ways of doing this is to encourage employment by removing burecratic restrictions and taxes. One of these was say the 90 day trial period, (variations of which exist in numerous Western countries like the UK and Australia for example). The idea behind this is employers will be more willing to give someone a go in a position if they feel that they won’t be lumbered with someone that is unsuitable for a role.

      Another way that you can help the economy is by increasing the savings rate. This is expecially true in NZ where we are borrowing more from overseas than we earn due to the fact that our saving rate is low. What is indisputable by any economist from left or right is that lowering personal tax rates tends to increase the savings rate. This is what has happened since the Tax rates were changed over the last term. Even Labour doesn’t argue with this. Their solution however is to increase the size of the state and borrw overseas to try and artifically inflate the savings rate.

      You are obviously entitled to disagree and support parties of the left which think that increasing the size of the state and redistribution is better. That is why we have elections to allow both these positions to be put out there and for people to have the democratic right to choose which argument they prefer. At this point in time they quite obviously prefer the right’s argument over the left’s. Maybe in three years time the left will convince enough voters otherwise. Until then just get over it.

      • Tom Sawyer
        29 November 2011 at 8:56 am

        Here you are, scooby doo, this is what your free market is giving us.

        The sawn timber industry says it does not know when its bleakest period in decades will end.

        The value of unprocessed log exports has more than doubled in the past two years as that part of the industry booms.

        But the Timber Industry Federation says sales of sawn timber for the four months to August this year show a $70 million drop in exports across all markets.

        Domestic sales are about half their historical level because few new homes are being built.

        Timber Industry Federation chief executive Brent Coffey says sawmills are being hammered, there have already been closures this year and he sees little light on the horizon.

        Mr Coffey says record volumes of logs going to Asia, which have more than doubled in the past two years, only make it harder for companies to source timber.

        The rebuild of earthquake-hit Christchurch should eventually help – but not until at least the middle of next year, he says.

        A sales manager at exporter LumberLink believes things will probably get worse before they get better.

        Adrian Gray says he believes the Chinese government will dampen down that country’s construction sector, further reducing demand for New Zealand timber.

        Mr Gray says the export log boom is also over and the market is flooded with North American wood.

      • Tom Sawyer
    • 28 November 2011 at 11:48 pm

      Valid questions, Vivie.

      And your points are proven by one of my most prolific right wing poster’s inability to answer any of them – except by referring to the absurd Friedmanite notion of “trickle down”.

      Neo-liberals, like their marxist-leninist cousins, often repeat Friedmanite ideology ad nauseum – as if repeating it will somehow make it come true.

      The events over the last few decades have demonstrated how corrupt and unworkable neo-liberalism really is. (Except for a small miniority, who benefit from the “free market”.)

      The widening gap between the rich and poor has elicited only one response from neo-liberals; “You aren’t working hard enough! Work harder!”

      And their other response? It’s all the fault of socialists. Yes, indeed, the boardrooms of Wall St, New York, were filled with socialists.

      I bet not many knew that!

  13. 28 November 2011 at 11:29 pm

    “National is a party from the right of the political spectrum. It believes that supporting the private sector through making it easier to do business helps an economy and ultimately everybody in that society will benefit from increased wealth.”

    And that’s precisely the problem, Gosman. National believes this. As do all other right-wingers.

    Belief is hardly a valid means by which to run an economy and society.

    In fact, the last 30 years have demonstrated to all but the most intractable idealogues, that neo-liberalism is an abject failure. As was marxist-leninism, which also collapsed through it’s internal contradictions.

    We’ve had nearly 30 years of Rogernomics free market. And in that time poverty has increased; the gap between the rich and poor has widened; and social problems have gotten worse.

    And on top of that, your beloved “free market” adherents have all but ruined the gloobal economy. The abuses that began with Wall St, New York, has resulted in millions unemployed and thousands of businesses going under.

    This wasn’t the Left that caused this – it began in the very centre of the Free Market empire.

    Perhaps you might want to rethink your comment “that supporting the private sector through making it easier to do business helps an economy and ultimately everybody in that society will benefit from increased wealth”. Because recent evidence shows it to be a myth.

    “Ways of doing this is to encourage employment by removing burecratic restrictions and taxes.”

    Removing restrictions? You mean like the building statutes in the early 1990s that resulted in a de-regulated building industry and then a billion dollasrs in leaking, rotting homes?

    Or the de-regulation of the mining industry and the gutting of the mining inspectorate that resulted in the deaths of 29 men?

    As for removing taxes; I love how you neo-liberals don’t want to pay your fair share – and yet feel that society owes you all the social services that taxation has built up over the decades, and past century.

    Perhaps you should move to a country that has no taxation? I’ve suggested Somalia – but you seem reluctant to take up the suggestion.

    “Maybe in three years time the left will convince enough voters otherwise. Until then just get over it.”

    Your arrogance is showing.

    • Gosman
      29 November 2011 at 6:56 am

      Politics is not really Science Frank. There is not really one ‘true’ path. So when I state right wingers believe their policies are correct it doesn’t necessary follow that because it is a belief it is not based on evidence and is wrong. Left wingers equally believe in their policies. Both policies have negatives and positive outcomes. Politics is deciding which path you are most comfortable with.

      Take your little obsession about the supposed benefit of the Swedish model of social democracy. I don’t know if you ever read this recent article http://www.economist.com/node/7880173?story_id=7880173. What you should see from that is that the Swedish private sector hasn’t grown in terms of numbers employed since 1950. Yes that is correct, the total number of people in the private sector is the same it was 60 years ago. What you will notice is that the growth in empolyment in Sweden is concentrated in the State sector. What you will also see in that article is that Sweden’s unemployment rate is higher than NZ and is in fact much higher if we take away all the statistical tricks they use to mask the figures. Sweden is essentially relying on the same private sector industrial giants that developed pre-1950 to fund their economy.

      Now the popint is the Swede’s are generally happy with these downsides. That is their democratic right. What can’t be argued is that following Swedish style economics doesn’t have a negative as well as positive impact. That is what we should be able to debate in politics rather than your rather silly and simplistic position that Right wing policies always bad and Left wing policies always good.

      • Gosman
        29 November 2011 at 7:15 am

        By the way Frank. Did you know that Sweden was currently being run by a Center Right coalition (one that was reelected with an increased share of the vote as well) ? So even in your Social Democratic paradise people vote occasionally for people from the right of the political spectrum.

      • Tom Sawyer
        29 November 2011 at 8:09 am

        that article is five years out of date,. You live in the past do you?

  14. 28 November 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Gosman :

    First of all Frank I believe it was you who implied how polls didn’t matter as much as what happened on election day. Certainly that was the implication when you were querried the poll results showing National well in the lead in the run up to Saturday.

    Secondly National campaigned on Asset sales. Labour made opposition to it a cornerstone of their campaign. National increased their share of the vote while Labour fell to it’s lowest share of the vote since the early part of the 20th Century. If that is not a mandate for them then what is?

    “Mandate”? That’s debateable.

    But even if they do, people are still allowed to express a view and to carry out peaceful protest action. Last I saw, we were living in New Zealand – not North Korea.

    Get used to it.

    • Gosman
      29 November 2011 at 6:34 am

      Everything is essentially debatable. However I have yet to see a pervassive argument why National hasn’t npw got a mandate for their partial sale of some SOE’s. If you think you have one then address the points I raised namely this part “National campaigned on Asset sales. Labour made opposition to it a cornerstone of their campaign. National increased their share of the vote while Labour fell to it’s lowest share of the vote since the early part of the 20th Century.. If that is not a mandate for them then what is?”. Smply quoting me the results of opinion polls is not good enough. The only poll that mattered on this issue was the result of the election.

      • Tom Sawyer
        29 November 2011 at 8:11 am

        National doesn’t have a mandate. Their support is low, because of the low voter turnout. If you think 48% of 70% is a mandate, your a dreamer.

  15. Gosman
    29 November 2011 at 8:45 am

    Tom Sawyer :that article is five years out of date,. You live in the past do you?

    Ummmm… since that article a Centre Right party was elected into power in Sweden and was re-elected last year. The main reason for this is because the country had issues with high unemployment rates mentioned in that article.

    Do you have any issues with any of the points of that article? For example did you not find it interesting that the total number of people employed in the provate sector was roughly the same in 2006 as it was in 1950? Doesn’t that suggest to you that something is not right in the economy if the only growth in employment is in the State sector?

  16. Gosman
    29 November 2011 at 8:47 am

    Tom Sawyer :National doesn’t have a mandate. Their support is low, because of the low voter turnout. If you think 48% of 70% is a mandate, your a dreamer.

    That is not how democracy works. You give people the opportunity to vote and if they take it then the party with the majority has a mandate for implementing policies. There is no such thing as a protest no vote in NZ politics placing a veto on Government.

    • Tom Sawyer
      29 November 2011 at 8:54 am

      Still not a mandate though is it? I notice you can’t respond to that. Why is that? Because your full of it, that’s why. All your garbage doesn’t come close to telling us why a low voter turn out is a mandate. It’s only a mandate to you because it suits you.

      • Gosman
        29 November 2011 at 9:13 am

        I told you it IS a mandate. They increased the total number of people who voted. The only way you state it isn’t a mandate is because of a low voter turnout. Noone believes that you can only get a mandate in NZ with 50% of total possible electors. Government would be impossible under that sort of crazy rules.

  17. Gosman
    29 November 2011 at 9:11 am

    Tom Sawyer :http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/92311/%27bleak-time%27-for-sawn-timber-industry

    So? It is the free market. Industries go through ups and downs as part of the natural market cycle.

    Your solution to this is not clear. What would you suggest the county do to avoid the impact of the global economy ?

    • Priss
      29 November 2011 at 10:17 am

      It’s amazing how calmly you accept other people losing their jobs. It’s all just politics for you, isn’t it? You don’t really give a shit about anyone else except yourself. These are real people going to be made redundant because of a rdecession they are not responsible for and all you can blather on about is the free market.

      God you make me sick.

      • Gosman
        29 November 2011 at 11:05 am

        People lose their jobs all the time. It is part of life. There is no natural right to be employed in a productive job. People who think like that created the mess that was the former Soviet Union and the Communist states of Eastern Europe.

  18. Priss
    29 November 2011 at 10:22 am

    Gosman :

    Tom Sawyer :that article is five years out of date,. You live in the past do you?

    Ummmm… since that article a Centre Right party was elected into power in Sweden and was re-elected last year. The main reason for this is because the country had issues with high unemployment rates mentioned in that article.

    Do you have any issues with any of the points of that article? For example did you not find it interesting that the total number of people employed in the provate sector was roughly the same in 2006 as it was in 1950? Doesn’t that suggest to you that something is not right in the economy if the only growth in employment is in the State sector?

    So what? At least they have jobs and are contributing something back to society and are not paid the dole to do nothing. Why are so freaking out if employment in the state sector is growing? According to you, you don’t care a shit if people lose thier jobs because it’s all free market for you. There are things in life more imoportant than the free market.

  19. Priss
    29 November 2011 at 10:24 am

    Gosman :

    I told you it IS a mandate. They increased the total number of people who voted. The only way you state it isn’t a mandate is because of a low voter turnout. Noone believes that you can only get a mandate in NZ with 50% of total possible electors. Government would be impossible under that sort of crazy rules.

    So if Labour was voted back in to government on 25% of the vote and decided to take back all the state assets then that would be ok because they have a mandate? What 10% of the vote is that still a mandate?

    • Gosman
      29 November 2011 at 10:51 am

      If Labour went into a campaign and stated that the key policy plank for their next term would be taking back all previous State Assets and they won the ability to govern with only 25% of the vote then they have every right to claim a mandate. I think in such a situation if the opposition cannot mobilise enough voters to support them they have no moral right to claim anything else. Why do you think differently? What is stopping the left mobilising enough supporters?

  20. Priss
    29 November 2011 at 11:06 am

    Gosman :

    Sweden’s underlying unemployment is higher than New Zealand. Even with all these extra State jobs they cannot generate enough wealth to employ as many of their population as we do. They have essentially frozen their productive economy in the position it was in the 1950′s. They rely on a number of large industrial companies which generate a large amount of their wealth but new companies are not coming through to replace them. This is because of all the rigidities they have introduced into their system. This is still a valid policy direction however NZ doesn’t have many large scale industrial entities that are economically competitive. We have our Producer co-operatives and marketing boards but on the whole our economy is far more focused on small to medium sized enterprises. You hobble them you hobble our economic performance and our ability to fund a welfare state.

    What do you care about the welfare state? You’ve said you don’t believe in state funded welfare.

    Maybe by employing people in the state sector the Swedes are clever enough not to pay the dole to people to do nothing. It’s a plan that seems to be working as their standard of living is higher than ours.

    • Gosman
      29 November 2011 at 2:40 pm

      The Swede’s still pay the dole. In fact they pay a higher number of people the dole than we do. Their unemployment rate is higher than ours.

      By the way I have never stated I don’t believe in Social Welfare. You are making stuff up. That is very bad form unless you acknowledge you were incorrect.

  21. Priss
    29 November 2011 at 11:18 am

    Gosman :

    Sweden’s underlying unemployment is higher than New Zealand. Even with all these extra State jobs they cannot generate enough wealth to employ as many of their population as we do. They have essentially frozen their productive economy in the position it was in the 1950′s. They rely on a number of large industrial companies which generate a large amount of their wealth but new companies are not coming through to replace them. This is because of all the rigidities they have introduced into their system. This is still a valid policy direction however NZ doesn’t have many large scale industrial entities that are economically competitive. We have our Producer co-operatives and marketing boards but on the whole our economy is far more focused on small to medium sized enterprises. You hobble them you hobble our economic performance and our ability to fund a welfare state.

    We’re not doing very well, according to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita

    How come all the Scandinavian countries have higher standards of living than us? Maybe their system is better than ours. And you know what I’d rather have people employed doing something rather than nothing. If that doesn’t make sense to yiou then I can’t explain it any further if your’re unwilling to see what’s in front of you.

  22. Red
    29 November 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Gosman :

    People lose their jobs all the time. It is part of life. There is no natural right to be employed in a productive job. People who think like that created the mess that was the former Soviet Union and the Communist states of Eastern Europe.

    Your attitude to people losing their jobs leaves me cold. No wonder I stopped voting for National.

    How would you feel if you lost your job?

    • Gosman
      29 November 2011 at 2:38 pm

      I would get a new one. I can lose my job at any time. I am a contractor. Unlike most people I don’t have the protection of legislation meaning the person employing me needs to jump through hoops to get rid of me.

      • Leftie Lenny
        30 November 2011 at 12:29 am

        I’m so happy for you.

        One day you won’t be able to get a job so easily. All it takes is for an accident or disabling disease, and you’ll know what it’s like to be at the bottom. Is your insurance up to date?

  23. Red
    29 November 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Priss :

    Gosman :

    Sweden’s underlying unemployment is higher than New Zealand. Even with all these extra State jobs they cannot generate enough wealth to employ as many of their population as we do. They have essentially frozen their productive economy in the position it was in the 1950′s. They rely on a number of large industrial companies which generate a large amount of their wealth but new companies are not coming through to replace them. This is because of all the rigidities they have introduced into their system. This is still a valid policy direction however NZ doesn’t have many large scale industrial entities that are economically competitive. We have our Producer co-operatives and marketing boards but on the whole our economy is far more focused on small to medium sized enterprises. You hobble them you hobble our economic performance and our ability to fund a welfare state.

    We’re not doing very well, according to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita

    How come all the Scandinavian countries have higher standards of living than us? Maybe their system is better than ours. And you know what I’d rather have people employed doing something rather than nothing. If that doesn’t make sense to yiou then I can’t explain it any further if your’re unwilling to see what’s in front of you.

    Funny how we’re so far down below Sweden and Gosman makes it sound like their economy is worse than ours. I watched the programme on child poverty and thought that the Swedish giving their children free lunches at school is a really good idea.

    • Gosman
      29 November 2011 at 2:36 pm

      Do you not classify unemployment as a problem in society? Why do you think the Swedes have such a high unemployment rate? Why do you think there has been little to no growth in the number of people employed in the provate sector in Sweden over the past 60 years?

  24. Gosman
    29 November 2011 at 2:44 pm

    fmacskasy :Gosman, I was quite struck by that graph…
    Until I superimposed Germany’s Unemployment rate (Seasonally adjusted data) over that of Sweden’s. And wadaya know! Germany went through the same stats!
    http://www.google.co.nz/publicdata/explore?ds=z8o7pt6rd5uqa6_&met_y=unemployment_rate&idim=country:se&fdim_y=seasonality:sa&dl=en&hl=en&q=swedish+unemployment+rate#ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=unemployment_rate&fdim_y=seasonality:sa&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=country_group&idim=country:se:de&ifdim=country_group&hl=en&dl=en
    As a matter of fact, Germany’s unemployment was even worse than Swedens!
    And when you superimpose the U.K., we get this;
    http://www.google.co.nz/publicdata/explore?ds=z8o7pt6rd5uqa6_&met_y=unemployment_rate&idim=country:se&fdim_y=seasonality:sa&dl=en&hl=en&q=swedish+unemployment+rate#ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=unemployment_rate&fdim_y=seasonality:sa&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=country_group&idim=country:se:de:uk&ifdim=country_group&hl=en&dl=en
    Interesting, eh? Sweden’s unemployment rates are more or less average.

    Ahhh no they aren’t.

    As you will have seen from the article I posted earlier the figures you are looking at are just the official figures. The unofficial figures are much much higher. All I was posting was evidence that even the lower official figures were higher than New Zealand. Remember Frank this is a society which you think we should emulate. If we did so we would have to accept higher unemployment as well. Otherwise why does Sweden have such a high unemployment compared to us? You haven’t dealt with this question at all.

  25. Frank Macskasy
    29 November 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Gosman :

    If Labour went into a campaign and stated that the key policy plank for their next term would be taking back all previous State Assets and they won the ability to govern with only 25% of the vote then they have every right to claim a mandate. I think in such a situation if the opposition cannot mobilise enough voters to support them they have no moral right to claim anything else. Why do you think differently? What is stopping the left mobilising enough supporters?

    I think your right wing colleagues might have differing views on that…

  26. Gosman
    29 November 2011 at 4:13 pm

    fmacskasy :

    Sure.
    If you check out Sweden’s recent political history, and the graph which you so kind provided, you’ll discover that the rise in unemployment coincides with new right “reforms” in the early 1990s.
    Look at where unemployment starts to rise in the early 1990s; http://www.google.co.nz/publicdata/explore?ds=z8o7pt6rd5uqa6_&met_y=unemployment_rate&idim=country:se&fdim_y=seasonality:sa&dl=en&hl=en&q=swedish+unemployment+rate#ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=unemployment_rate&fdim_y=seasonality:sa&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=country_group&idim=country:se&ifdim=country_group&hl=en&dl=en
    This coincides with “…five general elections (1976, 1979, 1991, 2006 and 2010) have given the centre-right bloc enough seats in Parliament to form a government.” – Source
    And, “Sweden has recently been relatively quick to adopt neo-liberal policies, such as deregulation, compared to countries such as France.” – Source
    And,
    Overall, GDP growth has been fast since reforms in the early 1990s, especially in manufacturing.” – Source
    So there you go. New right “reforms” have resulted in higher unemployment.
    What a surprise?

    So now you are telling me that Sweden is more neo-liberal than New Zealand and that explains the higher unemployment rate???

    This is the country you expect New Zealand to follow? One that is more neo-liberal than us?

    • Gosman
      29 November 2011 at 4:20 pm

      By the way Frank did you notice it stated that the GDP growth in Sweden was higher after the reforms. These reforms which somehow you blame for higher unemployment (which I think you mistake causality and co-relation) have been credited with bringing Sweden a higher economic growth. Yet you see no benefit in them it seems.

      • 29 November 2011 at 7:55 pm

        I’m fully aware of what I posted. Unfortunately, as usual, you’ve chosen to see only what you want to.

    • 29 November 2011 at 8:05 pm

      This is the country you expect New Zealand to follow? One that is more neo-liberal than us?

      Let me know – in your own time – where I say we should follow Swedish neo-liberalist policies.

      What I have stated is that we should follow their more progressive policies such as progressive taxation; unionisation; near-free medical care and free school meals, to name a few.

      Those are policies we should be following.

      Emulating Swedish flirtations with neo-liberalism is the last thing we need, Gosman. I know this is a tough thing for libertarians like you to understand – but the economic problems of the global economy were caused in large part by the very free market ideology that you so naively pay homage to.

      In case you hadn’t noticed, the boardrooms of Wall St, New York, were not filled with Swedish socialists or Greens or NZ Labour Party members. They were run by the irresponsible capitalists you so admire.

      It took the Russians 70 years to understand that extremist centralised policies don’t work,.

      It is taking the West almost as long to realise that extremist free market policies don’t work either.

      Open your mind, man! Look around you. The global economy is stuffed precisely because of the bery neo-liberal ideology you believe in. And you want more of the same?!?!

      And the funny thing is – you don’t get it. You refuse to understand.

  27. Gosman
    29 November 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Frank Macskasy :

    Gosman :
    If Labour went into a campaign and stated that the key policy plank for their next term would be taking back all previous State Assets and they won the ability to govern with only 25% of the vote then they have every right to claim a mandate. I think in such a situation if the opposition cannot mobilise enough voters to support them they have no moral right to claim anything else. Why do you think differently? What is stopping the left mobilising enough supporters?

    I think your right wing colleagues might have differing views on that…

    Such as who exactly?

    When Labour won the 2005 with the blantant election bribe of Interest free student loans did the right claim that Helen Clark’s government did not have a mandate for them?

  28. Gosman
    29 November 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I can’t believe the amount of contradictions you display Frank.

    On the one hand you state that we should emulate the Swedish model of Social Democracy but on the other you claim the higher unemployment rate in the country versus New Zealand is a result of neo-liberal economic reforms. The very reforms that the link you provided state led to higher economic growth.

    How do you explain the fact that the center right ruling coalition in Sweden, (the one you blame for the higher unemployment), was reelected last year with an increased share of the vote? Will you state this has something to do with biased media or some other leftist excuse?

    • 29 November 2011 at 7:52 pm

      I can’t believe the amount of contradictions you display Frank.

      On the one hand you state that we should emulate the Swedish model of Social Democracy but on the other you claim the higher unemployment rate in the country versus New Zealand is a result of neo-liberal economic reforms.

      ???

      Are you pulling my leg?

      • Gosman
        5 December 2011 at 4:24 am

        You didn’t read that article from the Economist at all did you Frank?

        If you had then instead of trying to blame neo-liberal policies in Sweden on their much higher unemployment rate you will have seen it is due to a stagnant private sector over the past few decades which corelates to the massive. increase if the state over the same period.
        If tge Swedes truly loved their system so much and neo-liberal

      • Gosman
        5 December 2011 at 4:27 am

        If the Swedes were happy with their lot and neo-liberal economic policies was really to blame for the high unemployment ,(remember a rate higher than NZ), then how do you explain the re-election of their Government last year?

    • Red
      30 November 2011 at 12:18 pm

      I didn’t see any contradictions at all Gos. I understand perfectly what Frank was saying. You are connecting things and arriving at your own biased conclusions, and laying it on Frank that you can’t see what he’s getting at.

  29. Leftie Lenny
    30 November 2011 at 12:27 am

    Gosman :

    Do you not classify unemployment as a problem in society? Why do you think the Swedes have such a high unemployment rate? Why do you think there has been little to no growth in the number of people employed in the provate sector in Sweden over the past 60 years?

    Why do you ask so many stupid questions?

    Why don’t you get to the point?

    Why are you so strange?

  30. Leftie Lenny
    30 November 2011 at 12:30 am

    Gosman :

    I told you it IS a mandate. They increased the total number of people who voted. The only way you state it isn’t a mandate is because of a low voter turnout. Noone believes that you can only get a mandate in NZ with 50% of total possible electors. Government would be impossible under that sort of crazy rules.

    Nah. It ain’t a mandate. No way is 33% a mandate except in your fantasies.

  31. Leftie Lenny
    30 November 2011 at 12:32 am

    Gosman :

    People lose their jobs all the time. It is part of life. There is no natural right to be employed in a productive job. People who think like that created the mess that was the former Soviet Union and the Communist states of Eastern Europe.

    You don’t get out much, do you?

  32. Red
    30 November 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Gosman :

    I would get a new one. I can lose my job at any time. I am a contractor. Unlike most people I don’t have the protection of legislation meaning the person employing me needs to jump through hoops to get rid of me.

    Well goodie for you! What about those people who aren’t as lucky as you? You just think of yourself and don’t seem to have any feeling for those who lose their jobs.

  33. 5 December 2011 at 7:35 am

    Gosman :

    You didn’t read that article from the Economist at all did you Frank?

    If you had then instead of trying to blame neo-liberal policies in Sweden on their much higher unemployment rate you will have seen it is due to a stagnant private sector over the past few decades which corelates to the massive. increase if the state over the same period.
    If tge Swedes truly loved their system so much and neo-liberal

    This is the country you expect New Zealand to follow? One that is more neo-liberal than us?

    Let me know – in your own time – where I say we should follow Swedish neo-liberalist policies.

    What I have stated is that we should follow their more progressive policies such as progressive taxation; unionisation; near-free medical care and free school meals, to name a few.

    Those are policies we should be following.

    • Gosman
      5 December 2011 at 3:12 pm

      What is plain Frank is that you didn’t read The Economist article at all as you blame the much higher rate of Swedish unemployment on supposed neo-liberal economic policies. The thing is Frank the Swedes only voted for a right leaning Government because they realised something wasn’t right with their system. They had a structural unemployment situation that was hidden behind a myriad of Government statistic tricks and make work schemes. Their economy was moribund. The neo-liberal changes that you think they have made were minor in nature compared to what we went through in the mid 1980’s to early 1990’s. Yet you attribute their higher rate of unemployment to neo-liberal policies when they are still far more social democrat than we are. That is illogical. If your theory was correct then the fact that we have more right wing social and economic policy mic would mean their economy would have a lower unemployment rate and better growth. I also note you didn’t really deal with the fact that the same Wikipedia link you used to promote your rather dubious ‘It is all neo-liberalism’s fault’ also shows that the policies led to increased growth. Something you don’t seem to attribute to right wing economics at all.

  34. 5 December 2011 at 7:39 am

    Gosman :

    If the Swedes were happy with their lot and neo-liberal economic policies was really to blame for the high unemployment ,(remember a rate higher than NZ), then how do you explain the re-election of their Government last year?

    Who knows?

    Why did New Zealanders re-elect a National government despites two this being opposed to asset sales? Sometimes people vote for a Party – though not supporting all their policies – for a multitude of reasons.

    As for you remark, “If the Swedes were happy with their lot and neo-liberal economic policies was really to blame for the high unemployment…”

    “If”? Of course the neo-liberal policies resulted in unemployment rising. Are you going to deny this??

    • Gosman
      5 December 2011 at 3:17 pm

      Of course I’m going to deny it. Sweden has a structural uemployment rate much much higher than New Zealand. I am not meaning the official rate, which is higher but only by a percentage point. It is the real rate that is hidden under a huge cloak of bureacracy.

      If you actually bothered to read that Economist article, which it seems you didn’t because you haven’t acknowledged any of the points it made about the issues in Sweden, then you wouldn’t be blaming neo-liberal economic policies for the higher unemployment rates and also know the reason Swede’s voted for a right leaning Government twice in the past 5 years.

  35. 5 December 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Gosman :

    Of course I’m going to deny it. Sweden has a structural uemployment rate much much higher than New Zealand. I am not meaning the official rate, which is higher but only by a percentage point. It is the real rate that is hidden under a huge cloak of bureacracy.

    If you actually bothered to read that Economist article, which it seems you didn’t because you haven’t acknowledged any of the points it made about the issues in Sweden, then you wouldn’t be blaming neo-liberal economic policies for the higher unemployment rates and also know the reason Swede’s voted for a right leaning Government twice in the past 5 years.

    And yet, Gosman, despite trying to be an apologist for free market failures – you haven’t acknowledged the reality that Sweden’s GDP and living standards are still higher than ours; that their social services are the envy of the world; and that they put a premium on employment rather than allowing people to be thrown onto the unemployment scrapheap.

    Of course, you care nothing for any of this. In your neo-liberal nirvana the State has no role to play except providing a police force.

    I’m not surprised. In a libertarian society, police and security would be a growth industry.

    I’m also unsurprised that you attack Scandinavian countries for their more enlightened social services. These countries are anathema to the Friedmanites of this world. They show that there are valid alternatives to the dog-eat-dog; devil-take-the-hindmost; Me First culture that your nasty little neo-liberal ideology espouses.

    The evidence of neo-liberalism’s failings are all around us. No wonder you seek “evidence” to back up your collapsing world-view. It must be rather uncomfortable, promoting a failing economic system that has brought the global economy to the edge of a new Great Depression.

    How does feel?

    And I wonder if that’s how adherents of marxist-leninism felt when Gorbachev declared the Great Experiment a failure.

    Neo-liberalsm is about to go the same way.

  36. Vivie
    10 December 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Gosman :You could be given answers to those questions but I suspect you would just choose to ignore them or try and argue that they really don’t benefit all of New Zealanders.
    National is a party from the right of the political spectrum. It believes that supporting the private sector through making it easier to do business helps an economy and ultimately everybody in that society will benefit from increased wealth.
    Ways of doing this is to encourage employment by removing burecratic restrictions and taxes. One of these was say the 90 day trial period, (variations of which exist in numerous Western countries like the UK and Australia for example). The idea behind this is employers will be more willing to give someone a go in a position if they feel that they won’t be lumbered with someone that is unsuitable for a role.
    Another way that you can help the economy is by increasing the savings rate. This is expecially true in NZ where we are borrowing more from overseas than we earn due to the fact that our saving rate is low. What is indisputable by any economist from left or right is that lowering personal tax rates tends to increase the savings rate. This is what has happened since the Tax rates were changed over the last term. Even Labour doesn’t argue with this. Their solution however is to increase the size of the state and borrw overseas to try and artifically inflate the savings rate.
    You are obviously entitled to disagree and support parties of the left which think that increasing the size of the state and redistribution is better. That is why we have elections to allow both these positions to be put out there and for people to have the democratic right to choose which argument they prefer. At this point in time they quite obviously prefer the right’s argument over the left’s. Maybe in three years time the left will convince enough voters otherwise. Until then just get over it.

    Today I read Gosman’s comments above, dated 28th November. Your assumptions that I would not like your answers or would choose to ignore them is a digression from, rather than an answer to my queries, which included the following question: which policies has the National Government implemented since November 2008 that have benefitted all New Zealanders, including the most vulnerable members of our society?

    You have not explained how National supporting the private sector has benefitted all New Zealanders and would continue to do so. How has this created more jobs, when in fact, unemployment has increased by 64,000 since National took office in 2008? Given these figures, how has the 90 day trial period legislation increased employment?

    With reference to your concerns about our borrowing from overseas, National’s tax cuts have benefited primarily the top 10% of earners at a cost of approximately $1.1 billion, at the expense of the rest of the population. How is this beneficial to all New Zealanders?

    With regard to your puerile suggestion to “just get over” the election result, surely as a frequent contributer to a blog that promotes open debate, your comment is contradictory and absurd, as you are attempting to stifle debate. Moreover, your dismissiveness does not conceal that fact that you have not answered my question: which policies has the National Government implemented since November 2008 that have benefitted all New Zealanders, including the most vulnerable members of our society?

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