Home > Social Issues, The Body Politic > Bill English – do you remember Colin Morrison?

Bill English – do you remember Colin Morrison?


A message to the Hon. Bill English;


English slams Shearer's speech



From the NZ Herald on 27 January, uttered by Bill English,

On top of that, Labour still hasn’t apologised for their wasteful policies the last time they got their hands on the economy.



Firstly, let’s review recent history in decidely more accurate terms,


New Zealand Government Debt To GDP



The IMF (International Monetary Fund) chart above shows that from 2000 to 2008, the Labour government paid down debt, from 33.4% in 2000 to 17.4% in 2008  (a near-halving of our sovereign debt) to  when National took the reigns of government.

Some will even recall that Labour Finance Minister, Michael Cullen, posted several surpluses during his tenure as Finance Minister,


$2,300,000,000: Dr Cullen’s finest hour (29 May 2002)


Cullen prepares to trumpet high surplus (21 Feb 2003)


Cullen Unwilling To Share Fiscal Surplus Through Tax Cuts (18 Oct 2004)


Hide attacks Cullen for hiding huge surplus (16 March 2005)


Record surplus, but Cullen ‘won’t know about tax cuts until December’ (11 Oct 2006)


Cullen confirms huge surplus (10 Oct 2007)


Cullen quick to emphasise volatility after surplus hit (19 Feb 2008)


Just as well that Cullen resisted strident calls for massive tax cuts. Instead, perhaps being the wisest man in the decade, realised that common sense demanded that we pay down our sovereign debt, rather than splurge out on an almighty cash-lolly scramble.

Had Cullen yielded to calls for tax cuts instead of addressing our debt, our current sovereign debt would probably be approaching  Greece’s.

But Bill English and other National/ACT sycophants don’t want us to know this. It makes Labour look good. And that’s the last thing they want.

After 2008, as National gave away tax revenue on the form of two unaffordable tax cuts in 2009 and 2010, debt skyrocketed from 17.4% to 37% of GDP.

Now, if  one was to use the same mis-information as Bill English, John Key, et al, I could shout from the roof-tops that the rise in debt was due wholly to National’s mis-management of the government books.

The reality, of course, is that the 2007/08 Global Finance Crisis – as well as National’s incompetance in giving away tax cuts we could ill afford – both had a part to play in our increased borrowing.

Secondy, let’s deal with English’s claim,

On top of that, Labour still hasn’t apologised for their wasteful policies the last time they got their hands on the economy.

Budget expenditures from the early 1990s to 2012 reveal an interesting story,


New Zealand Government Budget



The early 1990s (characterised by Finance Minister, Ruth Richardson) was one of massive cuts to health, welfare, sale of State houses,  and other social services. The same can be said of the late 1990s, where de-regulation; so-called “reforms“; cuts to state services;  and increasing User Pays led to growing poverty and the widening income gap.

Eventually, those cuts to state services had dire consequences. For example, the health sector was particularly badly hit,


Claim many burned out by health sector reforms – (21 Dec 1996)


More health changes tipped – (8 March 1997)


Must pay for ‘wants’ – (19 July 1997)


Cuts to hospital services expected – (8 Aug 1997)


‘Serious flaws’ in Govt’s health funding formula – (31 Jan 1998)


GP hits out at health reforms – (3 Feb 1998)


Funding for Dunedin Eye Clinic Slashed – (26 Feb 1998)


Shipley, Bolger sorry for deaths of patients  – (3 April 1998)


Health cuts spell doom for services – (30 April 1998)


Hospitals now owe $1.3 billion – (4 June 1998)


Staff shortages could hit patient care, say nurses – (4 May 1999)


Public hospital ills blamed on funding – (20 Aug 1999)


Health spending rates poorly  – (24 Aug 1999)


The Health “reforms”, along with chronic under-funding, had their inevitable consequences,


Death The Northland Way (15 Oct 1997)


Died waiting for by-pass  (6 April 1998)


Rau Williams and Colin Morrison – both with entirely different lives;  living at opposite ends of the country; one Maori, the other Pakeha – both suffered the same fate. They died because government cutbacks on spending (see red square in  above chart) had reduced the Health budget, and as media reports above show – were impacting harshly on our society.

These two men – and  perhaps others who died quietly, shunning the glare of publicity – died on Bill English’s watch.  As Minister responsible for Crown Health Enterprises and later Minister of Health, English could not shift responsibility to anyone else.

At one point, English was forced to concede that the Health system and funding mechanism was “flawed”,


English may review waiting list funding  (11 April 1998)


English agrees system flawed (19 May 1998)


Tragically, Mr English’s “Road to Damascus” experience was too late for Mr Williams and Mr Morrison and their families.

Is it me, or does  it seem that everything National touches turns into one, big, steaming cow-patty?

Finally, by 1999 the country had had enough. On 27 November, the country went to the polls and National and their coalition ally, NZ First, were roundly defeated.

The incoming Labour-Alliance government was faced with a crippled health sector (amongst other state services that had been cut back) that had been impoverished and  was struggling to perform it’s most basic core services,


Cancer patients face string over staff shortage – (9 June 2001)


Maternity crisis set to get worse –  (6 July 2001)


Despair at lack of young doctors – (11 Nov 2001)


Local cancer patients die waiting for radiotherapy – (17 Nov 2001)


A crisis that could only be remedied by a hands-on government prepared to make appropriate funding decisions,


Waiting lists for elective surgery cut – (24 April 2000)


Health Minister will end user-pays wards – (9 July 2000)


More money promised to fund GPs, health clinics – (17 Nov 2001)


$1.5b injection for health – (9 Dec 2001)


Upshot of this, Mr English?

Any increase in funding of state services was necessary. After savage cuts, National created a situation where our healthcare system was unequivocally unsafe.

In fact, it had  become lethal. People were dying for lack of appropriate medical intervention.

That was the legacy of the National Government, 1989 – 1999.

So before Mr English or any of his cronies complain that Labour  spent more than National did – damn right they did. And the increased health funding under Labour probably saved an unknown number of lives.

Tell us, Mr English, do you remember Colin Morrison and Rau Williams?




Addendum 1

By the way, Mr English, with reference to your criticism of the Green Party regarding job creation,

And to make it worse, at the same time their coalition partners the Greens are up in Auckland busy working out how to stop everything they don’t like – which includes everything to do with growth and jobs.


There’s no need to point the finger at the Greens and blame them for lack of growth and jobs. The  inept National Party are quite efficient at stifling the economy and creating rising unemployment,


New Zealand Unemployment Rate jan 2012 - dec 2012

See: Unemployment rate lifts to 6.7pc

See: 8000 more jobless as rate hits 6.8pc

See: Unemployment up to 7.3pc – a 13 year high


Economy may be going backwards

See: Economy may be going backwards


No need to invoke the Green Party (who aren’t even part of the National-led coalition) – it seems National is quite adept at grinding  the economy into the ground.

Credit where it’s due, Mr English, credit where it’s due.

Addendum 2

The Bolger-led National cut taxation-revenue by implementing two tax cuts, in 1996 and 1997. (see: Reserve Bank – New Zealand’s remarkable reforms)

Why does this sound more and more familiar?!





Reserve Bank: Reserve Bank – New Zealand’s remarkable reforms (4 June 1996)

OECD: Economic Surveys: New Zealand 1996

Treasury: Briefing to Incoming Government 1996 (12 Oct 1996)

NZ Herald: McCully: Jobs backtrack no surprise

Dominion Post: Key hands-on in MFat restructuring

NZ Herald: Defence Force plan to cut costs a failure – Auditor-General


= fs =

  1. 4 February 2013 at 7:13 pm

    And, there are 7 people with Pompe Disease who will die at the hands of the National Government!

  2. Jasper
    4 February 2013 at 8:03 pm

    “….170,000 new jobs….” he said Job Summit 2009-2010! Or was it a prediction of 175,000 unemployed by 2013?

  3. 4 February 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Frank, thanks for another great post. You are doing a great job at filling in for what the Main Stream Media should be covering – holding people to account for these statements. Unfortunately Seven Sharp won’t being that anytime soon.

    • 5 February 2013 at 12:15 am

      Thanks, Louis.

      If the MSM pick up on any of the material I’ve uncovered, and use it, I’ll consider my job here is done…

      As for “Seven Sharp” – I watched the opening intro – gawd help me – and then the vid ended. Tried to click on any link that looked like the main show – and got a message “The video you are trying to watch is currently unavailable. Please check back soon.”

      *rolls eyes*

      Yeah right because my life revolves around TV and I can wait till TVNZ’s website fixes what bug has stuffed it up. (Was it set up by Talent2?)

      Going by the opening few minutes, it was stomach-turning tripe. I half expected Mulligan to start tap-dancing on the desk.

      This was a dark day for journalism in NZ – and a fantastic opportunity for TV3. Expect viewing numbers for “Campbell Live” to rise, along with TV3’s advertising rack-rate.

      This is what we get when we mix the free market with the Fourth Estate… *shakes head in disbelief & sadness*

      • 5 February 2013 at 1:38 pm

        Agreed, I’ll almost definitely be watching Campbell Live permanently. To be honest I usually favoured Campbell but flicked between him and Sainsbury. I generally watch current affairs based on if I’m interested in the stories that are covered, rather than watching it for the sake of it.

  4. nznative
    5 February 2013 at 5:13 am

    Frank made the comment …” Is it me, or does it seem that everything National touches turns into one, big, steaming cow-patty?”, and I couldn’t agree more.

    But its even worse than National being incompetent and screwing up everything they touch, they are also dishonest and corrupt.

    Frank highlights Nationals dishonesty by showing us the facts, statistics and past quotes from the Nats, he then compares and contrasts these against their present actions and the current state of affairs that they have gotten our country in too.

    This current post showing the lies bill english is spouting is a very good example of Franks ” facts in your face” blogging technique. Actions speak louder than words and Frank shows us the facts versus their words ……

    Knowing National are incompetent and dishonest i suppose its only natural that they are also corrupt.

    Corruption would be one of the few things National are competent at and to show just how good at it they are I would suggest aside from reading franks blog that this link from norightturn shows just what a rotten self serving pack of nasty rich pricks they are ….


    • Strawberry Paddocks
      5 February 2013 at 10:01 am

      +1 Theodore

  5. Theodore
    5 February 2013 at 8:40 am

    Well said NZ Native.Frank seems to present the facts in an inter-linked, contextual way. It gives us an overall picture and puts things into proper context.

    What we’re seeing here is that National does not change their policies, and they just find new ways to package them and implement them.

  6. Robbie Kaiviti
    5 February 2013 at 10:26 am

    Well to be fair, I slammed Shearers speech and his attacks on Labourites rights to dissent…Nah on seconds thought, I don’t feel like being fair to Engish at all, screw the clown.

  7. Shane Hayes
    5 February 2013 at 10:31 am

    English is scraping the grime from the bottom of the NACT’s “Best Comebacks ” barrel to be blaming Labour at this late afternoon stage of them being in power.

  8. 5 February 2013 at 10:39 am

    It would be a bit like me blaming the last tenants in our home for not mowing the lawns after I’ve been in the place for three years and the grass is now up by the window ledge…

    • 5 February 2013 at 10:59 am

      Robert – excellent analogy. (I wish I had thought of it.)

  9. Peter Martin
    5 February 2013 at 11:29 am

    National haven’t had a new idea in thirty years.
    I can understand Key’s surprise at unemployment being at 7.3%…he clearly thought it would be higher and has forgotten the near 180,000 folk who have fled to Aussie during his ‘leadership’.
    180,000 people would be NZ’s fourth largest city and with just a years more flight at the current rate, the equivalent population of Wellington City will have departed.
    It’s effects like this that will echo down through time, irrespective of what incoming Govt’s will achieve.

    • 5 February 2013 at 11:57 am

      As always, Peter, your analysis adds to my postings. Thank you.

      “It’s effects like this that will echo down through time, irrespective of what incoming Govt’s will achieve.”

      Indeed. It’s like the neo-liberal genda being implemented in incremental “baby steps”. ACT/Labour’s “reforms” in the late 1980s and Ruth Richardson’s lunatic policies scared the locals witless.

      The Nats have learnt that lesson – do everything slowly, so no one notices.

  10. 5 February 2013 at 11:45 am

    Thank you Frank for putting this all in such simple easy to understand terms. Unfortunately with me you are preaching to the converted. Wish this was more generally available.

    • 5 February 2013 at 11:53 am

      Thanks for that, Kate.

      As for “more generally available”, my blog viewing numbers are up, and I’m aware that several politicians and journos read my scribblings. (I’m aware of at least two occassions where facts and figures I posted were lated repeated on msm. Could’ve been a coincidence?)

      And there are generous folks who spread my posts via Facebook and Twitter. Which all helps, I guess…


  11. samwise
    5 February 2013 at 4:36 pm

    The point is simply not to believe a single thing the Nats utter until you can verify it independently.

    It’s high tme the public came to realise this as well.

  1. 31 March 2013 at 12:06 pm
  2. 20 May 2013 at 11:38 pm
  3. 14 June 2013 at 8:02 am
  4. 17 August 2015 at 8:44 pm

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