Home > Dollars & Sense, The Body Politic > What’ve you been smoking, Mr Roughan?

What’ve you been smoking, Mr Roughan?

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Perfect chance to can Tiwai

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Perfect chance to can Tiwai

There’s nothing quite like a threat to the New Right economic theory to bring the apologists slip-sliding out of the wood-work.

Case in point: John Roughan’s column in the NZ Herald on 30 March. According to Mr Roughan, the ‘blame’ for this latest fiasco can be sheeted home to John Maynard Keynes and our  post-War desire for full employment.

Because, as we (except for neo-liberals)  all know, full employment is a good thing for society.

First of all, read Mr Roughan’s article. Then come back to this blogpost, and scroll down…

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Ok, read it?

Now who spotted the outrageous piece of delusional rubbish  that Mr Roughan wrote in his column?

Let me quote;

“The price of most things at that time was controlled or subsidised and nobody knew or cared that prices didn’t align the item’s cost of production to its value in a competitive market. The economy was a job-creation scheme that ended with double-digit unemployment in the 1970s.”

Acknowledgement: IBID

Either Mr Roughan doesn’t know his history – or he is being wilfully mendacious to promote his rather obvious neo-liberal views.

Let’s have a look at unemployment in the 1970s though to the 1990s,

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unemployment - new zealand - 1960s - 1970s - 1980s - 1990s -

Acknowledgement:  Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment  – How bad is the Current Recession? Labour Market Downturns since the 1960s

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And to put that graph into actual stats,

Date Unemployment rate
Mar-56 0.6
Jun-56 0.6
Sep-56 0.6
Dec-56 0.6
Mar-57 0.6
Jun-57 0.6
Sep-57 0.6
Dec-57 0.6
Mar-58 0.6
Jun-58 0.6
Sep-58 0.6
Dec-58 0.6
Mar-59 0.6
Jun-59 0.6
Sep-59 0.6
Dec-59 0.6
Mar-60 0.6
Jun-60 0.5
Sep-60 0.5
Dec-60 0.5
Mar-61 0.5
Jun-61 0.5
Sep-61 0.5
Dec-61 0.5
Mar-62 0.5
Jun-62 0.5
Sep-62 0.5
Dec-62 0.6
Mar-63 0.5
Jun-63 0.5
Sep-63 0.5
Dec-63 0.5
Mar-64 0.5
Jun-64 0.5
Sep-64 0.5
Dec-64 0.5
Mar-65 0.5
Jun-65 0.5
Sep-65 0.5
Dec-65 0.5
Mar-66 0.5
Jun-66 0.5
Sep-66 0.5
Dec-66 0.5
Mar-67 0.6
Jun-67 0.7
Sep-67 1.0
Dec-67 1.2
Mar-68 1.3
Jun-68 1.2
Sep-68 1.1
Dec-68 1.1
Mar-69 1.0
Jun-69 0.9
Sep-69 0.8
Dec-69 0.8
Mar-70 0.8
Jun-70 0.8
Sep-70 0.8
Dec-70 0.8
Mar-71 0.8
Jun-71 0.9
Sep-71 1.0
Dec-71 1.2
Mar-72 1.3
Jun-72 1.3
Sep-72 1.3
Dec-72 1.3
Mar-73 1.2
Jun-73 1.1
Sep-73 1.1
Dec-73 1.0
Mar-74 1.0
Jun-74 1.0
Sep-74 1.0
Dec-74 1.0
Mar-75 1.1
Jun-75 1.2
Sep-75 1.2
Dec-75 1.2
Mar-76 1.2
Jun-76 1.1
Sep-76 1.0
Dec-76 0.9
Mar-77 0.8
Jun-77 0.8
Sep-77 0.8
Dec-77 1.2
Mar-78 1.5
Jun-78 1.7
Sep-78 1.7
Dec-78 1.4
Mar-79 1.4
Jun-79 1.5
Sep-79 1.4
Dec-79 1.3
Mar-80 1.4
Jun-80 1.6
Sep-80 2.2
Dec-80 2.5
Mar-81 2.6
Jun-81 2.6
Sep-81 2.6
Dec-81 2.7
Mar-82 2.6
Jun-82 2.7
Sep-82 3.0
Dec-82 3.6
Mar-83 4.4
Jun-83 5.0
Sep-83 5.1
Dec-83 4.8
Mar-84 4.7
Jun-84 4.4
Sep-84 4.3
Dec-84 3.9
Mar-85 3.7
Jun-85 3.6
Sep-85 3.6
Dec-85 3.9
Mar-86 4.2
Jun-86 4.1
Sep-86 4.1
Dec-86 4.2
Mar-87 4.0
Jun-87 4.2
Sep-87 4.2
Dec-87 4.4
Mar-88 4.9
Jun-88 5.4
Sep-88 6.4
Dec-88 6.3
Mar-89 7.1
Jun-89 7.5
Sep-89 7.4
Dec-89 7.3
Mar-90 7.2
Jun-90 7.7
Sep-90 8.1
Dec-90 8.9
Mar-91 9.8
Jun-91 10.5
Sep-91 11.2
Dec-91 11.0
Mar-92 10.9
Jun-92 10.4
Sep-92 10.6
Dec-92 10.6
Mar-93 10.1
Jun-93 10.1
Sep-93 9.5
Dec-93 9.4
Mar-94 9.3
Jun-94 8.5
Sep-94 8.0
Dec-94 7.6
Mar-95 6.8
Jun-95 6.4
Sep-95 6.2
Dec-95 6.4
Mar-96 6.4
Jun-96 6.2
Sep-96 6.4
Dec-96 6.2
Mar-97 6.7
Jun-97 6.8
Sep-97 7.0
Dec-97 7.0
Mar-98 7.4
Jun-98 7.9
Sep-98 7.7
Dec-98 7.9
Mar-99 7.5
Jun-99 7.3
Sep-99 7.0
Dec-99 6.4
Mar-00 6.5
Jun-00 6.3
Sep-00 6.0
Dec-00 5.8
Mar-01 5.5
Jun-01 5.4
Sep-01 5.4
Dec-01 5.6
Mar-02 5.3
Jun-02 5.3
Sep-02 5.5
Dec-02 5.1
Mar-03 5.0
Jun-03 4.8
Sep-03 4.5
Dec-03 4.7
Mar-04 4.3
Jun-04 4.2
Sep-04 3.9
Dec-04 3.8
Mar-05 3.9
Jun-05 3.8
Sep-05 3.8
Dec-05 3.8
Mar-06 4.0
Jun-06 3.7
Sep-06 3.9
Dec-06 3.8
Mar-07 3.8
Jun-07 3.7
Sep-07 3.6
Dec-07 3.5
Mar-08 3.8
Jun-08 4.0
Sep-08 4.3
Dec-08 4.7
Mar-09 5.0

Source: NZIER, Statistics NZ.

Acknowledgement:  Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment  – How bad is the Current Recession? Labour Market Downturns since the 1960s – Data Table Figure 1: Unemployment Rate

At no point in the 1970s did unemployment ever rise above 1.7%. Hardly the “double-digit unemployment in the 1970s” that Mr Roughan presented as the unvarnished truth.

In fact, if we look at the actual stats, the only time unemployment rose into double-digit figures was from Jun-91 to Jun-93, when National implemented it’s infamous “Mother of all Budgets”. That Budget, written by arch-neo liberal Ruth Richardson, sent businesses to the wall as well as unemployment skyrocketing,

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Bolger and Richardson 1991

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John Roughan then attempts to use his bogus “facts” to push the typical New Right line,

“Pacific Aluminium asked Meridian to renegotiate a price that was set just before the world economy went sour in 2007 and demand for aluminium dropped. Meridian agreed to a lower price until 2016 but would not commit to a lower price beyond that.

Last week the Government intervened. Some of your taxes and mine are going to be promised to a global mining conglomerate that wants to sell its New Zealand smelter but cannot find a buyer.

The Government could not have better demonstrated the pitfalls of public ownership if it had tried.”

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Perfect chance to can Tiwai

“The Government could not have better demonstrated the pitfalls of public ownership if it had tried”, wrote Roughan.

Based on – – – ?

Falsities?

Ideology?

Whimsy?

Or just plain bullshit.

The stoush between Rio Tinto and Meridian Energy does not “demonstrate[d] the pitfalls of public ownership” at all.

What it demonstrates is that Rio Tinto has seized the main chance to re-negotiate it’s contract. Does anyone who is not on hallucinogenic drugs not believe even for a moment that Rio Tinto wouldf not try it on with Meridian even if that powerco was 100% privately owned?

Does Mr Roughan honestly believe, with hand-on-heart, that Rio Tinto would behave differently if Meridian was a private company, like Contact Energy?

How f*****g naive can some commentators get, for gods-sakes?

John Roughan’s column is nothing less than neo-liberal propaganda. It is a blatant attempt to twist the current situation, and mis-represent the facts.  It is a deflection. It is an acolyte of neo-liberalism trying to white-wash his failed dogma and blame everyone else except his own failed system for this total screw-up.

As if the 2007/08 Global Financial Crisis wasn’t enough to show us that neo-liberal capitalism is a failed ideology. (Who would Mr Roughan blame for that collapse, I wonder? Solo-mums in South Auckland?)

But then, we all know how well Right Wingers take responsibility, don’t we?

Not very well.

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tiwai point - meridian energy - rio tinto

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Hat-tip

Chris Trotter

References

NZ Herald: NZ Herald – Perfect chance to can Tiwai (30 March 2013)

The Daily Blog: Chris Trotter, Lying For The Revolution: John Roughan Defends Neoliberalism (1 April 2013)

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  1. Christopher T
    1 April 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Surely you mean the economist John Maynard Keynes, not the English post-war new town Milton Keynes? Roughan typifies the provincialist, reactionary thinking of the current cabinet. You must realise that for these troglodytes, facts aren’t what counts; only beliefs have validity.

    • 1 April 2013 at 1:13 pm

      Thanks, Christopher. Typo amended accordingly.

      (Can I borrow a page out of John Key’s book and blame some else…?)

      😀

  2. Theodore
    4 July 2014 at 1:27 am

    Well considering that Roughan wrote the the recent hagiography on John Key, I think it’s safe to say that he (Roughan) has shown his true colours as a National Party hack paid by the NZ Herald. So we can’t expect anything more from this guy except naked hero worship as part of the Nat’s cult of personality.

    So his career at the Herald probably has come to a crashing end.

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