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Archive for 3 May 2013

Nats, Lies, and Videotape

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backbencheslogo

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National MP, Mark  Mitchell, was a  guest on  Prime TV’s  “Backbenches” on 1 May, along with   Damien O’Connor (Labour Party); Jan Logie (Green Party), and Peter Dunne (Peter Dunne Party).

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Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell

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Usual political rah-rah, blah blah, from the Tory politician, until he came up with this throwaway remark,

We inherited ten years of deficits from the previous Labour Government...”

Now, quite simply, anyone with a passing knowledge of  Labour’s  fiscal record during their term in office from 2000 to 2008 will know that is a blatantly untrue comment.

In fact, it’s bullshit.

Under Labour, Government Debt to GDP dropped from 31.4% of GDP to 17.4%.

Government debt did indeed rise – under National, as the graph below amply demonstrates;

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New Zealand Government Debt To GDP

Acknowledge: Trading Economics/NZ Treasury

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National’s government  debt is now twice as high as when Labour left office in 2008.

Some will even recall that Labour Finance Minister, Michael Cullen, posted several surpluses during his tenure as Finance Minister – reaching $7.9 billion by 2007;

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

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Cullen prepares to trumpet high surplus (21 Feb 2003)

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

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

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

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Cullen confirms huge surplus (10 Oct 2007)

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

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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.

Mitchell should know all this. He probably does. In which case we can only wonder if  he was perpetuating a right wing lie about Labour’s track record.

If Mitchell isn’t aware of the reality of  Labour record whilst in government, then he is woefully ignorant.

And, as pointed out above,  is Mitchell aware the govenment debt under National watch has doubled from 17.4% in 2008 (left by Labour) to 37% (generated by National)? Having to borrow billions to pay for two unaffordable tax cuts in 2009 and 2010 certainly did not help (see: Govt borrowing $380m a week ).

Let’s ask Mr Mitchell, shall we?

Date: Fri  3 May 2013,  at 12.09pm
From: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
Subject: Budget surpluses and deficits
To: Mark Mitchel <mark.mitchell@parliament.govt.nz>
Cc: Dominion Post <editor@dompost.co.nz>, NZ Herald <editor@herald.co.nz>,
    Otago Daily Times <odt.editor@alliedpress.co.nz>,
    Morning Report <morningreport@radionz.co.nz>,
    Nine To Noon RNZ <ninetonoon@radionz.co.nz>,
    Kim Hill <saturday@radionz.co.nz>,
    Chris Laidlaw RNZ <sunday@radionz.co.nz>

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Kia ora Mr Mitchell,

Recently, on 1 May, you made a statement on Prime TV’s “Backbenches” to the effect,

“We inherited ten years of deficits from the previous Labour Government…”

I was surprised that you would make such a comment.

Are you aware that under Labour, Government Debt to GDP dropped from 31.4% of GDP to 17.4%?

https://fmacskasy.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/new-zealand-government-debt-to-gdp.png

Government debt rose thereafter, from 17.4% in 2008 to  37% – generated by your government.

Labour’s surpluses were well publicised in media reports, reaching $7.9 billion by 2007,

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

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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)

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Cullen confirms huge surplus (10 Oct 2007)

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

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Can you explain how you’ve managed to turn a near-decade of surpluses, and paying down sovereign debt, into “ten years of deficits from the previous Labour Government”?

It is obvious that your statement on Labour’s fiscal track record was somewhat  in error.

Will you be issuing a media  correction on this issue? If not, why not?

Please note that any statement you provide  may be published in a blog.

Regards,
-Frank Macskasy

This blogpost will be updated  upon Mr Mitchell’s response.

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= fs =