NZ vs Australia

May 5th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

writes in the Australian Financial Review:

How exactly is it that – a country that went into recession in early 2008, had a collapsed non-bank finance sector, didn’t have a mining boom, has a historically high dollar and had its second biggest city basically levelled by an earthquake – is on track to record a budget surplus as scheduled and on time in 2014-15? This question raises a second one: why is not in this position?

I think we don’t give enough credit to the Government for the very challenging task they have had, where they had to both have an expansionary fiscal policy during the depths of the global recession, but also impose spending restraint so that the projected structural deficit would have a path towards becoming a surplus.

Australia has shown how easy it is to blow a projected surplus.

The odd thing about this is that Swan and his government perpetually cast themselves as victims: of a global downturn and an unappreciative public.

But in fact, a look across the Tasman shows Swan and Labor are victims only of their own appalling policy choices. Overall Kiwi growth is at about 3 per cent – NZ grew 1.5 per cent last quarter alone. Unemployment and welfare numbers are dropping, virtually every export sector, including manufacturing has been growing. Businesses everywhere are complaining they can’t get skilled labour.

The growth in Australia is hugely variable. Western Australia has been growing faster than China. Queensland has had strong growth. But the larger states of Victoria and New South Wales were actually contracting for a while.

The Gillard government is now in the ridiculous situation that despite revenue increases since 2010, historically high terms of trade, and relatively low unemployment, any surplus has been shunted away into the future. Comparatively, New Zealand, despite relatively poor growth until recently, no mining boom and an enormous earthquake, will complete a bigger surplus than expected, earlier than forecast.

Go New Zealand!

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53 Responses to “NZ vs Australia”

  1. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    The reason is simple: Rudd, Gillard and the profligate Australian Labor Party, destroyer and squanderer of wealth.

    Here we could apply the same logic to the nefarious comrades Clark and Cullen.

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  2. Johnboy (15,858 comments) says:

    We don’t have snakes and venomous spiders either. Other than David and Russel! :)

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  3. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Of course it because of the government but the resident genius’s that comment here are busy telling us how hopeless National are doing. All that does is prove that the’ na saye’rs’ who continually wank on on here know fuck all.

    Thats right isn’t Red,? National are hopeless, wasting time worrying about the homo’s is much more important, correct?

    Wanking on about the homo’s getting married is much more important that the economy doing reasonably well, that’s right isn’t Chuck.?

    Little people worry about little things.

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  4. dishy (241 comments) says:

    If only the MSM in NZ (especially TV news and current affairs) thought that this sort of analysis was more newsworthy. At the very least, they might like to put the comparison up for debate. But perhaps it’s our fault, for (apparently) being more interested in trivia, like the behaviour of loser list MPs whose very presence in Parliament is an indictment of MMP.

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  5. Johnboy (15,858 comments) says:

    Red and Chuck??

    I hadn’t actually noticed them here yet.

    PEB’s a crystal ballocks gazer! :)

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  6. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    What Manolo said. They are on track to record another deficit this year despite a 7% growth in revenue from last year. $200 billion in the red over 5 years despite revenue (from memory) almost doubling over that time.

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  7. nickb (3,686 comments) says:

    It is a pity that National has shown such a complete lack of political principles and backbone that they have not reversed any of Labour’s enormous spending programs that will condemn us to decades of structural deficits, tax raises, and general decreases in the standard of living for Kiwis. Particularly as the baby boomers retire.

    Sure, one year of surpluses (coincidence that it is election year?) might sound great, but it is highly facetious to spin it as an example of National’s good economic management.

    The legacy they leave NZ will be one of missed opportunity.

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  8. kowtow (8,091 comments) says:

    I imagine the fact that so many of our young and ambitious can get over there to work in the mining boom helps keep our unemployment figures and therefor social welfare spend down helps too…….

    Go Australia!

    That’s a mining/resource boom that we could be having too ,if this government grew a pair and stood up to the commies.

    Too late though, China will fold and we’ll have missed out on this cycle. So while this parliament wastes time on homo marriage ,the economy(all of us) miss a golden opportunity.

    Little people have little outlooks!

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  9. Johnboy (15,858 comments) says:

    I find myself extremely humbled to read the erudite expose’ of the situation by F.E. Smith! :)

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  10. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    I hadn’t actually noticed them here yet

    Just imagine what Colin Craig will be able to do JB. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Evidently I’m a nasty progressive, whatever the fuck that is, but from where I am things that are important are ticking over. there are still problems but talking to people in the UK especially they are pretty envious, even if it is for such a small economy.

    Parts of Australia are proof that Labour and greens have no idea with what they are proposing, none at all. All National has to do is get the message out there and tell those that think $300 is a lot of money.

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  11. Yogibear (359 comments) says:

    NZ spending restraint? Come on. We are 5 years into this government and there are still 50% more public servants (excl teachers, health workers and military) than there were in 2000.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but the last HYEFU from treasury was also forecasting net crown debt to peak at 28% of GDP and then not reduce. The same HYEFU halved the forecast surplus in 14/15 to margin of error stuff.

    Don’t get me wrong, we are doing better on the government side than Aussie but as far as fiscal prudence goes there is enormous room for improvement. The debt track being of most concern.

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  12. wat dabney (3,746 comments) says:

    The wobbles of current state spending are largely insignificant compared to the future costs of political promises. Gold-plated state-sector pensions, medical freebies for pensioners, etc. It is these which will bankrupt a country.

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  13. Alan Wilkinson (1,861 comments) says:

    nickb, I kind of agree but have to balance that against the risk of a Labour/redGreen takeover next election, the financially illiterate electorate and the incompetent, left-wing MSM that fans it. I can’t blame the politicians when the blame really lies fair and square with the voters.

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  14. Pete George (23,415 comments) says:

    Public service employment levels and social spending programs are issues that need to be addressed, but they can’t be reversed quickly without creating major problems – especially during a local and a world wide recession.

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  15. Johnboy (15,858 comments) says:

    $300 is a lot of money to the Naenae folks that I see staggering to the Pokie machines after a night on the turps/drugs PEB.

    How can we enlighten these poor fellows to the finer things in life?

    Should we perhaps GIVE them shares in the next IPO’s so they start to feel like capitalist bastards? :)

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  16. Johnboy (15,858 comments) says:

    Further to that and thinking laterally wouldn’t it be a bloody good idea to give all the poor bastards in state house’s the house they live in right now?

    We could close HNZ, sack all the pricks that are hired there, turn a bunch of Liarbour voters into instant National voters and totally destroy the dependant mentality that the dirty bunch of Commo’s are depending on to get them back into power in 2014! :)

    Radical thoughts for you all to consider.

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  17. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    How can we enlighten these poor fellows to the finer things in life?

    Thats the problem, so called adults that can not imagine anything further ahead in their lives than 4 hours from now.

    As for some of the above comments, there are always things that can be done better but we are never going to have a government here that will slash benefits to the unemployable totally, all they will ever do is put some responsibilty on them.

    This would be made a lot easier if it wasn;t for the lefties who think you should just receive monies with no responsibility to the state that’s providing you with it.

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  18. tvb (4,307 comments) says:

    Labour Governments are all very well until the money runs out as it always does. Labour’s constituency is always wanting to spend more. NZ Labour in opposition have opposed every cut in spending, every initiative to promote growth. Their Green Partners are even more extreme especially on anything that promotes growth. It damages the environment they say. The Gillard Government has a habit of announcing some new spending initiative without knowing where the money is coming from. All these initiatives are all very well but the cumulative effect is to blow any hope of a budget surplus.

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  19. kowtow (8,091 comments) says:

    What? Are we meant to throw a party nowadays when a govt tries to do what govt’s and households in the not too distant past considered normal…..balance the books!

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  20. Johnboy (15,858 comments) says:

    Free house’s for HNZ tenants would trump $300 off your power bill any day.

    Later on class we shall discuss anulling student loans! :)

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  21. Johnboy (15,858 comments) says:

    I have often thought that if the US had poured as much cash into Korea or Vietnam in building a vibrant economy as they wasted on armaments we would be looking at a totally different outcome.

    NZ is no different really. Pollys just cant see the wood for the trees! :)

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  22. Fisiani (1,021 comments) says:

    Given the scorched earth, cupboard is bare , debts are growing for infinity legacy of 9 years of Labour coupled with the biggest global financial crisis for over 80 years and the biggest natural disaster in living memory the achievements of Bill English deserve a knighthood. the John Key led government is the greatest in New Zealand history. It has to be rewarded with a first ever 50% plus vote in 2014. To allow such progress to be squandered by the voting system delivering an unholy alliance of Marxist loonies and MP’s with no experience of real life is too awful to contemplate.

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  23. Alan Wilkinson (1,861 comments) says:

    @Johnboy, how long do you think it would be then before most of south Auckland ex state house real estate was owned by Destiny Church and all the PI money-sucking bible bashers?

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  24. Johnboy (15,858 comments) says:

    But the peasants don’t realise that Fisiani. They will squander the gains for a promised $6 per week off their powerbill.

    We need a grand slam to toss the labour/greenie scum into the blackhole they belong in once and for all.

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  25. Johnboy (15,858 comments) says:

    Who cares Alan. The peasants will feel owing to the church instead of the greenie/labour bastards.

    Purpose achieved! :)

    If it worries you I am sure that we can put safeguards in place.

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  26. seanmaitland (487 comments) says:

    @Yogibear – I’m going to call “yeah right” on your claim about there being 50% more public servants than in 2000 – got any figures to back that up? Are you sure you’re not mixing up the total number of PS with the extra ones that Labour hired?

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  27. mikemikemikemike (323 comments) says:

    I don’t think labour were terrible when they were in, but they were hardly stars and certainly not looking ahead. The clincher for me was all those years building a huge surplus to just blow it all on election Bribes when the chips were down. That destroyed any thought that they had the countries interests at heart. Credit where it’s due the government has balanced itself pretty well considering all the stuff it had to deal with. I see a bit of rot setting in though, with the Gilmore Parata sagas. Lets hope key has the fortitude to get rid of them so the government can maintain its good work.

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  28. Johnboy (15,858 comments) says:

    Think of the broad vision of my plan. For the sake of a book loss of a few billion that costs us hundreds of millions a year in repairs and administration costs we could cut the legs out from under the socialist bastards.

    Everyone aspires to own their own home in NZ. Most of us that chat here have done just that. The leftie folk that turn up here to moan never have and never will unless they get to put us up against a brick wall sometime.

    Just remember without a plan like this David and Russel will be running the place come 2014! :)

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  29. Yogibear (359 comments) says:

    Sean Maitland. Check the SSC website Human Resource Capability Survey.

    Latest release is for 30 June 2012. Shows 43k FTEs. High water mark was 45 k FTEs in 08. The Public Service Trend Report spreadsheet shows 29k in June 2000.

    So the government has reduced the numbers somewhat, but its still 50% higher than the Bolger/Shipley government found adequate.

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  30. bc (1,357 comments) says:

    A budget surplus just means that a government collects more revenue than it spends. So the reason why we are on track to be in surplus in 2015 is simple: TAX, TAX and more TAX.

    Let’s look at Australia’s income tax rates: (Australian dollars)

    0 – $18,200 Nil

    $18,201 – $37,000 19%

    $37,001 – $80,000 32.5%

    $80,001 – $180,000 37%

    $180,001 and over 45%
    You have to be earning some big bikkies before your personal income tax is higher than here.

    Now factor in GST: 10% (and not on everything) in Australia compared to 15% here

    Then add in “levies” such as ACC, which are just taxes in disguise.

    Yes the National government are doing a good job meeting their surplus target (and I am glad they are managing the economy that’s for sure), but as long as the revenue keeps rolling in, then you will be on track.

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  31. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    mikemikemikemike (121) Says:

    May 5th, 2013 at 1:13 pm
    I don’t think labour were terrible when they were in, but they were hardly stars and certainly not looking ahead. The clincher for me was all those years building a huge surplus to just blow it all on election Bribes when the chips were down. That destroyed any thought that they had the countries interests at heart.

    But thats what they do everytime, National will get another run next year but after that even people on here will start to say “time for a change” “not good to be in power too long”.. By 2017 the economy wil be back in shape and if history is anything to go by, charging along, then fucking labour will come along and spend the bloody lot, get us in the shit and then National will have to start all over again in 2023 Its quite depressing that to think for my 60th birthday in 2020 we’ll have the loopies at the purse strings.

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  32. Johnboy (15,858 comments) says:

    Not if we follow the Johnboy masterplan PEB.

    I can see a Thousand Year Natz ahead of us! :)

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  33. Harriet (4,723 comments) says:

    bc#

    That’s true, but FES is right also, they have had the revenue.

    “……They are on track to record another deficit this year despite a 7% growth in revenue from last year. $200 billion in the red over 5 years despite revenue (from memory) almost doubling over that time….”

    A week or so ago the Liberal opposition treasurer Joe Hockey said exactly the same thing – “They’ve got the revenue coming in but the expediture is what needs to be look at.”

    It’s true, all the ALP ever do in any given State, Territory, or Federaly, is tax and spend. The average kiwi would be shocked beyond pale at the level of waste in Australian Labor. Billions and billions of it:

    Each illegal boat into Australia costs the tax payer just over $12 million. The full cost of taxpayer expense on boat people is over $8 billion since Labor were elected. While the full year prior to Labor being elected saw just 2 boats come in under Howard.

    As an aside, and as DPF has already reported, the ALP have not had a surplus since the 1980’s.

    The youngest member of Australian Federal politics is a 22yld[he was elected when he was just 20]
    who is the Liberal member for Longreach in QLD, and he said this during a speech he gave in the Federal parliment around the time of his 21st birthday.

    “…..In my entire lifetime – the ALP – have NEVER had a surplus!….” :cool:

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  34. Alan Wilkinson (1,861 comments) says:

    @Johnboy, regrettably, I think you under-estimate the profound stupidity of this segment of the electorate. First, they will soon be mortgaged to the hilt and lose their properties. Then they will blame everyone but themselves and vote for the socialists again.

    Yes, there will be some who will break through to a new world – but I think they will be a minority.

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  35. Johnboy (15,858 comments) says:

    Provisos can be put in place for the terminally stupid AW.

    I see my plan as a sword that will break the back of the socialist grip on the underclass.

    If you remove the dependancy why would parties like the Labour and Green that depend on losers not perish?

    My ideas may be radical to the property owning classes but the way things are heading here in Godzone we are doomed as a class if we do not move rapidly to destroying the welfare dependancy that the socialists have created.

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  36. Viking2 (11,332 comments) says:

    Pete George (17,474) Says:
    May 5th, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Public service employment levels and social spending programs are issues that need to be addressed, but they can’t be reversed quickly without creating major problems – especially during a local and a world wide recession.
    ===================
    But but but;
    If it wasn’t for your Leader, Pete, some of these would not have seen the light of day. This morning he supported extra parental leave for instance. No doubt he thinks free student loans are a great idea, that WWF is just wonderful and local bodies should be like Govt. and allowed to spend like drunkem bums.

    All these things add up to needing a super sized 1.5 billion tax collection computer.
    If we cut most of this crap we wouldn’t even need that.

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  37. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    have an expansionary fiscal policy during the depths of the global recession,

    That would likely be the answer. Keynes was right. Looks like the NP may be able to have its cake and eat it too, just this once.

    We have an unemployment problem and housing is hopeless, but our country is generally competently managed, whichever party is in.

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  38. Viking2 (11,332 comments) says:

    johnboy.
    You are not first with this idea.
    Bob Clarkson, alias Bob the Bulder or better known as “I’ll bet my left nut” ex MP for Tauranga and like Gilmour a bit of a rough diamond, but worth more than Key, first floated this idea at a select committee meeting several years back.
    Oddly enough no one other than Bob even understood what he was saying. It was beyond their capability to comprehend. ( Inside sources confirm this).
    It would have saved NZ taxpayers millions of dollars.
    But like his solution to leaky housing problems, Key and his mates shoved it out of the way and told Bob to F—Off, he was too old and they needed to rejuvinate their party. (see how that’s turned out. ha )..
    More bloody brains than most of the Cabinet (who are mostly desk jockey lawyers) put together.

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  39. Alan Wilkinson (1,861 comments) says:

    @Johnboy, I like the idea in principle. But what provisos would you put in place? How would you assign ownership to the usual transient mess of people that inhabit many of these places? The devil is in the detail, as well as in a lot of state housing.

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  40. Johnboy (15,858 comments) says:

    Didn’t he get pissed too and made a complete arse of himself V2? :)

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  41. Johnboy (15,858 comments) says:

    Rent to own with no deposit, with a hugely reduced cost to show the real value of most of these shitholes AW.

    Think of the fun when the dreadful socialists couldn’t wax lyrical about the lack of spending on State Houses cause there were none! :)

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  42. simonway (379 comments) says:

    This question raises a second one: why is Australia not in this position?

    Well, their first projections were for a razor-thin surplus. It was only going to be a few billion dollars, iirc. I assume that New Zealand has had unexpected budget shortfalls or windfalls of similar amounts (adjusted for population).

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  43. Nostalgia-NZ (5,079 comments) says:

    Here’s hoping, but don’t count your budgets before they hatch.
    JK has recently been talking about Labour occupying the ‘far left,’ so budget surplus then left more leaning bribes in election year – just like Helen?
    Few would disagree that JK has made massive inroads into Maoridom with a record number of TOW settlements, he might be right about ‘far left’ policies but that doesn’t make his own position middle or right – I doubt there’s universal acceptance within National of what Manolo calls ‘Labour Lite.’ Largely ineffective opposition has made the cause easier but if South Auckland finally stirs a budget surplus might raise expectations of ‘more please sir.’

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  44. OneTrack (2,954 comments) says:

    “but our country is generally competently managed, whichever party is in.”

    Ah, but this time will be somewhat different. This time we have a player that will be considerably stronger than in the past and, on current performances, will wield considerable influence, well over and above what the vote would indicate. This player took all the arty subjects at school and uni, and didn’t bother taking math at all. Hence the concept of a balanced budget is low on the list of priorities. “if we run out of money, we just get some more”.

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  45. slijmbal (1,228 comments) says:

    bc makes a very important point

    NZ both taxes and spends more as measured by a %age of our GDP compared to OZ.

    We have moved down the OECD charts from the Labour tax and spend days but that’s got more to do with other OECD countries going bonkers with their addiction to Keynesian economics (the modern version). Our government spend as a %age of GDP has dropped a soupcon from Labour days.

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  46. Liberty (256 comments) says:

    PG “Public service employment levels and social spending programs are issues that need to be addressed”
    The Public service levels are still too high. Low income don’t pay tax in real terms now.
    So what are you suggesting Pete ?

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  47. Pete George (23,415 comments) says:

    Liberty – that you can’t just suddenly the public service in half during a global financial crisis and local recession without risking making the recession a lot worse.

    And you can’t suddenly cut WFF, for example, without causing hardship. Family financial commitments will have adapted to the additional in the hand income, and taking that away would have a substantial impact on many.

    The best time to restructure taxes and social spending is under good economic conditions – but Labour squandered the last chance of doing this by doing the opposite.

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  48. Yogibear (359 comments) says:

    But Pete, it’s not a matter of slash and burn the public service. Not even close.

    Every time a half decent attempt is made at sensible rationalisation, Ministers lose their bottle. The most recent being the DoC backdown. But that follows MFAT, and a few more minor attempts.

    All this reminds me of the Yes Minister episode of the hospital with no patients but a full compliment of administrators ( and the classic Sir Humphrey quote “it’s won the Florence Nightingale award for the cleanest hospital 3 years in a row”)

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  49. Harriet (4,723 comments) says:

    Johnboy#

    When Maggi came to power 45% of British houses were state housing.

    Selling them to the tennents is a better option. It worked for the UK at the time.

    The housing problems in the UK at present are not her legacy but Blairs: Immigration in the millions – wrong types from the wrong places.

    The banks will then be ‘lord’ to the islanders rather than their current ‘preachers’! :cool:

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  50. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    This player took all the arty subjects at school and uni, and didn’t bother taking math at all. Hence the concept of a balanced budget is low on the list of priorities. “if we run out of money, we just get some more”

    Why this obsession with government deficits? As long as the debt doesn’t become unmanageable, it’s all good.

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  51. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (866 comments) says:

    Bros – We have John Key, the best business savvy PM we ever had! Most of the Kiwis don’t realise how better off we are in these tough economic times. I hope they all wake up soon and give John Key and National a majority verdict in 2014 despite MMP and the dangerous combination of Labour-Greens-NZ First-Mana lined up against National. Equation is very simple – If NZ First doesn’t cross 5%, we will have a National led Government, otherwise we will have chaos.

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  52. Griff (7,188 comments) says:

    I can not see the left managing weeks let alone a term in bed with Whinny.
    Not in its present mix.

    whinny, the greens and mana

    Popcorn!

    Add labor’s present bias towards socialism…..

    Chaos until we have a collapse into a minority government by national.

    With whinny bundled of somewhere remote and quite to enjoy his relatively cheap baubles of office.

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  53. Liberty (256 comments) says:

    Pete George
    Liberty – “that you can’t just suddenly the public service in half during a global financial crisis and local recession without risking making the recession a lot worse.”
    Rubbish Employing large numbers of public servants to increase the tax take is warped socialistic
    twaddle. The economy would be financially better off if all Public servants earning over $100,000 were sacked and put on the unemployed. The ones that are any good would soon get of there arse and find work in the real world .
    In 1984 the Farming sector was thrown to the dogs by a Labour Government. With the removal of
    farming subsidies. Overnight Farmers were given two choices. Change or die.
    No Government has had the balls to complete the job. It’s time the public service was sorted.

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