English on the difference between National and Labour

The Herald reports:

New Prime Minister Bill English has signalled his Government will have a stronger emphasis on addressing social issues but says he should not be confused as “Labour light.”

“I’m a strong believer that markets work, because people face consequences of their decisions and it’s a powerful positive force,” he told the Herald.

“At the same time you can still be concerned about what Government does for people. These things aren’t mutually exclusive.”

That is not something you hear from the left – that markets are a powerful positive force. But they are. Of course you need some interventions on top of market forces, but too many on the left just see any market as bad.

In an earlier press conference he said the Government was not the answer to everything.
Most answers could be found in families and communities and sometimes Government got in the way of that.

“It is a political difference between us and the current Labour-Greens coalition who believe the Government is the answer to everything.

Their solution to (relatively modest) power price increases was to effectively nationalise the entire generation market in NZ and have the Government set the price.

Asked if he was committed to reducing inequality, English said that was not how he would put it.

“I think lifting incomes is just more aspirational,” he said in an interview.

Ask a poor family what scenario they would rather have:

  1. They get a 10% increase in income and wealthy families get a 15% increase
  2. They get a 5% increase in income and wealthy families get a 5% increase

I bet you 95% would say (1) but all the poverty misery lobby groups out there would condemn (1) as increasing inequality.

“We are not as focused at the Opposition on everyone getting exactly the same result. We are happy to see people get reward for success.”

Again a nice distinction.

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