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The mythical “centrist” John Key government

datePosted on 07:33, March 17th, 2009 by Anita

When you look at the current government’s first four-and-a-bit months you see a right wing government implementing a swing to the right at high speed. Fair enough, they won the election, they reckon they’ve got the mandate. Even Key has stopped describing himself as “centrist” and now says “centre-right”.

Yet when you read the mainstream media the word “centrist” is still firmly attached to Key’s government. Well the New Zealand media anyhow, overseas they recognise a good old fashioned right wing market economics agenda.

So, what will it take for the media to stop believing it’s own commentary on last year’s election (carefully prepared for it by the National campaign team) and recognise that we elected, and now have, a right wing government? They’re making right wing choices: tax cuts for the rich instead of tax cuts for the poor; business own profits over staff wages and jobs; and an authoritarian state over human rights. We can argue about whether they’re the correct choices but they are the choices of the right.

We have a right wing government, that’s all.

categoryPosted in Economy, Parliament | printPrint

21 Responses to “The mythical “centrist” John Key government”

  1. r0b on March 17th, 2009 at 10:17

    We have a right wing government, that’s all.

    Yes. A spade is a spade, and a right wing government is a right wing government. The fact that we can get such a government without voting for it (we voted for Labour lite and a change of faces) suggests to me that “the system” is broken somewhere.

  2. Danyl Mclauchlan on March 17th, 2009 at 10:54

    So, what will it take for the media to stop believing it’s own commentary on last year’s election

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/blogs/on-the-house/2249846/No-more-lite-blue-from-National

  3. BeShakey on March 17th, 2009 at 12:22

    Yes. A spade is a spade, and a right wing government is a right wing government. The fact that we can get such a government without voting for it (we voted for Labour lite and a change of faces) suggests to me that “the system” is broken somewhere.

    I disagree. The system isn’t broken, the idea is that politicians would be restrained by public outcry at how they are ignoring their campaign promises (or introducing major changes that weren’t signalled). The failure is on the part of the public (and to a degree the media).

  4. Tom Semmens on March 17th, 2009 at 13:23

    I kind of hoped that the last election might see the end of the right wing’s belief it has a moral imperative to lie. I kinda hoped the last election might possibly demonstrate that the National party had moved on a thirty year old, outdated and now thoroughly descredited economic theory whose primary outcome looks like ity might be the greatest depression ever.

    But no. Its the same small minds peddling the same lies so they can repeat the same failures.

  5. felix on March 17th, 2009 at 16:56

    But no. Its the same small minds peddling the same lies so they can repeat the same failures.

    Failure is a funny thing. Defining it depends on what the objective was.

  6. reid on March 17th, 2009 at 19:51

    Neither Key nor National is particularly right wing from my own assessment although it’s hard for passionate politicos to divorce themselves from judging it from the perspective of their own position on the spectrum, a phenomena that applies to both conservative and lefty commentators and of course the more extreme your spectral position the harder it is to divorce yourself from it.

    One of Farrar’s posts today considers this question.

    Since in my judgement the centre in NZ is very left-leaning the polls will no doubt begin showing up whether the postulate has any legs.

  7. jcuknz on March 19th, 2009 at 09:32

    While the left [Labour] started the welfare state if you look back the past decades you will find that the right [National] has built on the left’s foundations and Labour tend to be the extremists while National being the conservatives tend to look after people.

    I see John Key as the leader with sensible and responsible intentions towards the people of this country, perhaps akin to how Muldoon looked after us in the past. Including for practical reasons the ACT party but tempering them with the Maori party, and vice versa.

    As a change from the previous adminstration which had lost its way I welcome the sensible approaches of the current government to date, though some of John’s underlings are doing some pretty stupid things which appears to be par for the course when you look at the stupid things Helen’s people did in the last Government. For pure common sense you should read John’s recent speach to the CTU, despite all the money they spent attacking him prior to the election.

    I’m glad I’m not PM with the clueless types under me.

  8. Lew on March 19th, 2009 at 09:52

    jcuknz,

    Way to beg the question, there.

    L

  9. Carrier on March 19th, 2009 at 10:24

    They’re making right wing choices: tax cuts for the rich instead of tax cuts for the poor ….

    That statement about tax cuts is simply not factual. At the beginning of April, it is intended that taxes will be cut for both the rich and the poor, as well as for those in between. You may argue about the quantum of tax cuts in various income bands, and that argument is likely to revolve around your choice of absolute dollar cuts v. proportionality of cuts.

    But please, are you serious about there being no tax cuts for lower income taxpayers?

  10. student_still on March 19th, 2009 at 11:29

    A little off topic, but somewhat related:

    I was disgusted to hear this whole Charity idea from Key today in the Herald. So not only has he taken tax cuts from lower income earners and given them to the already ‘well off’ and wealthy, but now he is encouraging the rich pricks to play nice with the hobos and give away their tax cuts, money that Key thus implies they don’t actually NEED in the first place?! WHAT?

    NZ is not America. The only reason that they have such a culture of philanthropy is because Americans, by and large, are fake, loud, self absorbed, self-aggrandising morons. They don’t give for the sake of giving, they give to be seen giving. All you have to do it watch an episode (if you can get through it without throwing your television out the window) of Extreme Make Over Home Edition. The presenters spend more time gushing about how it makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside when they help the poor people, than they spend on the actual renovation of the house or the story/reactions of the family involved. Don’t even get me started on how much unnecessary WASTE is involved in this programme, when they bring in the bulldozers and go about destroying every inch of the house and its contents!

    I, like everyone else with half a brain, will not be told what to do by Mr Key. I will be keeping my tax cut for myself because I miss having cheese in my diet. Yet, equally, if I hadn’t received any tax cut at all, and I knew for certain that it was being used to provide good quality welfare services for those most in need, I’d happily forgo my extra $15 a week.

  11. Ari on March 19th, 2009 at 11:48

    That statement about tax cuts is simply not factual. At the beginning of April, it is intended that taxes will be cut for both the rich and the poor, as well as for those in between. You may argue about the quantum of tax cuts in various income bands, and that argument is likely to revolve around your choice of absolute dollar cuts v. proportionality of cuts.

    When you replace an existing program of tax cuts with a new, larger program that nevertheless reduces the tax cuts to low-income taxpayers, and increases tax cuts to high-income taxpayers, it’s extremely rude (not to mention dishonest) to then try to pass those changes off as not harmful to the poor.

  12. StephenR on March 19th, 2009 at 16:23

    Well Labour (under Goff) is very keen for National to cancel the tax cuts altogether now isn’t he? More people get a piece of Kiwisaver now too.

  13. Anita on March 19th, 2009 at 16:52

    Carrier writes,

    That statement about tax cuts is simply not factual. At the beginning of April, it is intended that taxes will be cut for both the rich and the poor, as well as for those in between. You may argue about the quantum of tax cuts in various income bands, and that argument is likely to revolve around your choice of absolute dollar cuts v. proportionality of cuts.

    Wanna show me some evidence?

    But please, are you serious about there being no tax cuts for lower income taxpayers?

    Yep. According to Bell Gully (as I read it anyhow) there are no tax cuts for anyone who earns less than $40k from April 2009.

    Happy to see some evidence to your counter claim…

  14. DeepRed on March 19th, 2009 at 17:53

    Yep. According to Bell Gully (as I read it anyhow) there are no tax cuts for anyone who earns less than $40k from April 2009.

    Unless they qualify for the proposed independent earners’ allowance. Even then, it’s still no substitute for Dr Cullen’s headline rate cut that got scrapped.

  15. Carrier on March 19th, 2009 at 20:36

    Anita – Yes, based on the useful Bell Gully article provided, you’re correct on the headline numbers. To that extent I stand corrected, and I apologise.

    There’s much more to it than that, though. I won’t go into great detail but things to consider include:
    – retention of the new lower 12.5% rate for the first $14k.
    – a 20% increase to $48k for the top of the 21% band, the real tax band of the poor. (Those earning under $14k are usually second income part-timers or students, rather than “the poor”.)
    – easier access to Kiwisaver (and its subsidies) for low-income earners.
    – increase in independent earner rebate for those over $24k not receiving benefits, WFF or NZ Super.

    All that’s quite marginal in total, and some distance from the contrived tenor of “tax cuts for the rich instead of tax cuts for the poor”. Moreover, you won’t convince me that people earning $70K (plus or minus, say, $20k) will ever be “rich” at the high levels of tax they incur.

  16. StephenR on March 20th, 2009 at 14:09

    The National party calculator says someone on 39,000 would get another $10 a week, unless you’re on WFF – in which case they’ve had their tax cuts ages before singletons…
    http://www.national.org.nz/taxcalculator/

  17. jcuknz on March 20th, 2009 at 17:38

    I must live in another world becuase I cannot see what all the fuss about tax-cuts is all about or worth bothering about. I am glad it is many years since I bothered about the small amounts of the cuts. Nice to have but just a few loaves of bread or whatever it goes on, caviar for the more affluent with bigger cuts?. But I know various folk do get their knickers in a twist on the subject and back in the old days people who refused overtime becuase of the extra tax being deducted … seemed quite silly to me. It was extra money for time I could afford to ‘spend’ at work.

    Of course National is right wing. But how far to the right is the question. But that is not a dirty word in my book and during the last government I was amused to hear Dr Cullen using phrases right out of Sir Roger’s book …. as the correct thing to do … not as dirty words as Anita does above in her rather silly and pointless diatribe.

    I missed the point of lew’s criptic comment .. sorry.

  18. Lew on March 20th, 2009 at 18:22

    jcuknz,

    I must live in another world becuase I cannot see what all the fuss about tax-cuts is all about or worth bothering about. I am glad it is many years since I bothered about the small amounts of the cuts.

    Nice for you to be so confortable – many aren’t, and could really have done with that few extra loaves of bread. In economic terms you’re demonstrating the argument (to which I adhere, having been both pretty poor and pretty wealthy) that money is subject to diminishing returns: each dollar you earn has less marginal utility than the one before it did.

    I missed the point of lew’s criptic comment .. sorry.

    The point was that your comment took for granted a lot of very debatable positions of ideology and fact. Not very useful. You clarify what you meant somewhat in the comment above though – thanks.

    L

  19. jcuknz on March 21st, 2009 at 08:46

    One of the basic lessons of life I learnt quite early on .. when I was living on commission rather than the luxury of a fixed wage, was you tailor you lifestyle to the money in your pocket. But I guess in those days I wasn’t bombarded by advertising as we are today. The comfort of my current position has been achieved by living below my income … 19/6d in the pound per Charles Dickens …. actually 5<8% of my salary as the years went by. I refuse to believe that that is not possible today … I remember my son and his flat mate living on a bag of rice for about a fourtnight when they ran short … his Mother was horrified and angry that he hadn’t asked for help but he had his pride I guess.

  20. jcuknz on March 21st, 2009 at 08:55

    The more money you earn, ie the basic wage is $500 today against the $16 when I started work, the greater freedom you have to spend it as you wish … though I agree that the second dollar is worth less than the first, though better is to talk about the lower value of the third dollar.

  21. jcuknz on March 21st, 2009 at 09:01

    People think that they have a ‘God given right’ to have children when that is blattently irresponsible if you do not have the income .. and certainly the world doesn’t need more children.

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