Who's better with the books? | The Jackal

13 Sep 2017

Who's better with the books?


We’ve all heard the rhetoric about the National party being strong and stable when it comes to managing our economy. This claim was John Key’s and now Bill English’s go to defence whenever quizzed on the tricky issues.

Any questions concerning New Zealand’s growing homelessness rates and increasing inequality etc would be deferred to a look over there at the economy answer. But just how honest is National being when they say the economy is better under their watch?

Today, Stuff reported:

Is National really better than Labour with the Government books? Well, not really

ANALYSIS: Every three years it seems National rolls out the same accusation: Labour is less fiscally responsible.

This so-called commonly held belief has again been used as a fallback during this election campaign.

It reared its head amid Steven Joyce's accusations that Labour had left an $11.7 billion hole in its fiscal plan.

Accusations that've been proven entirely false I might add.

In the aftermath, National said even if there wasn't a $12b hole, Labour wasn't leaving itself much financial wiggle room. This was followed by the suggestion those tight Budgets were likely to put a Labour Government in the red because the party's fiscal track record isn't up to snuff.

But is National really a steadier hand when it comes to controlling the Government books? Is a vote for Labour actually a vote for financial instability?

The short answer is no.

We took a look at some basic economic indicators, including net debt as a percentage of GDP and surpluses, under the Helen Clark-led Labour Government as well as the John Key-led National Government.

What we found wasn't what National would have us believe.

Clark's fifth Labour Government reduced debt from 22.6 per cent of GDP in 2000 to 5.5 per cent in 2008.

Left wing bloggers and twitter activists have been going on about this for years, so it’s nice to finally see such pertinent information published online.

Based on past performances, both major political parties are able to competently run the country's financials, they just have different priorities.

The main difference in their priorities is that National still believes in trickle down economics. They essentially work to make the wealthy even richer and it’s widely accepted that this type of growth has been detrimental to people in economic deprivation and the working class.

Therein lies the main problem for National and their coalition partners. By ignoring the people at the bottom of the cliff there won't be any overall gain in people's quality of life. They're simply robbing Peter to pay Paul, which isn’t a good economic strategy long term.

That’s why Labour should be given another chance at this election to manage the books. Only through collective prosperity can we as a nation hope to meet the economic, social and environmental challenges of the future.