Worst Budget Ever | The Jackal

24 May 2011

Worst Budget Ever

Now there was a fair bit of bagging the budget before it even hit the printing press. Many taking their cues from Nationals indication that the 2011 budget would deliver more of the same ineffectual and outdated policy's that have led to New Zealands financial difficulties in the first place. As the dust settles, the Jackal decided to have a look at Bill English's baby, and it's not a pretty sight.

While Blinglish delivered a Budget speech as boring and hollow as the document itself, Labours momentum failed to gain much traction outside the debating chamber for obvious reasons… The media once again failed to inform the public properly. A National $43 million dollar Mediaworks bribe obviously going a long way within the media rank and file. The perpetual hospital-pass no more apparent than on The Nation and Q+A. I mean for fuck sake man… Wyatt Creech. Need I say more? Bomber expertly reviews the right wing programs here.

What we have with Nationals Budget 2011 is a mix of money shuffling and policy contradictions. This is no more apparent than in this paragraph:

In total, the Government expects to accumulate an additional $34.3 billion of assets by 2015.

It then states that the Government will gain assets by partly privatizing our SOEs, a clear contradiction. But it doesn’t end there:

Taking these factors into account, growth is projected to lift strongly over the next two years.

National clearly place all their eggs in one basket with the supposed increased productivity from the Christchurch rebuild. Visitor investment for the RWC is also touted as Nationals saving grace. Complete and utter contradictions being that the rebuild is projected to cost around 8.8 billion dollars and the cost to the taxpayer for the RWC will be over $500 million. The poetic license of the fictional document continues with:

The headwinds from this phase are abating.
But it gets worse:

On balance, growth is likely to lift substantially from a low base, for a time exceeding the potential growth rate of the economy as spare capacity is reduced. The projected growth rate of 4% to March 2013 would be the strongest since 2004. As a result, employment is forecast to increase by over 170,000 from the end of 2010 to June 2015 and the unemployment rate to fall to 4.5%.

When National gained power there was (for all intents and purposes) a zero deficit balance. Since then we have seen unemployment grow dramatically, the cost of living increase exponentially and our deficit balloon to around 17 billion dollars. It might be convenient for National to continue to blame Labour for its own failings, however it's National who is digging New Zealand into a hole. Likewise, the Christchurch Earthquakes cannot be used as a scapegoat for the National Governments failings, which when viewed in the light is purposeful debt manipulation to have an excuse to further implement social spending cuts. Deceitful is the best word to use when describing National hacks like Bill English.

To claim that there will be any positive effect from the same old outdated policies is fraudulent. They have been proven to have failed. The 2011 Budget sets out to cut social spending whereby many businesses and services will need to close through lack of funding. This will have far reaching consequences far beyond any financial number crunching. Once again National intend to sack public sector workers and further undermine social infrastructure that will continue a recession New Zealand has not recovered from. It’s woefully apparent that Nationals claim of 170,000 new jobs is an outright lie. A lie that National used in their last budget and failed to deliver on. The carrot on the string and head in the sand mentality continues with:

Introducing National Standards in our primary schools is a major achievement that will pay off over years to come for our children, for parents and for teaching professionals.

Now I’m no expert, but I thought that the budget was meant to be a reality-based document? So why is the author ignoring what the Prime minster stated in that there are “teething problems,” and more importantly what the majority of teachers are saying about the badly designed National Standards. Clearly the 2011 Budget is more of a PR exercise than anything else. I’m soon loosing interest, however:

The Government will also play an important role in lifting New Zealand’s national saving by returning to fiscal surplus. In turn, this will reduce New Zealand’s vulnerabilities, and result in lower interest rates and a lower exchange rate than otherwise would be the case. This will help to support the tradable sector to expand.

For gods sake! Selling our State Owned Assets does not, I repeat NOT increase our ability to save. Millions of dollars going off overseas into foreign hands does not help New Zealand to save money. While we’re on the savings theme, cutting Kiwisaver does not help New Zealanders to save either. On one hand John Key says the scheme is "successful" and on the other he welds a carving knife. But the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide horror show doesn’t end there:

We have closely examined several programmes where costs have expanded rapidly, without full commensurate value to the community or the taxpayer. KiwiSaver, WFF, student loans and ACC are all examples of major programmes where cost escalation has occurred.

Kiwisaver can only loose money if the investments made on the saver's behalf are unsound. The Government can ensure investment safety by increasing security around the investment structure. The cost to encourage people to save is a worthwhile one.

The ability of an ordinary working family to meet its expenses needs to be maintained with WFF. The difficulty has arisen because of our low wage economy. If the Government wants to reduce subsidies for businesses that do not pay a living wage, then it needs to raise the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour.

An education is a right that should not be impinged by wealth or age. The discrimination shown by the National Government with its intended social engineering against the poor is immoral. Under the Human Rights Act such age discrimination is illegal as well. If the Government wants to recoup more than 55 cents in every dollar it lends out so that people can become educated, it must ensure that there are enough well paid jobs for graduates to be placed in, so that they have the means to service their debt.

The measures imposed by ACC to deter and decline claimants, have saved the Government $638 million over four years. Even though ACC recognizes that the measures are unfair, they will continue to undermine Accident Compensation at the Governments request so that they have an excuse to privatize ACC as well. It is a similar con to that of giving the wealthy tax breaks, which has led to our huge deficit and then using that deficit as an excuse to partly privatize our assets. This will have a negative impact on those requiring assistance and society in general. Here is what National are promising with what is termed a Mixed Ownership Model:

1. The Government maintains a controlling stake in the company.

2. New Zealand investors are at the front of the queue

3. The companies involved present good opportunities for investors

4. The capital freed up from this is used on behalf of taxpayers to fund new public assets, thereby reducing the pressure on the Government to borrow, and

5. New Zealand consumers are protected by appropriate regulatory regimes.

Here is what that means:

  1. A percentage of the income will flow offshore. Effectively this will equate to the raised capital in as little as five years.
  1. Wealthy New Zealanders can purchase shares; however there is no system to ensure those shares will remain in New Zealand. The shares will likely be sold in a first come first served basis irrespective of nationality.
  1. The companies present good investment opportunities at an increased cost to the consumer. The consumer presently enjoys the benefits of owning Mighty River Power, Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy and Solid Energy. Our previously privatized SOEs charge more than their publicly owned counterparts.
  1. If the capital freed up actually goes on new public assets, the cost to maintain these will have a negative effect on the amount we have to borrow. In as little as five years New Zealand could have saved the income from our SOEs and invested it in further infrastructure and then been able to pay for the upkeep of that development without having to borrow further.
  1. There is no applicable regulatory regime within a free market ethos.
For National to hold up Air New Zealand as a success story is a sick joke. It shows that they are completely deluded and trying to con the public. You can read more about the true cost of privatization here.

If I wanted to read a work of fiction Bill English, I would go to the library. I suppose we should be thankful there is no funding allocation for the Welfare Working Groups recommended eugenics program. But I guess the Natz wouldn't make something like that public knowledge.