John Keys worst performance ever | The Jackal

19 Nov 2012

John Keys worst performance ever

It's been amusing to see some of the critiquing of David Shearer recently. Particularly the feverish attempts to discredit him for relatively minor issues.

In light of this and to give some balance to the debate on leadership issues, here's a critique on John Keys appearance on The Nation over the weekend:

Rachel Smalley: In 2013, growth starts to fall away quite dramatically. Post the peak of that rebuild, we're in a bit of trouble aren't we?

John Key: Well I mean I think the first thing you say when you look at that graph is um that most other countries around the world would welcome that graph because it actually shows that we are growing despite inheriting the worst conditions of perhaps any government in two generations ah we have got the country growing. Ah not as fast as we want, I think we'd all admit but we are quarter of 1% of global growth so we are a tiny tiny fraction. And I can't, even if I wanted to I couldn't make the US go faster or Europe go faster or even solve some of those problems that are there in in Asia.

What I can do is prepare New Zealand to be in the best shape it can be to basically go out and compete on a world stage and to grow by being more competitive more productive on the world environment.

Rachel Smalley: But post 2013 there is no growth. That's according to the Reserve Bank so it's not me saying that it's them. They're saying that government expenditure frozen 2014 2015, the high Kiwi dollar will remain high. That will encourage imports underpin manufacturing and so beyond that there is nothing else.

John Key: Yeah! I think you be taking that a little bit literally. Ah! So there are a range of views there. The Treasuries views of growth have been a little bit stronger than the Reserve Bank. The Reserve Bank's been a little bit more conservative on that front. Ah! Although the Treasury will go update its numbers as we get to the half year update in a few weeks time. Ah! And there's a range of views from the bank economists. But as a general rule, um you want to take those things with a grain of salt. There's a lot of different factors. If we start seeing global growth picking up, then that has a big impact for New Zealand.

Let's stop the deluded Prime Minister right there. Firstly, global growth shouldn't be the only factor the government pins its hopes on for an economic recovery. Secondly, National inherited the books from Labour with very little government debt. Since then, Key has managed to increase government debt by more than 190%.

Clearly National inherited a country in better shape than it is now. It is only a figment of their imagination that their neoliberal agenda is working.

John Key: If the Reserve Bank really believed that there would be no growth beyond 2013 to speak of, then the Reserve Bank would cut interest rates, because we still have interest rates at one of the higher levels around the world. So I I don't actually accept that argument.

Wrong! New Zealand's interest rate is currently 2.5%, which is below the worldwide average of 3.4%.

John Key: So my only basic point here is is not to say the government should be ah! We should feel sorry for ourselves. Not to say there is nothing we can do. We've actually done a lot. My point is simply in the end, we are a nation that sells to the world and if the world is slowing down, then we slow down. And you saw that with China, who are very very Asia ah Europe dependent. For all of the good will to grow and desire to grow in China they've been slowing down because Europe has been slowing down.

China's economic growth has slowed to 7.6% in comparison to New Zealand's average of 0.6% for the first three quarters of 2012. Clearly we've not recovered properly from the recession. In fact New Zealand has gone backwards faster than most other countries, mainly because National hasn't moved to protect our productive industries and caused higher unemployment through repressive policy changes.

In september 2008 the rate of unemployment was 4.2%. According to Statistics New Zealand, it's now 7.3%. Despite these facts, John Key continues his rhetorical drivel:

John Key: Again if you look at that. I think its worth putting a bit of perspective on some things. So some of the stats, and this comes of the Labour house survey is my guess. OK! So the household Labour Survey measures someone as unemployed if they are looking for a job for one hour or more.

Wrong! The Household Labour Force Survey (PDF) measures the duration of unemployment as well as the actual, seasonally adjusted, and trend of unemployment. The 7.3% unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted and doesn't include people who are unemployed for an hour.

The way these statistics are gathered and calculated has not changed, meaning that the increase shown is actually happening. John Key attacking the Household Labour Force Survey therefore looks pretty damn stupid if you ask me... But there's worse to come.

John Key: 15 to 19 year olds is a good example. Because the Labour party came out with some amazing numbers of unemployment there.

Wrong! Statistics New Zealand supplied information on the youth unemployment rate. The figures Labour quoted in parliament were based on those figures and are therefore correct.

John Key: So there is one other factor that's worth mentioning because the government you're right is wanting to get to a point where it saves again by that I mean running a surplus. So we ran an $18 billion dollar surplus last year, largely to Christchurch earthquake but a fair bit there. We're $9 billion this year. By 2014/15 we're on track to be back in surplus. Now some people will argue that you should just keep spending money.

Key is so wrong on so many counts I don't know where to begin. Firstly the current account deficit rose to over $10 billion in the year ended June 2012. Now the difference between a deficit and surplus and $9 billion compared to $10 might not be a big deal to some people, but this is the Prime Minister of New Zealand who should know these facts off by heart.

John Key is supposed to be a money man and good with figures, yet he constantly displays a lack of knowledge about even the most simple economic principles.

John Key: So our debt to GDP levels by then will top at just under about 30%. In other words um! We'll be relatively lowly indebted, compared to other countries like America in Europe.

Wrong again Prime Minister. New Zealand's Gross sovereign-issued debt, the one that's relevant to the 30% threshold, was over $79 billion in May this year or 39.5% of GDP. That's an increase on 2011 of 2.5% with no signs of slowing. That makes John Key at best deluded and at worst a complete liar!

John Key: Um! So you know. I want to leave New Zealand in a better shape than I found it. Personally, I think if I got hit by a bus this afternoon, I will have left New Zealand in a better shape than I found it.

Amusing! Even Key admits that New Zealand would be better off if he wasn't PM.

John Key: Four years on, there are a lot of stats that I could point to which show you that this country is in better shape. Everything from the falling crime rate right through to increasing education levels whether it's at ECE or whatever.

Obviously those stats don't really exist, and John Key is talking rubbish. Crime rates have been falling all around the world, so I'm not sure exactly how National can claim responsibility for that. There are on the other hand lots of statistics showing New Zealand is worse off since National gained power.

In August, the NZ Herald reported:

Household incomes dropped and inequality rose to its highest level ever in New Zealand last year, a Ministry of Social Development report shows.

The Household Incomes Report measuring the wellbeing of New Zealanders by their total after-tax takings has revealed a fall in average incomes for the first time since the early 1990s.

It shows the gap between rich and poor widened substantially in 2011, putting inequality at its highest level ever.

That's a damning example of Nationals failure... Along with the fact that New Zealand now has 7.3% unemployment, 270 000 kids in poverty and we have the highest level of inequality we've ever seen, how can Key claim that New Zealand is better off?

Onto the next area of Keys disinformation...

John Key: If you're asking me if we should have an extended Capital Gains Tax in New Zealand the answer's no! And my position is supported by a lot of people who are not in politics and who are extremely knowledgeable in this area.

Key means his property speculator mates.

John Key: We have a form of Capital Gains Tax in New Zealand. If you go and bye a rental property, and you you buy it and sell it, the tax department will charge you a Capital Gain on that property. If you even say my intent, because we have intentrils, are to rent that but you start turning over those properties over, they'll take a very good look at you and over the last few years IRD has employed quite a number of uh additional people who's job it has been to look at those cases and there's been quite a lot more revenue coming in.

What a big fat load of rubbish! Unlike most other developed countries around the world, New Zealand doesn't have a properly enforced tax on property transactions at all. In fact the current system is widely abused.

There's also no such thing as an intentril and IRD has not recently employed more people to ensure property speculators pay anything more than the usual taxes on house transactions. There was an increase in prosecutions in 2010 for tax avoidance, but this is entirely different to the worthwhile changes proposed (PDF) by Labour at the 2011 elections.

John Key: I happen to think my my own view is, we are incredibly lucky to be serviced the way we are by many of the principles and teachers of New Zealand. I go to schools every week and they do a fantastic job. But I'm telling you now there are some kids that are that are falling through the cracks. 
When we brought in National Standards, the sector yelled and screamed and didn't like it. But, when we go and talk to those very Christchurch schools at the moment that we are talking about potential amalgamation, they quote National Standards back to us. When I go to the staff rooms now, even if they don't like National Standards they are talking to me about educational achievement and outcomes and that's a great change to make.

Keys claim that National Standards have increased educational outcomes is entirely unsubstantiated and he obviously doesn't go to schools every week. In fact his last visit to a school on 2 November ended in a huge fiasco after he back stabbed David Beckham, telling a group of school girls that the sports superstar was as thick as batshit!

The current government has totally failed to ensure good working conditions by causing undue stress through the Novopay cock-up, which has meant many thousands of teachers aren't being paid properly, some for months on end. National has also increased stress by badly formulated policy to merge and close schools. They also flip-flopped about class sizes, all of which would have a detrimental impact on educational outcomes.

John Key: I go to plenty of decile one and two schools around this country, and I would send my children there tomorrow.

Please! John Key claiming he would be fine with taking his kids out of private school is about as rich as it gets.

John Key: I've always argued the case that Nick has an enormous brain.

Weird! Nick Smith's brain capacity has little to do with his dishonesty.

Rachel Smalley: Your second term, it would be polite of me to say it has been a bit bumpy. I want to go through some of the issues you've faced. You've had Kim Dotcom, GCSB, ACC, Sky City convention centre, John Banks intermittently bouncing in there, the issues with education, water rights, the sale of state assets or not as the case may be.

National has definitely got that corrupt theme going on there.

John Key: In my world I don't get the luxury of that. In my world I set rules that I expect the police to follow, through the legislation that we have they are independent they make their own decisions.

Key only just manages to save himself from that Freudian slip... Saying "I set the rules that I expect the police to follow" is clearly not in line with his claims that the police have been entirely independent from his medling during the GCSB debacle.

I'm looking forward to Kim Dotcom blowing Key out of the water on that one.

So let's just recap: Dismissing the Reserve Bank's projections, dismissing Statistics New Zealand and the current unemployment rate, lies concerning youth employment, confusion about interest rates, dishonesty concerning the CGT and dismissing the growing divide between rich and poor just to mention a bit of John Keys disingenuous propaganda. Clearly not prime minister material.