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Andrew Dickens: National is absent ahead of 2021 Budget

Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 17 May 2021, 12:27pm
National leader Judith Collins. (Photo / File)
National leader Judith Collins. (Photo / File)

Andrew Dickens: National is absent ahead of 2021 Budget

Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 17 May 2021, 12:27pm

Well, I have little to say about Judith Collins and the Nats low polling in the Newshub poll, other than to say Judith Collins is once again wearing too much of the blame.

The National Party is "Absent Without Leave" with a few exceptions like Nicola Willis and Shane Reti.

For example today we had a piece in the paper from National's Finance spokesperson. Can you name him? Andrew Bayly. Surprise

National's schtick is to have a finance monster. Read Richardson, Birch, English, Joyce. True number 2s. Andrew Bayly is very good but he's no English.

So welcome to Budget week and the question on everyone's lips is what will happen on Thursday.

After the Australian budget last week, the Labour Party were quick to jump on the Aussies slogan.

Treasurer Frydenberg called it the Recovery Budget and now our Government has said that's what they want to do as well.

But can we afford to do what the Aussies have done?

In a word No. The Australian economy is a strange and unique beast. It's built on iron ore and mineral prices to an extreme extent. It makes our reliance on the white gold of dairy seem like play money.

Currently, Australia is raking it in as China buys as much iron ore as it can at record-breaking prices. It's up 400 per cent on pre-Covid prices which were already high.

So Frydenberg has loads of cash, that we'd never see, and no hesitation in borrowing like billy-o to create jobs. Our Government will seem spend-thrift compared to the Aussies because they just have more money than us. And our government doesn't want to lose the former National voters who voted for them last election

So, what do I reckon? I expect the Government will raise benefits.

This is classic consumer-led recovery economics. Give the lowest paid a bit more cash and they'll buy a few more New Zealand goods like food and services giving retail and the general economy a bit of a boost.

And this dovetails into why they pretended to come down hard on the public service last week with the infamous pay freeze.

It's a classic Clinton trick from the 80s called triangulation. Jon Johansson the former New Zealand First Chief of Staff wrote about this at the weekend.

It's the “look over there” tactic. Knowing they want to introduce their Fair pay and benefit rises this week, they appear to come down hard on the hated bureaucrat class.

The centre-left praise the caring benefits. The centre-right praise the crackdown on the rampant public service and the Labour Party floats along as appealing to the everyman in the middle. The 3 points of a triangle.

John Key used to do this impeccably. It's focus group politics. New Zealanders are essentially reasonable moderate people so the trick is to be more reasonable than the other guy.

There's no political philosophy there just a desire to be popular.

When you realise that all politicians do this the whole game becomes less threatening.

It's also sobering to realise that no government has been transformative since Douglas and Lange in the 80s.

So I'm predicting business as usual but beneficiaries will be able to afford another loaf of bread a week.

Shock horror. Welcome to New Zealand - the little country that coasts along under its own people's steam.

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