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Mike's Minute: The leaks shouldn't be happening this early

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 6 Dec 2023, 1:24PM
Photo / Sylvie Whinray
Photo / Sylvie Whinray

Mike's Minute: The leaks shouldn't be happening this early

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 6 Dec 2023, 1:24PM

The investigation is underway as to how Treasury advice was leaked around the Fair Pay Agreements. 

One headline suggested the Government were shaken by it. 

I wonder if that is slightly overstating the case, but you would at least be surprised that something like this happened so soon after the country decided you were “it” for the next three years. 

But then, this is what we see at a change of Government. There are people who don’t like what happened at the election, just as there are people that don’t like what happened at every election. 

In a way it's another of those weird outcomes of MMP, despite the fact the result was very clear, and we wanted the old lot out and a new lot in. 

You just don’t know in detail what that new lot are going to deliver. 

This time especially, given it’s a three-way deal for the first-time involving Cabinet responsibility, you get the mix of three lots of thinking. 

The irony though, when it comes to the FPA's and the leak, is several fold. 

The most significant bit is that none of the parties now in Government campaigned to retain FTA's, so you can't have it both ways. You can't vote for change then be surprised when change comes. 

A lot of the coalition document does actually have a commonality in thinking about it. 

Yes, the foreign house buyer idea of National got shelved and yes, ACT's Treaty vote only gets to go to select committee. That's the headline stuff. 

The meat and potatoes, the bulk of what this Government will do, comes with three-way universal agreement. 

As for Treasury, we must remember they are but a Government department. They are often wrong and, most important to remember, all Governments have and do take advice and not automatically act on it. 

So, when the media breathlessly trumpets this as some sort of scandal, they conveniently choose to forget this has happened many, many, many times before, including very often with the last Government, and if you took the advice each and every time you could ask why Treasury aren't in fact running the country. Why do we need a Government? 

The advice must be treated as a whole. The specific advice the unions are pedalling was that the lower paid would get more money, and that is true. But there is a cost to that. It's called a deficit, it's called debt, and it's called inflation. The last Government handed out money for no return like it was water and look where that got us. 

You don’t need to be in Treasury to work that out. 

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