The Dim-Post

December 31, 2013

Uncertainties of 2014

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 1:59 pm

A list of political things I don’t know about going into the election year.

National and the Economy

The plan is working! According to Bill English the high economic growth in the September quarter and the optimistic growth projections for next year are proof that National’s ‘plan’ is working. Apparently the plan was for Christchurch to fall down and generate a surge in business activity putting it back up again, and for a drought to hit North Island farming in the first two quarters of 2013, leading to growth during the recovery phase. Great thinking Bill!

Various economists have been predicting a huge economic boom ever since Key et al got elected, so next year could be the stopped-clock moment when they’re actually right. So: will our economy grow? And, if so, will the benefits of the growth be distributed and pay off for National during the election? Or are all the dire-warnings from left-wing politicians about structural inequality in the economy accurate? If so then economic growth will simply lead to higher interest rates with wage-stagnation, which will hurt National.


The National government’s biggest strategic advantage for the last six years has been the Labour Party and the fact that they seem less like a party and more like a rabble of wildly self-ambitious politically inept political-science graduates and, simultaneously, pretty much the last people you could trust to run the country. Can they rally behind David Cunliffe? Can Cunliffe avoid the endless series of gaffes that crippled Goff and Shearer? His first few months haven’t been very inspiring. Maybe he’s playing some sort of Obama like-Jedi long game, getting things set up for the start of the year? Maybe?

Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?

The big unanswered question of 2013 – for me – was: who were the other 88 individuals who the GCSB spied on illegally? We can’t be told, apparently, because it might compromise ongoing operations. But, unlike Kim Dotcom, who is the only one we know about and who was only being investigated for copyright infringement, the others were all terrible, dangerous people involved in building weapons of mass-destruction. At least, that’s what the Prime Minister told us. But were they? Or were some of them journalists, environmentalists, politicians or anti-TPP activists? And, if they were, will that information be leaked during the run-up to the election?


  1. “If so then economic growth will simply lead to higher interest rates with wage-stagnation, which will hurt National.”

    TL;DR: A jobless recovery.

    Comment by deepred — December 31, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

  2. Don’t let the fact that wage growth is currently twice the inflation rate and unemployment is trending down ruin your New Year’s Eve celebrations.
    We in christchurch have had a pretty crap 3 years please don’t go all Russel Norman like and begrudge us the amazing boom we are enjoying, we are putting in the odd cycle way.

    Comment by David — December 31, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

  3. 1. Was at a presentation by a leading economist in the middle of the year in which he (they are always he) said the key impact of the drought on the dairy industry was to drop production by 7%. But, because Fonterra is such a large part of the world dairy trade, this had seen export prices increase by 10% for a net gain of 3%.

    2. This is the long term evolutionary pathway of the Labour Party. Sadly. Helen Clark’s primary skill was managing them to minimise this perception.The jury’s still out on the current leader. The quality of his caucus is lower than the caucus in Clark’s time.

    3. It would be greatly entertaining to see who the targets for surveillance might be, but I suspect because much of this would have been authorised/carried out during the tenure of a Labour Government supported by the Greens not much is likely to be revealed.

    Comment by Tinakori — December 31, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

  4. #2: Are you the same ‘David in ChCh’? The issue’s not about growth or no growth. The issue is how evenly distributed the growth is.

    #3: Labour has a fair lot of dead wood to clean out, with only 1 retirement confirmed so far. But the complicating factor is that a Michelle Boag approach risks reigniting the Lange-Douglas split, despite the fact that the die-hard Rogernomes have long since bolted to ACT. Even then, Cunliffe remains the best hope for his party by a long shot, and MSM pundits are generally favourable of him.

    Comment by deepred — December 31, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

  5. 800,000 people didn’t vote last time as there is no point voting in a one party state.

    With the shower of shit on offer again gonna crack a million.

    Excellent Chomsky interview on the surveillance state.

    Comment by Simon — December 31, 2013 @ 4:45 pm

  6. deepred at #4: No. I never sign myself only as “David”, always as “David in Chch”. Just to be clear. And remember – there are lots of people named David out there, even in Chch.😉

    Comment by David in Chch — December 31, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

  7. #6: That’s cool then. My last comment is directed at the other David in this case.

    Comment by deepred — December 31, 2013 @ 5:28 pm

  8. In August, Danyl, you assured us with no uncertainty that Cunliffe would not repeat Shearer’s mistakes.

    Comment by Trianon — January 1, 2014 @ 12:01 am

  9. NZ Herald 6th Nov “Green Party Keith Locke was not among the 88 New Zealanders the GCSB may have spied on illegally.
    GCSB boss Ian Fletcher has confirmed former Green MP and activist Keith Locke was not among the 88 New Zealanders his bureau may have spied on illegally. Mr Fletcher made the rare admission after initially refusing to answer, prompting Mr Locke to take the matter to the Privacy Commissioner. In a letter to Mr Locke last week Mr Fletcher confirmed he was not spied on”.

    We could all write to the GCSB asking if we have been spied on, when Mr Fletcher declines we could take the matter to the PC. Maybe a deluge of requests would prompt a re-think – probably not but would highlight the issue again.

    Comment by Fiona — January 1, 2014 @ 10:58 am

  10. As a middle-class home-owning Aucklander, the only thing the Christchurch rebuild means to me is higher prices and longer wait times for tradies. So yeah, feeling really positive about this economic growth thing.

    Comment by MeToo — January 1, 2014 @ 11:55 am

  11. #2 (David, who lives in Chch but is not ‘David in Chch’): of course I don’t begrudge the Cantabs their rebuild after all they’ve been through. That would be silly. But Danyl is right that economic growth due to this rebuild which is necessary due to the earthquake and would never have happened without it is not exactly evidence of a brilliant economic ‘Plan’.

    Comment by kahikatea — January 2, 2014 @ 10:05 am

  12. “…would never have happened without it is not exactly evidence of a brilliant economic ‘Plan’…”

    John Key should beat Obama to death with a golf club and declare war on the USA. Just imagine the economic boost we would get rebuilding after all those cruise missiles had finished arriving and we surrendered!!!

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 3, 2014 @ 10:39 am

  13. “As a middle-class home-owning Aucklander, the only thing the Christchurch rebuild means to me is higher prices and longer wait times for tradies.”

    So inconsiderate of those Cantabs to have their earthquake when you were thinking of redoing your bathroom tiles!

    Comment by kalvarnsen — January 3, 2014 @ 1:29 pm

  14. Not a comment on Christchurch, kalvarsen, a comment on the economic recovery we are all meant to be looking forward to. Who benefits? People working in the construction industry. Who else? No one that I can think of. If you have a mortgage, look forward to higher interest rates. If you want to do any building, look forward to shortages of labour and higher materials prices.

    Comment by MeToo — January 4, 2014 @ 2:47 am

  15. “Who benefits? People working in the construction industry.”

    People who *own* the construction industry and its suppliers.

    Comment by Sacha — January 5, 2014 @ 8:39 pm

  16. “Who benefits?”

    People without houses in Christchurch?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — January 5, 2014 @ 11:21 pm

  17. Yes, I imagine all those people in Christchurch feel really good about economic growth off the back of earthquakes, and are thankful to the government for their plan.

    Economic data is aggregates and tells us nothing about distribution – how individual households fare. Is wage growth in my household tracking at twice that of inflation, like David claims? (Is my basket of goods even the same as the basket used to calculate the CPI?) Does my family and my local community see any of the benefits of economic growth? A government can go into election year claiming the future is getting brighter but many people will not feel better off. It’s like cheering on high world dairy prices – great for farmers, but no comfort to the average NZ shopper at the supermarket.

    Comment by MeToo — January 6, 2014 @ 9:45 am

  18. I think people in Christchurch are willing to deal with economic growth if it’s the cost (!) of remedying the housing situation.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — January 6, 2014 @ 9:52 am

  19. Or at least, beginning to remedy the housing situation… I am actually arguing against myself a bit here, because in my opinion far too much of the rebuild in Christchurch is focused away from necessary infrastructure and toward prestige projects, like the cathedral.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — January 6, 2014 @ 9:53 am

  20. ou sont les niegedens d’antan?

    Comment by cathy — January 10, 2014 @ 9:41 am

  21. The government needs to look at introducing rent controls in Auckland and Christchurch for five to ten years. Rents can only go up by a certain amount each year if the rental agreement is ongoing but landlords are neglecting the properties to get rid of current long term tenants, they then fix up the properties or, in some cases don’t even do that, and rent the properties out at extortionate prices. It even has quite a marked impact on government agencies such as Work & Income New Zealand who are paying out record amount of accommodation supplements to clients who live in private rental properties where the rent has risen out of scope with all economic reality.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — January 11, 2014 @ 12:50 pm

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