Don’t Leave Labour in Charge

Stephen Franks sums up the state of the government’s books so well.

Just as in 1990 a National government is going  to have to do the unpopular tidy-up to get things working again. Quite apart from the budget blow-out there’ll be the management catastrophes in Immigration, Health, Defence, Corrections, De-forestation, carbon foot-print and Kyoto, local government over-reach, house prices, and many others.

It reminds me of what happens when adults leave their silly kids for a weekend. When the adults return the fridge is empty, bottles lie everywhere, lots of stuff has been broken, the credit cards have been stolen, and it will take months to get the smell of drink and worse out of the carpets.

Stoners and other losers keep turning up at the door asking about the next party, and the kids whine when they’re told they’ll have to help with the clean-up and do their homework before they can go to another party.

I contrast our feckless government’s performance (despite its masterful political management) with how Chile has dealt with its period of commodity price boom. Chile has salted away US$10bn against the time when copper prices fall.

The sad thing for H Clark is that her legacy may be no better than that of Muldoon. Both had superb political management skills. Neither used them to take on any really worthwhile political leadership project. They could have used that political skill to do something hard, like reform welfare, or education. instead neither has reversed New Zealand’s relative decline when compared with our neighbours and competitors.

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