Thoughts on the election

Last night’s election result was a huge disappointment. We’re set for another three years of National slowly eroding the public service, doing nothing on climate change and child poverty, and letting the New Zealand economy continue producing low value primary products.

There’s been a lot of recriminations already about how exactly this happened. I think it’s important to keep in mind that noone really knows why National has done so well. It’s impossible to have proper answers, and professional pundits are clutching at straws like the rest of us. Solid analysis will come with time and hindsight. With these provisos about the difficulty of saying anything about the election, I just want to suggest a few points about how we can come to terms with what has happened.

What I think is important to remember is that overall the fundamentals were always in National’s favour in terms of both inertia and the economy. People tend to stick with the status quo: “National has done okay in two terms, why not give them another?” The so-called ‘rock star’ economy is also a major selling point for the Nats. Things are looking okay at the moment — and the left’s message that it’s not going to be that great in the future is a pretty subtle message to sell. With those general points in mind, I’m also going to delve into a few other specific questions. Continue reading “Thoughts on the election”

The Greens as a “pro-market” party

This article on Stuff by Hamish Rutherford caught my eye: “Greens pro-market: Russel Norman“:

Russel Norman says he is more of a disciple of market forces than is the National Party.

The major issues of sustainability can be solved by setting the right incentives and prices, he says.

However, Norman said he was a strong believer in market solutions.

“If you look at the Greens, or at least our policies, they are pro-market,” Norman said.

“Lower company tax rates, price signals for carbon – let the market resolve the issue.”

The Green proposal for a Green investment bank, which would use state capital to invest in renewable companies “is identical to what [British Prime Minister] David Cameron set up for the UK”.

Norman said National chose which motorways to favour for political reasons, without properly conducting cost-benefit analyses, while the approach to tax credits was a test “of whether [Economic Development Minister] Steven Joyce likes your company”.

“Everyone says National doesn’t pick winners … but if you look at what they’re actually doing, they’re not pro-market, they’re Muldoonist.”

Continue reading “The Greens as a “pro-market” party”