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In the NZ Herald today, Matthew Hooton declares, "Why NZ is doomed to a downhill spiral from 2030 unless we get on top of debt" . He says:


"Forgetting that when Bill English took office, debt & debt servicing costs had reached zero, Willis promises to mimic English’s “slow & steady” approach to addressing the unfolding catastrophe. At best, she seems set to repeat his record of a surplus or two before voters give Labour another crack. By then, annual debt servicing costs will have passed $15 billion. Worse, Labour would take office just as the permanent fiscal deficits forecast by Treasury lock in from 2030, fuelled by the costs of an ageing population .. Without greater urgency, NZ is doomed to a downhill spiral from 2030, similar to Argentina’s collapse from one of the richest countries in the world to basket case in the 20th century".


Six years ago, former Finance Minister Sir Roger Douglas & I provided a solution to avoid this mess - it was called, "A Welfare Reform for New Zealand: Savings not Taxation". Instead of being mired in debt & deficits, it provided a road-map to increase our GDP per capita by over 50% - to Singapore levels - and create a country of savers not borrowers. We held secret talks with the Nats & Labour about the plans - both parties threw the proposals back in our faces. Why? Their focus was on winning an election & staying in power the next 3 years, not looking out for the best interests of Kiwis over the next 30 years. Look who's crying now. New Zealand is being failed by the short-termism of our MPs.


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Its easy to explain why Chris Hipkins cannot, and should not, ever be PM of this country:


1. He rolled out the Covid vaccine late & slow, to the extent NZ was bottom of 38 OECD countries for a large part of 2021. That failure ended up imposing a $30 billion cost we're still paying for today in terms of inflation & debt. It led to the nearly 4 month Auckland lockdown in late 2021 which was imposed to buy time to push vaccination rates higher. Hipkins was a key player in that decision. Just as the 2023 election resulted in the rejection of Labour by Aucklanders, who will not forget their incarceration due to the incompetence of the government at that time, should Hipkins ever stand again he will similarly be rejected by Aucklanders, who make up almost 40% of voters in this country.


2. Hipkins' NZ Herald essay saying that National "lacks vision" for Auckland & he is a better friend for the city beggar belief. Aside from the lockdown, whether its light-rail to the Airport or a second harbor bridge crossing, he can have all the visions he wants but his promises to achieve them have been proven not to be worth the speech paper they're written on. He's even arguing National should break its election promise of tax cuts. He's broken his own promises & wants others to break theirs. He's a serial promise breaker.


3. Hipkins rejected his own Labour Party Minister's David Parker and Grant Robertson's advice on implementing both unemployment insurance and capital gains / wealth tax. His decision to not run on those policies in election 2023 was not based on any Labour Party principles - quite the contrary, it was based on maximizing his own personal shot at power. Trying to reverse himself on that tax decision and now pretend he supports those policies is embarrassing. If he does now, why not before?


So as it stands, keeping Hipkins as Labour Leader all but ensures a Nats-NZ First-ACT win in 2026, as they can confidently assume that the vast proportion of Aucklanders will never vote Labour as long as our Prison-Warder-and-Breaker-of-Promises-in-Chief Chris Hipkins is there.


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Robert MacCulloch

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