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  • rmacculloch

Budget 2023: Finance Minister Grant Robertson must resign - he's lost interest in the job

You can tell it the Finance Minister's eyes. He's given up. He knows his government failed the country. His Prime Minister is reverting to John Key-style bums-on-seats policies to keep GDP rising: immigration and tourism.

Robertson is an astute politician - he knows the dream of a high wage, high skill economy for NZ is over. He knows the funds are not there to pay for what needs doing. He knows hiking taxes to pay the bills for health-care, infrastructure, education & pensions will crush the economy. He knows a sweeping & radical economic reform to improve productivity is politically impossible for him to achieve. He's caught between a rock and a hard place.

Robertson has given up trying to influence things since he knows the game, as it stands, is lost. NZ is losing first-world status and on the way to becoming a poor nation. He knows where the mistakes were made, but cannot say so publicly. He knows the second lockdown at the end of 2021 was unnecessary & a financial disaster. The medics who advised on it didn't understand the cost-benefit never stood up. Because they never did one.

The costs of that lock-down were so huge, that had they not been incurred, NZ would now have been in a position to benefit by transforming its health system. Furthermore, the slowness with which we opened up has led to long-term economic decay.

Things could have been so different. With closed borders, an opportunity was created: upskill the nation so we didn't need to rely on immigration. Transform schools, universities and training opportunities. It never happened. Instead, the country did the reverse. It dumbed down. School attendance is appalling, Hipkin's polytechnic merger a disaster and our Universities are laying off staff. "Remote learning" & "working" from home has become the thing. In 2023, domestically educated workers became insufficient for our needs.

So the PM panicked. He ramped up immigration which now stands at an all-time monthly high. There is no health-care, education, nor infrastructure to support the extra numbers. Yet Hipkins doesn't care. On becoming PM he made a decision to keep power at any cost, just like Key before him, using any policy that would get GDP up and avoid a recession, even ones that damaged NZ in the long term.

He even dumped Robertson's cherished Unemployment Insurance scheme, which made good economic sense as it would have supported both equity & efficiency. If you don't believe me, go read "Efficient Unemployment Insurance" by two pro-market Princeton-MIT-Chicago economists (below).

Grant Robertson should not be delivering this 2023 budget. Who cares what's in it? It won't change anything. The problems NZ faces now have little to do with what is taxed and what is spent by the government. Our system of incentives that rewards effort, ability and innovation has broken down. Grant Robertson, please resign.



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