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  • Robert MacCulloch

How can he get away with it?

Former Prime Minister Jim Bolger is giving interviews on Radio NZ, advertising a book that he has recently published. The station reports the following:


"Bolger believes that our current capitalist system needs to be reorganised so that it’s more equitable and helps people at the bottom. Put to him that he made welfare cuts, he says Rogernomics completely destroyed the NZ economy and he had little choice".


That makes no sense. If an economy is suffering then that's the time when welfare payments tend to rise since there are more people in need. For example, welfare payments have exploded around the world this past year due to the Coronavirus crisis. It's also a bit rich coming from the person who made Ruth Richardson his Minister of Finance.


We've said it all before, but let's define exactly what were the reforms that were undertaken as part of "Rogernomics". Here they are: (1) Floating the NZ dollar; (2) Introducing GST; (3) Cutting the top income tax rate - which was 66% in 1984; (3) Making the RBNZ independent of political influence; (4) Cutting business subsidies, especially to farmers; (5) Opening up and liberalizing our international trade relationships; (5) Privatizing a number of state assets.


How many of these reforms did Jim Bolger set about reversing? None. Now he says that although the reforms destroyed NZ, he had little choice not only to keep them in place but to go and appoint a Finance Minister who set about deepening them!?


Fact is, the Rogernomics reforms have stood the test of time and enjoyed bi-partisan support, even if our two leading parties wont publicly admit so. So why are the reforms so strongly criticized by politicians like Jim Bolger? We'll leave that to you to work out.


For sources, see:


https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/afternoons/audio/2018786949/bookmarks-with-jim-bolger