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  • rmacculloch

Sorry Mr Finance Minister. You're not saving lives. Pfizer is.

This blog tries to be non-partisan. We've commented in the past about National's descent into oblivion. Indeed, it's hard to find what the Party stands for, other than regaining power, which its MPs think is their entitlement. So, having swiped at the Nats, lets turn to Labour to balance things. I've been reminded of some lines from Finance Minister, Grant Robertson's, 2020 budget speech where he wrote, "As the economic carnage of the 1980s & 90s wreaked havoc in our communities, I saw that up close. It was based on a tired set of ideas that the market would save us, that if the Government sat on the sidelines all would be well. Well, it didn’t work out that way and lives and livelihoods were lost".


First, how dare he say lives were lost. And thereby associate markets with knocking people off. It's an awful allegation. What does he think is saving lives in NZ as we speak? Kiwibuild? No, it's a vaccine made by Pfizer, a profit-maximizing company listed on the New York Stock exchange. His government's preferred supplier. Which his own "yes minister" bumbling bureaucracy was slow to purchase & distribute. Yes, Grant, we're relying on the power of markets to save the health, the lives and the livelihoods of this nation. You haven't invented anything that could save lives.


Second, as we've mentioned in the past on this Blog, what were the "tired set of ideas that the market would save us" to which he refers in the 1980s? Floating the Kiwi dollar so market demand & supply determine its value? Removing subsidies to farmers? Making the Reserve Bank independent so inflation could be kept low which favors stable market prices? Slashing the top tax rate from 66%? Introducing GST? Selling off shares in Telecom?


Well, Grant, you haven't reversed a SINGLE one of the above market reforms. Every one of them which you label as "tired" failures have been retained by your own government. I dare you to abolish GST. To put the top tax rate back up to 66%. To end RBNZ independence. To fix the rate of the Kiwi dollar. To subsidize farmers again. To nationalize Spark. You wont do any of those things since you know it would be a disaster. And you know you'd also lose the next election.


By the way, if you hate markets so much, Grant, then stop being such a hypocrite & begging Pfizer for more vaccines. Yes, if you're looking for someone to thank for saving your own life, go thank Pfizer and the New York Stock Exchange.


Sources:

https://www.labour.org.nz/budget2020-grant-robertson-speech


https://www.nzinitiative.org.nz/reports-and-media/reports/illusions-of-history-how-misunderstanding-the-past-jeopardises-our-future/