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  • Robert MacCulloch

The (non) formation of economic policy

This is a non-partisan economics blog which may lead to sometimes supporting polices of a party on the right and at other times of a party on the left. So the following comment is not an endorsement of one party over another, but more just an observation about the extent to which economic debates are happening within our parties. On that note, whatever one's personal views of political commentator, Matthew Hooton, I concur with him, from my own experiences, when he writes in the NZ Herald today:


"No such debate [on economic policies] is possible in today's National because, with some exceptions, the MPs the party sends to Wellington lack the life experience, background knowledge, intellectual resources, personal inclination and social networks to even have them. They have no idea what a post-Key National Party might look like, or even why that issue needs to be addressed. They are preoccupied with themselves and events in Parliament, oblivious that no one cares. They do not know how to think about a problem, spend the necessary months deeply engaging with those working on or affected by it, reviewing ideas about how to tackle it, and then designing an effective and hopefully popular way to fix it. Mostly, their policy gets bashed out a day or so before it is announced, or is just picked up from some Wellington industry group".


The primary issue on the minds of the Nats right now is some vague notion that we live in an era of celebrity culture and that they need a (new?) presenter to front their party who becomes at least as popular and as much of a celebrity as our current Prime Minister. Deep reflections on economic policy are a million miles from their minds.


For sources, see:

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/matthew-hooton-my-message-to-national-and-how-to-avoid-another-leadership-fiasco/3ICPGRQE54W552NIWZQY6GPIXY/