Crisis? What crisis?
Late afternoon review for 21 September 2023
Amidst a backdrop of widespread strikes and economic turmoil in the 1970s, UK Labour PM Jim Callaghan returned from a sunny summit in Guadeloupe to a wintry Britain. A journalist's question about the mounting chaos was met with what seemed to be nonchalant dismissal from the PM. It was one of those moments that came to symbolise an out-of-touch government.
In unrelated news, Finance Minister Grant Robertson today lauded the strength of New Zealand's economy. It seems that we may have dodged a technical recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, but the significance of this distinction is debatable. Not technically being in recession does not necessarily equate to a robust economy.
Nicola Willis, National's finance spox. She argued there is a disconnect between such triumphalism and the realities for everyday Kiwis. She pointed out soaring government debt, and the IMF's forecast of bleak economic growth for New Zealand next year, as well as the growing exodus of Kiwis seeking opportunities overseas. Such signs of economic distress, she contended, were at odds with Robertson’s triumphalism today.
Hopefully you’re sitting down, because it turns out the ACT Party was also critical.
While you recover from that news, you may also be interested to know the party unveiled an “alternative budget” today. According to leader David Seymour, the route to a productive economy involves a brutal honesty about the current situation and making more out of less, a clear dig at Labour's approach.
ACT's alternative budget proposes a series of sweeping changes, including reducing public service size, cutting corporate and middle-class welfare. It’s not all cost cutting, though, as the party promises a serious increase in prison capacity.