Oct 13, 2008

Commentators Give Day One To Labour

The introduction of the deposit guarantee system has convinced both the NZ Herald (Armstrong) and Dominion Post (Watkins and Small) that day one of the formal campaign has gone to Labour. We are not so sure, but the perception that National did not announce anything new on the response to the financial crisis (Armstrong) is a bit disconcerting. Watching One News we do wonder if we have an issue here of economic illiteracy. What is going to make a difference? A deposit guarantee system for a system that we are told is rock solid anyway (for the record we repeat again we support the Government announcement - it had no choice after Australia introduced its scheme) or policies that are going to assist us get through this period of de-leveraging eg higher quality control over Government expenditure, bigger investment in those infrastructure impediments to productivity growth, and greater support to the productive sector through tax relief. That seemed to us to be what National was saying. The Government seems to be agreeing on infrastructure, but on the rest it sees the solution lying not within the productive sector but within Government. How come the media is missing this huge difference?

Let this be a wake up call to National that they need to dumb down the message so that key media commentators get it. If they don't get it how will the public.

Really simple messages are what is needed. Here are a few examples:

  • we have squandered the good times;
  • there is huge waste in government expenditure;
  • Government is a dead weight on the economy;
  • big Government (43% of GDP) is too big, we can't grow it further;
  • growing our way out of this mess isn't possible without supporting the productive sector:
  • tax cuts support economic growth;
  • Labour's productivity growth performance has been abysmal;
  • Labour was too slow to invest in key infrastructure;
  • the infrastructure investment policy of the last National Government was even worse;
  • National has learnt from its mistake;
  • Poor infrastructure = poor productivity growth;
  • the emissions trading scheme is now unaffordable;
  • the emissions trading scheme is a dangerous experiment;
  • the emissions trading scheme will discourage productive investment.

If we were John Key's speech writer we would be filling his speeches with simple but powerful messages such as this.