I doubt that history will assess the Clark-Cullen Labour governments as dismissively as their critics do now. Labour's real achievements -- net government debt reduced from 20 billion to two billion before the current crisis; unemployment down to levels many people didn't think possible; a huge drop in the number of welfare beneficiaries, especially per capita; real wage growth; GDP growth that outstripped the OECD for years; a historic turnaround of trends in poverty; the repair of a public sector that was in dire straits by the end of the 90s; a serious attempt to address our savings problem via KiwiSaver and the Superannuation Fund; and a degree of stability that we now all take for granted -- outweigh any counterfactual.
I posted the following as a comment there. Time again to throw in a few thoughts. I completely disagree with your rosy assessment of Clark legacy. She is the most poisonous politician since Muldoon and arguably rivals him.
You dont see a ringing endorsement of state assistance when the state house bred kid made good beats the boarding schooled child of a rich landowner?
National & Winnie introduced a super scheme in the nineties and Labour opposed it for political reasons. It kept the money in individual accounts rather than the states. So they win now brownie points from history.
Gould identifies productivity growth as being the most important thing to aim for. It trumps working longer as it raises per capita income. And this government has broken the positive trend in productivity growth that started in 1993 after the National government solved the last financial crisis they were left with by a Clark government.
Gould is right that the high interest rates and over valued exchange rates have held NZ back. Both major parties bear responsibility for that poor strategy. They should fear inflation less now and reduce interest rates to US/UK levels.
Key is a pragmatist. Ideology does not win in currency markets. decisiveness and practicality does. he is not going to be blinded by any ideological model but is going to do what works. Which is why you see investment in New Zealand and a willingness to spend money on infrastructure.
Nothing Cullen did broke New Zealand. It was just the slow decline brought about by the owner stripping too much cash out of a business over the long term.
The failure to rein in LAQC was part of the cause of the real estate boom. National will deal with the bust and cretins will be accusing them in future of hard right policies rather than dealing with the mess Clark and ilk created. Just like the last time National took over from Labour.