A new commenter has appeared on the scene recently at Keeping Stock. Edward the Confessor takes a different stance on many issues to that which we do, but at least he is prepared to debate issues rather than personalities, which is refreshing.
But he made this comment this morning on Sunday's post about the sale of SOE shares:
Clearly, Edward the Confessor has a problem with medium-term memory loss; a common enough affliction for those who cheer-lead for Labour. Either that, or he jests.
Because far from leaving New Zealand with "the healthiest set of public accounts in the western world", Sir Michael Cullen's legacy to New Zealand was rather less flattering. Here's how Stuff reported the Prefu announcement in September 2008, just as the election campaign began:
National Leader John Key says Finance Minister Michael Cullen must take responsibility for the state of the books, but Prime Minister Helen Clark says Labour is the right party to guide New Zealand through the economic storm.Releasing the Pre-Election Fiscal and Economic Update (Prefu) ahead of the November 8 election, Treasury predicted much larger cash deficits than forecast, ending nine years of a golden run for Dr Cullen.Mr Key said the cash deficits were an indictment on the Government's handling of the economy."After nine years of a Labour government we are now presented with a decade of deficits and quite frankly New Zealand can not afford Michael Cullen's high spending low growth programme."He said Miss Clark and Dr Cullen had to take responsibility for squandering nine years of economic growth.
But wait; there's more. The Herald reported this just a week after the 2008 election:
On Thursday, Treasury painted a very ugly economic picture for the incoming National government with cash deficits increasing, growth shrinking, tax revenue diminishing and unemployment rising.Prime Minister elect John Key was told the economic outlook had deteriorated further since the pre-election fiscal update. He did not go into detail then, but told reporters the scenarios were "a little bit" worse than they had been. "They are more pessimistic but I wouldn't describe it as Armageddon."Also on Thursday, outgoing Finance Minister Michael Cullen released a Treasury economic update given to him on November 7 - the day before the election. This would have formed the basis of the briefing to Key and his incoming finance minister Bill English.The main finding in the report was growth levels are likely to be hit even worse by the global financial market turmoil. The economy would suffer from weaker export demand, lower commodity prices, lower housing values and weaker confidence.
How quickly inconvenient truths are forgotten. Far from being "the healthiest set of public accounts in the western world", the New Zealand economy was already in freefall prior to the 2008 election. Even during the period of the campaign itself, the state of the economy deteriorated markedly whilst still under Cullen and Clark's stewardship.