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The Nation -TV3 – 22/07/2017 (1)


On The Nation – TV3 – Lisa Owen interviewed a Labour Party spokesperson on their ‘alternative budget’.

Naturally Adam was expecting at the least Labour’s Financial spokesperson – Grant Robinson, presumably he would be knowledgeable in all aspects and able to discuss the issues comprehensively and ‘intelligently’. Adam was to be disappointed.

Failing Robertson Adam had envisioned that Labour would roll out their Leader, especially given the key focus Labour are placing on economic rationality and a fresh approach in this election. This would have been an ideal opportunity for Mr Little to sell his message.  Unfortunately Adam was to be disappointed yet again.

So just which Labour ‘heavyweight’ of gravitas and authority did Labour put  forward to understand their message. Yes reader you have it. Labour wheeled out the darling of the women’s magazines, she with the pout and the long hair – yes Jacinda Ardern.

Lisa Owen conducted a reasonable interview, but failed to raise the Turei question.

In several areas Ardern deflected and dodged. To be fair most politicians do this.

Furthermore she made a number of questionable statements. The one which stuck most in Adam’s brain was her statement that Labour aimed for an unemployment target of 4%. She appeared to suggest that Labour’s ultimate goal was lower than that. Ardern talked about ‘full employment’. This Guardian piece sought to define ‘full employment’.

economists have come up with a concept called the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment, or NAIRU, measuring the level of unemployment – often referred to as “structural” – that is supposedly consistent with pretty much everyone being able to find a new job if they want. The Bank of England and Office for Budget Responsibility currently put Britain’s long-term NAIRU at around 5%.

Whilst per Stuff – Labour’s elusive finance maestro Grant Robinson refuses to put a number on it, other than this:-

Finance spokesman Grant Robertson will not define what full employment means, other than that it is “most definitely” less than 5 per cent unemployed.

So no target as such, National are aiming for 4.3% by 2021 and Labour 4% or better. No real difference here then, though certainly by international norms both targets would seem to be low, i.e. much better than those achieved elsewhere.

Surprisingly, the later panel did not register this.

Interestingly, at least in my interpretation, Owen did not bore in on the conflict between ‘full employment’, immigration, inflation and the overall economy. More of this in later posts.

Key questions which come out of this interview, to Adam’s mind are:-

1 Why Jacinda Ardern?

2 If Ardern does that mean Little and Robinson are seen as lacking?

3 Does it mean neither Littel or Robinson are seen as in command of their brief?

4 Are Labour attempting to deflect from the many inconsistencies in their alternative?

5 Are Labour signalling a contempt for the electorate by sending a lightweight onto The Nation?

6 Are Labour signalling that Lisa Owen is too tough an inquisitor?

7 Are Labour signalling that nothing they say has meaning and that everything is negotiable?

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