The tide has turned in almost every economy, NZ's perhaps more so because of its dependence on a narrow range of commodity exports and its small domestic economy. The reversal will not wipe away the gains of the last decade, but employment, trade and overall productivity are in decline as has been thoroughly commented on. Does this, however, justify the broad claims made in the Speech from the Throne? That the last decade was merely a wasted opportunity? Clearly not, the rhetoric is overblown, particularly for regally-endorsed speech. Nevertheless, Key's win gives him the right to script such events just like Clark's did in '99, 2002 and '05 (however I'd argue none of Clark's speeches included commentary comparable with Key's, not even the '99 speech).
It's a bit pointless to rate Key's speech. Save for the significant ommission of plans to urgently remove protections from an estimated 100,000 workers, it contains no real surprises. The focus is predictably on first stablising the economy then growing it. Laudable goals, almost apolitical absent the details. What specific plans the speech does contain are really no more detailed than the various pre-election announcements; for this reason alone I think it's a poor effort.
The policy prescription outlined is as othordox as it could be - perhaps too much so for ACT. Reducing personal tax rates, investing in infrastructure development, deregulation (particularly in Industrial Relations and resource management) and various vague trade goals. I note the absence of any mention of migration - what ever happened to John's ambitious plans to bring kiwis home? Silent.
Paul Keating famously observed (circa 1996) that when you change the government, you change the country. By the end of the year, this will at least be true for 100,000 workers. Merry Christmas.
13 hours ago