Swimming against the tide

A thank you noteSir Roger Douglas

Sir Roger Douglas has suffered an astonishing amount of vilification. He’s been unmercifully mocked, and the ill-informed media have made him a scapegoat for every economic woe in the history of mankind.

It’s disgusting.

The economic reforms he ushered in from 1984 saved this country from going into an even steeper economic decline than we’ve experienced in the last quarter-century under the incompetent rule of those who decry him. What’s more, all those lesser mortals from the right and the left—Cullen, Clarke, English, and others—who’ve since sneered at him have left every one of his substantive reforms in place and in some cases extended them. The much-maligned GST, for instance, has been taken from Roger’s 10%, to 12.5% and now to 15%.

  • Who, in their right mind, would scrap GST and increase income tax to compensate?
  • Who wants to go back to a fixed New Zealand dollar exchange rate?
  • Who thinks we should still be dishing out massive subsidies to farmers?
  • Anybody for the 66c in the dollar marginal tax rate that I was paying on a middling income in 1980?
  • How about bringing back import tariffs? Anybody for that?
  • Remember the Post Office and Telecom before corporatisation?
  • How about another taste of near 20% p.a. inflation?

It’s an absolute disgrace that this man has been so shamefully treated. If the vastly over-rated Bigmouth from Mangere (aka David Lange) hadn’t been so gutless he’d have continued the reforms and we’d all be far better off. Lange was cut from the same cloth as Barack Obama seems to be. Talks up a great storm and accomplishes bugger all.

Bias confession

In 2011 I voted Green. I’m not in agreement with all of the Green party’s philosophies—particularly their barely supressed socialist bent—but they’re by far the best of a bad bunch.

I’d been a National voter for almost 50 years. I strayed once (to Social Credit) as a protest against the criminally insane Think Big policies in 1984. Muldoon had totally lost the plot and none of the sycophants surrounding him had the guts to speak up. I switched to Labour in ’87 in support of Roger’s reforms.

Then Lange chickened out, the Labour party turned on Roger Douglas, whose reforms had got them re-elected, and I switched back to National. For most of that time I thought that National seemed to be trying to do the best for this country, although I now realize, with 20/20 hindsight and a lot more knowledge of economics, that they didn’t actually have a clue. In 2008 I held my nose and voted for National again, but only because the alternatives were worse.

When Don Brash took over ACT I saw a glimmer of hope. The good doctor understands the problems and has the economic nous to address them. Unfortunately, Don has as much political nous as my chocolate lab. He hadn’t been in the job 5 minutes and he was off at a tangent making a total fool of himself on matters Maori, on climate change, and on happy baccy. He’s totally lost the plot politically, and even though I’m absolutely in favour of the majority of ACT’s economic policy I can’t see them getting my vote.

They needed Don as finance spokesman but they should have looked elsewhere for a leader.

It’s a tragedy for this country. And Sir Roger must be absolutely disgusted. We’re about to accelerate our decline into the Third world. We need a new Roger Douglas to put a stop to it.

Someone else who understands that it’s not about right and left. It’s about right and wrong.

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From at least one person in this country, thank you Sir Roger. A plague on your detractors. Have a happy and well-deserved retirement. I hope you don’t have to join half a million Kiwis across the ditch to do so.

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If you want to know where and why we’re going down the gurgler check my series starting on this page or watch Dr Sir Paul Callaghan’s Beyond the Farm Gate video here.

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