It has been almost the perfect storm for New Zealand over this government’s term. From the global financial crisis to the Pike River tragedy, all are beyond our control here in New Zealand – or at least appear to be.
For any government however, a crisis brings opportunity and licence to do what it always wanted to do (but never dared ask). So bad luck for voters may be good luck for a government. By these standards, the Key government has been extraordinarily lucky.
Undoubtedly, much was beyond this government’s control, for the better and the worse. But they did have choices in how they reacted. Despite low government debt they talked up its danger. They used it to spin a story of “there is no alternative” to holding, then cutting, government spending when a more generous programme was affordable and could have held down unemployment and prevented its stagnation. An effective economic stimulus could also have reduced the big income gaps in New Zealand.