Thursday, March 23, 2023

Cam Slater: This Is the Issue That Costs Elections

Yesterday morning the National Party announced that they were proposing to re-write the education syllabus if they win the election. I’ve provided you with a link because it is now hard to find, such is the interest in the policy. Bold or stupid? I pick stupid because education is not a touchstone issue for anyone other than those with children. It isn’t even in the top five issues that voters are concerned about.

What is a top issue, is the economy and anything attached to it, like the rising cost of living. James Carville, Bill Clinton’s strategic advisor coined the phrase it’s “the economy, stupid” during Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 presidential campaign against incumbent George H. W. Bush. His phrase was directed at the campaign’s workers and intended as one of three messages for them to focus on.

Clinton’s campaign was channelling the concerns of voters during a hard recession at the time. It was a similar environment to that in which we now find ourselves.

Households are likely to have to spend an extra $150 a week over 2023 to keep up with rising costs, ASB economists say.

They have updated their forecast for the cost of living through 2023 and say while the impact will be uneven, households will face an increase in costs that is higher than the current rate of inflation – and income growth is unlikely to keep up.

They said while inflation was running at just over 7%, household costs rose 8.2% over 2022 because of a 45% increase in household interest payments.

The big increases in costs came from essentials such as food, fuel and shelter.

“Further volatility lies ahead, but we expect rises in living costs to continue to outstrip increases in consumer prices. Household budgets are expected to remain under significant household living cost pressures.”

About 60% of fixed home loans were due to reset over 2023, the ASB economists said, which would often mean higher rates.

“All up, the average mortgage interest rate facing borrowers will likely increase by roughly 150ps ending the year at just under 6%. That would see household debt servicing costs push back towards historical averages from a record low share of household income. The increase in weekly outlays averages out to an extra $50 per week per household.

“However, the impacts would be highly uneven. More highly indebted households would experience significantly higher increases running into the hundreds of dollars per week. Other households with high interest-bearing deposits and little debt will actually experience a positive impact on after-tax cashflows from higher interest rates. This group, however, is largely in the minority.”

It’s the economy, stupid. By stupid, I mean Christopher Luxon, who thinks re-writing the education syllabus will be a touchstone issue for the election. Here’s a clue: it won’t. As I write this his big announcement is already off the front page of news websites. I hazard an educated guess that the last we hear of this policy will be yesterday. But it will motivate the education sector unions to campaign even harder against National. If that was the plan, then well done chaps. Give yourselves an uppercut.

While we are at it, the ASB Economist says that fuel costs will have big increases. So, time for a shameless plug for members and our big fuel savings that are available for you. Given that economists are predicting big increases, what is stopping you from making sure you are getting the best price possible?

Anyway, back to the issue at hand. The economy and the debilitating effects of inflation will be and are the biggest issues at play, not tinkering with education.

There is much profit in bashing the Government on the economy, long, hard and often. But somehow National prefers tinkering. I fully expect that they’ll emulate Bill English’s tragic election campaign of 2002 and have a million and fifty-two policy releases without actually focussing on the real issues that voters face.

Already Chris Hipkins has neutered most of National’s planned attacks by ditching or at least parking contentious issues. National had the rug pulled out from under them. They need to re-take the momentum, but they won’t do that tinkering on issues that really don’t matter.

The prospects of National being in the driving seat are getting slimmer by the day.

Cam Slater is a New Zealand-based blogger, best known for his role in Dirty Politics and publishing the Whale Oil Beef Hooked blog, which operated from 2005 until it closed in 2019. This article was first published HERE


Anonymous said...

I think you're downplaying the importance of education. I think it is a massive issue that needs to be solved. Our education system turns out little leftie socialists these days. They are indoctrinated with all sorts of useless information.
All our educational institutions have been captured by neo/ethno marxists.
The country will not be right unless that swamp is drained.

Anonymous said...

And me. Education is number one. You're just picking on National.

Gaynor said...

I disagree education is not of concern to people since it is frequently on the top five of political concerns.Maybe people mention ram-raids and truancy which I believe are educational issues not social ones alone. Isn't the reset about maorification of the syllabus because the education system has failed them ?
We have the longest tail of underachievement in reading in the first world. Our international decline this century on tests in literacy and numeracy are catastrophic.This is a national crisis MSM seldom mention. These students are our future and there is an even greater need for these basic skills in the 21st century than ever before. Statistically two out of three students who fail to achieve sufficient proficiency in reading end up in prison or on welfare. This doesn't take into account the multitude of psychological and health problems they experience. They become a burden to society in many ways. A properly functioning democracy requires a population of literates who can contribute to society not be cripples in it. Just how independent can you be if you can't read an employment contract,get a driver's license, read the instructions for taking a medicine, work out a percentage, understand compound interest, use a recipe etc? Let alone have a choice of employment only from the unskilled and low paid jobs.
The large truancy rate NZ has is scary since these children are future thieves,malcontents,ram-raiders and prison inmates, psychologically disturbed, anti-social misfits. Many voters may feel smug and secure in their own situation but they will have to content with these people in society at large.

Anonymous said...

And me. Business leaders have made comments in MSM this year about their fears for our future population's literacy levels.
What CL said about the education policy was fuzzy at best. He had some firm ideas but needs to back them up with more support from researchers or educators. They are all in disagreement anyway with the divisive racist ideologies that are being embedded into education.
CL said NOTHING about the Maori indoctrination and cultural subversion of students that is perfectly clear in the curriculum. If he commented on a review of that part he might get more attention. Perhaps he did and they didn't report it? Nah, he's just useless. Tinkering like you said.

Anonymous said...

Well there's do many things to be put right, the economy stupid yes indeed!

The education stupid too!

The healthcare, The Housing, The waste management, the energy, the gas, the roads, the rail, the plastic bags, OMG those were Cindy's points! Shock! Wasn't it Labour gonna fix it all up? No they never were.

Um yeah, seems like a slam dunk, but the trouble is everything is so well and truly screwed beyond redemption that it's just too darn scary for them to even think about. It a train wreck whatever point you choose. Just take your pick National.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Nah, really can't agree with you on this Cam.
Education is so important, it really matters as the kids are our future. Who will read your articles if no one can read?
The big argument here is what the bloody heck have all those people in the education ministry being doing for the last 20 years, sodding around at politics?

Anonymous said...

National has so many key Labour policies that are failing badly...a veritable gift!

Where are their corrective policies?