MMP, intergenerational unfairness, funding retirees, John Key & more: Whaleoil transcript part 3

Magic Talk recording starts at 29:50.

Sean

Okay. Let?s talk about the broader politics of this. You operated, in your heyday as a politician, or a minister of finance was under FTP. And of course, Bolger was first prime minister elected under MMP. Do you think you could have done what you did in an MMP environment, as part of a coalition? And it seems everyone?s got to be part of a coalition in some way if you want to govern in NZ now.

Sir Roger

I think it would be much more difficult. But what you would have to say is? um? the question you would have to keep uppermost in your mind in those circumstances, is that you cannot win unless you are prepared to lose.

So, there would be occasions when you would go for broke and? and going for broke is, if I was doing it, I would have a package like this. I?d have a package that says everyone who is in work is going to retire with a million dollars.

Sean

So, you?d paint the vision and then work towards it.

Sir Roger

And you’d paint the vision, and then you say, because you are reliant on the partner, “if you are not going to support us that?s fine, we?ll go to the electorate.” And this will be our package and we will tell the electorate that you wouldn?t support them having a million dollars when they retire. You wouldn?t support them having half a million for their healthcare, you wouldn?t support the young being able to um? own their own home in a partnership with the government where they lease the land ah? and own the house but they can buy the land over time.

31:00

Sean

Sir Roger, just talking about the young generation, do you think? and I?ve often observed I think we?ve? I remember Jim Bolger saying to me ?intergenerational unfairness is the real problem in this country.?

Sir Roger

This, this is what this is all about. This is what this is all about.

Sean

The boomers have? have? have skewed the pitch for everyone else?

Sir Roger

At the moment we?ve got sev? just think of this, we?ve got 700,000 people ah? who are retired, or about 750. You have three million people who are of working age of which two million are working. But three million. We are going to go to 1.6 million retired; and the number who are of working age will only go up 25%. But that?s gone up 100. Now, it?s a colossal increase that young people are going to have to pay, who are still some of them not born? ah? in the future. A much heavier burden than you and I are paying right now.

Sean

Do you think we have to address that, that intergenerational unfairness?

Sir Roger

Well we do that by? by taking away the problem. You don?t do it by taxing someone, fiddling around and taxing someone which will add to revenue by one percent. You actually create a situation where people are able to look after themselves. Where they?ve got security, and that?s when you?ll have fairness.

Sean

I hate to bring you down to it, and it?s great to talk to you again and see that mind working; but the fact is, in the current political environment, I don?t think we?ve got a politician in New Zealand who is sitting in that house of representatives who is prepared to play the game this (indecipherable).

Sir Roger

Well you and I better form a new party. I?ll just be an observer because I?m getting a bit old you know.

Sean

Um? interesting invitation, but? but really, do you see NZ First, National, you?ve only got one Act MP, are you still involved with Act, you are?

Sir Roger

No? no?.

Sean

No, okay one Act MP and it seems to me the two big parties are fighting for the centre when they?re not? you know Labour?s not off social justice warrioring? we?ve got the greens in there who are socialists basically, and Winston Peters?

Sir Roger

They?re all left of centre. And that includes National. I mean National had ah? John Key um? was probably ah? the best politician I?ve seen, in some ways; ah? in terms of gaining support and people feeling quite good about him. He had? I said that in a meeting one time ?he?s got more political credits in the bank than any one politician I?ve ever seen.? And I go back to Holy?.

Sean

He never spent them though.

Sir Roger

That?s the whole point, that?s the point I made. But at the end of the day, he will not spend it and one day he?s going to wake up and it?s all gone. In some ways he was the worst politician. You tell me one thing that John Key, as prime minister did? One.

Sean

He had a bad flag referendum that he lost.

Sir Roger

Yeah.

Sean

And he would say, ?I saved you, me and Bill English saved you from the worst effects of the GFC?.

Sir Roger

That?s not true.

Sean

Ooh!

Sir Roger

From GST?

Sean

GFC, GFC.

Sir Roger

No? no.  Look, he took the soft options. He got rid of? ah? he had? he could have done all the things I specified and not had to borrow. He went and borrowed 50 billion when he didn?t need to borrow any of it. But he was not? didn?t have the guts to do what was needed and cut back on some of this unnecessary spending.

At 36:42 recording goes into question time.

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