Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Ruth Richardson Former New Zealand Minister of Finance mislead Prime Minister Jim Bolger on behalf of foreign financial free raiders.

Sometimes a very fine line between who actually runs the country and who you think runs the country;
Ruth Richardson - Making A Difference 1995
Pg 25
All Western style democracies will witness, during the closing stages of the 20th century, the continuous trade offs and strains between freedom and fairness and wealth.
Pg 34
Those in the National caucus who saw the need for wholesale change were in a small minority. Straight after the 1981 election four of us – Derek Quigley, Michael Cox, Doug Kidd and myself – held an out of Wellington strategy meeting on how to advance the freemarket agenda.....the arrival of Douglas as the Treasury Minister was a most fortunate meeting of minds. Douglas had clear plans to liberalise the economy, reform the tax system and bring down inflation. The Treasury for its part had learned a great deal from the failures of the Muldoon years, and was more than ready to give Douglas the assistance he required...... Legislation was soon introduced to deregulate the banking sector.
Pg 50
In those days there was very little in the way of support staff available to the opposition I had no formal qualifications in economics; although philosophically a committed free-marketeer I was on a steep learning curve on the detail of economic policy. Soon after taking the finance job I wrote to Roger Douglas requesting a fulltime economic adviser. Douglas generously agreed and I managed to persuade my friend Charlotte Williams to take on the role. Charlotte proved to be an ideal choice. She was a breath of fresh air around the opposition wing and helped inject a long over-due dose of economic rigour into the oppositions policy machine.
Pg 55 - 56
To help me achieve this new softer persona I was sent to charm school under the guidance of former United States image-maker Jack Byrum - the man who had reputedly turned Richard Nixon from losing Presidential candidate into President......... Late in 1989 I had an intensive two day session with Jack Byrum. He analysed me relentlessly, stripping me down and gradually building me up again, making some extremely acute points along the way. Towards the end, thoroughly brainwashed, I was ready to do almost anything he asked. Unfortunately at that point Jack got his hands on the speech I was due to deliver the next day. The speech was to the Mont Pelerin Society - a prestigious worldwide association of market liberals which was having its first ever conference in New Zealand. It was one of the most intellectually high-powered audiences I would ever address - precisely the wrong audience to try out Jacks touchy-feely approach. However, by this stage I was past resistance. My speech was completely rewritten. Out went all the boring economics and in went some heart and soul.
The next day I stood up before an audience that included a Nobel prize winner and other luminaries, treated them to my coquettish new smile, and delivered a speech of numbing emptiness. Still under the influence, so to speak, I thought I had gone down rather well. I little knew that over morning tea a dozen conversations were going on to the effect of: 'what has got into Ruth'? My philosophical allies had intended the conference to be a symbolic handing over of the torch from Roger Douglas to me. Over subsequent days, as I gradually became myself again, various people quietly broke the news to me that my speech had in fact been less than a roaring success. The moral of this story is not that I should have made no attempt to soften any image - only that I should have picked the right audience.
At the same time Anna came on board, I also managed to persuade Jim to have a Treasury economist seconded to his office - something he had always been entitled to do. The economist who came, Iain Reenie, would do an outstanding job in helping to educate Jim, and steadying him at crucial times. Jim even became considerably attached to Iain, who, when we eventually took office, for a short time went into the Prime Ministers department. Those of a paranoid disposition, who believes treasury has its tentacles everywhere and secretly runs the country, would of had their theories further reinforced had they observed Iain Rennies influence on Jim.

There’s been much debate in the political arena on the issue of economic sovereignty. All New Zealanders want to know that their sovereignty is secure and this will certainly be reinforced by the knowledge that government net foreign debt is forecast to be nil at the end of the 1996/97 year, so we will no longer be beholden to the gnomes of Zurich and elsewhere…………Incredibly the Labour Party stated yesterday that the tax cuts are irresponsible. I totally disagree. Ordinary working New Zealanders in my view deserve a tax cut and will get one starting 1 July this year. All this strong, positive, economic news which has caused excitement and admiration around the world is of course up for grabs at the election in 20 weeks time. Put bluntly, the risk is that the recent very successful economic performance will collapse if irresponsible coalitions seek to outbid each other to see who can spend the surplus first and force New Zealand back down the dreary path of debt, higher interest costs and loss of sovereignty to international bankers once more.

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