Cramped and Conventional: Labour’s Alternative Budget fails to inspire.



CONGRATULATIONS to the Labour Party for releasing an Alternative Budget well ahead of the General Election. Allowing the voters to quite literally get the measure of Labour’s economic ambitions is an entirely praiseworthy gesture which will, hopefully, be emulated by all the other parliamentary parties.

The document itself is less deserving of praise. What David Parker has produced is a Fiscal Plan that is cautious in conception, orthodox in construction and singularly lacking in political inspiration. If the document can be said to reveal any sort of vision at all it is of the most cramped and conventional kind – as if Parker felt the need to apologise for being a member of the Labour Party by constantly reassuring his readers that when it comes to controlling expenditure his plan is as fiscally responsible as the Finance Minister’s.

Responding to Labour’s Alternative Budget, BusinessNZ Chief Executive, Phil O’Reilly, noted that its costings and commitment to frugal spending would likely be welcomed by the business community. But Parker’s centrepiece – an increase in the top personal tax rate and trust rate to 36 percent – was unlikely to aid competitiveness and would penalise those who tended to invest most.

“Higher income and trust tax along with a new capital gains tax are not good signals for anyone wanting to invest in New Zealand’s growth.” Said O’Reilly.

But this rote rejection of higher taxes on the wealthy is of much less importance that the generally positive noises that preceded it. Clearly, Parker’s Budget is one that offers very little with which New Zealand capitalism could take serious issue. Indeed, the risible addition of 3 cents to the top tax-rate almost certainly occasioned a massive sigh of relief on the part of New Zealand’s top 2 percent of income earners.

On the afternoon he announced his candidacy for Labour’s leadership, David Cunliffe’s response to the inevitable question: ‘Do you believe in higher taxes?’ had been an unequivocal “You betcha!” Ever since, New Zealand’s wealthiest citizens have almost certainly been anticipating an aggressively redistributive fiscal strategy from the Cunliffe-led Labour Party. The announced top rate of 36 percent – 9 percentage points lower than Australia’s – must have them shaking their heads in disbelief. Their party was not so sparing of New Zealand’s poorest citizens.

Parker’s refusal to give effect to the confiscatory fiscal impulses of Labour’s membership is emblematic of everything that has gone awry with Cunliffe’s leadership. Elected on the promise of restoring the Labour Party to its core, democratic socialist, values (and being rewarded with a 37 percent poll rating by an electorate hungry for political substance) Cunliffe has failed utterly to build on the ideological momentum of his historic victory.

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It is now clear than in the months following his win Cunliffe spent most of his time attempting to pacify his caucus colleagues. Rather than using the inevitability of constructing a left-wing coalition government to bring obstructive Cabinet aspirants to heel, the new leader attempted to construct some form of policy consensus. Parker’s Alternative Budget is proof of just how successful his caucus colleagues have been in forcing Cunliffe to abandon his democratic socialist promises.

The brutal fact of the matter is that Labour will go into the 2014 election with an economic policy package considerably to the right of its 2011 manifesto. In trying to unite his caucus “team”, Cunliffe has abandoned the very principles that had caused the Labour Left to embrace him as their champion. If Parker’s warmed-over “Third Way” social-democracy (with neoliberal characteristics) fails to inspire the voters, and Cunliffe leads Labour to defeat, it is likely the membership will punish their erstwhile champion’s apostasy with much more severity than the ABC faction’s admirable consistency.

Parker is at pains to paint his deeply conservative economic policies as a progressive “Economic Upgrade”. It is, he tells us in his introduction, “an ambitious set of goals” which, sadly, have required some “tough choices”. Among these, presumably, is the tough choice to compulsorily acquire a portion of a worker’s meagre wages and place it at the disposal of private investment companies until that worker turns 65. Or should that be 67? Tough, too, must have been the choice to build the 100,000 highly subsidised private dwellings the middle-class wants, rather than the 100,000 affordable state houses the working-class so desperately needs.

In the dreary tone of a latter-day version of the British Labour Party’s infamous Depression-era  Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Snowden, Parker informs us that “not all the policies we would like to do can be funded”. The priority, as always, must be “getting the government’s books in order” and “getting the economy growing” after six years of National Party rule. Hardly the sort of message to get the masses flocking to the polling booths!

What’s missing from this Alternative Budget is any hint of a political movement determined to change the overall direction of national policy. There is no plan to bring the ideas and aspirations of working-class people back to the centre of the political stage. No pledge to repair the damage inflicted upon the poorest and most marginalised New Zealanders by successive governments (including the last Labour Government).

There is not even an attempt to make good on the promise at the heart of Labour’s 2011 election campaign: the pledge to “Save Our Assets”. For Labour’s parsimonious finance spokesperson, the notion of “buying back the farm” clearly comes a poor second to “getting the government’s books in order”.

And yet there exist vast capital reserves that a bold and radical Labour-led Government could devote to housing the people and putting the unemployed to work. ACC does not need to be a fully-funded scheme. Were it to return to the pay-as-you-go scheme it was originally intended to be, then the $20 billion taken from levy-payers to transform ACC into an insurance company fit for privatisation would steadily become available for the improvement of New Zealand society.

It is the manifest lack of imagination, the stunted ambition, the absence of excitement and inspiration that makes Labour’s Alternative Budget so disappointing. The wealthy and the powerful will praise it – remarking on Labour’s surprisingly responsible approach to economic management. But for those who look to Labour for the opportunities that helped their parents and grandparents enjoy a more abundant life, Mr Parker’s Fiscal Plan risks being seen as just another reason to stay at home on 20 September.



    • No vision eh?
      So what is so visionary and courageous about Nationals’ selling off our most prized and high earning assets ,built on the sweat and toil of previous generations, and claiming an insurance cheque from a natural disaster.
      What makes it worse, is they are claiming this as part of GDP.
      That’s called creative accounting . In any business that would be illegal and it’s definitely desperate and shows they have no ideas!

      • When the economy contracted as a result of the earthquake damage was this excluded from the figures?

        • That is plain bullshit!
          Most businesses in Christchurch were very quickly back on their feet and while some couldn’t, such as city area restaurants,cafes and retail, there were new ones flooding into the city on a daily basis.Predominantly relating to demolition,engineering ,construction etc.These new high skill jobs bring a lot more money to the city than ever before.
          From a financial point of view it’s been a boon for Canterbury.
          For the people living there it’s been a nightmare, so don’t make out Nationals’ books have suffered due to Christchurch.
          I remember thinking ,when Key first used that excuse,that is, blaming Christchurch for Nationals’ poor fiscal performance, I remember thinking,what a snake,how low can you go.This is not a leader of the people we are seeing here.This is a programmed mouth piece puppet who will say any old thing to make himself and his corporation look good!

        • It wasn’t so much the earthquake as Bill English’s practically infinite supply of gross incompetence. That Napier was fully reconstructed from considerably worse in under two years shows just how far NZ has regressed under the Gnats – who almost a century later have proven unable to rebuild Christchurch in over three.

          So the Gnats are a consiberably worse than useless government – none of which begins to address Chris’s concerns. You crude regressive rightwingers might enjoy the pitiful failure of NZ’s decent society, but the bulk of NZ is much more evolved and aspires to a better world, not a worse one.

      • You’ve decided -I am not sure why – that I support National, never ever ever. The problem with the two main parties is there is not enough difference between them. I am 64 and earning $55,000 and if it is warranted I am quite prepared to pay more tax so that are health system is robust for all, so that we have sufficient State housing for those who need housing, education for everyone which is state funded (including tertiary) and the many other things that we used to have in our society and which we can afford still but the powers that be have decided lower taxes (consideravly lower than Australia) for the well off are more important. I am interested in the cake being more fairly cut.

        • Michal ,I couldn’t agree more,but what I would say,and I remember David Lange saying this, is that you have to take the people with you.Unfortunately we have a different thinking populace now who have been subjected to 6 years of brainwashing by a corrupt media and government that think(even if it’s not doing them or their children any good)that John Key is NZs saviour.
          That same media is still there and is starting to ramp up the propaganda to a whole new level .What I’m saying is Labour and the left have to play smart and it’s early days.I know they want to do what you are advocating, it’s just a matter of how to go about getting there.
          I hope I didn’t offend.

  1. If labour lose, they only have themselves to blame. Failure to see neo-liberalism as the ideological bacha bazi it is, will be the end of one of the major political parties. I had thought it would be national, but it is looking more and more like labour. If this uninspired rubbish is what they can come up with – gone by Tuesday.

  2. And thus it is…that concepts and values such as nationhood/sovereignty , egalitarianism , a strong society that protects the weak and vulnerable , (something which took blood soaked centuries to develop) …………gets trampled on the floor.

    Let them eat cake.

  3. Everyone I know is not only disappointed about this, but also seething with anger. Discussion moved on yesterday from ‘give Cunliffe a chance’ to ‘death to Labour’.
    Is Cunliffe’s lurch to the left still to the right of Goff?
    My God. Who do they think they’ll attract with a light shade of blue that is getting darker each day?
    I’ve been questioning for months the validity of the theory that claims the ABC’s are dragging Cunliffe to the right. If that is true then they’ve done quite well haven’t they?..they’ve dragged him to the right of Goff’s 2011 policies.
    I’m convinced swing voters are convinced by a coherent ideology, not an objective ideological position. The voters are not ‘in the centre of a spectrum’, instead, the centrist voters are in between the two major parties and Labour keeps shifting that centre to the right.
    Labour needs to stop chasing the centre and start defining the centre. Or do us a favour and dissolve the party, and then let the Greens and IP/MANA define the centre. If ‘left-wing’ is a top tax rate of 36% then I don’t want to live in NZ. This is not my country.

  4. Some time ago Labour in NZ renamed itself ‘New Labour’; clearly a reference to the highly successful ‘New Labour’ that Tony Blair introduced into the UK back in the 90’s.

    The problem was that NZ got the new name, but not the Blair policies.

    After Thatcher, Blair came into power and not only did he not revoke the tax cuts implemented by Thatcher, he continued cutting, whilst making government more efficient and reducing expenditure on well-meaning but poorly targeted welfare schemes.

    The budget presented by Parker yesterday is merely a reflection of harsh reality:

    Any action to increase taxes will result in a reaction to avoid, evade or simply earn less. This is what happened when Auntie Helen pushed rates up to 39% in the previous Labour govt – revenues reportedly dropped as folk pushed back. Classic ‘Laffer Curve’ economics (look it up).

    The 2% was a just a hat-tip to the Loony Left. Meaningless for those in-the-know and easy to circumvent if you’re a really high earner.

    Rather than Labour mving to the Right, this budget is an acknowledgement that National moved to the Left during the Key era. Today, under National tax is more progressive than it was under Clarke! Thanks to the closing of loopholes, the rich pay a higher percentage of revenue than under Clarke.

    If Labour wanted to be really innovative, they should propose a complete rejig of the tax structure. Reducing rates at the very bottom to encourage people off the dole, flattening the PAYE rates to encourage reward for work and increasing GST to ensure everyone pays their fair share and to encourage personal saving.

    • All very well to say encourage people off the dole when i as a 63 year old have applied for 35 jobs in christchurch for class two driving work and been rejected for ebvery single one of them..

    • When did they change their name to New Labour?

      Answer – they didn’t

      New Labour was the name of the breakaway party led by Jim Anderton that adhered to “Old Labour” values and went on to be part of the Alliance.

    • GST is hardly innovative but is thoroughly regressive and a huge imposition on the poor and working poor. For good reason, finding cheerleaders for the criminal Blair is hard work these days, so good on you for at least admitting to that lunacy.

  5. ^ AYE….The poor wee laddies been brainwashed :)…tis a fact some folk refuse to see the consequences of their actions. 1929 ring a bell, matey?….TTPA and TISA ..wonder if they got poster pin ups you can hang on your wall to make your poor economic ideology feel better?

    Oh wait….both those agreements are being conducted behind closed doors away from public scrutiny…wonder what they’ve got to hide if its so darn good??

    Let them eat cake.

    • I fail to see what 1929 has to do with today’s situation:

      Today we have a national obesity problem, mainly among the supposedly ‘poor’. In fact they ARE eating cake. Far too much it seems.

      • Andrew, you’re either a wilful idiot or simply on a mission to be objectionable. Either way and on both counts, your mission was a total success. With this victory in your pocket, you might want to consider standing in an electorate for ACT – Epsom would be a good choice based on its past performance.

  6. I think you are being slightly disingenuous , a tad unfair and a bit unrealistic Chris if you think you are going to wind back 30years of neo liberalism with a single wave of a magic wand.
    Like it or not it’s going to have to be softly, softly catchy monkey if you want to turn this neo super tanker around.
    The one over riding factor that Labour and the Left have to deal with now, with trying to push through any sort of new policy, is a rampant out of control media that are going to rubbish even the slightest of changes to the status quo.
    Even putting up the top tax rate 3% has already sparked howls of criticism.
    John Key calling it an ‘envy tax’ .Mind you, he would say that, wouldn’t he.I don’t know exactly what your ideal economic policy would be, but I’m picking part of it could include a top tax rate of around 50-60%.
    If so, the push back from the National driven media would be long ,loud and sustained.
    You as one of the few commentators FOR the Left, not OF the Left, would be working overtime on tv, radio and print trying to subdue the cacophony and would need to be vociferously justifying the changes.
    You would then probably be ceremoniously dumped as Martyn Bradbury was from National Radio for speaking out against John Key.
    That would be the reality of immediate radical change today in NZ.
    People can kid themselves all they like but this is not a democratic country anymore .Look no further than the events of the past week for confirmation.!
    These are different times requiring different strategies.
    You have to win the battle, before you win the war!

    • Grant: “..out of control media that are going to rubbish even the slightest of changes to the status quo.”

      Ah yes! Reverting to form I see.

      When socialist policies fail and are hated, there’s always coercion and censorship waiting in the wings, because of course you know what’s best for us all…

      • I’m at a bit of a loss as to know what socialist (as you call it) policies you are referring to ,but what I do know as fact, is that under National we are now constantly staring down the barrel of unsustainable tax shortfalls, that have already sucked up nearly a quarter of the money from the asset sales.
        There is no bigger myth, or lie ,(to be more accurate)out there at the moment, than National telling everyone that they are’ masters’ of the economy.
        Nothing could be further from the truth. But hey, if John Key tells you that, it must be right eh?
        If you think the culturally ignorant Key knows what’s best for us all, because you certainly sound like one of his disciples, then you will be obviously be happy with the inevitable end game of his policies.
        That end game is the jungle.I hope you are up for it!

        • A few pointers on this:

          1/You’re right on govt debt – I would have preferred deeper cuts in government expenditure to make the books balance earlier. But Key is rather ‘Labour Lite’ in this regard.

          2/It is disingenuous to blame National for the current account deficit. Labour was thrown out of office at about the same as the GFC kicked in. Then there was the earthquake. Since then it’s been a scramble to catch up. Taking all this into account, National has done extremely well in managing the economy. Despite your tribal (irrational) support for Labour, could you ever imagine a Cunliffe government handling this as well?

          3/ You confuse Keynesian economics with Socialism. Keynes has his rightful place in a modern economic thought but collectivisation, high taxes and monopolisic unions do not.

          • Yes because relying on unsustainable dairy to China and another natural disaster to rebuild from are such an excellent stewardship of the economy. Borrowing billions for the richest amongst us to enjoy tax cuts and have enough to buy the shares in the assets we once all owned is one of the great thefts of NZ politics.

        • The trouble is it is the countries that have generally followed hard left wing policies that have failed miserably. Places like North Korea, Zimbabwe, Tanzania in the 1970’s, Cuba, and the former Soviet Union.

          • This is farcical.
            So North Korea is equal to NZ Labour /Greens eh.You suffer from what most from the right suffer from.The “all or nothing’, ‘catastrophic thinking’ syndrome.It shows a distinct lack of ability to think critically.Something National is seriously afflicted with.That’s why they will be gone!
            However , how ironic that the two entities that National is crowing about as our saviours, that is China and the NZ Dairy Industry, have in one form or another, relied on a ‘socialist’ mentality to get them into the position of strength that they now hold!

          • Indeed? Under Roosevelt – left but hardly communist – the US established top tax rates over 90% without apology. The following decades were the most prosperous in US history – even for the rich.

            Substandard trolls of course don’t know enough history to recognise their own errors.

    • The one over riding factor that Labour and the Left have to deal with now, with trying to push through any sort of new policy,


      Almost three quarters of the population opposed the recent rounds of asset theft.
      Policy to recover them isn’t exactly new or difficult to sell.

      Labour will never get my vote again until they commit to a serious programme of asset recovery.

      • For a start, Labours’ whole 2011 election campaign was based around not selling the assets .Phil Goffs final speeches were made standing on top of a dam.They could not have been clearer if they tried.
        It was National that committed treason by selling them all off, even when 80% of the population didn’t want them to.
        Labours alternate budget the other day, did not say that they wouldn’t buy the assets back. I’m pretty certain they will, but not with their first budget. Remember National are currently running tax revenue shortfalls and have racked up massive debt due to their bad fiscal management.
        Keep the faith . Labour are on a much healthier track than National!
        Nice and steady wins the race, not the one who sets the pace!

        • Labours alternate budget the other day, did not say that they wouldn’t buy the assets back. I’m pretty certain they will, but not with their first budget.

          I deal with the reality of Labour’s policy not any future wish list or fantasy.

          I agree with your assessment of National’s action as being treason. I disagree with Chris Trotter’s absurd position that National had a mandate for the thefts. They didn’t. They had a mandate to govern. Part of good governance is to observe due respect for the clear wishes of the people.

    • When I was reading this, I had a mental image of a man, terrified of battle, returning from Munich with a scrap of paper saying “Peace in our time”. How can one say that Labour’ needs to win the battle before it can win the war’ and then recommend headlong flight? The tactics of minimising a loss will leave you in a worse position in 2017. At what point do you find a winning strategy? And why is now not better that later?
      Perhaps this is not a bad election to lose: another housing crash would make the government look bad and is quite feasible. If you make a fight of it the voters might, in retrospect, remember the manner of losing rather than the defeat itself.
      Or you can do nothing and let the trickle of support for Internet -Mana become a flood

      • You make some very good points DENNIS.
        But I’m not saying ‘don’t make change’. Big changes definitely need making.
        However getting an unadulterated message out there via the media now, whether it be TV ,radio or print ,is nigh impossible.
        Remember for example TV3 and Radio Live are owned by media works, whose previous owner was National Party MP Steven Joyce.Do you seriously think overall you are going to get fair and balanced reporting there?
        The other message options are ,the internet or, on foot,face to face contact.The later is by far the best option but the manpower required is huge.
        It is for this reason,I believe,that for now Labour are taking a more conservative approach.
        There is however a strong argument to throw caution to the wind and with some major policy announcements coming, I believe
        there’s a whole lot of water yet to go under the bridge between now and Sept 20!

  7. Yes, I was underwhelmed also, what a soft, wet bus ticket gesture to the business establishment and the part of the middle class that has some wealth in bank accounts, in trusts, in real estate, in a small business and more. Labour is too scared to take on the challenge it seems. They are scared of the “bought” middle class, as they are tied into the capitalist system as it is, and will not vote Labour, to change the system, so they may have to pay a “little bit” extra tax, that is the higher earners.

    This was disappointing, and it seems like the moist, wet, soft shit is gliding down Parker’s legs, while he is shitting himself to challenge English, Joyce and Key. It is symptomatic though, of the same fear, that Labour seem to have towards the mainstream media, who have been whipping them for months now, Labour is like flat on the ground, and still flagellated by media reports about how “useless” and “unreliable” and “untrustworthy” they are.

    I despaired long ago, and I do no longer, I just take note that Labour is NOT the answer for the future of New Zealand, same as this rotten, corrupt National Party is not the future for this place. They are all falling over each other, to be apologetic, defensive and so politically correct on so many things, they are USELESS!

    We had a GFC, proving the shortcomings of the system we have globally. The governments in most countries helped bail out the suddenly failing finance companies, banks and companies, and thus socialised the debts. We will all pay for this for generations, but the government, and even Labour now, behave as if nothing really happened, and continue with the status quo. Business as usual is the message, even with Labour, where the high rhetoric of the early days of Cunliffe’s leadership ring hollow now, as if they were just fairy tales told to little children, who would grow out of the fairy tales age and forget about “Father Christmas”.

    We have been CONNED, CONNED again, by Labour, who promised us a resolute change of direction, of new measures, of inclusive solutions and of a concern for the less fortunate. This though, their alternative budget is “perfect” for the “hard saving” and “hard working” middle class, who do not want to pay extra, and do not want to share what they enjoy.

    Prepare for the social divisions in New Zealand Aotearoa to be cemented in for generations, you poor will stay poor and disadvantaged and marginalised, also under Labour, so will the sick and disabled, sole parents and unemployed on benefits.

    There is ZILCH in this for the latter, nothing, and they do not even get a mention. So that is Cunliffe’s dream of a more egalitarian future? F*** that, I had enough, I will try all to get the hell out of this place, one way ticket, or will otherwise do all to destroy the system in this country, with ALL means!

  8. Responding to Labour’s Alternative Budget, BusinessNZ Chief “Executive, Phil O’Reilly, noted that its costings and commitment to frugal spending would likely be welcomed by the business community. But Parker’s centrepiece – an increase in the top personal tax rate and trust rate to 36 percent – was unlikely to aid competitiveness and would penalise those who tended to invest most. “Higher income and trust tax along with a new capital gains tax are not good signals for anyone wanting to invest in New Zealand’s growth.” Said O’Reilly.”

    And yes, that is where the whipping master sits, the employers, the business lobby and wealthy elite, owning most of New Zealand (alongside the foreign corporate and other “investors”), they set the tone and agenda, and again, Labour are falling on their knees. Their union affiliates cannot even organise a piss up in a brewery, and are marginal players.

    As I feared, yes the worst of my fears are coming true, Cunliffe has been much about words, and is little about honouring them and walking the talk. What a waste of time all this has been, we may as well have stuck with Phil Goff then.

    But to be honest, it must also have been Labour’s polling that forced this “new” direction, as most New Zealanders are so divided and self focused, and “bought” by employers, by “opportunities” and whatever “trend” there is, too many would sell their grandparents for a good price, stuff the future and morals. That is what 3 decades of neoliberal indoctrination has resulted in. What a damned disgrace this society has become.

  9. Labour almost remind me of this:

    Collaborating with the suppressing and oppressive forces, albeit unwillingly, but making endless compromises, and not daring to “fight” or even “rock the boat”.

    We are lost with this approach, but without revolutionaries, there is no prospect for change, as the sheeples are too scared or even “comfy” to do anything, but let things continue as usual.

    I dread ignorance, and I see and hear too much of it around me, especially when turning on the TV, radio and so.

  10. Or, Labour can always treat promises of frugality before the election, the way national treat promises of integrity before the election–complete reversal afterwards.

  11. These politicians don’t call the shots, they follow orders. Decent politicians, few that there are, struggle to be heard over the endless howling of Nat/Lab puppets and the corporate media machine. That and the convenient distractions of modern society. Now we should all turn off our computers, stop questioning the system and go watch a nice wholesome reality tv show.

    “Inverted totalitarianism is described as a system where corporations have corrupted and subverted democracy and where economics trumps politics. In inverted totalitarianism, every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse and the citizenry are lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in their government by excess consumerism and sensationalism.”

  12. Labour has dug itself into a hole and it is not sure which shovel it should use to dig itself out. The green shovel, the red shovel or the light-blue shovel. Whichever one it chooses it will be accused by some people as having sold out to the extreme left or the right. It shows a party still looking for its own identity, after its disastrous flirtation with neo-liberalism in the 1980s, and one it can be proud of. It should have been able to do this by now, but the fact that it hasn’t has probably (and sadly) condemned this country to three more years of (non) government by a party that believes less is more and has as much respect for its working population as a 19th century American slave owner.

  13. I think it’s odd for Labour to kick their base in the teeth right before an election campaign.
    Who the fuck would waste their time door-knocking for Labour when there is nothing to sell? This is the time of an election cycle where invigorating the party’s base is paramount. Cunliffe had an army to back him, but will they be his foot soldiers now that Labour’s tax policy is closer to Rogernomics than it was under Goff and Shearer?
    People joined Labour recently because they thought that Cunliffe was bringing something different, but Cunliffe has ignored what they wanted.
    Do Labour’s new/renewed recruits want this?

    • Might be media fatigue – DC has been fighting a war on two fronts – tough work psychologically.

      • I agree Stuart, but he is a Trojan and his resilience is undeniable.
        I’m sure there will be some stirring stuff to come, but people have to remember, National got a good inheritance from the last Labour Party, even English acknowledged that).The Left however(if they get in)will get a basket case(despite the bullshit line that we are a ‘rock star’), economy which will take awhile to sort out!

      • True, but I’d have thought that the tax policy would have been sorted a few months back and released around this time

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