GUEST BLOG: Ross Meurant – REWRITING HISTORY

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Bill Birch has published his memoirs!  A book launch is imminent.

Bill BIrch, aka Champion of “Think Big”.

Think Big,  was Keynesian economics taken to the extreme by a Tory government which, as an example of its Populist Politics of the times, also introduced SMPs (supplementary minimum payments of $X dollars above the market price paid to loyal Tory voting famers) which resulted in 70 million sheep and a stockpile of meat the country could not sell  –  until the Soviets rocked up and helped ameliorate the mess created by subsidies funded by (as I recall) secondary employment  tax on individuals at over 63cents in the dollar!

Bill Birch, who in Opposition, castigated Labour (Roger Douglas, RIchard Prebble, Trevor de Clene and co) for  selling “Strategic Assets” or “Selling the Silver”, re-emerged a born again, in the National government (in which I was an MP,) emulating they whom he had condemned a term earlier!

Bill became as a “free marketeer” – selling the same  “Strategic Assets” he had earlier condemned.

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Bill justified  National’s reverting to its true philosophy,  by saying he was providing  competition in the market place to drive down prices and benefit the consumer.

Remarkably, he then sold the railway lines i.e. where the trains operate, to the same US company to whom he sold the rail business i.e. the trains & carriages..

Any competitor who wanted to enter the free market (now that the government Ministry of Rail was extinct) and start a rail business, to provide competition and cheaper outputs for the consumer, was immediately disadvantaged by having to pay a fee the US company which owned the railway lines, being the only rail corridor in the country – and hence (formerly) a , “Strategic Asset”!

Outcome?  Axiomatic.

Now, Bill is selling this wisdom to the next generation.

But wait!  There’s more.

During a period in our history when we are being told to avoid public gatherings – why?  The virus in case you missed it.

Bill and is team are holding a soirée at Judith Collin’s Electorate.

 

Ross Meurant; a former high-ranking police officer, former Member of Parliament, formerly with commercial interests in Syria and Iran and  currently Honorary Consul for an African state.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Well, not sure if that tome is going to fly off the shelves or shift a lot of ePubs!

    85 year old Birch is nonetheless a significant figure in NZ’s political history. Being associated with “Think Big” and National’s defining Employment Contracts Bill/Act of 1990/91 is much more than a footnote. Many MPs vanish without trace from the public view, and rightly so in most cases, but this chap warrants proper examination.

    For union activists there at the time of Ken Douglas, the NZCTU, and the State Sector unions capitulation on the ECA, it was both a vindication and sick feeling to discover some time later that Birch had been prepared to make concessions all along. Bill was surprised that there was no national stoppage endorsed by Douglas and public sector union tops. There had been various stoppages, marches and actions for nearly a year all round the country, including PSA members, particularly in Auckland, over the ECB. This debacle was the end for the already faltering Socialist Unity Party also. Douglas apparently donated leftover funds after the SUP windup, to the NZ Labour Party!–confirming his secretive shift from marxism to social democracy–or worse. As Jock Barnes said about Douglas at the time of Jim Knox funeral–do people go bad or were they always bad…

    Anyway I will read Birch’s account for old times sake.

  2. Does anyone remember the Hollies’ song “King Midas in Reverse”? The worst misnomer ever was when somebody christened Bill Birch “Mr Fixit”. Everything he touched, he broke.

  3. Thanks Ross Meurant that little post was like flying down a water flume at a theme park, exhilarating and leaves you a bit damp and sweaty, from ironic laughter. You have been there and done a whole lot more than most of us. And can look back, in anger, in laughter, in sorrow, in congratulation, from some of the good, much of the bad or mistaken, and some of the U-turns that saved the driver but caused collateral damage to the peeps. As you are one of the survivors I look forward to more thoughts, and insights and experiences.

  4. Perhaps National enthusiasts don’t get the flu.

    And perhaps they also have collective vision when it comes to the social destruction caused by their ‘great’ leaders ideology. Either way , it must be great living in La La land with no conscience and the ability to go against govt rulings regards large assembly’s of people in the midst of a global pandemic…

  5. Thanks Ross, yes, he will always be remembered as the man (& party) who did away with the apprenticeship scheme, we live with the results of that decision today, more leaky homes than we know what to do with.
    The ECA was his crowning glory, the gutless response from the CTU & PSA union movement was the end of organised labour in this country, no general strike called, nothing, just roll over & take it.

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