Straight from the Money Illusion, Scott Sumner discussing his recent trip to Australia:
I was particularly impressed with the talk given by the representative from the New Zealand government (Bill English) but will admit to knowing little about that place, other than that that their people live in Hobbit-style dwellings.
Whether you agree with the policies of the National party, or the specific things that Bill English has pushed through as Finance Minister, you have to admit that he has done an incredibly good job over the past five years – during an incredibly difficult time.
This is not the first time I’ve heard people overseas sing Bill English’s praises (it is probably in double-digits now) – over here we have a Finance Minister who understands the issues, and tries to communicate them clearly.
Sure it makes it easier for me to say good things about Bill English since he doesn’t seem to be directly involved with any of National’s policies I’ve strongly disagreed with (this has been more the social welfare area) – but even if my prior beliefs were different, the fact that English has been transparent and straight up when discussing issues, and the fact he seems to strongly work to understand and work with broad expert advice about fiscal issues from around the world, tells me he has done an excellent job.
Often Finance Ministers are judged solely on the luck they faced given their time in change, so lets be honest here and admit that during a tough time Bill English and his team have done a good job. I know this post will be particularly unpopular with a section of the readers here, but it has to be said!
I’m completely apolitical – but having a Finance Minister that doesn’t make the role about themselves, and who gives an honest appaisal of the trade-offs faced from the broad thrust of government fiscal policy, is exactly the sort of person you want.
Sidenote: Also on the Centre for Independent studies, and Stephen Kirchner:
On a more serious note, the people at CIS were excellent, and seemed somehow more “reasonable” than similar groups in the US. I was really impressed with the talk given by Stephen Kirchner.
This is a fair assesment, these guys are great open minded communicators, and I’ve definitely learnt things from reading Stephen’s articles and posts in the past!
Extra note: LOL:
My first taxi driver said he was from the South Island of New Zealand. So did my second taxi driver. Then I took a bus and started chatting with the driver—yup, the South Island. American taxi drivers usually come from some sort of hellhole in central Asia or Africa, where there is a civil war going on. God help the people of the South Island. (Yes, I know about the earthquake.)