Bill English's Budget has deliverered nothing but more proposed austerity cuts and a empty promise of 'economic growth'. But Labour has little to offer ordinary people either.
Because you didn't ask for it, Bill English wants to deliver more spending cuts and more job losses. And - wait there's more - he wants to privatise some of the few remaining state assets that haven't yet been ransacked and pillaged.
We are expected to believe that another round of spending cuts -more austerity - will lead to strong economic growth (over 4 percent over the nest two years or so) and - wait for it - 170,000 new jobs!
This nonsense is based entirely on Treasury projections.
In May 2008, Treasury forecast growth rates for the next three years of 1.5 per cent, 2.3 per cent and 3.2 per cent. Instead, we got -1.1 per cent, -0.4 per cent and -0.1 per cent.
So the New Zealand working class is expected to continue to carry the burden of an economic crisis on the basis that there, eventually, will be an 'economic recovery' This is the same 'economic recovery' that was confidently predicted in 2008. In 2009. In 2010. In 2011.
The New Zealand economy, like other capitalist economies, remains in deep and intractable crisis. This crisis is such that it will never respond to the neoliberal policy settings that have prevailed for nearly three decades.
Looking at the April figures that are available on the internet, the advanced western economies appear to be sinking into a deeper economic hole. In the first quarter of the year, the US economy grew by a mere half a per cent, while the UK managed a derisory 0.4 per cent.
These kind of figures just go to prove that talk of economic growth of 4 percent in this country is fairytale stuff.
In response to the global economic crisis, vicious austerity drives have been unleashed. In country after country governments have, among other things, cut public spending and jobs , frozen and cut pensions, cut welfare programs, lowered welfare benefits and sold off state assets.
We are being forced down the same disastrous road in this country. John Key and co think they can get away with it -and get re-elected to boot - because they face little opposition from both the Labour Party and the Labour-aligned trade union leadership.
While Phil Goff and co have roundly condemned this Budget, the fact remains both Labour and the CTU accept the need for austerity policies and for the working class to carry the economic burden.
This is what Labour finance spokesperson David Cunliffe meant when he commented this week:
'The fiscal situation facing New Zealand is serious and tough decisions needed to be made to address that. We will not oppose prudent fiscal measures just because they involve cutting spending'
The trade union leadership stands condemned for refusing to mount any meaningful resistance to the Government's austerity policies. It has cooperated with the implementation of those policies as part of its 'new unionism' agenda of a 'social partnership' with employers and the government.
The CTU merely seeks to channel public opposition and anger into a vote for Labour in November. This is the road to nowhere.
The crucial problem in this country, as in the other advanced western economies, is that the reactionary leaderships of the labour movement, both parliamentary and industrial, remain committed to a economic system that simply cannot deliver for ordinary people.