It would appear New Zealand’s Sir Roger Douglas has returned to active politics just in time. In these times of economic turmoil his sage advice is worth the read.

In this Commentary, based on remarks to his political party’s annual conference in Auckland, New Zealand, Sir Roger lays out the steps that can lead New Zealand out of the recession. They are lessons easily transferred to other nations.

In Ten Lessons for the Recession, Sir Roger explains:

“In the 70s and early 80s we learnt that there was no such thing as a free lunch. Today, we need to learn that there is no such thing as a free fiscal stimulus. Let’s think critically about the fiscal stimulus.

Every extra dollar taxed by Government is a dollar that employers are not spending hiring someone new.

Every extra dollar borrowed by Government is a dollar that companies are not borrowing to last through the recession or expand output.

Every extra dollar spent by Government is a dollar not spent by the productive sector.

Fiscal stimulus comes at a real cost to every one, and benefits a few special interests. The costs to every one will disproportionately fall on the poor. The special interests who will gain from stimulus are the well-organised lobby groups.”

As Finance Minister in New Zealand’s Labour Government from 1984 to 1988, Sir Roger was responsible for one of the most comprehensive restructuring programs ever attempted by a government anywhere. Most significantly, he overhauled the operating philosophy of government agencies and departments to make them run as competition oriented, bottom line business enterprises that are fully accountable for resources they receive from taxpayers.

Sir Roger retired from politics in 1990 and was AIMS guest for a series of meetings held across Atlantic Canada in 1995 and 1996 in Halifax, Saint John and St. John’s.

Sir Roger founded a chapter of the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers in New Zealand in 1995 which became the political party, ACT New Zealand, in 1996. Sir Roger returned to the New Zealand Parliament as an ACT List MP in the General Election of 2008.

To read this Commentary, click here.

To read Sir Roger’s comments from his AIMS’ tour, click here.