Rogernomics

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The term Rogernomics, a portmanteau of "Roger" and "economics", was coined by journalists at the New Zealand Listener by analogy with Reaganomics to describe the economic policies followed by Roger Douglas after his appointment in 1984 as Minister of Finance in the Fourth Labour Government. Rogernomics was characterised by market-led restructuring and deregulation and the control of inflation through tight monetary policy, accompanied by a floating exchange rate and reductions in the fiscal deficit.[1] Douglas came from a background of Labour Party politics. His adoption of policies more usually associated with the political right, and their implementation by the Fourth Labour Government, were the subject of lasting controversy.

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Douglas and the Development of Economic Policy, 1969-1984

Douglas became a Labour member of parliament at the 1969 general election. He showed his interest in economic policy in his maiden speech, in which he argued against foreign investment in the domestic economy.[2] His case for external protection of the domestic economy and government involvement in investment was characteristic of the Labour Party of the time. From 1972-1975, Douglas was a junior minister in the Third Labour Government, where he won a reputation for his capacity for innovation.[3] This government followed a broadly Keynesian approach to economic management.

As a minister, Douglas was innovative in context of the public sector. As Broadcasting Minister he devised an administrative structure in which two publicly-owned television channels competed against each other.[4] He was among the government’s leading advocates of compulsory saving for retirement, which he saw not only as a supplement to public provision for retirement but as a source of funding for public investment in economic development.[5] The superannuation scheme he helped design became law in 1974, but was disestablished by Robert Muldoon almost as soon as the National Party won the 1975 election.[6]

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