Why bother with inquiries into disasters when, say noted economists Brian Easton and Geoff Bertram, everything is Roger Douglas' fault: "Pike River, leaky homes, finance companies - costly in both money and lives - is seen as the belated price New Zealand is paying for chucking away its rulebooks in the late 1980s."

Easton blames Rogernomics for Pike River's 29 miner deaths and, furthermore, suicides by owners of leaky homes.

Why? Because Sir Roger's Government was "too hands-off" with regulations in these areas, Easton said last week.

Bertram reckons New Zealand is "a laughing stock in many overseas jurisdictions. They look at our regulatory arrangements and roll their eyes."


So that's why immigration officials wipe away tears of mirth and pick themselves up off the floor every time I enter a foreign country and hand over my passport for stamping.

Actually, I blame Sir Robert Jones. His New Zealand Party unseated Muldoon, the Great Libertarian (as Sir Robert recently called him, give or take the occasional wage and price freeze) paving the way for Rogernomics. If Jones were PM there'd be no tattoos, sunglasses on heads, cellphone use in public, swigging from waterbottles, women who shriek or dress like clowns, or men behaving in an ungentlemanly fashion. They'd all be family men. Like Bob.

But Easton and Bertram are quite right. All this choice and freedom is killing us. We should repair to Nanny Muldoon's policies with haste.

By law, only four trading banks were permitted. They opened at 10am and closed at 3pm. There were no ATM machines. If you wanted cash for the weekend, you withdrew money on Friday before the bank closed. Interest was set on savings accounts at 3 per cent.

To send money overseas you bought money orders from the Post Office. Above a certain amount "about $5 a day" you applied to the Reserve Bank. Same for international magazines - you filled out a form, sent it to the Reserve Bank, and got permission from Nanny to send funds offshore.

No lives must be risked in the spending of this money. And marginal tax rates will go back to 66 per cent, kicking in at $30,000.

Why stop the death toll culpability at 29? What about those killed while driving to the shops on weekends? Shop trading hours were finally liberalised in 1989. Surely we can blame Rogernomics for that?

We should return to Nanny-enforced leisure time, when weekends were for washing the car and family fun. Friday night was late-night shopping - a great privilege (some might say it was blighted by bodgies and widgies). And we were allowed, by Nanny, one special late-night shopping near Christmas (when dads disappeared to pubs.

Rogernomics should be blamed for the 25 drivers killed while using their cellphones. These are weapons of mass destruction. Douglas liberated telecommunications.

In 1985 the state-owned Post Office stockpiled 2000 spare desks and chairs, and a two-year supply of dial phones nobody wanted.

Before you got a new phone you had to prove the one you had was beyond repair - but that was okay because nobody died and the phones didn't leak.

When the state owned our assets, the Post Office landed 13,000 faulty telephones, and a further $30 million of PABX equipment stayed in storage until someone felt like fixing the software. The numbers of people on waiting lists for telecommunications services nearly doubled in the three years to 1985, from 8000 to 15,000. But nobody overseas laughed at us.

How comforting were the arms of Nanny, pre-1984, when she decided what we could and couldn't buy. Government chose who could have import licences, and which local manufacturers should be protected.

It doesn't matter if New Zealand families can't afford cheap clothes and shoes for their children. That's not the point. It's Nanny's job - as these two erudite economists will happily point out - to protect the privileged, not the consumers who want to shop around, or go online, for cheaper goods.

Competition hurts producers, manufacturers, banks, supermarkets - goodness, even those selling milk and vegetables. Here, let Nanny put a plaster on it.