The Dim-Post

October 29, 2009

Then Lancelot, Galahad and I Jump OUT of the rabbit . . .

Filed under: economics — danylmc @ 10:51 am

The must read article of the day is this column by Brian Fallow in the Herald about the Brash 2025 task force and the challenge of ‘catching up’ with Australia.

I won’t quote a bunch of excerpts – you really should read the whole thing – but the take home message is that we’re falling behind because of serious underperformance in areas like education, business leadership, investment in research and capital markets.

It’s all pretty grim reading and it gets even worse at the end when we see that Business New Zealand’s solutions to our poor performance in the above areas are:

the repeal of Working for Families, “simplifying” labour law as it relates to dismissal and collective bargaining, allowing the private sector into accident compensation, and including property rights in the Bill of Rights Act.

Analogy time! I still think that asking Brash to advise us on how to lift productivity is like asking a compulsive arsonist for interior decorating tips. (‘You want me to take out all the smoke alarms and replace them with rags soaked in petrol? Intriguing.’) And if your house was actually on fire and you went to Business New Zealand for help I think their response would be something along the lines of ‘Quick, go to an ATM machine, withdraw all of your cash from your bank account and give it to us before it goes up in smoke! Run!’

Nevertheless, I will be morbidly curious to see what Brash comes up with at the end of November.

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35 Comments »

  1. Sorry, I couldn’t get past the backflipping motorcyclist set against the harbour bridge.

    Hey Brash, if you like Australia so much why don’t you go live there?

    Comment by chris c — October 29, 2009 @ 11:15 am

  2. “Morbid curiosity” prodded the dead cat.

    Comment by Adhominem — October 29, 2009 @ 11:24 am

  3. A problem.

    Answer: more spending!

    How predictable. After 9 years of Labour we need more spending on education? Who exactly is claiming education doesn’t receive enough money after 9 years of Labour? Just like the hospitals. 4 billion more pumped into them, with nothing to show for it, except more managers.

    And with our current debt, is it really smart to borrow even more money from the Japanese? Who is going to pay that back? Our children! Yes, another socialist answer.

    Maybe we should try to stop this engineering for once. But governments will never admit failure and return the money to its citizens.

    Comment by Berend de Boer — October 29, 2009 @ 12:19 pm

  4. If only we could go back a couple billion years and rejig plate tectonics so that we had vast reserves of zinc, lead, nickel, mineral sands (rutile and zircon), tantalum and uranium remain the world’s largest, while bauxite, black coal, brown coal, copper, gold, iron ore, ilmenite, lithium, manganese ore, niobium, silver and industrial diamonds.

    Then we might have a shot at parity with Australia. Anyone got a time machine and some sort of continent-size terraforming machine?

    Comment by gazzaj — October 29, 2009 @ 12:48 pm

  5. Some thoughts for Dr Brash.

    1. You can’t improve income levels by paying people less.

    2. The CTU has shown that productivity has increased, but the returns all went to capital not labour. What will change?

    3. NZer’s can’t save because they live in a slave economy, in which monopolies and oligopolies exploit market power to make super-normal profits by gouging the consumer.

    4. Joining the Aussie dollar would reduce interest rates, currency volatility and the cost of capital. But apparently we are too different to Australia for this to work. Huh? Then why can Canada manage to have a single currency? Or the USA? Or Europe? Or Perth and Sydney for that matter? The argument against simply doesn’t add up.

    The opposition to currency union comes from Reserve Bank and Treasury, who have a massive conflict of interest on this that they fail to declare ! It’s the fight of the mediocre boys to keep playing with their mediocre toys.

    Comment by vibenna — October 29, 2009 @ 12:48 pm

  6. Whoops, didn’t read that after I pasted it.. remove “remain the world’s largest” and it’ll make more sense.

    Comment by gazzaj — October 29, 2009 @ 12:49 pm

  7. Yet again Berend peddles the argument that we should catch up with Australia by heading in the opposite direction.

    Comment by JD — October 29, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

  8. You’re right JD. I personally am heading down to Evans Bay today to start filling in the harbour with precious minerals and ores. I’m going to start with sand and spend my evenings jumping up and down on the beach until that stuff is compressed to buggery. I suggest everyone near a coastal region do the same, and keep doing it until NZ is the same size as Australia and has the same kind of mineral deposits.

    With sheer strength of will, New Zealand can compete on the same terms as Australia!!! Don Brash has spoken!!!

    Comment by chris c — October 29, 2009 @ 1:21 pm

  9. Danyl, I have noticed you seem to possess some sort of pathological hatred for Don Brash. What’s the cause of it?

    Comment by radar — October 29, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

  10. “It includes the repeal of Working for Families, “simplifying” labour law as it relates to dismissal and collective bargaining, allowing the private sector into accident compensation, and including property rights in the Bill of Rights Act.

    Let’s hope Dr Brash’s committee can come up with something better than that.”

    Well, those are useful things to do, but they are limited to what businesses think can be achieved in fractured NZ. Fallows last comment suggests he’s looking for a bit more vision.

    Right now the most successful business man in NZ is Brian Tamaki.. he certainly has a vision, has the strength of character to develop it with even quite raw talent and demands respect and obedience in implementing it. However, I doubt we are quite ready to turn the country over to him just yet.

    Which raises the question.. would we allow anyone to inspire us with an economic vision and knuckle down to implement it?

    JC

    Comment by JC — October 29, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

  11. Whitehead thinks that he is fit to declare the education system a failure. Can I have what they put in the coffee in Treasury and the RBNZ?

    Comment by George Darroch — October 29, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

  12. JC, what Danyl cannot see is that, OF COURSE, Business NZ cannot come up with things for the government to do, because the government can’t do a thing. Sorry guys. Government can’t help us. Nine years of Labour should have been clear enough. Nine years of Labour ended almost in totalitarian dictatorship: political speech limited, government takes over raising children, and they were telling you what lightbulbs you can install and how long your shower can be.

    Comment by Berend de Boer — October 29, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

  13. Nine years of Labour ended almost in totalitarian dictatorship: political speech limited, government takes over raising children, and they were telling you what lightbulbs you can install and how long your shower can be.

    Fucking slackers! This lot are already confiscating our precious bodily fluids.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — October 29, 2009 @ 6:19 pm

  14. The Business Roundtable (after an OECD report) reckons one of Brash’s interior decorating tips should be privatising the shipping ports. That will probably be next on Rodney’s list.

    Comment by Adhominem — October 29, 2009 @ 6:20 pm

  15. Pascal, I’m not claiming the next 9 years will be better…

    And you just prove my point.

    (but oh why did ACT have to vote for this………)

    Comment by Berend de Boer — October 29, 2009 @ 6:38 pm

  16. “Fucking slackers! This lot are already confiscating our precious bodily fluids.”
    Disturbing, it just goes to show that there is little difference between “nanny” Labour and “who’s the daddy” National.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 29, 2009 @ 6:39 pm

  17. Adhominem, count me surprised, but I didn’t even know the government here was involved with shipping. That explains a lot….

    Comment by Berend de Boer — October 29, 2009 @ 6:40 pm

  18. “Adhominem, count me surprised, but I didn’t even know the government here was involved with shipping.”

    most port facilities are predominantly owned by local government

    Comment by kahikatea — October 29, 2009 @ 6:49 pm

  19. @ kahikatea: Local governments are owners.

    Comment by Adhominem — October 29, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

  20. Rodney will get them to sell to the stock market’s delight.

    Comment by Adhominem — October 29, 2009 @ 7:01 pm

  21. I still believe we should split NZ. The lefties can get the first pick: North or South Island. Then both islands get to run according to the capitalist or the socialist paradigm. Let’s see in which one the people want to live….

    Comment by Berend de Boer — October 29, 2009 @ 8:33 pm

  22. @Adhominem:

    “@ kahikatea: Local governments are owners.”

    indeed. I just said they were the owners.

    Comment by kahikatea — October 29, 2009 @ 8:47 pm

  23. . The lefties can get the first pick: North or South Island. Then both islands get to run according to the capitalist or the socialist paradigm. Let’s see in which one the people want to live….

    What would you consider the most capitalist country in the world?

    Comment by StephenR — October 29, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

  24. @ kahikatea: Sorry. (I was distracted)
    I was speculating about the Ports. This is why…

    The Fallow story mentions Brash’s http://www.2025taskforce.govt.nz website, where I saw the dNZ Business Roundtable Submission. This proposal will be influential for the Don.
    Page 3 of it states:
    The OECD criticised recent renationalisations and recommends divestment of state-owned
    enterprises, particularly in energy and transport. It recommends similar moves for ports.

    The NZBR Submission states that all it’s proposals are based on the
    OECD: Policy Brief of Economic Survey of New Zealand 2009. Which looks like a blueprint for what can be expected in Brash’s “end of November” report.
    Page 7 of it states:
    Although the ports are corporatised, many have strong local-authority shareholding, with mixed agendas. Ownership changes and consolidation around fewer port companies are likely to be integral to enhancing efficiency in this sector. As well, capital investments can be encouraged by creating a welcoming environment for foreign direct investment. To do so New Zealand should eliminate FDI screening requirements, or, at a minimum, shift the burden to the government to demonstrate harm to the economy before turning down an investment proposal.

    Comment by Adhominem — October 30, 2009 @ 5:58 am

  25. StephenR: possibly Hong Kong, perhaps Singapore.

    And both aren’t completely free democracies, I know. NZ’s business climate is actually not bad, setting up a business here is fairly trivial. But the problem here is that government runs or controls large portions of people’s lives, all for the common good of course. But at one point in time we need to have adults, or else, if people are treated like children, they will behave like one, and wait for Santa Claus to come around and magically transform us in Australia++.

    Comment by Berend de Boer — October 30, 2009 @ 6:48 am

  26. possibly Hong Kong, perhaps Singapore.

    Strange how it’s almost every right-wingers dream to be ruled by the People’s Action Party or the Chinese Communists. What’s up with that?

    Comment by danylmc — October 30, 2009 @ 6:53 am

  27. Thanks Berend. @25 & @26: Yes a tricky one with the ‘free democracy’ stuff, but I can see how it’s not QUITE such a big issue when the government isn’t staffed by mass murderers/kleptomaniacs/police-statists like other not really free/unfree countries.

    Comment by StephenR — October 30, 2009 @ 7:04 am

  28. As we know, the Government in Singapore takes a laissez-faire approach to the lives of the citizens.

    Comment by JD — October 30, 2009 @ 7:43 am

  29. Berend, there’s no santa caluse. The social democrats have consistently been producing plans and policies and strategies designed to help us, ahem, “catch up”. The right hasn’t changed it’s policies since? Oh right, since the failed spectacularly in Ireland and Iceland.

    Comment by chris — October 30, 2009 @ 8:57 am

  30. What would you consider the most capitalist country in the world?

    Mainland China. Why?

    No welfare.

    Rampant corruption.

    Massive property bubble.

    Human rights abuses that make Guantanamo Bay look like Iggle Piggle’s play house.

    Comment by dontknowthat — October 30, 2009 @ 9:11 am

  31. Danyl: You know as well as I do that Hong Kong wasn’t built by the commies. It has been returned to them, but it runs under a different regime, but I fully expect it will lose its most favored status over time. It’s just that, for now, it still retains much of what it used to be.

    Now go back and come up with another strawman.

    Comment by Berend de Boer — October 30, 2009 @ 10:01 am

  32. chris, a feature of capitalism is that you can fail. Are allowed to fail. Get used to it.

    Comment by Berend de Boer — October 30, 2009 @ 10:04 am

  33. Chris @ 29
    Ireland? A massive bubble economy inflated by EU regional development injections? Whose govt courted large corporate foreigners with special tax-cuts over locals? That’s a “third way” economy, not a free-market. A free market doesn’t have a govt that gives favours to big business whilst hamstringing small business with myriad regulations.

    Iceland? An economy where suddenly everyone thought they were a banker, and bet the house on a rising market? Some of you folk confuse “speculation” with a free market.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 30, 2009 @ 11:44 am

  34. Berend: The Crown Colony of Hong Kong wasn’t exactly a democratic fantasyland.

    Comment by JD — October 30, 2009 @ 1:41 pm

  35. “As we know, the Government in Singapore takes a laissez-faire approach to the lives of the citizens.”

    I note this has quietly passed with zero comment from Berend et al.

    Now chaps, I admit life in Singapore is definitely not as bad as the worst excesses of Stalinism – but the PAP’s controls are still definitely more invasive than anything instituted under the last Labour government, whose alleged abuses y’all just couldn’t shut up about…

    Comment by Sam Finnemore — October 30, 2009 @ 2:31 pm


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