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.