A productivity commission

July 20th, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Fran O’Sullivan writes:

The Government will soon launch a designed to run its ruler over key sectors in the NZ economy and advise on initiatives that might ultimately help bridge the income gap with Australia.

The proposal for a Productivity Commission has grown out of the post-election agreement National and Act made for a “high quality advisory group” which would be tasked with the challenge of investigating how NZ would close the income gap with Australia by 2025.

I think a productivity is one of the most important things we can do, for increasing long-term growth. The Australian equivalent is one of the reasons they have done better economically – for them reform is not just something that happened in the 1980s, but has been an ongoing work programme under Hawke, Keating, Howard and now Rudd.

One of the first initiatives for the new Productivity Commission should be to examine why New Zealand has so many ports.

Ports productivity is a major issue – for both exporters and importers – given NZ’s distance from markets. Just two NZ ports have agreed to transparently provide benchmarking data to overlay on the Australian Productivity Commission’s benchmarking studies in this area – other ports declined to participate.

Given the fact that Australia is New Zealand’s biggest export market, it is important to get ports’ efficiency increased.

That does sound like a good first project.

It is still unclear who will chair the commission.

Minister for Regulatory Reform Rodney Hide favours former Reserve Bank Governor and now company director .

Economically my views are very close to Don Brash. From an economic point of view, I think he would do a great job.

But, and this is a big but, the sucess of the Australian Productivity Commission is that it has been supported by both the Coalition and the ALP. Sure they don’t agree with every recommendation, but they recognise its importance and don’t try and demonise and undermine the Commission.

Getting NZ Labour to support a NZ Productivity Commission will be difficult enough. However Goff and Cunliffe are more moderate than Clark and Cullen, and I hope they will be constructive towards it. Just because it will sometimes recommend unpalatable reforms is not a reason to silence or marginalise it.

And this is where politically having Don as inaugural Chairman may be inadvisable. It would almost guarantee Labour’s opposition to it. And in most cases I wouldn’t care about that. But I have heard multiple times that the success of the APC comes down a lot to the bipartisan support for it.

The Australian Productivity Commission’s work programme gives some insights into the type of issues that the New Zealand commission could be invited to examine.

The Australians are examining the relative performance of the public and private hospital systems looking into comparative hospital and medical costs for clinically similar procedures.

It is examining Australia’s anti-dumping system, executive remuneration, the contribution of the not-for-profit sector and gambling.

They all look interesting topics. I would be most interested in a study of gambling from an economic point of view.

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59 Responses to “A productivity commission”

  1. vibenna (305 comments) says:

    What about an economist, such as Lew Evans of Victoria?

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  2. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Bolger! :-D

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  3. grumpyoldhori (2,416 comments) says:

    Being a cynic David I just cannot see the Round Table wanting to follow the Australian approach of using capital for plant which drops the number of workers needed.
    Nope, I can hear the whining now, all we need is to drop the minimum wage to a dollar a day to fix our productivity problems.
    Oh, and the idea that extra productivity always leads to greater wages, just a myth.
    Hide wants Brash, obviously he is not looking for a inter party approach to the problem.

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  4. ngaioconservative1 (10 comments) says:

    Why do we need another bloody quango! Good ideas, but make the Treasury do it, or the Ministry of Economic Development…

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  5. JC (932 comments) says:

    Frankly, the possible appointment of Brash or some Treasury wonk appalls me.

    The position needs someone with relevant experience in the public and private sectors, someone well able to pull disparate threads together and articulate them well to the public. Anyone with recent and significant associations with politics and politicians would be suspect.. IMO.

    JC

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  6. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    will they look at changing the laws on cannabis..from an economic/productive ‘point of view’..?

    ..if not..

    ..why not..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  7. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    oh yeah, great idea phil – and while we’re at it, let’s remove seatbelts from cars to save money…

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  8. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    and really..!..appointing the local disciples of the (now proven) failed reagonomics/’free-market’..?

    ..these are yesterdays’ men..looking back..and still peddling/defending their failed ideologies..

    ..w.t.f.have they got to offer..?

    ..they should all be huddled in a corner..avoiding the rain of rotten fruit/vegetables..

    ..they all so soundly deserve/is their ‘due’..

    ..i’ve said it before..

    ..to still stand and claim some sort of gravitas..

    ..after all their actions have lead to/fostered the current state of bubble-driven deep-shit we are now finding ourselves in..

    ..they must have balls the size of the moeraki marbles..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    and speaking of ‘failed-prophets’..?

    ..how about that allan (‘the recession is over!’) bollard..?

    ..eh..?

    ..yagottalaff..!

    ..eh..?

    (however ‘black’ the tone..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  9. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    unsure of yr connection there..buggerlugs..

    ..please explain..!

    ..(and psstt!!..(said in a homer simpson stage-whisper)..’i’m talking about the government making lots and lots..and saving lots and lots..

    ..of that product currently in short supply..

    ..money’..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  10. KiwiGreg (3,211 comments) says:

    Why on earth would you need a government commission to tell you if there are “too many ports”? Heard of the market? Just get the government owners out of hte way, private capital will soon work out how many ports there “should” be (and that will only be a measure of a moment in time) and what they “should” be doing.

    Same as everything else. Just get out of the way – there is a perfectly good system called capitalism for efficiently and productively allocating assets.

    This seems to be fulfililng a need for governments to be seen to doing something even when they have nothing to add.

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  11. Brian Smaller (4,025 comments) says:

    Philu commenting on productivity. Now there is an oxymoron if ever I saw one.

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  12. kiwipolemicist (393 comments) says:

    We don’t need a productivity commission, we need a government that will stop taking about 45% of the GDP and remove massive compliance costs from businesses.

    That means a flat tax rate of 10% or less – it’s worked overseas.

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  13. JC (932 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg, the ports comment baffled me.

    If you cut back on export ports you’d double the costs of transport of stuff like logs in many places.

    JC

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  14. Luke H (73 comments) says:

    Why do we need a government commission? There are already analyses of port productivity by private interests. Eg:

    Port Productivity

    Port Sector Report

    More to the point, if investors and port chiefs decide they will get better return on their investment by amalgamating into a few large ports, it will happen. Why does the government have to get involved?

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  15. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    “That means a flat tax rate of 10% or less – it’s worked overseas.”

    10% or less…where?

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  16. kiwipolemicist (393 comments) says:

    Singapore 6% I understand.
    Ireland 10 or 12%

    There’s also ACT party models.

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  17. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    My bad kiwipolemicist, mentioning a ‘flat tax’ just got me assuming you were talking income tax.

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  18. KiwiGreg (3,211 comments) says:

    I’m all in favour of a low flat tax but I dont think there are too many (post 19th century) models – Ireland had (has?) a 15% corporate tax rate (the personal tax rate was higher and progressive), from memory Hong Kong is something less than 20% but isn’t flat.

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  19. davidp (3,556 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg>Why on earth would you need a government commission to tell you if there are “too many ports”?

    I’m guessing that most (all?) of them are owned or part owned by local government, and run for purposes that aren’t completely commercial. In which case the answer might be to privatise and sell them all in order to realise efficiency gains, in which case a PC analysis might help the government to sell the things in such a way as to maximise returns.

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  20. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    What has the taxation level got to do with productivity? I would have thought the level of training and expertise of our workforce, the degree of investment in technology and our levels of our R and D should be the issues a commission should talk about.

    Our productivity will only increase when we start producing stuff!

    We can only do that when we have the workers and ideas capable of doing that.

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  21. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..# Brian Smaller (1322) Vote: Add rating 2 Subtract rating 0 Says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Philu commenting on productivity. Now there is an oxymoron if ever I saw one..”

    hey..!..15-30 new stories/links..every day..

    ..published every day in four years+..

    ..and an archive of twenty-five thousand + stories..in/from that time..

    ..now..

    ..that’s ‘productivity’ !..

    ..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  22. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    and never (even!) mind the width..

    ..feel the quality..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  23. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    I’m guessing that most (all?) of them are owned or part owned by local government, and run for purposes that aren’t completely commercial.

    I saw an opinion(?) piece in the Herald a week or two ago that referred to a ‘key’ benefit of local govt owning the port – quite a bit of money to spend on infrastructure and the like.

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  24. Tim Ellis (253 comments) says:

    I would think somebody like Sir John Anderson would be a good pick to chair the productivity commission. Strong business credentials, political support from both sides of the spectrum, and a safe pair of hands.

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  25. KiwiGreg (3,211 comments) says:

    “What has the taxation level got to do with productivity? ”

    Taxation has a significant “drag” effect on the economy by reducing incentives to work and invest. I’ll see if I can find an online link to the research but basically every $1 of tax raised reduces the size of the economy by more than $1 (some estimates are multiples of $1). Note I’m talking about taxation here, not government spending, and not the distortionary impact of WHAT is taxed or not taxed.

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  26. Cerium (23,290 comments) says:

    How much would productivity improve if ports became as efficient and competitive as, say, the power and telecoms sectors?

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  27. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    “And this is where politically having Don as inaugural Chairman may be inadvisable. It would almost guarantee Labour’s opposition to it.”

    If Labour chooses to respond to the recommendations of a productivity commission by making it “all about Brash” that is their choice.

    Of course this would be an example of infantile ad hominem attack.

    Yes. Some of Labour’s low calibre MP’s might engage in this along with those of the hard left. But that is not a reason for the Government to jump around to their tune.

    Goff would be advised to not judge the commission by its composition prior to any recommendations – there is a possibility that he might led a Government in need of ideas; its likely that a future Labour leader will.

    Yes Labour’s view about the composition of the commission is relevant and I would hope that the Government consult with Labour and request nominations. This would be a good practice to start with appointments to the commission. However Labour’s views should not be determinative; they do not have the power to declare some New Zealanders non citizens simply because some on the left have a fetish.

    They need to get over it and in Helen’s words “they need to move on.”

    In the end the value of the commission is in what it produces not who chairs it. The Government should seek to appoint those who can add maximum value irrespective of party affiliation.

    The only question is whether Brash is qualified, could make a real contribution and is willing to serve.

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  28. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    At last John Key announces how he’ll deliver on his promise to improve NZ’s productivity; a Commission. Phew, I was worried.

    Buck meet pass.

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  29. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    diack:..answer::..as the chief architect of of our current failures..no he’s not..

    ..and it follows..no..no ‘real contribution’ to be had..

    ..and..of course he would ‘serve’/have a payday/more troughing…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  30. kiwipolemicist (393 comments) says:

    BChapman:

    What has the taxation level got to do with productivity?

    When tax is lower businesses have more money to purchase raw materials, hire workers, etc.. They then sell their goods, make more profit, and put some of that profit into buying more raw materials and hiring more workers. More people are employed and have more money in their pocket due to lower taxes, so they buy goods and you get a snowball effect.

    Meanwhile, the total tax take in $ rises and the govt can pay doctors a realistic wage ( I’m not in favour of state health care).

    Stephen: I’m talking about a flat income tax for business and private. Remove all other taxes.

    I have to depart from Blogland now.

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  31. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    key really is our ‘herbert hoover’..eh..?

    ..just words..is all he has to offer..

    ..and here’s a thought for him to fall asleep to..

    question:..why was bush-senior a one-term president..?

    answer:..a recession..he did nothing about..

    ..mmm!!!

    ..eh..?

    one-term-john..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz

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  32. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    Phool

    Fuck off, this is a thread for tax payers and those in employment, you have no right to be discussing the nations productivity level.

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  33. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    Don Brash was one of the first internationally recognised economists to identify the housing bubble as a threat to the stability of world financial markets and to make a public statement to that effect. So you can hardly blame him for the global crisis.
    It was a labour government that appointed him governor of the NZ Reserve Bank. And the foundations he laid in his term are a major reason our banks are in good shape compared to most.

    Re: Productivity.
    Our overall productivity is low and failing to increase to catch up with others.
    However there are two elements to productivity – labour productivity and capital productivity.
    Our labour productivity has been doing very well – right up there with top performers. We work hard and have good skills. This is particularly true in the agriculture and technical service sectors.
    BUT our capital productivity has actually been falling dramatically since about 2002. This is where high compliance costs, and deadweights costs, and delays and uncertainties have their impact.
    And when the productivity of capital is low the owners of capital take it elsewhere. This is why we carry logs all around the country looking for a port. It is virtually impossible to build (ie invest in) a timber processing plant in NZ because a host of interest groups will object and have their way.
    Just as the three luxury resorts in my area that have failed to get resource consents discourage anyone else from having a go.

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  34. Bruce Hamilton (60 comments) says:

    Owen McShane (780) Says:
    July 20th, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Re: Productivity….
    ” BUT our capital productivity has actually been falling dramatically since about 2002. This is where high compliance costs, and deadweights costs, and delays and uncertainties have their impact.
    And when the productivity of capital is low the owners of capital take it elsewhere. This is why we carry logs all around the country looking for a port. It is virtually impossible to build (ie invest in) a timber processing plant in NZ because a host of interest groups will object and have their way.
    Just as the three luxury resorts in my area that have failed to get resource consents discourage anyone else from having a go.”

    You shouldn’t have written those opposing submissions. Everybody abhors NIMBY submissions, until it’s their backyard…
    The causes of capital productivity are not solely costs, there is a total lack of vision in many boardrooms, and many senior managers are appointed to improve short term shareholder earnings, not productivity.

    Before creating another hydra head, one should be chopped off, perhaps part of the Ministry of Economic Development?.

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  35. backster (2,122 comments) says:

    I agree before we have another COMMISSION at least one needs to be dispensed with i.e. families commission, law commission…As for the Ports, well Tauranga outperforms Auckland in all respects so that probably rules Banksie outfor membership of the Commission. Bi Partisanship might work in Aussie with a Liabour Gvt. Liberal Opposition but over there pragmatism and patriotism take priority over ideology, whereas here the reverse applies…Liabour would want Cullen on board as a counterweight to Brash and he wouldn’t give two tosses about the recovery of our economy.

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  36. Tom Semmens (79 comments) says:

    Don Brash? DON F**cking BRASH??

    If you want to save taxpayers money, then can this “commission.” One presumes the only purpose of this “commission” is to give this arch champion of less government another chance suck at the taxpayer’s throat, because everyone already knows exactly what this undead disciple of the market will say.

    Why you would pick such a widely loathed anti-democratic technocrat whose primary contribution to New Zealand politics was his novel belief he has a moral mandate from (presumably) his Randian God as an excuse for lying his way to power is beyond me.

    He’ll spout the same Neo-liberal nonsense that has been decisively rejected at every election in the last twenty plus years and as the global capitalist meltdown has shown us is now a demonstrably failed ideology.

    Yesterday’s man offering more of yesterday’s discredited, divisive and failed vodoo economics is not the way ahead, but the way backward. Typical though of a government – and ex-advisors now bloggers – who have little to offer beyond tired, discredited ideas from a quarter of a century ago.

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  37. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    mcshane..re yr ‘don’t blame brash’..bleat..

    ..brash was the gung-ho promoter of the cheap money/credit..(as per ‘freemarket dictums/dogma’..

    ..that created the bubbles..

    ..that then burst..

    ..and brought us to this place..

    ..what the fuck can you not comprehend about that..?

    ..it’s as simple as 1-2-3..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  38. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    I do not need any fucken commission. Increasing NZ’s productivity is so simple a child could recognise the solution.

    GET RID OF ALL THE DAMN BLUDGERS…!!!!!!!!!!

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  39. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    The fact that Philu (who has momentarily put the hookah aside to advocate intellectual clarity by others) and Tom (top draw analyis there) are out on the issue of a potential Brash appointment to the productivity commission tells me Rodney Hide is on the right track.

    The Nats need to “man up” on this one. And Labour need offer up some decent potential appointees.

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  40. toad (3,672 comments) says:

    When I hear governments talk about “improving productivity” it usually means “sacking workers”. It certainly will if Don Brash is involved.

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  41. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Maybe I read too much Krugmann, Steiglitz, Raulston saul and others to appreciate the refinements of the Reagan/Thatcher less tax/more revenue/trickle down mantra, but I have seen no theoretical or real life arguments to remotely support this contention. Has anyone compard the recent economic performances of Norway versus Ireland over the last 12 months?
    At present in fact we are seeing a parallel real life experiment with the contrasting approaches of the Australian and New Zealand Governments.

    As I see it the equation is simple- lower wages and lower taxes equals less personal investment, personal saving and spending and less government spending on education, health care and things like scientists, tourism, our environment and even our town centers and community support mechanisms. This leads to the loss of skilled workers (teachers, medical and agricultural specialists, engineers etc), research and development, educational capacity and ultimately the capital which is searching for these sorts of growth promoters.

    The end outcome of this is a productivity collapse, as we no longer have the capital or workers to compete with countries like Australia. This of course further deflates our local businesses and tax base as we no longer have enough well paid jobs to generate any purchasing power to keep our domestic service sector profitable.

    This is not a recent process, but has been occuring contnuously since the 1980s in pretty well all the Western economies, which was the same time they adopted the small government, low investment mantra. Have a look at the average GDP of NZ pre 1980 compared to post 1980 and you will see what I mean. It was also the time when the western economies went from current account surplus to deficit.

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  42. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “it usually means “sacking workers”.”

    No it doesn’t. It means reducing Labour voting public servants padding out unproductive and unnecessary government departments and giving real workers tax cuts.

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  43. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Singapore 6% I understand.
    Ireland 10 or 12%

    According to Wiki, Singapore has a progressive income tax ranging from 0% to 20% and a GST of 7%. I couldn’t find the corporate rate on Wiki, but this page says “Overall company tax rate is a flat 18% which will be further reduced to 17% from 2010″.

    According to this, Ireland has income tax of 20%-41% and corporate tax of 12.5%.

    Any more suggestions for countries where a flat tax of 10% has worked?

    Also an interesting graph here

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  44. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Redbaiter,
    Is that your standard answer for everything? Get rid of all our teachers, ARI scientists, medical specialists, engineers, universities lecturers, firefighters and drug/alcohol counsellors?

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  45. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    Interesting to note that of the very few policy responses, as opposed to rhethorical burps, Key’s introduced, they’ve reduced funding for skills formation. Polytechnics will turn people away at the very point in time when they should be training them for new and different jobs to build labour productivity. Contrast Key’s short-sighted approach with state and federal governments in Australia which have hugely increased funding for skills formation.

    Confirms Key’s approach is talk only… sorry, and to commission others to talk too…

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  46. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Get rid of all our teachers, ARI scientists, medical specialists, engineers, universities lecturers, firefighters and drug/alcohol counsellors?”

    Get their wages paid by those who choose to utilize them and not compulsorily by the taxpayer yes.

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  47. Offshore_Kiwi (557 comments) says:

    I suspect that regardless of credentials, Brash is a no-go if the Nats even want to invite Labour and the Watermelons into the tent for discussions (as you said, DPF, one of the keys to the success of the Oztralian Productivity Commission is that it is supported by both (all?) flavours of politics).

    On the other hand, this might be an opportunity to hold up a mirror to the Kullen “We won you lost eat that” comment :)

    There are so many issues a PC could investigate, apart from ports. What about a decent R&D regime to encourage new economy (note this means real New Economy, not artificial “green” economy) enterprises and jobs to NZ? What about real solutions on closing the wages gap with Australia (I mean real solutions like proper tax reform, proper R&D tax concessions and a raft of others). I suspect ports would be so far down the list it might get a look in 2025.

    Of course the risk with a PC is that if the leftards ever get back into power it will be turned into a vehicle to ram compulsory unionism and other retarded notions back in.

    Incidentally anecdotally the reason Kiwis do so well in Australia is because of the lack of productivity here (in spite of the work of the PC, not because of it). (As a general rule) kiwis who have the guts and determination to relocate are those who will turn their hand to pretty much anything, and will stick with it until they’re good at it. Australia is still in the vice-like grip of the unions and there’s a lot of “that isn’t in my job description” bullshit, so it doesn’t take much motivation to succeed. Combine the kiwi attitude with a PC that looks at policy initiatives and shifts to get the country moving, and a government that is prepared to actually listen and, if necessary, change its positions and policies (yeah right) and I reckon you have a killer combination.

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  48. Jack5 (4,818 comments) says:

    BChapman posted at 2.21:”… Has anyone compared the recent economic performances of Norway versus Ireland over the last 12 months?

    How do you meaningfully compare the Ireland and Norwegian economies, when Norway is stinking rich on oil and gas and doesn’t even have to be in the EU?

    BChapman also suggests that raising wages (by state decree, obviously) and tax is the way to increase productivity. What if the increased wages in a tiny trading nation like NZ just mean greater demand for imports from China etc? Then we increase the rate that we go down the gurgler of balance of payments.

    As a nation we meet the bleak Dickens statement: Income twenty shillings, expenditure twenty shillings and sixpence, result misery.

    For fuck’s sake, socialism has failed everywhere from North Korea to Belarus to Cuba. If China is the exception, it’s because the communist elite is running a capitalist economy in communist drag. The NZ economy would take off if leftists volunteered to leave the country en masse to dig wells in Africa.

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  49. Rex Widerstrom (5,327 comments) says:

    I tend to agree with commenters above that it’s not necessary and that the people being talked about as being on it have had plenty of opportunity to promote their ideas so if we must have one, how about appointing people who we don’t hear banging on all the time?

    But I’d object a lot less if their first target over which it was going to “run its ruler” was the public service, particularly Justice, Corrections, and WINZ, with a view to forcing them to adopt overseas best practice in their philosophies and operations.

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  50. V (690 comments) says:

    Good idea so long as politicians can give it the freedom it requires, in Australia the body also sets the minimum wage, I wonder if we will do the same here?

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  51. Paul Walker (50 comments) says:

    Over at Anti-Dismal I question whether we actually need a Productivity Commission at all. I’m not sure that it will do anything for our long-term growth rate.

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  52. whalehunter (477 comments) says:

    i reakon, national is spending the money they saved on tax cuts by having a commision, on everything.

    so safe.

    a good example of our productivity is that our very housing, is our safest, best allround investment, ultimately dening most a good living standard… when surely, business and business lending should be.

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  53. reid (16,091 comments) says:

    Look, hul-fucking-lo.

    Productivity is NOT repeat NOT repeat NOT about govenance.

    I know, this is my field.

    You need to focus on stats that count, for you. These are in 3 main arenas:
    Cycle time
    Quality a.k.a. defect rate
    Cost

    Yeh yeh, the old project management triangle. But you don’t look at them like you’re managing a project, you look at them as outcomes and how you can change the current operating paradigms.

    I know I’m already boring some. Suffice to say, if you look toward governors to fix a productivity problem, good luck. It’s about operations.

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  54. adamsmith1922 (889 comments) says:

    David

    I agree with Paul Walker at Anti-Dismal and think there are alternatives without another bloody quango http://bit.ly/35EizJ

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  55. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,830 comments) says:

    I’m so pleased to see Dr Brash has been appointed, against the advice of DPF, the trade unions and their provisional wing Labour. I like the look of a government which has some spine and ignores the weeping willows within its own ranks.

    Labour have unjustly demonised Dr Brash ever since he scared the shit out of them by nearly knocking them over in 2005. In point of fact, their new man in Mt Albert is further to the right than Dr Brash.

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  56. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    so..adolf..

    your thoughts on brash being the architect/driver of all that free-market/cheap monies ideologies..?

    y’know..!..those ones that built those bubbles..?

    ..that then burst..?

    ..remember them..?

    ..and brought us to the place we are now..?

    ..staring down into an abyss..?

    ..but he’s the man..!

    ..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  57. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,830 comments) says:

    Phil, you’re spewing down your shirt front again.

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  58. toad (3,672 comments) says:

    Aaargh! It’s Brash.

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  59. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    …help bridge the income gap with Australia.

    Which income gap are we talking about?

    Between rich NZ and rich OZ? Poor NZ and poor OZ? Rich NZ and poor OZ? how about the gap between resource rich Western Australia and resource poor Victoria?

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