David Shearer and his cohort of prospective coalition partners, the Greens, Mana and NZ First, are holding a show-trial into who killed the manufacturing industry.
Forty thousand manufacturing jobs have disappeared, Shearer declares.
What he does not say is those 40,000 jobs have gone since a peak right before the 2008 recession and almost half of that loss occurred in the final year of the last Labour government.
But if Shearer and his band of the grumpy and frumpy were to take the time to read the Department of Statistics September 2012 Economic Survey on Manufacturing, they would learn that total sales in the sector have been static.
Falling from a high of $24 billion in 2008, it is now sitting at $23 billion, measured in 2010 dollars.
The industry has become more productive; jobs have gone, but sales have not.
A good point.
Shearer is known to enjoy the surf, so he will understand it is best to ride the waves – not try to turn them back.Manufacturing jobs that have gone are not coming back and there is nothing he, Graeme Wheeler or King Canute can do about it.
As well as his plan to build slums for the urban poor in areas where there will never be any employment – manufacturing or otherwise – he is granting a platform for the vested interests of the likes of the Manufacturers Association to cry about the exchange rate.
It is worth noting that the MEA represents relatively few manufacturers. Business NZ has a far higher proportion of manufacturers in their membership.
Manufacturing jobs have been killed because the economic tide has moved.
Shearer knows it, or should know it.
He may be king one day and if he is telling us he can control the tides of economic change, then he is going to look pretty silly on the beach after the next election.
Grant points out we also have fewer typists and lighthouse keepers than we used to!