Mood of the Boardroom

Sadly I couldn’t make the annual Mood of the Boardroom in person, but the Herald reports:

Stop making “petty hits” on the Government and come up with innovative solutions to aid New Zealand during these difficult economic times.

That sums up the blunt message from chief executives to Labour leader Phil Goff and finance spokesman David Cunliffe.

Just 26 per cent of chief executives responding to the Mood of the Boardroom survey believe Goff and Cunliffe have done enough to challenge the Government’s economic performance to-date.

Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett believes Labour has missed an opportunity to “throw out the big dreams and challenges” when they are needed by a market facing uncertainty. “As an opposition they would have had to deliver but could have pushed the Government for more innovation and vision.”

“Skills and education would be a good subject for Labour,” adds EMA (Northern) chief executive Alasdair Thompson. “But they have to tackle poor performance, not just protect teachers’ unions.”

That would be a welcome step.

Goff’s pursuit of disgraced former Cabinet Minister Richard Worth put him back in the political spotlight. But CEOs aren’t that impressed. “Labour was distracted with the Worth affair – forget playing the man and make a meaningful and real contribution.”

“I have no idea what they are doing. No policy. They are just mud rakers.”

I think most in Labour would now agree Goff handled it badly.

“Ritual bleating about possible privatisations means they exploit the ignorance of some voters whilst not offering any meaningful solutions to our overseas borrowing problems,” says a finance chief. “They dumb-down the debate”

I think Labour have a real problem with the 2011 election. The crown accounts will still be in deficit, and debt projections still negative. Is Labour really going to go into 2011 promising to borrow more money to indebt future generations? Or will they promise tax increases? Or will they commit to the same fiscal parameters as the Government – but instead propose spending more in some areas and less in other areas?

Labour since the election has implicitly committed to billions of dollars of extra spending. At election time they will have to put forward an alternative budget where people will be able to see how much extra debt or tax they are promising.

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