Bob Jones writes:
Have an election today and the government would bolt in, primarily because of Jacinda’s star power induced by the media’s obsession with her. But the election is six months away and then, I’m picking a change of government.
First, to clear the air, I like Jacinda and don’t wish the government’s demise. Long before there was any thought of her rise I admired her and Julie Anne Genter more than any other MPs. That’s because when I occasionally tuned into Parliament and they were speaking they did so enthusiastically, arguing for initiatives they thought beneficial, without ever resorting to the customary and tiresome abuse of the other side. This I found refreshing.
Second, perhaps surprising imagery-wise, I’ve voted National once in the last 40 years, that in 2014 as I was alarmed at the prospect of a Cunliffe Prime Ministership so don’t assume I’m writing this as a closet Nat.
So apart from 2014, Sir Bob last voted National in 1978!
HOW HAVE WE DONE?
Contrary to some of our Jacinda-obsessed non-analytical media, not very well.
We’ve wrongly followed overseas practices to the letter, indeed mostly to a more extreme degree. The advantages we started with meant we need not have gone that far and the economic cost will be enormous.
When the lockdown ends our major employer category, namely small and medium sized businesses will not simply start up again. Instead, a high percentage will have gone broke.
A Dominion-Post investigation revealed 400 Wellington restaurants are pulling stumps for example. They’re broke.
But economically it’s far wider than cafes. Everyone other than company receivers will suffer. The tourist related businesses; hotels, flights, travel agents, motels etc. etc. employing circa 300,000 people are gone. That’s not the governments fault but all the more reason for some common-sense with the balance of our economy which was sadly lacking.
Some economists are talking 10% unemployment. I hope that’s true but will be very happy if it’s only 25% although I expect for a time, an even higher figure.
Sadly many businesses will close and never reopen. Very sad for the staff but even sadder for the owners who may lost their life savings which they have invested in their businesses.
LOCATION – You must lockdown in your home but not a holiday home. Why on earth does it make any difference? It certainly does for the occupants as a change helps tolerating it. Instead the police inspected cars over Easter, turning back those with suitcases.
1) You may go for a walk but only in the vicinity of your home. What bloody difference does it make if you walk for an hour round and round the neighbourhood or a more interesting one of changing scenery. So too with cycling.
2) You cannot go swimming in beaches. Why? Because you’ll tie up police resources if you drown. Someone drowns roughly once a week in New Zealand, mostly in summer and in boating mishaps or rivers. So dozens of policemen have roamed our beaches to watch out for sinners. Madness! In the hugely improbably event someone drowned in Mission or Oriental Bay it’s an ambulance issue.
This is a fair point that the Police have used up far far more Police time on stopping people swimming than they would use up if people actually could swim.
PURCHASING – You may buy food but only in supermarkets. The result; all day queues. Obviously the more food outlets the better but the half-witted government had butchers, corner grocers and the like closed. In the process they’ve destroyed numerous small businesses.
DRIVING – You must only drive for an approved purpose, i.e. food or pharmacy purchasing. What nonsense! Thus slowly going mad, confined in a small house families, were denied the relief, while still maintaining their bubbles of an outing in a car.
FISHING – Banned. Why? We’re not told. So a bloke surf-casting alone on a beach, apart from the mental relief of escape, and the possibility of fresh food, constituted a massive health threat to the community. It should have been encouraged.
GOLF – Ban the groundsmen working despite them sitting alone on tractors in a massive land expanse. They doing that was ludicrously deemed a health threat to everyone. Golf courses already struggling now faced ruination.
The Government should have been more flexible with the focus on social distancing, rather than preventing people driving or fishing etc.
The IMF say the world is heading into a 1930s depression. I believe them.
By the time the elections arises we’ll be wallowing in despair with numerous small and medium sized businesses (our major employers) destroyed and unemployment levels that don’t bear thinking about.
Borrowing billions to dish out is no substitute for people working.
I’m not going to predict any election outcomes. I think it is hard enough to know what will happen next week let alone in five months.