Third, in the longer term, how best do we position New Zealand to succeed in the post-Covid world.
On this, there will be a political divide. The instinct of the Labour/ New Zealand First government will be to assume that a committee of Wellington politicians and officials, with a couple of business folk, a union rep and two iwi leaders should steer our path into the new economy. The likes of Shane Jones and Phil Twyford will implement it.
We are sceptical of that approach.
Sceptical? It’s like a horror show. They could compete on who can spend the most money and achieve almost nothing for it
Absolutely, there is a critical role for government, with its capacity to fund good quality transport and water infrastructure. We’ve seen shortcomings in the health system’s digital infrastructure during this crisis; we should substantially upgrade this. Government has a critical role in ensuring the education sector delivers the skills we need to work productively.
A good example of government’s contribution is the previous National administration’s massive investment in Ultra-Fast-Broadband, which has made the past few weeks much more bearable and productive.
Thank goodness National made this a priority in 2008.
But the core engine of growth will always be private sector investment – men, women and their businesses taking on new ventures, rebuilding their businesses, expanding, hiring people – taking mad risks. No committee would have thought Kiwis should get into rockets, or into online accounting systems.
The recipe hasn’t changed. Successful economies make it easy for the investment to flow to more productive activities – they welcome investment, they don’t over regulate or over tax, they provide clear and consistent rules, properly enforced, and don’t go changing them all the time.
This is what Labour I think can’t do as it goes against their DNA. How do we impose less cost and regulation on businesses.