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Govt banks on winning lottery

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 am, May 26th, 2012 - 47 comments
Categories: economy, national - Tags:

National’s economic thought is apparently that the economy wants to be a three-legged stool.

The first (obvious) leg is farming, which can’t really be expanded much more.

The second leg is tourism, which is why John Key has the Tourism portfolio, while David Shearer has Science and Innovation.  Every additional tourism job makes us poorer as a country as tourism jobs earn less for the country than our national average – let alone the OECD’s average.

The third leg is ‘drill baby drill‘.

New Zealand has not had the most stringent restrictions on mineral and gas exploration.  Outside National Parks – even on conservation land – it’s not hard for a mineral prospector to get a license to explore.  And should they find something and exploit it, the royalties and obligations aren’t that high – frankly they should be more onerous.  We have nothing like the restrictions Middle Eastern nations put on their precious resources, to keep the wealth in their countries, and  nothing like the protections Norway has for its environment.

And yet, the exploitation companies haven’t come in their droves.

But for some reason National seem to think that that’s where our future lies.  Statistics say that we have rights to a decent chunk of the planet’s surface (most of it underwater), so on average there should be substantial deposits somewhere.

On average someone wins Lotto each week too.  That doesn’t mean we’re going to get lucky if we buy a heap of tickets.  Indeed some may recall that the title ‘the Lucky Country’ is already taken.  And they’ve got a lot more surface area than us.

Now we may be lucky and become the Norway of the South Seas.  Hopefully we’ll be sensible enough to try and demand their environmental standards before there’s a Horizon event.  And hopefully we’ll negotiate to keep a decent share of the profits from what is our resource, not some prospecting companies.  With this government I wouldn’t be confident of either.

But to decide that ‘getting lucky’ is our path to future prosperity?  To bank on a lucky find instead of the talents of our people?  This speaks of a serious lack of faith in New Zealanders.  We’re not good enough to get there with knowledge and skills and education and innovation.  No, we’ll just have to bank on hitting the jackpot.

Bill English had some lovely quotes yesterday:

Great work Bill.

47 comments on “Govt banks on winning lottery”

  1. Chris 1

    Your link doesn’t provide anything about him saying Europe is a country.

    Also the one about him saying you can’t do anything in the environment or whatever his point is exactly the same as yours anyway? 

    • Te Reo Putake 1.1

      “Your link doesn’t provide anything about him saying Europe is a country.”
       
      Er, yes it does, Chris.
       
      “What the world was seeing in Europe and the United States was the end of the post-war model which was that when your income was not going up, you just borrow it.
      “They are drowning in debt and there’s only two ways to deal with debt,” he told the ANZ Post Budget breakfast in Wellington this morning. “Pay it off or write it off.”
      “What’s going on in both of those countries is it is growing and they are shifting it around. Those aren’t solutions.”
       

  2. Chris 2

    No the first quote you have provided about Europe and the United States is a quote from the article which is not attributed in the article to English. 

    • Te Reo Putake 2.1

      Did you not spot the quotation marks, Chris? They follow pretty quickly on from the words ‘Bill English says’.
       

      • Chris 2.1.1

        No I didn’t spot the quotation marks because they are not around the part that talks about the US and Europe they are around the next sentence

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1

          You need to go back to school and learn English.

          • Chris 2.1.1.1.1

            How so? Just to clarify he probably did say it I don’t really care either way but that article doesn’t show he did.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes it does as shown in the bit that was quoted back at you.

              Finance Minister Bill English says people should get used to a regular sense of crisis over debt.

              What the world was seeing in Europe and the United States was the end of the post-war model which was that when your income was not going up, you just borrow it.

              “They are drowning in debt and there’s only two ways to deal with debt,” he told the ANZ Post Budget breakfast in Wellington this morning. “Pay it off or write it off.”

              “What’s going on in both of those countries is it is growing and they are shifting it around. Those aren’t solutions.

              Can’t ignore the fact that the whole things starts with Finance Minister Bill English says…

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1.2

              Come on Chris are you taking the piss?

        • Te Reo Putake 2.1.1.2

          None so blind, etc.

  3. ianmac 3

    Steven Keen on Kim Hill this morning says that Greece could default on debt which would hurt the French and German Banks who encouraged the Greek Loans, but after some intense pain Greece would re-emerge with the drachma and prosperity eventually.

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  4. ropata 4

    Ben, there’s an error in your 3rd sentence. Steven Joyce is Minister for Science and Innovation, not David Shearer!

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      I believe Ben is describing the way ahead for the country that Labour thinks is important (Science and Technology) vs the way National thinks is important (Tourism).

    • Blue 4.2

      Ben is perfectly correct. ‘Portfolio’ can refer to a Ministerial portfolio, but it can also refer to an Opposition MP’s ‘shadow portfolio’ – they are assigned one by their party leader and they are the official spokesperson for the party on issues relating to that portfolio.

      David Shearer has chosen the Science and Innovation shadow portfolio for himself. David Parker has the Finance shadow portfolio etc.

  5. DH 5

    “Every additional tourism job makes us poorer as a country as tourism jobs earn less for the country than our national average – let alone the OECD’s average.”

    Have to disagree with that. Tourism is good for the country because we’re effectively renting our resources instead of selling them. The wages in the tourism industry have little relationship with it being economically good or bad and in our existing climate any job is better than none anyway. The pay is no worse than the factory jobs that have been disappearing and it wouldn’t pay any less than the primary producers.

    Tourism is our second biggest export industry and importantly tourists pay tax. The GST take from international tourism must be pushing $1billion and that’s not to be laughed at, exporters don’t pay GST. (International tourism pulled in $9billion last year). It also increases the demand for domestic goods & services and improves economies of scale in cottage industries.

    We’re sending some $14billion overseas each year in dividends to overseas investors. We need $14billion in export earnings just to keep our $dollar at parity and that’s before we start importing consumer goods. We’re presently achieving that parity by letting foreigners buy up the country, we’d be much better off if we could double or triple tourism.

    Don’t knock tourism. Without it we’d have been in the crapper long ago.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Tourism is a half flat tyre which is of help keeping us going, but will never ever give us many jobs which pay $20/hr or $25/hr.

      I guess a poor nation of poor people can’t be picky, however.

      • DH 5.1.1

        Bullshit. Tourism creates a lot of well-paid jobs.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          Nah, with only $85,000 of tourism revenue per tourism employee, what you state is impossible.

          Fonterra in comparison generates almost $200,000 of revenue per employee. Now that’s a place which can afford to pay well.

          • DH 5.1.1.1.1

            Those figures have nothing to do with how much the wages are in each industry, cows don’t get paid for their milk. Go and ask the thousands who queue up for supermarket jobs if they’d take a job in tourism if it was offered.

            • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Go and ask the thousands who queue up for supermarket jobs if they’d take a job in tourism if it was offered.

              I think you are making my point. Poor people in a poor country can’t be picky.

              And of course, an industry can’t pay higher wages than the revenue per employee which goes through it, can it?

              • DH

                You’re completely missing the point. A job is better than no job. The per revenue figures you quote say that tourism employs two and a half times as many people as Fonterra’s business by revenue. Which is better here?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Of course a job is better than no job. As I said, poor people in a poor country can’t afford to be picky.

                  The only thing I differed from you was to do with your statement:

                  Tourism creates a lot of well-paid jobs.

                  Whereas I think that most tourism jobs pay much less than $20/hr. Whether its at ski fields, in cafes and restaurants, or hotel/motel workers, the jobs all tend towards minimum wage or near minimum wage.

    • ianmac 5.2

      Tourism is fragile for us far away. A greater downturn in world travelling brought about by fuel crisis or political problems or economic collapses, would make tourism jobs disappear overnight. Which people would lose out I wonder?

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.1

        With peak oil biting harder year by year, tourism is a sunset industry. As is industrial agriculture.

        Whoops, that’s the entire NZ economy toast in the next 25 years.

      • DH 5.2.2

        Name an industry that isn’t fragile. It’s no worse than any other and indeed it hasn’t suffered as much as other industries this last 4-5 yrs. International tourist spending increased 1.5% in 2011.

        There’s huge economic spinoffs from tourism, don’t knock it. The goodwill we generate can follow on as demand overseas for our goods & services, it creates a hell of a lot of jobs, it brings in taxes we don’t have to pay, it boosts spending and economic activity in outlying areas, etc etc. There aren’t many minuses.

        • Colonial Viper 5.2.2.1

          Why are you so defensive? Yes tourism brings in a tonne of money, and it creates a tonne of jobs. But at the lower end of the wage spectrum, and at the lower end of revenues generated per employee.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.2.2.1.1

            And produces no valuable skills.

          • DH 5.2.2.1.2

            I’m not being defensive, I’m just flabberghasted that people blithely write off one of the most important opportunities NZ has to get itself out of the crap.

            The per revenue figures are meaningless bollocks for spreadsheet warriors to wank over. Look for yourself. Fonterra jobs pay no more than tourist jobs and yet you’re trying to claim that Fonterra is a better business model by virtue of higher revenue per employee. It’s not. Tourism brings in just as much money as Fonterra and employs far more people. What the hell do people want here? Do you want people sitting on their arses collecting the dole or do you want people in jobs?

            • Draco T Bastard 5.2.2.1.2.1

              Fonterra jobs pay no more than tourist jobs and yet you’re trying to claim that Fonterra is a better business model by virtue of higher revenue per employee.

              Actually, it is – it’s one of those bigger is better numbers. The problem is that the people who earn that money don’t get paid it.

              Tourism brings in just as much money as Fonterra and employs far more people.

              And if those people were employed doing something that pulled in as much per person as Fonterra then they’d be bringing in something like 2.3 times the amount.

              Do you want people sitting on their arses collecting the dole or do you want people in jobs?

              Just any isn’t good enough, what we need is more jobs with high value.

              • DH

                Right. And you with your cosy middle class well paid job are quite happy for others to languish on benefits until these illusory high-paid jobs do appear out of thin air. If the jobs don’t pay enough for your liking then they can’t have them. It’s all for their own good of course. Pretty arrogant attitude you have there.

                • DH

                  Draco I was bit harsh on you there, sorry if I offended you it’s not the intention. I would ask that you rethink the idea that pay comes before jobs though. People want work, for now we have to rely on our minimum wage to make sure they get something from their endeavours but if we can generate more employment of any kind then better wages will follow from it.

                  Tourism is a great entry level industry offering plenty of part time work for students & other job seekers. It gives them an income, work experience & they can move up the job ladder as other opportunities present themselves. It should not be blithely shrugged off when we have so many people screaming out for jobs.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    It gives them an income, work experience & they can move up the job ladder as other opportunities present themselves.

                    And those opportunities are going to have to be in better paid, more value added, higher tech industries. Exactly what people have been trying to tell you.

                    • DH

                      Would that be the better paid higher tech industries that were going to appear with Labour’s much vaunted knowledge economy? The ones that still don’t exist after ten years of promises?

                      It’s all very well to want a high tech economy but until you get it there’s still a country to worry about. Labour did nothing about the shrinking blue collar employment because they were so blithely certain their knowledge economy would come about and employ everyone in new industries. It never happened and they had no plan B. Look where we’re at now; worse off than before.

                      Guys you’re chasing rainbows.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey, I don’t disagree one bit that Labour’s knowledge economy talk turned out to be mostly just that, talk. Having said that, our high tech industries do already generate billions a year in export earnings.

                      Until we move further in that direction I completely agree, the half flat low wage tyre which is the tourism industry is something we have to keep running on for now.

                    • DH

                      “Until we move further in that direction I completely agree, the half flat low wage tyre which is the tourism industry is something we have to keep running on for now.”

                      Good that we can agree on that then. I’d take it one step further and say that tourism can inflate the tyre until such time as better industries come along and attract the workforce away with higher pay. The industry is elastic in that the lowest price tourism can fade away as wages go up & not hurt the rest of the industry.

                      Don’t underestimate tourism. Sightseeing camera waving tourists is only a very small part of it. Tourism belongs to the leisure industry and the money in that market is simple massive. The only difference between a man and a boy is the size of his toy & you know what us blokes are like when it comes to big boys toys; money is no object. Hi-tech and leisure are not incompatible with each other, NZ wouldn’t go backwards from grabbing a bigger slice of the worldwide leisure market

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Where’d you get that from? My point is that we need to develop those jobs and not just dump people into a dead end, low wage, make work position and that means government funded R&D and free education.

                  • DH

                    You’re not dumping people into anything. At the lower end it’s mostly unskilled work & it can fill a large part of the demand for that kind of work. Those jobs are by their very nature transient, they offer work & income for people until such time as they’re ready or able to move up the career ladder.

                    All those people who turn up for the supermarket & warehouse jobs are saying very clearly that they’d prefer a crap job to no job. They’ve done their mental maths before they went for the interview. Listen to them.

                    The tourist industry isn’t about low paid jobs anyway. There’s plenty of well paid jobs in it too, has the same infrastructure needs as any other business. There’s also plenty of opportunity for technology advances, tourism & leisure is probably the biggest industry in the world and it’s not shy on high tech.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      You’re not dumping people into anything.

                      That’s how it’s working ATM. Can’t get a job in something interesting then all that’s left is the service industry and they’re only low paid jobs.

                      They’ve done their mental maths before they went for the interview. Listen to them.

                      I’ll start listening to them when come to me with a spreadsheet showing that they’ll actually be better off. Most of them are just doing what NACT wants them to do – believe that any job is better than no job. Six months afterwards they’re wondering why they aren’t better off.

                      The tourist industry isn’t about low paid jobs anyway.

                      Yes it is. Easy, cheap supply and low wages so that the owners can maximise profits.

                      There’s plenty of well paid jobs in it too, has the same infrastructure needs as any other business.

                      Oh, yes, the hierarchy exists there as well.

                      There’s also plenty of opportunity for technology advances, tourism & leisure is probably the biggest industry in the world and it’s not shy on high tech.

                      Never said it was but the jobs available in it don’t have any of those.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.3

      …and in our existing climate any job is better than none anyway.

      Nope, a job that costs more to go to than what you get back is not better than none no matter how much NACT would like you to believe otherwise.

      Tourism is our second biggest export industry and importantly tourists pay tax.

      Apparently it’s our biggest earner which is really just sad. And it won’t keep going, Peak Oil will see to that so it’s not something we should be depending on.

      Without it we’d have been in the crapper long ago.

      Which just tells us how badly we’ve screwed the economy over the last few decades.

      • Colonial Viper 5.3.1

        Selling trinkets to foreign visitors shooting away with cameras. Reminds me of a poor asian or south american country.

      • Lanthanide 5.3.2

        Nope, a job that costs more to go to than what you get back is not better than none no matter how much NACT would like you to believe otherwise.

        If you’re talking straight dollars and cents, then yes.

        But if you include all of the other positive attributes of employment, than even a job which costs someone marginally to attend may in fact be better than no job at all, so long as this ‘costly’ job is for a short term.

        Positive aspects to employment:
        1. Looks much better on your CV than ‘unemployed’
        2. Likely to pick up new skills and training which may help you get a better job later
        3. Idle hands do the devil’s work
        4. Makes people feel like they’re contributing something

        Those are just some very basic ones.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.3.2.1

          Ah, so you can feel good about yourself while losing everything.

          Guess what, it doesn’t fucken work.

        • Colonial Viper 5.3.2.2

          Your list is the same as the Tory rationale for getting beneficiaries to work for free at hospitals, K Mart and Tescos.

  6. hoom 6

    The only ways to get rich off the profits of mining are:
    Own the company doing the mining.
    Or
    Take a big chunk of the revenue in tax/royalties.
     
    NZ does neither, so increasing mining will just make the Balance of Payments problem even worse.

  7. SandFly 7

    The article mentioned the EEZ – relatively one of the biggest areas in the world. It contained/s(?) a massive bio-mass, and what have we done with that potentially sustainable resource? A resource far bigger in size than cow farting farming!

    Where is the research and discovery required for understanding and developing fisheries and other marine bio/eco-industry?
    Instead we have this crazy neo-neolithic obsession with gas and oil – “drill baby drill”, the US affliction. Betting on a resource that will take at least a decade to get to market, by which time the rest of the world will have shifted to non-fossil resources.

    NAct betting on an industry that has a record for absolutely stuffing up any eco-system overlying it – a fossil industry. Our EEZ could have a bio-industry with far more potential for sustainable income than the fossil mining being pushed by NAct.

    KeyEnglish are completely devoid of any ability to, think for, or lead NZ!
    We really do have to slow them down and boot them out!

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