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Business isn’t buying it

Written By: - Date published: 11:05 am, November 1st, 2011 - 48 comments
Categories: business, economy, leadership, national - Tags:

You’d think if the Nats could convince anyone that they knew what they were doing it would be the business community. National is supposed to be the business party after all, they won’t find a friendlier audience anywhere. But no, business owners aren’t buying it:

Key does not convince business

Businesses are not convinced that John Key’s Government has a plan to develop the economy or the country’s infrastructure, according to the Deloitte-Business NZ election survey.

The survey, done in late August and early September, revealed a more positive view generally about the National Government compared to the same survey done before the 2008 election.

However, it also found that while 98.4 per cent of respondents believed it was important for the Government to have a co-ordinated plan of action that raised New Zealand’s economic performance, only 34.5 per cent thought it had one.

Deloitte chief executive Murray Jack said it was “disturbing” that the No.1 issue emerging from the survey was the lack of a “clear, well understood economic plan”. … He said the plan Mr Key this morning confidently told the Business NZ election conference in Wellington this morning would lift economic performance, “was obviously news to most people in this room”. “It’s not resonating with business.” …

Why oh why can’t business be satisfied with a smile and a wave like the rest of the electorate? It seems so unfair!

As a passing footnote, The Herald carried the same piece yesterday with the same headline. But I guess it must have been too far outside the party line, because today it has been buried inside a rewritten piece with the enticing headline “Lobby group calls for road tolls”. WTF?

48 comments on “Business isn’t buying it ”

  1. Rijab 1

    The Herald are still running the piece as a headline in the politics section,

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10763014

    The Nats can’t hide from the truth of this one!

  2. Rod Oram reviews this in his usual careful way.

    One point he makes well is that it is astounding that Business which is so pro National should  feel this way and express this so close to the election. 

  3. Red Rosa 3

    The Nats must be gnashing their teeth on this one. Fall in behind, dammit!

    They could always run a series of ads where Fay & Richwhite explain what a great idea privatisation was in the 1980s. And how NZ really, really benefited…;)

    That should rally the troops.

  4. Afewknowthetruth 4

    ‘not convinced that John Key’s Government has a plan to develop the economy or the country’s infrastructure’

    That must surely be a good thing, since developing the economy and infrastructure are at the root of most of our problems.

    However, none of it it may matter too much if the recently-announced collapse of MF Global acts as the trigger for the next round of global financial meltdown, now that the Eurozone bailout is seen to have been yet another failure.

    We won’t know for sure for another couple of days but the signs are there, with the Dow having lost over 2% yesterday.

    • queenstfarmer 4.1

      Weren’t you confidently predicting a major meltdown would occur in October?

      • Afewknowthetruth 4.1.1

        I rated the chance of a major jolt by the end of October 2011 at 70% and the chance a major jolt by end of 2012 at 100%. There is no evidence that is incorrect at this stage.

        The powers that be are now going to extraordinary lengths to prop up the system, of couse, by way of fracking, extraction of oil from tar sands, creating additional money out of thin air for bailouts etc. even as environmental factors bring the system down.

        Thailand is the next nation to join the long list of those that will never recover.

  5. queenstfarmer 5

    This is not surprising at all. The thing that many business-people want from Govt is simply for the Govt to get out of the way. Unlike politicians, business owners are (usually) forced to deal with problems, rather than come up with grand schemes and slogans that sound good but actually do little.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      You are so full of shit. A direct quote from Business NZ: “…almost all believed it was important for the government to have a co-ordinated plan of action that raised economic performance”. Or are you arguing that the author of that statement is some kind of rogue commentator like Alisdair Thompson?

      • queenstfarmer 5.1.1

        It is telling that you assume the Business NZ statement is inconsistent with my comment.

        • McFlock 5.1.1.1

          Wow – so national has had not just an economic plan, but a disaster management plan and a youth unemployment plan all along: Do Nothing. 

           
          Nice to hear it’s going according to plan.

    • Lanthanide 5.2

      Actually the guy on the radio this morning was saying that businesses want an actual plan. A plan has things like goals, timelines and specific steps that are going to take place. He said that National doesn’t have that. They’ve implemented some business-friendly policies, but there’s no sign that they’re thinking beyond a 3 year horizon, which isn’t helpful for businesses trying to make investment and financing decisions with a medium-term outlook of 10-15 years.

      He said he’s lived in other countries and this sort of thing is quite common when coming up to an election and said that even some developing countries have solid 5 year plans that they lay out for the future direction.

      • aerobubble 5.2.1

        The lack of capital gains taxes mean profits are easier to estimate and take as profit,
        this leads to more risk being able to be taken up but that means lenders ask a higher
        premium. But because the property sector was booming, building shacks with an
        extra brick or weather board wall, nobody was none the wiser. Now the crunch
        from peak oil, stress testing our economy, is it any wonder that so much spin
        is being shown up for nonsense, how absolutely lazy governments have become.

        Or did they just fire the last back office bureaucrat who had any ability to
        write them a plan for them?

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.2

        and said that even some developing countries have solid 5 year plans that they lay out for the future direction.

        Yep. From an economic lemon to a global industrial and financial power.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-year_plans_of_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China

    • Draco T Bastard 5.3

      Our government is out of the way – 2nd or 3rd easiest place in the world to do business.

      • queenstfarmer 5.3.1

        3rd IIRC. Having done business in Australia, UK and SE Asia I can attest to that. However as the evidence shows, that clearly does not equate to businesses thinking politicians have the answers.

        • Colonial Viper 5.3.1.1

          It clearly equates to an incompetent private sector who despite having the run of the field can’t create jobs worth shit.

          • aerobubble 5.3.1.1.1

            I disagree, it may be easier to set up a business, but its harder
            to do business when number five wire managers rule. The
            cost of doing business is much higher here, a lack of skilled
            employees is a cost of business, fewer customers who have
            spare cash is a cost of doing business, when its easier to
            get on a flight to Sydney, or email the UK, and be assured
            of higher standards – consumer rights, business integrity,
            geez we don’t even have a deposit guarentee to protect the
            small end of the market. And don’t even get me started
            on compliance costs that signifantly aid the big end of
            town at the expense of the small players. When we have
            so many family businesses, where family members inherit
            management positions is it any wonder they aren’t all
            up to scratch.

            Businesses need to be harder to do, and harder to set up,
            and harder to take profits out of, because a economy
            losses money with business failure, with opportunties
            missed by incompetence.

            Look the NZ economy under performs, and its no
            good saying we have a more generous welfare system,
            we need a more generous welfare system because
            NZ economy under performs, and it under performs
            because we have a business illiteracy that has even
            rotten the core of the National party. Neo-liberalism.

          • Rob 5.3.1.1.2

            So how many great and innovative jobs have you created CV. 

            • One Anonymous Bloke 5.3.1.1.2.1

              What a stupid argument. How many jobs has Brand Key created? Erm, none: he’s never even owned his own business, and the managerial positions he’s held lead inexorably to his connections to “innovative investment instruments”, which means he’s destroyed far more jobs in his life than any he might otherwise have created.
              I see you have some candy, Rob, but oops, now it’s mine.

          • queenstfarmer 5.3.1.1.3

            Based on that comment, I’m guessing you have never run a business. Ease of business (as measured by that survey – setup costs, filing fees, etc) doesn’t magically mean there will be a huge successful economy resulting.

            Just one example, we could have lots of high paying jobs if we extended mining. The Govts do not want to allow businesses to do that, which is a perfectly valid political decision. But you can hardly blame an “incompetent private sector” for not creating those jobs when it isn’t allowed to.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 5.3.1.1.3.1

              wtf are you blithering about QtF? Free market vandalism reforms have led to fewer jobs as a consequence of the fact that deregulation means the regulators become redundant, and the associated flow-on effects like ventilation shaft exits and cost cutting and dead people.
              Oh, and btw, how much easier to do business does it have to get before you bludgers stop whining?

              • queenstfarmer

                Free market reforms have led to fewer jobs

                Well I don’t know what the employment rate in North Korea is, but the fact is most jobs are in the private sector.

                deregulation means the regulators become redundant

                An amusing idea – imposing masses of regulation, so as to create lots of jobs for regulators.

                associated flow-on effects like ventilation shaft exits and cost cutting and dead people

                I don’t know who is arguing for that. Although if you are attempting to link mining tragedies to “free market reforms”, I suggest you google Chinese mining deaths.

                how much easier to do business does it have to get before you bludgers stop whining

                Referring to me? What bludging do you think I have done, or want to do?

                • Colonial Viper

                  China has had very many free market reforms.

                  And any time regulation and enforcement is insufficient, or mining companies underinvest in safety, workers end up dying.

                  Well I don’t know what the employment rate in North Korea is, but the fact is most jobs are in the private sector.

                  Large swathes of the private sector and of private sector capital has absolutely no interest in creating employment.

                  No money in it. More in putting cash in Wall St, and in property, they think.

                • KJT

                  Just like NZ. Mining deaths are due to inadequate regulation and/or inadequate enforcement of existing regulations.

                  Are you insinuating China is socialist?

                  It is just as much capitalist as any other country, just that China is run as one corporation.

                • fmacskasy

                  QST – check this out. https://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/09/04/opinion/04reich-graphic.html?ref=sunday

                  Itr’s shows very clearly why debt has risen; wages have stayed steady, or fallen; and where the wealth has ended up.

                  It also shows why the global economy is turning to custard…

  6. Gosman 6

    They are more scathing of Labour’s plans than National’s but nice line in spin.

    I believe they mentioned that Labour’s plans for increasing the amount of overheads a business needs to fork out are very business unfriendly.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      You believe? Oh right then shall we take your word for it, or would that be monumentally stupid? Cite a source wingnut, and then we can discuss how under the last Labour government NZ was ranked second in the world for ease of doing business, and under Brand Key we’ve slipped a place. Fish, meet barrel.

    • fmacskasy 6.2

      Gosman, you mean like amongst the lowest tax rates on the planet?

      (Just one example I could find quickly.)

    • Ianupnorth 6.3

      I posted this yesterday on Open Mike; yes, they were critical of Labour, but praised them for at least having the courage to question the current system, especially with regards to superannuation age.

    • aerobubble 6.4

      Prize fighters want to ‘help’ a lot of people onto the podium to share the spoils.

      Sorry but that’s not any business lobby…

      Businesses want to win, and handouts to business can make their jobs easier
      if they are the benefitaries of the largess. Now we all know cheap oil came
      gushing out of Arabia three decades ago, and we all know governments loosen
      monetry policy so business and sold state assets so business could boom,
      if the UK, NZ, etc didn’t they would have been left behind.

      Now we have the new transition. Peak oil means monetry policy needs to
      tighten, the old benefits for businesses are over, state asset sales are
      dumb economics. We need to reward businesses who succeed and
      so we can’t moddy coddle them anymore, the money ain’t there.
      Governments will shift inexplicable to the left, and anyone in business
      right now would rather have today’s Labour party than the Labour
      party of three years of opposition – a much more old time necessary
      state socialist party.

      Sorry but a vote for National is dumb now moderate left wing politics
      are required, Labour is spot on right now, just wait for them to find
      a new Helen to lead them and you’ll wish you had gone with Goff.

  7. It seems that even the Dompost editorial is starting to have second thoughts.

    People are starting to realise what we’ve known all along; the Dear Leader had no clothes.

    • Afewknowthetruth 7.1

      That comment applies to practically all politicians, mayors, CEOs of district councils etc.

      None of them have anything to say of any substance, and they all parade around as though they know what they are doing when in practice the vast majority are uninformed, psychotic sociopaths who ‘couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery’.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1

        Well, how could they have? After all, you’re the only person in the world who’s sufficiently concerned about these issues.

  8. Afewknowthetruth 8

    qsf.

    I rated the chance of a major jolt by the end of October 2011 at 70% and the chance a major jolt by end of 2012 at 100%. There is no evidence that is incorrect at this stage.

    ‘World faces years of social unrest as economies falter’

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/world-faces-years-of-social-unrest-as-economies-falter-6255401.html

    (In view of the fact that global oil extraction is falling you can forget the faux hope of recovery in 2016,)

    The powers that be are now going to extraordinary lengths to prop up the system, of course, by way of fracking, extraction of oil from tar sands, creating additional money out of thin air for bailouts etc., all of which are counter-productive, even as environmental factors bring the system down.

    Thailand is the next nation to join the long list of those that will never recover.

    • aerobubble 8.1

      Shale gas will save us…said Brash. It begged a whole raft of questions…
      …what’s shale gas… …how long have it been in operation… …will it
      cost more to clean up, how much damage will it do, what ongoing costs
      say to farmers who find their wells polluted… …how many years will
      it supply the world, etc. What is he doing with the solution, off the top
      of his head, when most people think its a disaster waiting to happen.

      But that came after he had just stated a CGT is stupid because Labours
      reasons were stupid, which doesn’t follow, labour are not the only
      voice, if I remember rightly he was on a economic panel with those
      who promoted CGT, is he saying their views were stupid too???

      Its all bollocks, until they come clean and fess up to peak oil.

    • DS 8.2

      Can we leave the word ‘jolt’ to the earthquakes for now? I’m sympathetic to what you’re saying but given everything we’ve had in Chch over the last year whenever I read someone predicting a ‘jolt’ the old blood-pressure rises and the molars start to grind.

  9. vto 9

    Well my business certainly isn’t buying it, and I have been in business over twenty years. Gave up on the employee thing donkeys ago – wasn’t really much good at being an employee, prefer independence etc. And no small business either – at one point one of the largest in its sector in Canterbury generating work for hundreds. Having gone through this recent downturn it has severely struggled and only just kept going. That has led to starting to grow it again from near scratch as well as very recently launching another new business in an entirely new sector to me (steep learning curve). So business is in the blood and I am intensely familiar with its requirements and demands. And rewards and losses. And grey tresses and heavy stresses. Been there done it and continuing to do it. The excitement and unknown, the challenge, the dreaming and actioning, the satisfaction of seeing your efforts put to good and appreciated use by the community. Love it.

    And I aint got no time for this bunch of fools and deceptors in govt. Didn’t have much time for the last lot either but they were without doubt superior. Policies needed a bit of tweaking, but at least they had some. And followed through. Their end goal was / is admirable and if achieved would create a great place to live and work and play.

    Being in business I am acutely aware that it survives and thrives on having a prosperous and contented wider society and not an unequal and polarised one with large chunks severely struggling and causing unrest. That is why I support policies such as increasing the minimum wage, etc which push more of the country’s wealth into a far larger number of people – it simply means (from a business perspective) more and better customers. As Henry Ford clearly outlined nearly a century ago.

    So, as a long term business developer, owner and operator, I aint buying it. When it comes to the current lot of nats count me out.

    • Afewknowthetruth 9.1

      vto.

      How will the rapidly deteriorating interantional business conditions

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/world-faces-years-of-social-unrest-as-economies-falter-6255401.html

      and the coming decline in avalability of oil

      http://transportblog.co.nz/2011/05/25/iea-peak-oil-happened-in-2006/

      affect your business planning?

      As we already know,both National and Labour will continue to totally ignore both issues, along with this

      http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/trends-in-natural-disasters

      • vto 9.1.1

        Mr Few, I have some time for your musings and agree with their general thrust. Planning for the pending social and environmental majors for me is a multi-pronged undertaking involving the following broad actions..

        1. Avoid longer term liabilities which can currently only be met by future unquantified business which is predicated on ‘business as usual’. e.g. keep the debt at low or nil, take on only short contractual obligations, provide no personal guarantees, purchase no plant etc which requires long term return, and the like.

        2. Any potential large scale business dealt with on the basis of 1. above. i.e. be able to skip out of it if the shit hits the fan. And if it is not possible to so structure then that larger business will just have to pass by now.

        3. With new business, start small and lightweight and be prepared to be nimble and quick on the feet to adapt to matters which had not been anticipated or fully prepared for, rather than attempt to anticipate every eventuality and get every component of the business 100% right before starting, thereby avoiding heavy start-up cost and liability. Better to start at 90% preparedness and adjust, even though it may cost some business in the initial phase.

        4. Any spare investment money to be placed into hard assets which are physically real and can generate some form of income in most forms of society, such as a vegetable patch, a property, some knitting machines or sheep. Gold and silver. Things that are used in a base form of community. Avoid financial investments such as money in the bank, stock exchanges, govt bonds, etc, which can disappear with the stroke of a pen and over which my control is limited.

        5. Build a bolthole away from the maddening crowds which nobody else has a hook over or interest in, is difficult to access and from which the family can provide for itself from the nearby surrounds.

        Most of those are reasonably well advanced for us and have been for a wee while. I just don’t trust the world around us in the form that it has been functioning the last several decades. And anyway, I don’t see too many negatives from operating in this manner even if the world did continue in a ‘business as usual’ fashion. Plus a bolthole in the boondocks is just pure bliss…

        Finally, be accepting of a world without silly material items and convenience, which has never been a problem for us anyway.

        That’s my approach. What’s yours?

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1

          Very nice. Saved this for future pondering, thank you Mr VTO, your wisdom is much appreciated.

        • Aron Watson 9.1.1.2

          +1 Great stuff, thanks vto

        • Afewknowthetruth 9.1.1.3

          vto.

          ‘I just don’t trust the world around us in the form that it has been functioning the last several decades.’

          Neither do I.

          Unlike you, I do not have the resources to build a bolthole, so I do what I can via cuting unnecessary spending and investing in permaculture where I am trapped while I wait for the inevitable crash of ‘the system’.

          And I spend a couple of hours a day attempting to wake up ‘zombies who are trapped in the Matrix’ (mostly futile, it seems).

          • KJT 9.1.1.3.1

            While we need Cassandra’s to remind us of what is important, AFKTT in his way is just as much of an obstacle to solutions as the denialists.

            If you just read AFKTT, you could be forgiven for thinking, why not buy all the toys, forget about the environment and enjoy things while you can, because we are all fucked anyway.

            I know we have to change are economic, social and production systems to live within the earths capability. But, A return to some horse drawn agrarian utopia is not the answer.

            Neither is throwing up our hands and giving up.

            We owe it to our kids to find solutions.

            Some will come from winding down our present profit and interest driven system to one that is driven more by fairness and sustainability. Technology will play a part, including technology we have not developed yet.

            Some we can do ourselves, now. Things as simple as painting your roof in light colours, dumping your gas guzzler, looking at energy ratings and longevity when buying appliances, buying LED lighting and insulating your house.

            Voting for politicians who are prepared to progress towards sustainable energy, green house gas reductions and a more sustainable local economy.

            The biggest effect at present will be changing our dysfunctional economic system, that rewards unproductive and unsustainable behaviors.

  10. Nick K 10

    Here’s what the article also said:

    Of the political leaders who spoke at the conference this morning, Act’s Don Brash appeared to be closest to having a coherent economic agenda, Mr Jack said.

    No surprises there.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      The financially insane need their intellectually bankrupt Chicago school economics.

      After 30 years of the shit no one else does.

      BTW did Brash talk about introducing a free market in cannabis?

    • KJT 10.2

      Dr Brash’s economic agenda should have been left in the dark ages, where it belongs.

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