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Does that make sense?

Written By: - Date published: 1:44 pm, February 4th, 2009 - 10 comments
Categories: economy, national/act government - Tags: ,

I know when I write a post that if two statements in the post seem to disagree someone will quickly point out the apparent logical inconsistency to me and I’ll either have to explain it or fix it. Which is all well and good. So, I thought I would do the same for Vernon Small and Tracey Watkin’s article on the front page of the Dom today.

At the beginning of the article, triumphantly entitled ‘Government bulldozes barriers to growth‘ we are told that “Sweeping changes to the Resource Management Act were unveiled yesterday, designed to help fast-track big projects with economic spinoffs” to “ease the pain of the recession”. In the related article on A2 (‘RMA changes may go too far‘ – different sub-editor?), we’re told that, in a best-case scenario, “an 18-month delay could be halved.”

But, then, at the end of the first article Bill English is quoted as saying the end of the recession “hopefully six to 12 months away”.

First, no-one else believes that recovery will be so soon and all our major trading partners are expecting large decreases in growth this year and into next year, which you would have thought might have prompted the journos to challenge English’s claim.

Secondly, if the end of the recession is really so close, how can the RMA changes, or any infrastructure spending aid in that recovery? The RMA changes won’t even be passed until September and the first major projects gaining consent under the new rules are years away. The major new infrastructure spending Key is meant to announce soon will be barely underway by the time English’s 6-12 months are up.

In fact, if the recession really is going to be over in 6-12 months, what are we getting all worked up about? Why would we even need more recovery programmes? It would have been nice if these inconsistencies had been pointed out to English or, at least, recognised in the article.

10 comments on “Does that make sense?”

  1. Ianmac 1

    I think that naturally a new Govt, would talk of big improvrements, sweeping changes, new broom sweeps clean, and so on. A few months later, Bill and John will gloss over any memory of the estimates or promises and we will have forgotten the details, but of course the residual “Good on Yer National!” will liger on- unless you and the MSM keep holding them to account. Keep up the good work. Someone must!

  2. It took about 2 years for the 1929 Great Depression to reach our shores. As trade contracts and the likes expired, the affect was fully felt. I wonder if English has read up on this

  3. gingercrush 3

    New Zealand was heading towards or already in recession before this financial crisis. The financial crisis only compounded the problem. While certainly the economy will recover and I think Bill English is right to point to 6-12 months. What hasn’t happened yet is the exodus in job losses which are still to happen. Those infrastructure programs should ease unemployment somewhat.

    To be honest, I’m glad New Zealand isn’t undergoing some huge fiscal stimulus packages like so many other countries seem to be doing. I look at Obama’s plan which seems stupid in its size and scale. I see he believes the plan will bring in 2-4 million new jobs. I don’t believe it will happen. I see Australia which has been luckier than most in it hasn’t even reached a recession yet is now undergoing a huge stimulus package. Giving people $950 in the hope they spend it? Just looks set to be a disaster. The only thing all these stimulus plans etc seem to have in common, is making those countries go further and further in debt. Eventually, all that needs to be paid, and what will that do for the future of those economies.

  4. Quoth the Raven 4

    Ginger – I agree about the stimulus packages. You’d be interested in this article about Obama’s stimulus package: The Trouble with Those “Shovel-Ready’ Projects I think much of it would apply to ours as well.

  5. gingercrush 5

    Interesting article Quoth. Though in fairness, these road work constructions would happen regardless of government and regardless of whether we’re in a financial crisis or not. And is really a matter of debate between building more roads or building better transit programs.

    Personally I believe we need more roads and we could probably spend more on transit. But I just don’t see the convenience in using public transport. And frankly, I think most of New Zealand think that way as well. For instance I live basically in the centre of CHCH, anywhere in and out of CHCH takes 30 mins or less something that just doesn’t happen using the Bus.

  6. Aj 6

    If indeed we get bak to postive growth later this year or early next year, it is a compliment to Cullens prudent managemt in the years leading up tp 2009.
    There won’t be many OECD economies rebounding that quickly.

  7. rave 7


    doesnt see the convenience in public transport.
    I agree my bladder’s bursting.

    Australia? Yeah lets join. Who wants to be part of the effluent of fed farmers stimulus package when they can vote with the feet and partake of the 42 bill bonanza in Aussie?

    They pretty much own us. Why shouldnt we hop across for a bit of the dividend.

    Who are we kidding? Just so we can beat them at league or rugby we have to pretend we are a separate nation.

    Then we can all focus on the real task ahead saving the country from financial and climate melt down.

    Debt? That can be paid for by future generations who will thank us for handing them a country that is habitable.

    Call it the Mad Max dividend.

    Kiwis cant fly but we can always jump ship.

  8. Quoth the Raven 8

    Ginger – One of the points that Carson is trying to make in that article is that more raods generally just equals more urban sprawl and not less traffic congestion.

    Again, by way of background, twenty years ago the region built Hwy U.S. 471, itself a western bypass intended to relieve congestion on the old U.S. 71 that ran through the centers of all the major cities of NW Arkansas on a north-south corridor. And guess what? As anyone but an urban planner or traffic engineer might have predicted, the new subsisized highway didn’t alleviate congestion at all! Instead it generated new congestion, filling up with new traffic from the new subsidized subdivisions and strip malls that grew up like mushrooms at every single exit.

    He doesn’t support the spending at all, but is saying if it’s going to be spent it would be better to spend it on mass transit than on roading. We’re lucky to live in a place where it doesn’t take long to get anywhere, but talk to some old people you’ll find that decades ago taking the train was common in Christchurch. Not anymore.

  9. Greg 9

    “But, then, at the end of the first article Bill English is quoted as saying the end of the recession “hopefully six to 12 months away’.”

    Lets not forget that when the recession ends, we won’t actually figure out that its ended for another 6 months or so. Everything thats being reported on in the media currently is past tense.

  10. gingercrush 10

    Yes of course Quoth. Building more roads mean more people use it. Meaning eventually, you’ll have the same congestion you had before only even more roads. Roading in itself is a poor use of funding. I don’t doubt that. But I don’t think building huge infrastructure around public transport will improve this country. Since it would cost way more money than roading does and until things change to such a point, people will continue to use their cars. I’m well aware of the former rail/tram services Christchurch use to have. They were stupid to remove it. But there’s no way Christchurch can pay for such a service again. I know a possible rail to Rangiora and Kaiapoi is planned. That will be a good idea. But still people will use their cars because its more convenient. Christchurch doesn’t have the space to build bus lanes or anything so that too is out of the question. Meaning for Christchurch more people will continue to use their cars.

    Until New Zealanders demand more expenditure on public transport we’re going to keep getting roads. And I don’t see things changing.

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