At risk of Anglo-Saxon adverbs leaping out, it was still great to see our Great and Good business titans putting out an invitation to the government to “set a clear path out of Covid-19“.
What they sought was, and I quote:
What they could have done is thanked the government for the tens of billions of dollars in direct untagged subsidy by which this government has propped up their businesses and their share prices.
But they didn’t
They could then move on from that to note that New Zealand remains the best-Covid-19 managed country in the developed world.
But they didn’t.
They could have shown how their shrewd and hungry entrepreneurial drive will turn New Zealand’s COVID-19 competitive advantage into bold business strategy.
But they didn’t.
They could have demonstrated how they have formed initiatives between them that could have assisted the government to achieve any of the specific points they sought. Hell if you could only see the identification and tracking systems that SkyCity has. Or the international marketing capacity of the entire university system. But they didn’t.
They could have shown that they were willing to contribute to any kind of collective plan for business for New Zealand in a world where international travel is diminished for years, low-skill international labour isn’t coming back much, and the profitable focus is going to stay hard on high productivity products and services and low mass exports. They didn’t.
It would not be difficult for a Prime Minister to simply ask: do our titans of industry have any leadership capacity at all?
Each of their bullet points seeks operational detail that is designed to simply second guess criteria that are already well set and underway and for which the public sector is best placed to make policy decisions. Nor did they say that upon receiving any of this information they would actually help.
The entire statement they have put out seeks not to show any initiative, but simply to plead on behalf of their investments.
These then are not the commercial representatives of our much-vaunted Team of Five Million. It was the Team of 500 people Who Own 60% Of Our Wealth speaking.
It may well be that, like Labour governments past, this government prefers to make massive interventions and expect our main industry markets to adjust in their own way. That would make March 2021 as the time that the business community acts like a community of interest and organises itself to do more than whine about public health operational details.
It’s pretty evident this group of capitalist multimillionaires haven’t engaged with DPMC’s cross-government COVID-19 group.
Nor with Treasury’s own massive responses.
Before they hire another PR firm to opine on their behalf, they need to demonstrate they have a functioning brain.