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Steven Joyce and the ‘can’ts’

Written By: - Date published: 9:57 am, February 8th, 2012 - 44 comments
Categories: Economy, spin, Steven Joyce - Tags:

Steven Joyce reckons that the ‘can’ts’ are holding us back. I agree, just look at these facts:

  • National can’t create growth – the economy has expanded less than 0.1% per quarter on average under the Nats. The weakest growth record since the previous National government. GDP per person is down 2% under National (Statistics New Zealand, GDP series)
  • National can’t create jobs – there are 43,000 fewer jobs today than when National took office. (Stats National Employment Indicator)
  • National can’t grow wages – wages are up 5.5% since National came to office, inflation is up 6% (Stats Labour Cost Index and CPI)
  • National can’t get people to live here – emigration to Australia is at record levels, while net migration is negative (Stats Migration series)
  • National can’t get debt under control – National has a run a deficit each year in the fastest build up of public debt in NZ history. The country’s net foreign debt will increase by $60 billion by 2016 (PREFU)
  • National can’t reduce poverty

What a bunch of can’ts.

Joyce’s piece is typical of his politics. He misrepresents his opponents as just being anti everything. We all know that’s a lie. Communities don’t oppose all mining, they do oppose environmentally destructive mining on precious land. They don’t oppose all oil drilling, they do oppose deepsea drilling that is proven to be dangerous given we are manifestly under-prepared for even small oil spills.

Joyce then vaguely suggests that getting rid of the restrictions these ‘can’ts’ impose is the solution while conceding that restrictions on development and resource exploitation are valid and necessary, although implicitly suggesting the current restrictions are too strong.

Joyce offers no specific policies and ignores the fact that New Zealand is already one of the easiest country’s in the world in which to do business with one of the most permissive resource management regimes (we even allow mining on all by a fraction of our conservation estate). His only reference to his government’s policy is the joke ‘120-point’ plan that they put out before the election – a ‘plan’ that was mostly completed policies, many of which had been started by the previous Labour government.

Joyce’s tactic here is to simultaneously demonise the opponents of unrestrained development and extraction while crying ‘something must be done’. The next stage will be to present a radical stripping of communities’ rights to a say in the exploitation of their environments as the only solution.

44 comments on “Steven Joyce and the ‘can’ts’ ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    “His only reference to his government’s policy is the joke ’120-point’ plan that they put out before the election – a ‘plan’ that was mostly completed policies, many of which had been started by the previous Labour government.”

    This sort of thing would get C grades in university papers. Why is it acceptable from a government? My only conclusion is that the media (and therefore the public) simply don’t care and don’t hold them to account for what is either incompetence or contempt.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      IMO, the MS aren’t doing their job of highlighting the BS that NAct present and thus the people don’t know enough to hold the government to account.

  2. David Cunliffe 2

    Mr Joyce’s op-Ed is interesting because:

    – it tries to dress Chicago school dogma up as “aw shucks” common sense, but
    – it is at odds with the post- election briefing from his own Ministry of Economic Development,, who note NZ’s small size and remoteness requires a ” refreshed and more ambitious” strategy for growth
    – it argues against the idea of a strategic approach to lifting growth, suggesting instead all sectors should be treated equally and that the market will deliver nirvana on its own
    – it falls back on the mantra that “improving the business environment” through deregulation and unfettered foreign ownership will optimize the results (Treasury’s briefing to incoming ministers adds the need for more tax cuts and spending cuts)
    – MED calls this “business environment” focus (politely) a “necessary but not sufficient condition”
    – it stands in stark contrast to Labour’s more active and strategic approach. In the words of the NZ Institute, we know that “a goal is not a strategy”. It’s time there was one, just ask all those Kiwis looking for jobs or struggling to pay the bills.

    No wonder three quarters of CEOs and senior managers surveyed buy Business New Zealand before the election thought the Government has no plan. Instead it has a “120 point” laundry list that it now sounds like even the Minister of Economic Development does not believe in.

    Thereis a fundamental clash of ideas coming up in the economic development space. I am looking forward to discussing it with readers of The Standard as the year progresses.

    • Galeandra 2.1

      +1

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 2.2

      +3

    • thatguynz 2.3

      Hear hear!

    • lprent 2.4

      I am looking forward to discussing it with readers of The Standard as the year progresses.

      Be glad to have you doing so. I’m sure that you will get quite a range of opinions… 😈

    • insider 2.5

      Does this mean DC is saying the govt should more actively pick winners? If so who are they, why are they winners and what does that say to the ones who are not the chosen few? The Greens hae come out clearly and stated what they support. Labour needs to be a bit more specific in what they will support and why (more than the bland cliches of ‘sustainable’ or ‘smart’).

      That seems to be one of the fundamental differences in approach, with Joyce saying he wants an environment where winners will emerge under their own steam and that it is the macro environment that govt is best managing, not trying to engineer the economy for a preselected favoured few.

      PS Good on DC for engagin but can’t help getting the feeling it looks like he is building his existing base on the Standard for another go at the leadership. 😉

      • felix 2.5.1

        Unless Labour has decided to angle for the votes of zombie-like religious devotees of neo-liberal economics like yourself, why should they feel obliged to put anything in the terms you specify?

      • stever 2.5.2

        Joyce himself picks winners, though! Look at the grants the likes of Endace (already a very profitable and successful company, so why give them more?) get from Govt, or Rakon, ditto.

        So, please let’s not have the “the Nats don’t pick winners” line again, please.

        • lprent 2.5.2.1

          *sigh*. Both of those companies were encouraged here, set up and supported during startup during the 5th labour government. Joyce didn’t ‘pick’ them, he inherited them.

          If it’d been under his watch then they’d have found a complete dearth of R&D support, grants, marketing help from trade etc. Why? because they cut almost all of those promising to put better ones in – which hasn’t happened or has been so ineffective as to be useless. I don’t think either of those two companies would have been setup under a national government.

          About the only thing that Joyce is good at is taking credit for Labour’s successes. He did that in projects started under Labour for roading and telecoms. What in the hell is he going to do when those Labour initiated projects finish? The most imagination he has displayed so far is to promote the “holiday highway” which has a ruinous payback.

          You on the other hand just look like a fool for not knowing the history of the two companies you are praising…

          • stever 2.5.2.1.1

            I think you misunderstand me.

            I was reacting to the “Joyce (and the Nats) are great” because they don’t “pick winners” (and spend state money on them like the dirty socialists do), from insider.

            I certainly know that the Nats had nothing to do with setting-up Endace. (It a lot depended on getting venture money in, and University funding.)

            What has happened, however, is that once they were successful companies they got further state help (half and half funding, I think) under the Nats—so the “not picking winners” line that Nats and supporters like to boast over is false.

            That’s my point.

      • bbfloyd 2.5.3

        way to attempt to imprint the tried and failed methodology of past national governments….trapped inside…..

        you succeed brilliantly in showing us all just how limited the thinking is coming from the national party’s syncophantic support base….. this has always been the national party’s major weakness…. their total inability/unwillingness to actually break out of their obsession with maintaining the position of the privileged few at the expense of the many……

        the only way to put up an argument in these very limited minds is to misinterpret, or oversimplify arguments…. which points to a serious lack of connection with the mass of humanity around them…….not surprising considering that the national party is made up of the descendants of the same people who came her simply to exploit for profit. who would stop at nothing to ensure there were no impediments to their rape and pillage of what had been a sovereign country…..

        to this day they are still continuing the efforts to whitewash their shameful actions, and to ensure that proper redress is taken out of the realms of possibility……

        and the best they can do is to tell lies and half truths… nothing changes it seems…..but then, you can say what you like when the only voice that is heard through the channels of public news/information agencies is the one that they approve….and any dissent is attacked relentlessly, with no recourse for the targets of that propaganda…..

      • Draco T Bastard 2.5.4

        Does this mean DC is saying the govt should more actively pick winners?

        We’re long past the point of random actions by random individuals determining the best route. We now use R&D and the more R&D that the government (that’s us) funds the better. Then the government (that’s us) chooses from the results of the R&D which best suits our needs and wants. Highly efficient and gets rid of the dead-weight loss of profit.

        That seems to be one of the fundamental differences in approach, with Joyce saying he wants an environment where winners will emerge under their own steam and that it is the macro environment that govt is best managing, not trying to engineer the economy for a preselected favoured few.

        That’s the exact opposite of what Joyce and National want. They actively pick winners which just so happen to belong to their clique and/or are known to them. Remember PEDA?

        • insider 2.5.4.1

          DC seems to be favouring a ‘strategic approach to lifting growth’ and unequal treatment of business sectors. I read that as incentives of some form for favoured areas. It would be more helpful if he identified what sectors he thinks are strategic and what aren’t, and the kinds of incentives he’s thinking about. The Greens are clear on their priorities. He must have some idea given his time in govt and opposition. Off the top of my head I’d have thought food processing is one key area and you could help by either providing access to relocation grants for overseas companies, fast planning approvals for factories, depreciation of plant, or marketing for growing business. Another area is specialised low volume and or higher tech niche manufacturing. Education and farm services might be another.

          Re PEDA, it was dumb. Fortunately it went nowhere but you are right, it is the sort of political patronage that shouldn’t be tolerated. (WHanau Ora I suspect will go the same way, just as the closing the gaps/’hip hop tours fund’ under Labour – a nice sounding but poorly thought out and vague holistic concept collapsing under the inevitable embarassment that will come from its detailed implementation.)

          • mik e 2.5.4.1.1

            Inside trader considering you and all the neo liberal leaders in this world have no plan your only plan is to put down those who Know theirs a better way .

        • AAMC 2.5.4.2

          On the point of R&D, linked post is in relation to Greece, but the point surely can be made here, re innovation over exploitation..

          ‘Goldman’s Hugo Scott-Gall focuses on in his fortnightly report this week “the competitive advantage of innovation is one that developed markets need to keep” ‘

          http://www.zerohedge.com/news/three-charts-confirm-greeces-death-even-after-restructuring

    • just saying 2.6

      Glad to see that someone in the Labour Party* has realised that the party needs to reconnect with the left. It won’t survive much beyond 2014 unless it does.

      Be a while since you last engaged with some passionate left-wingers David?

      Haere mai.

      *edit – the parliamentary wing thereof

    • AAMC 2.7

      “Treasury’s briefing to incoming ministers adds the need for more tax cuts and spending cuts”

      How Treasury gets away with this sort of advice as we watch the UK implode under their Austerity and Europe double dip is beyond me. 

      Problem is neo-classical commentators reporting on the findings of neo-classical technocrats.

      Shouldn’t our Antipodean hindsight put us at an advantage allowing us to avoid the ‘theo-classical’ mistakes being made abroad?

    • ad 2.8

      Quite correctly, Minister Joyce in his NZHerald article stated that businesses depend on entrepeneurs and ideas people; business capital; raw materials; skilled workers; public infrastructure; and customers.

      So let’s measure National’s performance against the Minister’s own stated core business elements stated above.

      New Zealand has some of the most entrepreneurial people in the world, and some of the hardest working by hours worked. Yet over three years National has done nothing measurable to improve labour productivity.

      New Zealand’s capital markets are in a better shape than they were in 1999 when Labour’s previous government began. Yet National has done nothing but turn its back on Kiwibank and Kiwisaver, the two great local capital innovations in the last decade.

      Business access to raw materials has been a massive fail from National because National’s understanding of raw materials is that they are rocks you dig by clearfelling national parks. New Zealand businesses are far more nuanced than that these days, particularly know the public will rise up and simply defeat them.

      Skilled workers are running in droves out the door to Australia in part because National is encouraging the downward spiral of wage prices into the lowest possible denominator. Fail.

      National have been risibly slow in redeveloping Christchurch’s public infrastructure, but are planning a radical weakening in infrastructure sovereignty by proposing to sell off substantial chunks of the last remaining Crown public infrastructure in the power companies. Epic fail.

      They have also failed to successfully exploit the access Labour generated to the Chinese customer base.

      So by Minister Joyce’s own measures of business growth in his article, this government has served business poorly.

      National has concluded it has no idea how to run a business, so it is selling them off. But if they don’t have the capacity to run a business, why should the Minister be dispensing advice to New Zealanders on economic development?

      Minister Joyce’s article shows that after three years, National has determined it is better to rail against all New Zealanders who don’t prescribe to a primitive and exploitative vision of economic development, and simply label such New Zealanders who oppose that as worthless.

      The Minsiter fails to understand that New Zealand’s businesses and economy and the government are completely interdependent. Almost all first world countries use some form of
      Government intervention to facilitate business innovation and growth. Virtually every hub of cutting-edge entrepreneurial activity in the world today had its origins in a very hands-on government.

      Government has to understand how to run a business, just as businesses who export need to understand governments, both here and overseas. Exporting businesses here understand that.

      Minister Joyce also utterly fails to understand New Zealanders as a whole have a very clear idea of the country and economy they want. The core of Minsiter Joyce’s problem is that we are now much clearer about the values that we will hold dear as a country and seek to defend.

      So long as we process and add value and capital to everything we grow, and continue to own major stakes in the businesses that do this, we can transform from a high-tech agricultural economy to a country that pays its way. Increasingly that is happening, but not enough to really show up on the export breakdowns.

      But from what we have seen over three years that success won’t be because this National-led government has any faith in either itself to run a business or in New Zealanders itself.
      On the contrary success will be in the face of a Government that seeks to actively shout you down, and sell your country from under you.

      New Zealanders indeed know precisely what kind of economy they want, and are getting there despite this government, not because of it.

      So I would call on Stephen Joyce as Minister of Economic Development to actually align himself and his vision with that of New Zealand, not the other way round.

  3. dv 3

    Notable nact cans
    43 mil for media works
    80 mil for holywood

    1.7 Billion for SCF

    (not sure about exact numbers

    • shreddakj 3.1

      I was discussing the next election with a family member and we came to the conclusion that John Key is done for. First because their economic record is abysmal, and second because of the asset sale issue. If NACT go ahead and sell the assets despite massive public outcry, they’ll face electoral oblivion, and if Mr. Key caves in to public pressure and doesn’t sell, his caucus members will have a coup. The fact that they have no real plan for the next three years just adds to this.

      • thatguynz 3.1.1

        The downside is that National presumably already know this so they will largely act with impunity and do as much as they can this term.  Let’s be honest, they don’t care about the outcome because it won’t be left to them to tidy up the mess and one could cynically suggest that there is the potential for the less scrupulous of them (I managed to say that with somewhat of a straight face) to do quite well out of it personally.
         
        Our only hope is that either National crap in their own nest, lose MP’s and thus their majority, or the wider populace wakes up and forces mid term elections before further REAL harm is done…

        • bbfloyd 3.1.1.1

          and don’t forget that while the next(labour) government is attempting to sort out the clusterfuck left behind by yet another incompetent national government, the national opposition, in concert with tvnz and the print media will be playing on the disruption and dislocation caused by the necessary remedial actions….. not forgetting, of course, the laying of blame on the new government(with the full co-operation of the same media) for the fallout from their actions while in government……

          this isn’t a guess by the way…. it is what has been done repeatedly….why else would the labour party have more often than not only lasted one term? considering that the actions taken by those one term governments have actually been the main reasons new zealand has succeeded as well as it has…..

          • thatguynz 3.1.1.1.1

            Couldn’t agree more BBF – very much the National modus operandi.  Only area where I’d potentially disagree is that I’m not sure that we’ll see a true Labour led government next term – particularly if the current leadership don’t step up.  It could be very very interesting to see MMP finally flourish removing the “two party race mindset” and a true democratic left-wing coalition..  Pie in the sky hope perhaps.. 🙂

    • Fortran 3.2

      SCF was a law undertaken by the Labour Government as an election bribe before the 2008 election, copying Australia, likewise.

      • Ianupnorth 3.2.1

        True, but they could have repayed just the invested capital and not dividends/profits that were owing too; that ramped up the payout.

      • dv 3.2.2

        BUT the NACTS let SFC renew the guarantee.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.3

        SCF was a law undertaken by the Labour Government as an election bribe before the 2008 election, copying Australia, likewise.

        Nah, there were legit reasons to back stop the trading banks at the time. Just not the finance companies.

    • mik e 3.3

      dv Under she’ll be right economics its a lot closer than either National or treasury can get!

  4. seeker 4

    National can’t tell the truth.

  5. TightyRighty 5

    Nice try Zet. the problem is that you and your mates in the anti brigade are all to busy vocally objecting to any plan that a government can enact that may save this country. it’s the left that are the cant’s. This government are the enablers of private enterprise. whatever crap you use to promote your weak view point that completely ignores the global situation.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      This government are the enablers of private enterprise.

      No, this government is the enablers of the thieves.

    • thatguynz 5.2

      Uh huh :/   Do you actually walk around in the real world?

    • AAMC 5.3

      “the global situation’, you mean the one in which investors running away from currencies being devalued by printing are looking for tangible strategic assets like Energy and Land as safe havens for their wealth. Yep, I reckon for sure they want to “save this country”

      The biggest risk to this country is naievty, to further understand the driver of that, consult the study in the thread about conservative intelligence. 

    • DJL 5.4

      The phone and the door chime went cold where I work when “the enablers of private enterprise” raised the GST. We had to acthtully had to check to see if they were still working.

    • mik e 5.5

      Tighty allmighty neo liberal governments all over the world are in the crap because they do nothing no plan except attack any opposition to make them selves look good! ie you!
      Obama saved the three big car manufactures
      Merkel moved to the left with many of her policies including bailing out car manurfacturers,increasing tax on the wealthy FTT.
      Naive ninkinpoop

  6. Ianupnorth 6

    This government can’t be bothered to read any of the research on poverty (what gets rid of it and what increases the gap between rich and poor)
     
    This government can’t be bothered to read any of the research on education, what works and what doesn’t.
     
    This government can’t be bothered to read any of the research on the most effective way to operate the health sector.
     
    Why? It doesn’t help them or their rich mates.
     

    • mik e 6.1

      This Government doesn’t know how to run an economy either!
      But it shure as hell knows how to manipulate the MSM.
      If it was as competent in the other areas we wouldn’t need to explain to the right win numskulls
      logic driven rationalists mentally and emotionally Barron like their policies.

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