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The Government’s Economic Development Plan

Written By: - Date published: 7:35 am, September 30th, 2019 - 15 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, Economy, energy, Environment, farming, housing, labour - Tags:

Last week the government launched its Economic Development Plan. Now, yes, we are two years into the government so it’s a wee bit late. But this kind of stuff is still worth doing.

At a fairly high level, these are its aims:

  • Moving the New Zealand economy from volume to value with Kiwi businesses, including SMEs, becoming more productive.
  • Ensuring people are skilled, adaptable and have access to lifelong learning.
  • Making deeper pools of capital available to invest in infrastructure and grow New Zealand’s productive assets.
  • Strengthening and revitalising regional economies.
  • Enabling a step-change for the Māori and Pacific New Zealand economies.
  • Developing a sustainable and affordable energy system.
  • Utilising our land and resources to deliver greater value and improve environmental outcomes.
  • Transforming our housing market to improve productivity growth and make houses more affordable.

The pdf of it is here, in a mercifully brief and succinct form.

Now, the above crosses a whole bunch of areas you don’t normally see in such a plan. Usually they have a much narrower range. I liked that.

I also liked that it was really hard for the opposition to argue with any of it. The things being aimed for are intuitively useful no matter whether the blue or red teams are in.

I’m interested that it mentions specific strategies for industry sectors. That takes a whole lot of organizing, and once done it’s really hard to make all that bureaucratic effort worthwhile. But for a small country with pretty narrow specialities and really narrow bunch of companies working in any one area, we could always do with some actual coherence and cooperation against the big competitive world.

I didn’t like its post-hoc reasoning to cover broad previously announced policy areas, some of which even the government acknowledges haven’t worked, such as its tertiary fees policy. I also didn’t like that it didn’t have the courage to state what kind of country it wanted as a result of this plan. It knows what the challenges were, sketched out some of the opportunities, but had none of the reach of the Growth and Innovation Plan from back in the day. Doesn’t join all its dots into something that makes a YES! of sense.

Which is a bit of a shame given all the initiatives scanned within it.

And rather than being rolled out with confidence and brio with style and oodles of cash and fireside chats and aged spirits sipped, the whole thing has plopped without ripple like the proverbial dead gumboot of wonkery into the silage pond of media history. 1968 National Development Conference it was not.

But like a mid-episode reveal in a Welsh detective show, guaranteed the same plan will be pulled out stinking from that same pond next term, water blasted off, given a fresh straw hat and a false teeth smile by the next lot.

It also comes with indicators, which is a reasonably easy thing to do when economic times are still good as they are, but a mean-assed bite on the Ministerial ass when they start sliding and you have to start scrabbling round for interventionist techniques that don’t exist and bureaucrats run from. But that surely is what such a plan is for.

However (ahem), for those who want a bit of coherence out of this government’s approach to the economy, this is not a bad place to start. Next time, team, could we have it ready before election day.

15 comments on “The Government’s Economic Development Plan ”

  1. Sabine 1

    yeah, nah nah – my thoughts in bold

    at a fairly high level, these are its aims:

  2. Moving the New Zealand economy from volume to value with Kiwi businesses, including SMEs, becoming more productive.
  3. well sadly they just can't fire half of us 'kiwi business' owners to make the other half more productive, but frankly how about they start with the government and they get a bit of productivity up, after all it took three years to come up with this corporate bullshit.

  4. Ensuring people are skilled, adaptable and have access to lifelong learning.
  5. we decide what skills you need, you will not have enough welfare available in the future so be prepared to train at 65 + to be a barista or a ramen noodle line cook. These courses will be payable of course, but the door to the learning centre is open thus ACCESS is granted.

    • Making deeper pools of capital available to invest in infrastructure and grow New Zealand’s productive assets.
    • the deepest pool of money err capital we could find was outside of NZ. Thus we will continue to push private investment in to our public infrastructure and if possible sell what ever productive assets we have left. You of course will continue to pay for the services that you need to survive, so nothing really changes here.

    • Strengthening and revitalising regional economies.
    • See above, private investment, more forresting, more dairying (or replace that with big industrial sites turning cow waste in to Plant derived meat or something with all the waste that no one knows how to handle), more water extraction, more tourism, and thus……we revitalised. What the rural towns are still dying? T'was not us we did try the littlest.

    • Enabling a step-change for the Māori and Pacific New Zealand economies.
    • can someone please translate this into plain english, cause i do believe that someone just said something there in order to say something and we can’t blame Soimon for it ,

    • Developing a sustainable and affordable energy system.
    • Developping. Cause we are still developing. Developing. Not creating, not investing, not building, but 'developing'. Does anyone remember her? We were told then that we would be 'developing'. But i guess they need to be re-elected so as to have a job and earn a keep. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJJGuIZVfLM

    • Utilising our land and resources to deliver greater value and improve environmental outcomes.

    oh gosh, all the developpers are giddy. I am sure that utilising our land and resources to even greater value will at some stage imporve the enviornmental outcome. Yeah, right TUI.

  6. Transforming our housing market to improve productivity growth and make houses more affordable
  7. oh dear. Transforming. Ey? Not building more better and cheaper, not making government free interest loans available, no CGT, no closing of loopholes that allow prooperty speculators to keep properties empty, set rents so high no one will apply to rent etc and still make a profit courtesy of the NZ Taxpayers.

    this is a load of hogwash, bullshit, nothingness, but I am sure Grant Robertson felt like he did good work and will be given a generous bonus at his next KPI meeting. Right?

    We are to be exited about this? This little piece of hogwash that has no value and will amount to fuck all? Good grief. We are so fucked.

    (video link above is from 1992 when a young girl called Severn Coulis Suzuki addressed the UN in regards to climate change and suff – and no one listened then either).

  • Tiger Mountain 2

    “Spare us” was my reaction after reading the linked .pdf–standard blue skies fare.

    This country suffers daily from almost 30 years of the neo liberal consensus between the main political parties. The NZ underclass are the children of Roger’n’Ruth, as much as the “me me me, mine mine mine” middle classes and managerial layer.

    An economic development plan worthy of the title would involve repealing the Reserve Bank Act, State Sector Act, and returning SOEs to Govt. Dept. status, and restoring power generation and supply to public ownership.

    Even the Reserve Bank fer crissakes is recommending a Govt spend up on infrastructure projects! But no, Mr Robertson clings to the miserly fiscal cap and sends “signals” to business.

    This Govt. has delivered a number of very useful reforms, e.g. Pay Equity for carers, and setting a higher wage floor. I hope they are somehow re-elected against National’s increasingly “Trump junior” style negative campaigning. Generations “rent” and “student loan” will be in the ascendancy as voters come 2023, when it will be time to kick the structural elements of Rogernomics to the curb once and for all.

  • Kevin 3

    So, anything different to what a National led government would have put out?

    I doubt it.

    Other than:

    • Enabling a step-change for the Māori and Pacific New Zealand economies.

    Its just the same old drivel.

  • Stuart Munro. 4

    Economics, not being an objective discipline, struggles with implementing real solutions to contemporary problems, much less strategies to improve future outcomes.

    As Croaking Cassandra was saying the other day, since the neoliberal turn our economic outcomes have lagged those of our trading partners, and the message of this pdf is that the government is still pretending that isn't so.

    We know the CGT was a required modest step to address housing inequality, but for reasons Labour is not disposed to discuss, it's off the table. A competent opposition would have them on the rack for that, but National is more of a howling shitstorm than an opposition. It's fair to say that no or ineffectual action is what the government prefers – which is after all the attraction of neoliberalism to the political class, it absolves them of responsibility, at least in their eyes.

    So what should a modest centrist government be doing that they are not?

    Well they should begin of course by constraining the out of control unskilled immigration normalized by the previous government. It drives wages and conditions down, thus impoverishing the rest of the economy. Conditions matter, and with record suicide running at over twice the road toll, employers imposing unnecessary stressors like the split shifts that cost Wellington bus drivers their jobs need to be viewed distinctly unsympathetically.

    They should be prioritizing cost of living rorts, and in particular rates and utilities. We are at the long end of a global supply chain, but that does not apply to our power companies, whose product is locally produced. Nevertheless, we now have some of the most expensive domestic electricity prices in the world (thankyou Roger Douglas and all your disgusting fellow traitors). There's really no excuse for this, and none of the pathetic burble about markets or 'shopping around' makes it a whit better. The privatizations took place on the promise of cheaper prices and have not delivered them. The companies therefore have no-one but themselves to blame if they are returned to public ownership with minimal compensation – they lied to and defrauded both government and citizens. There are two economic objects in reducing cost of living in this fashion – to make our workers more internationally competitive, which they cannot be if they are being rorted six ways from Sunday, and to increase the cashflow within the economy, which makes small businesses and startups more viable.

    Urgently address rent-rorting and housing insecurity. Although it has been congratulating itself for turning around housing construction, the government is still falling short of demand growth driven by migration. We could really use several hundred thousand extra houses in numerous locations, and in accord with adapting to a more sustainable model, tiny houses are an obvious answer. They use less labour and materials in construction, their portability lends them flexibility, and their energy footprints are likely to be much smaller than those of conventional housing. Far from encouraging them however, councils are aggressively overcharging on permits for them, with permit costs of 30-40k being now typical. Government could drive that down by producing lines of standardized plans with permit and rate caps. You know of course that most prospective tiny house dwellers would have preferred conventional dwellings, but they are forced to these alternatives by the epic incompetence of successive governments, who have pissed away their jobs to migrants and their housing to speculators – (thanks Roger Douglas and all your fellow traitors).

    • Gosman 4.1

      Nasty migrants. Everybody not born here or whose parents were not born here should be forced to go back to their home countries.

      • Stuart Munro. 4.1.1

        Actually they're pretty nice people on the whole – unlike the worthless villains who exploit them in preference to New Zealanders, who know their legal position rather better.

        Their niceness or lack thereof is neither here nor there however, they are bad for the economy – you remember – the altar on which every other positive feature of NZ society has been sacrificed.

        Mind, Russian “oligarchs” and Chinese criminals aren’t people we should be pretending are businessmen – the Russians who supplied the slaveships and crews never operated profitable businesses to buy those, they stole them from the collapsing state, which had need of that capital as it tried to rebuild after the soviet era.

        • Gosman 4.1.1.1

          Most of NZ is either of migrant stock or only one or two generations removed.

          • Stuart Munro. 4.1.1.1.1

            Frankly, so what?

            The yardstick for policy is public good. The evidence is that large scale low end migration is bad for the economy, as are criminals, speculators, and ACT supporters. This being so, few or none of these groups should be allowed in.

      • Dukeofurl 4.1.2

        Only you are using the term 'nasty'

        However the numbers are the issue ( Stats NZ)

        2009 12500 migrants

        2010 16500

        2011 3900

        2012 -3200

        2013 7900

        2014 33100

        2015 53400

        2016 64100

        2017 58900

        2018 48900

    • Nic the NZer 4.2

      Im pretty sure Michael Reddell is for most of the neo-liberal policy agenda. I have never seen any evidence his policy preferences would be very good for NZ, quite the opposite.

      Also his main critique, but productivity, has still been running well ahead of wages for several decades. Most of the economic problems for NZers are still caused by the wage gap caused by productivity running ahead of low end wages. Its important to understand he has a particular policy agenda to what he is saying.

  • Gosman 5

    Most of that is meaningless twaddle.

    Stating that you want to "Add value" to goods and services made here is not an economic development plan.

    • Kevin 5.1

      Would national have said any different? Adding value to goods and services has been a mantra from Labour and National for over 30 years.

      • Gosman 5.1.1

        Exactly. It is meaningless. It is like stating we want to make the most of what we sell. Well D'uh!

  • tc 6

    from the PDF: "Businesses and households can access affordable, clean energy to achieve our economic potential…"

    Can these 2 (robertson/twyford) actually define affordable in $$ terms and exactly how do they expect to do that with the rampant profiteering from generator through to retailer.

    PR brochure ware IMO from a couple of the ABC beltway brigade .

  • mosa 7

    " step change " is a Keyisim for deceit and giving the impression you are going to act while doing absolutely bugger all.

    I am sure that is not the governments intention.

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