It appears National are trying to promote the “little and often” approach to economic planning – but commentators are appearing a little skeptical. Take John Armstrong:
The $500 million worth of capital spending on doing up state houses, constructing new roads and bridges, building new classrooms and so forth sounds impressive but will directly create (or save) only around 2000 jobs. Put that figure against the 68,000 the Treasury expects to join the dole queues by March next year and yesterday’s package is a drop in the reservoir…
Bill English is seeking to lower public expectations of what the Government can do by repeating the line that the Government will take the “sharp edges” off the recession. In other words, don’t count on it being able to do more. It is a tricky message to sell, made more difficult when comparisons are made with other countries which are pump-priming their economies like there is no tomorrow.
And from Gordon Campbell:
We’re still waiting for a coherent overall plan for these various ingredients, commensurate with the scale of the crisis coming over the horizon….it is possible that the government response is both too small, AND too wasteful. Initially though, we need to appreciate why the government is adopting a â€˜rolling maul’ approach to crisis planning.
He suggested that most of the jobs have a distinctly “burly” quality:
Well, I can’t see very many jobs for women in this package. Women are taxpayers too, and the number of households headed by single women earners is on the rise. Yet this package seems geared almost entirely towards construction and to creating jobs for plumbers, electricians and tradesmen.
Campbell had some criticisms for Labour too:
So far, Labour has managed to tie itself in knots. All week in the House, it has been asserting that the projects in the stimulus package were mainly its ideas AND that they were inadequate. It was like watching a cranky old mammal fiercely claiming its eggs, and then trying to eat them too. Presumably, Labour’s solution was to have the same set of ideas, only bigger. Supersize me that spending on roads, with a side order of bridge-building fries as well, please !
He got me thinking – why hasn’t Labour made more of National’s weaknesses? They had a plan ready to roll out at the election when they were government. What are the comparative strengths/ weaknesses of each according to Labour’s analysis? Perhaps they are saving themselves for an alternative Budget as Labour have presented in the past. I for one would welcome the addition of some depth to the debate.