Can you fix it?: Hard decisions
My ideas for improving the economy are below. Less needless public service, better education and increased investment sums it up.
• Significantly reduce the size and scope of the public service. Make the hard decisions about what is core and required. Social and PC feel-good departments should be axed (Maori Affairs, Women's Affairs etc). Quangos, agencies and committees should be included in this review.
• Sooner or later we need to stop taxpayer funds going into iwi coffers. This is not PC and will take leadership courage, but this money diversion does not contribute positively to the economy.
• Local government needs to be more accountable – it cannot keep increasing rates at levels far exceeding inflation year upon year.
• The Resource Management Act needs a complete overhaul. Excessive time before approval, ease and "cheapness" of objections plus the bureaucratic nature of applications stifle projects.
• Government needs to encourage long-term infrastructure investment such as communication, power generation, and large-scale processing plants. I would also put large-scale conservation projects into this category. Amending the RMA will help with this but there also needs to be proactive support from central and local government.
• Multigenerational welfare dependency needs to be stopped. This will bring about short-term pain, but is required if we want people being productive in the long term.
• Place more accountability for results on to the education sector. Teachers have been protected for too long. National standards, performance pay etc are all part of this.
• Kids should be employment-ready when they leave education. Secondary and tertiary education should focus on career-relevant training to prepare people for their working life. This education needs to cover both trade and professional qualifications.
• We need to look at how education is failing boys. A balance is required – we need both sexes to do well. Exams, bullrush, manual subjects, less feelings and more "hi-jinks" are required.
• We need to enable more investment. Everyone says we have to save more – but in what? Currently we really only have an under-performing sharemarket or property. The partial asset float would at least provide another easy investment opportunity for small investors. How can we take small investments (under, say, $10,000), pool them together and provide good returns while investing in the productive sector?
• We are in OSH overload. Accidents will happen – we can’t put everyone and everything in cotton wool because if we do, nothing gets done. Reward the risk with high pay, but let mining continue.
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