Can you fix the economy? NZ needs leaders

Last updated 05:00 05/12/2012
John Key
Fairfax NZ
KEY QUESTION: Does New Zealand have leaders or managers at the helm?

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The economy is measured by people who measure things. They are not aware that real people exist and so they talk, instead, in terms of theory. It is not proper science because at the base of it all is human behaviour and these economists are not sociologists.

They are measuring the wrong things. If the people do not spend their money, and spend it often, that is measured as bad. If they do not save their money, that is measured as bad. If they do not spend their money because, afterall, a price has gone down, they are abnormal. If they do not stop buying when prices go up, they are abnormal. If the country produces less of something per worker than another country, that is bad. If you can import something cheaper from abroad this is better. If you lose your job because of what was imported that is good. The more people you have, the richer you are and the more taxes you can collect to spend on making the country a 'better' place. This is why America and China are exactly what we would like to be, aren't they? All this is called economics and has taken over common sense.

We live in a country that sells itself on being eco-green, marvellous for tourists and with a lifestyle for everyone that celebrates the outdoors and doing it yourself. Its education is the envy of Great Britain with rounded OEs stepping from job to job over the heads of their British counterparts. Older people are still employed. The highest technology to competent trades are still there and available for employment for young and incomers.

So why are we becoming obese, watching porn-mid evening (The Secret Diary of a Call Girl) and starting to mine our parks and sell our assets. Why are politicians talking of increasing our population four-fold? Why are we talking to foreign powers as if we have to? Why are our youth so troubled? Why are Auckland and the Hutt Valley so violent? Why is housing so expensive? Why is much of our clothing foreign and low quality? Why can't you buy NZ goods anymore?

Who is losing the NZ plot? Who is in charge of this 'economics'? Surely not our leaders who must love all NZ was, is and could be. Not leaders who could choose to do something unconventional to put it right.

No, the only people who could allow this happen would have to be classic managers. Those people who 'do the thing right', according to the infallible economics book, listening to their branch heads rather than their own. Working on this year's budget.

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But then that means that the managers are running the leaders who are suppose to be 'doing the right thing' for the NZ future. Doesn't it? Or are our leaders really only managers afterall?

So here's my two cents in fairly random ranting order. And please don't give me the patronising 'manager's' economic short-termist response:

1. Stop selling housing, land and assets to non-New Zealand residents/companies. Yes, you can. And retrieve what you can. Fundamental common sense.

2. Stop free trade where cheap goods can flood the markets and damage our own New Zealand industry/manufacturing base. Yes, you can. See youth below.

3. Stop talking about population increase as a good thing. It is never properly costed and it grows. Associated sewage, roads, schools, shops, hospitals, jobs, doctors, dentists - never in the whole economic costing. Overpopulation is the biggest threat to mankind. Combined with our economics model it leads to a very nasty society indeed.

4. Protect our cities' green spaces and good agricultural land from building. Market gardens should be on the door step.

5. Value our farming communities and address structures which cheat the farmer of the proper value for his/her stock and produce.

6. Stop spending money on things that business should be paying for. This includes sport and performing arts.

7. Start including New Zealanders overseas in your calculations - they have the right of return and should be factored in to the economy. It would take only one epidemic or biological warfare scare to have many returning home.

8. Start appreciating our challenged youth. Ensure you have a manufacturing base that will provide them jobs (by making stuff in NZ and limiting some imports). Build them speed tracks, design schooling for the 'non-academic', think affordable housing. Yes you can. This is the human aspect missing from pure economics.

9. Tax fast food including fat. Yes you can, whatever the big companies say. Let them walk. Diabetes 2 costs NZ.

10. Tax all food additives. Bird feather in bread, aspartame and all the nasty sugar replacements. All claimed to be fine by big business and their scientists. So just tax additives. Schools will love you for it. All the empirical evidence is there in the classroom and playground. Yes you can be brave in the face of big companies and multi-nationals. New Zealand will 'get thru' without fizzy drinks from the supermarket shelf.

11. Tax what people buy and put less tax on basics like unprocessed food and childrens clothing.

12. Keep the lawyers out of accident claims. 

It beats any system worldwide however flawed. Awesome.

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