The elephant in the business chamber

A lot of people refer to Jacinda Ardern as a student politician. Some may think this unfair, but it has never been so obvious when you look at the way she treats business.

Business confidence fell immediately after the current government were appointed. This is hardly surprising as Labour, and particularly the Greens, have long been known as no friend to business. The Greens are notable for policies that can be fairly described as anti-business.

Jacinda, however, thinks that this attitude is unfair, and has referred to it as “the elephant in the room”. This from?Newsroom:? Quote:

In a pre-Budget speech Jacinda Ardern took her critics head on, telling the crowd of business leaders that flagging business confidence didn?t match reality, Thomas Coughlan reports.

Businesses should feel better about the economy and align their perceptions with the positive reality says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Delivering the now traditional pre-Budget speech to the Business New Zealand audience, Ardern said business confidence was ?the elephant in the room?.

Business confidence has been low since the Government took office. One of the leading business confidence surveys conducted by NZIER found businesses had turned pessimistic about economic outlook for the first time in two years after Labour assumed office.

On Monday ANZ?s monthly business confidence survey reported pessimism grew in April. 23 percent of businesses were pessimistic about the economy, up from 20 percent in March.

Ardern said businesses should look at other metrics of confidence in the economy, which have been positive. End of quote.

She proves that she simply does not understand how business works. Business hates uncertainty. The introduction of any new government will often result in an initial fall in confidence, but it doesn’t need to last long. Socialist governments, in particular, can cause nervous jitters in the business sector. How this pans out depends entirely on the kind of messages that the government send to business. If they send a ‘business as usual’ message, then confidence is usually restored in a fairly short time.

However, no one in their wildest dreams could say that this government have sent a ‘business as usual’ message out this time.

Firstly, Shane Jones attacks a publicly listed company, Air New Zealand, for cancelling unprofitable routes. Then, without warning or consultation, the oil and gas industry is savaged for no benefit to either the environment or the economy, but purely for the purpose of virtue signalling. That the government failed to realise the sector would react immediately is becoming obvious, along with egg on the faces of Jacinda Ardern and Megan Woods.

Then fuel taxes were significantly increased, driving up the cost, eventually, of absolutely everything. Then came the large increases to the minimum wage over the next three years, plus significant changes to the 90-day trial period for new employees.

Finish all that off with an attack on farmers and a threat to limit the number of cows allowed, and you have a government that can reasonably be called ‘business unfriendly’. The government have given no sector of business a good reason to feel optimistic. Quite the reverse. Quote:

[Ardern] told a business event in February ?the elephant in the room? was the Government?s poor polling with businesses.

?They feel akin almost to being in high school and suddenly discovering the notes that people are passing around the classroom about you,? she said of the business surveys. End of quote.

And there you have it. If you ever needed evidence that our prime minister really is a student politician, it is all there in that statement. She really has no idea, no knowledge and no understanding about the business sector, and it is no surprise that, in return, they have no faith in her.

Things may be trucking along nicely in the economy at the moment, but that is a hangover from the successful management of the previous government. Ardern and her government are doing everything possible to unravel that, and it is only a matter of time before the economy starts to tank. It will all be at the hands of a prime minister who thinks that she knows what she is doing, but who, in reality, doesn’t have a clue.

She wonders petulantly why business leaders have no confidence in her government. The fact that she doesn’t understand is the real elephant in the room.