Ardern still lecturing business

There have been a couple of articles recently that are critical of Jacinda Ardern’s ‘get with the programme’ attitude to business.

First,?Matthew Hooton?warns that the confidence crisis will cost thousands of jobs. quote:

The current business confidence crisis is set to become an investment crisis and full-scale economic downturn.

Already Treasury has cut its growth forecasts while Statistics NZ reports unemployment is up. Inevitably, welfare spending will rise above budget, forecast tax-takes will fall and the Government’s projected debt-to-GDP ratio will increase.

The outlook risks being catastrophic not just to the thousands who will lose their jobs but also to the Government’s re-election hopes.

Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson have spent the week denying there is a crisis while also insisting it’s everyone else’s fault.

Business confidence is plunging, not just in absolute terms, but also relative to the rest of the world.

Two years ago, New Zealand businesspeople were the second-most confident in the developed world.

Now they are the second-least confident, with pessimism as bad as during the Global Financial Crisis.

True to form, the Beehive’s response has included smearing those who collect the data and participate in the surveys. Trade Minister David Parker has led that charge, saying the studies are “junk”, a “survey of the emotions” and “the vibe of a self-selected subset of CEOs”.

The real problem is that Ardern, Robertson and the rest of the Labour crew were either incapable, too lazy or too distracted to do any policy work during nine years in opposition.

The Government’s 100-odd working groups are designed to fill that gap, but their combined effect is to leave every area of policy open to radical change but with no real indication of the nature of that change or when it might happen.

We have no idea what taxes might be dreamed up by the Tax Working Group, let alone which will be implemented or at what rate.

The proposed independent Climate Change Commission means Parker and Nick Smith’s Emissions Trading Scheme might be replaced with something better or worse. end quote.

Exactly. Too much uncertainty is very damaging to business confidence and with over 100 working groups making recommendations, no one knows what the outcomes will be.

Actually, we have a fair idea of what the outcome of the Tax Working Group will be, and it won’t be pretty.

Over on?Stuff, Tracey Watkins seems to have changed her tune from only a week ago, when she wrote that Jacinda would be the saviour of the economy. I guess it is true that a week is a long time in politics. Quote:

Ardern and her Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, are doubling down on the message that it’s time for business to get with the programme rather than whinge from the sidelines.

The line from the 9th floor of the Beehive seems to be that it’s the “messaging” that’s the problem, not the programme.

This is not quite in the league of Michael Cullen’s infamous retort to business in 2000 over the repeal of the controversial Employment Contracts Act. end quote.

That would be : “We won, you lost, eat that” I take it? That was incredible arrogance from the wonderful Michael Cullen, when he, like? this government had not yet been in power for a year. quote:

Labour governments and business are always going to be philosophically at odds over where to strike the balance between business and workers’ interests.

But there is a point when those interests cross over ??and that point is now, as plunging business confidence casts a pall over the wider economy as well.

You can’t have business confidence drop?to levels not seen since the Christchurch earthquakes or global financial crisis and not expect there to be some fallout. end quote.

But that is what Jacinda is trying to tell us. Business owners are just being mean and judgy. quote:

But the?line that the business confidence surveys are largely bunkum is getting dangerously close to looking pig-headed now that Treasury and the Reserve Bank have joined the chorus of voices warning that falling business confidence is going to have a real and concrete effect on the economy.end quote.

Dangerously close to looking pig-headed? I think we have long passed the line there. quote:

It’s not just the effect on jobs, or revenue, or exports, or any number of other things that could be caught up in the backwash of falling business confidence ??though those will all have an impact on the state of the Government”s books just as it is facing mounting pressures in the public sector.[…]

The Government is playing with fire then if it thinks?it can just ride it out.

It’s not just the effect on jobs, or revenue, or exports, or any number of other things that could be caught up in the backwash of falling business confidence ??though those will all have an impact on the state of the Government”s books just as it is facing mounting pressures in the public sector.

So if the next election turns into a referendum on the economy ??and it ?probably will ??Labour?could lose. end quote

Why do you think I keep on talking about it? quote:

And Labour may not be able to bank on Ardern’s popularity being sufficient to pull them over the line again.

A post on the?Stuff?Facebook page featuring Key talking about economic confidence attracted more than 60,000 views.

A Facebook post of Ardern being interviewed by?Stuff‘s Ali Mau about her return to work after giving birth got about 50,000 views.

So Key talking about the economy still has massive cut-through. end quote.

Which suggests that people are getting tired of the puff pieces already. Or are worried about their jobs and mortgages. Or both. quote:

Ardern is promising a big economic speech later in August, meanwhile, and there will ?probably be a policy announcement to give it some weight.

But whether that takes the shape of another olive branch to business or more of what Robertson delivered in his speech to a finance audience earlier this week ? a defence of the programme ??remains to be seen.

As too does the willingness of business to meet the Government half way – which there hasn’t been much evidence of yet. end quote.

If her ‘big economic speech’ is anything like the one about banning plastic bags, made in a primary school while breastfeeding, then it will not have much impact, whatever the content is about.

Digital image credit: Pixy

It gives me heart to see Jacinda’s popularity showing signs of waning. The more the MSM push the Madonna image and write puff pieces, the more concerned ordinary people become about their economic future. They need to feel that someone is in control. The more Jacinda turns up to important announcements clutching a baby, the less confident people will feel. She will just make it obvious to all and sundry that she is incapable of doing the job of prime minister, and that they should hand the reins?to someone else.

Before that happens though, thousands of people will find themselves out of work. That is what happens when business refuses to ‘get with the programme’.

 

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