Manufactured Manufacturing Crisis Report is “a Camel”

The DomPost editorial is scathing of the Green/Labour bloc manufacturing report. If they were school teachers prior to the current age of enlightenment where there is no failure they probably would have given it a D-.

Russel Norman, David Shearer and Winston release their report into manufacturing

Russel Norman, David Shearer and Winston release their report into manufacturing

“A CAMEL,” said Alec Issigonis, the brilliant engineer who created the Mini, “is a horse designed by a committee.”

Reading Manufacturing: The New Consensus, the Opposition report on the state of the manufacturing industry, it is difficult to avoid thinking of his aphorism. 

Not only have the report’s authors had to accommodate the divergent views of Labour, the Greens, NZ First and the Mana Party, they have also had to pay due deference to the manufacturers and unions who gave up their time to participate in an exercise that has no official status.

The result is a paean to the “good old days” when foreign goods were kept out of fortress New Zealand, export subsidies and research and development grants were there for the asking and profits and job security were virtually guaranteed because the public had no choice but to buy locally manufactured, or assembled, goods.

It was a golden time for the sector but, lest anyone has forgotten, it also was the era during which import licence holders bought television sets in Japan, paid Japanese workers to disassemble them, shipped the pieces here and then paid workers in Waihi to put them back together.

Gee…almost Muldoonist in its approach.

The report does not propose a return to the protected past, but it does advocate special treatment for a sector that has been buffeted by competition from low-wage Asian economies and wild fluctuations in the value of the dollar.

Among the measures canvassed are a return to a managed exchange rate, the reintroduction of R & D tax credits and a national procurement policy that favours Kiwi-made.

Unfortunately, the world has changed since those sorts of policies were affordable.

The hard-learned lesson of the past few decades is that New Zealand works best when it is flexible, nimble and resilient. We cannot expect other nations to buy our milk powder, wool and manufactured goods if we discriminate against their clothing and generators.

If there is one thing we have learned since the days of farming subsidies, it is that subsidies, protectionism and jingoism don’t help.

Free economies and free trade ar the key.

  • Phil

    Here is an interesting fact I learned last night.

    The Latin definition for Sinister means “on the Left”.

    Does that mean we now get to call the Labour/Green bloc Sinister from now?

    • Bunswalla

      It’s the same in many languages, though not perhaps for the reason you ascribe to it. In most romance languages the words for left and right reflect the fact that people used to think that anyone left-handed was decidedly dodgy. In Italian left is sinistre and right is destra (dexterous), In French left is gauche (clumsy) and right is a droit (adroit, clever, dexterous).

      • Random66

        Whew! Thank goodness I’m a righty.

      • blokeintakapuna

        They say that about us South Paws, but that’s only envy because we’re more intelligent supposedly… just ask any South Paw!

        • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

          Remember the shit the media wrote about Obama when he first came into office. He’s a southpaw. They pushed this same claim and it blew up in their face about three years in to his presidency when it became clear to everyone that he’s a complete muppet.

      • johnbronkhorst

        In medievil times, I believe people thought that left handers were a sign of devil possession and in early 20th it became a euphemism for being homosexual.

    • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

      In Swahili sinister means “Left will be in power” – what say you now?

      • johnbronkhorst

        You have mishit some keys here. and spelling and mis quote? are you hipkins in disguise?
        In “was silly minister means…”left will be electrocuted””

        This answer was inspired by ……”Monty Python” so I cannot take credit.

    • AnonWgtn

      Sinistra in Latin please

  • Patrick

    These guys would have us taken back 30 years, subsidies, restrictive licensing, protectionism & no doubt very powerful & militant unions. Talk about the march of progress.

  • johnbronkhorst

    For all their supposed cooperation and submissions to this report. It still looks like they (labour, greens, NZF and mana) wrote their individual policies and suggestions on little pieces of paper, put them in a hat, shook them up pulled them out one at a time.
    No need for a meeting or a report!

  • Plue

    Didn’t The McGillicuddy Serious Party have a policy of turning the clocks back 30 years because we all know it was better in the old days. Apparently in a typical left wing move these guys have stolen McGillicuddys IP and are now trying to pass it off as new thinking.

    • Patrick

      They didn’t have to steal the IP, they have the main man/woman from the McGillicuddy Serious Party front & centre, Ms Tuatara

    • GazzW

      I remember those days well Plue. When an obsolete colour TV cost the equivalent of three months of the average wage, when you had to go to Sydney to buy one of those newfangled gimmicks called a microwave oven and when you had to get permission from the Reserve Bank to secure limited overseas funds for your overseas holidays. They were the days when Joe Citizen paid to keep the privileged in the manner to which they were accustomed by way of subsidies & taxes – socialism at its worst, regardless of whether the Nats or Labour were in power.

      And these fuckers have the hide to call JK out on his so-called ‘rich prick’ friends.

  • Patrick

    If the manufacturing crisis is a camel then quite clearly Russell Norman is the camel toe.

    • blokeintakapuna

      no no – Camel toes are just lovely to look at – he’s the ugly cousin – the Moose knuckle!

      • Patrick

        Perhaps I should have worded it better, he looks like a camel toe but in fact is just a big c***

        • blokeintakapuna

          RNIAFC

          • GregM

            DD,DD.

  • steve and monique

    Guess if you cant come up with any good ideas,dust off some old ones.Pity those ideas where crap,even back then.

  • CJA

    We better not have paid for this crap.

  • GazzW

    Do these fuckwits not comprehend that FTAs are a two way street?

    • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

      Clearly not. Why are you asking? Obviously you haven’t noticed how special they all are. Spend ten minutes in the house listening to any of their members and you’ll soon agree with me.

  • johnbronkhorst

    Still say it is the “king Canute” policy. Trying to stop the tide of international economics from coming in!

  • johnbronkhorst

    See..Russell, david, winnie, hone……………even the camels are laughing at you!

    • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

      Come 8th November 2014, 11:00 PM, let us see who is laughing…..Sheep says.

      • johnbronkhorst

        NO…sheep says….BAAA

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    Bros – Sheep is very cheerful this morning despite the worst weather hitting our country. Sheep says that this report has been well received in OECD and he has been inundated with requests for this report from world leaders. They are queuing up to implement the recommendations from this report. Sheep says – “Vacate the chair John Key. Pappa is comin home”.

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    Isn’t this a photo of the Labour female MPs?!?!?

    • Dave

      No SCS, the Camels Teeth are not big enough to match the chompers of the young Labour MP

    • Guest

      You’d have to check the toes to be sure.

  • GregM

    It seems the MSM is starting to realize they are flogging a dead horse. They are finally starting to call them out on their bullshit.

  • Mediaan

    “Free economies and free trade are the key.”

    Yes, plus, having people with intelligence as well as solid business experience running the country. And, plus, having a level playing field internationally, so some others aren’t ducking free market standards and maintaining protectionism for their own goods.

    • Lopsy

      Agreed, I always wondered about the wisdom of a free trade agreement with the likes of China. The way they are growing it won’t be long before we see Chinese cheese and milk powder here at a fraction of the cost of our own. I think Clark took it after years of being fobbed off by the Americans in order to save some face. I’m not against free trade at all but in the absence of a level playing field I wonder just how free in holistic terms it is. I wonder if this Chinese free trade deal is distorting our economy.

      • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

        People in China don’t like eating Chinese produce. The land is barely arable. Lots of land allocated for farming was formerly industrial. Rice produced in China, on average, has twice as much lead content as rice from Thailand. I agree with you on why Helen Clark took up the FTA. Funnily enough, the import duties on foreign produce coming into China are astronomical. Domestic produce is extremely cheap, but that monolithic government won’t pay for itself. In a few years the cost of doing anything in that place will shoot sky-high. It is becoming a consumer society already. Marx was right about one thing, “give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves with it”. Correction coming.
        China’s nothing to worry about.

        • Lopsy

          Hope you’re right. I sort of feel there has to be some sort of huge political correction made in China. They are in the process of growing a middle class who I suspect will at some stage will be chafing under the political constraints that exist under the current political regime. The Chinese are very, very astute people make no mistake. What they produce may not be as good as what we could but it is cheap by our standards and in our consumerist society that carries a lot of weight. I think they know this. Also they are getting better at it. There was a time when the world mocked Japanese cars. How things have changed.

          • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

            Here is one trait they have as a society: they love money and can’t get enough of it. Any perception of opulence will always trump practicality. Also status is very important. The new generation all want office jobs. TV shows which don’t demonise the Japanese or are just fantasies set in the Han dynasty show businessmen taking glamorous women out to restaurants. There are very overt messages in the tv shows which compel people to work hard in an education system which is 150 years + out of date. When I say this, I mean they are compelled to rote learn mathematics and English grammar in order to pass very frequent tests. This knowledge they obtain has no practical application outside of the schools themselves.
            My opinion is that they will try to open shops if they fail to get high academic grades and move into high paying jobs, but for your average Chinese, this is a myth too. Many graduates leave and have to take regular jobs. Nepotism is even more prevalent here than in NZ, Australia, England and America. Looking after the family is very important. Corruption is unbelievable.
            Most of the factories will move on to Vietnam etc. and then from there to Pakistan. It is an industrial hot potato and I can’t blame people for not wanting a shit job in a factory. I worked in one myself. The monotony nearly drove me mad!
            They aren’t driven to improve their products. The designs don’t come from China. It is all MADE in China. The globalised economy is one of inter-dependency. The correction will be driven by these factors: cost of labour, it’s increasing very rapidly and there are viable and cheaper alternatives, remember why manufacturing left the west in the first place; the size of the Chinese market, they are the most unbelievable consumers, anything that has the aura of opulence is eaten up, import duties are massive and so are taxes on businesses; and lastly, Chinese produce is not safe to consume. Chinese people are always asking me to get them foreign milk and fresh foods. I can’t do that though. It is mostly safe, but there are no guarantees and again, many companies may be caught lacing their products with harmful toxins, but corruption is bad here. It takes someone to die before a product is investigated fully.
            It is a bullmarket and the correction will come.

          • Lopsy

            You sound like you’ve lived there.

          • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

            I am there right now. Great place. More people must visit to really understand the place. So many commentators on China are, although not wrong, just aren’t as up with how the country runs as an expert on America or Europe is. Maybe this is because they’re worried about what they say upsetting the host and jeopardising their visa prospects. I don’t know.

          • Mediaan

            Agree with your central point, that the cheapness factor will move to the next pauper aspirant state as China’s salaries increase.

            It happened, just the same, in Japan, after WW2. Then, NZers bought cheap paper parasols clumsily stamped “Made in Japan” and greetings cards with exquisite collage made from cut waste paper. Huge worth ethic, high determination, real skills, but a country just starting.

            Thirty years later, we were buying very good Japanese cars, and saying to each other, “These are good; they need fewer repairs than our former British-made cars.”

          • Mediaan

            One thing I disagree with. Yes, people of China (and Asia, really) do love the opulent expensive-looking bits, true.

            But we should also note, on the other hand, that as they get really rich many retain a modest-income look.

            You might see an old grand-dad in the corner of a dusty shop, dressed simply, looking very ordinary, smiling amiably at all remarks. Maybe, in fact, he is worth a hundred million dollars and has already sponsored a dozen relatives and proteges into their own businesses.

          • Lopsy

            I suspect the Chinese have long term strategies, unlike us.

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