Our leadership problem

NZ Herald

Fran O’Sullivan hits on the problem we have in out body politic:

Real leadership involves telling New Zealanders that the situation is fiscally unsustainable and leaves the country too exposed to future financial shocks.

So, Shearer’s colleagues have no reason to fear (yet) that he is going to tie them to the kind of genuinely unpopular but necessary policies that may cost them their own jobs.

New Zealand will just continue to lurch along buried beneath the dead weight of handouts it cannot really afford to service.

Much of this hard-earned taxpayer cash would be better spent on funding a jobs machine for young unemployed New Zealanders who are the real losers in this society, rather than topping up the incomes of the salaried middle-class.

I’m not sure Fran has worked that through properly…”jobs machines” never work, they never have and never will. Anything that has a government meddling in it invariably fails.

She is right, however, on the the fiscally unsustainable welfare for the middle classes….like farmers in the 80s the stripping of the subsidies is going to be painful…but necessary.


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  • Johno1234

    There is a job machine – participation in education. Not just academic education but also trades,

    Too many kids drop out of school and end up useless.

    Too many kids go to university and get useless degrees and end up useless.

  • ConwayCaptain

    A leader will at some time in the v near future have to do the following:

    1 Stop the social welfare gravy train whether it is for people or companies.  Why do we have people on $60K+ on Working for famiies.

    2 Stop the gravy train of the Treaty Settlements Industry.

    3 Go in and sort out the Ducation Dept MESS where we have Unis and Polytechs offering all sorts of courses.  Tertiary Lecturers on a hell of a lot of money who spend their time onn fatuous papaers which only abpout half a dozen people will read.

    4 Bring back schools that can teach students hands on subjects, woodwork, metalwork, plumbing, cooking etc so that when they leave school they are at least part trained.

    5 Bring industries into NZ even if they have to be subsidised at the start to employ people.  Especvailly where industries can add value to products such as wood, wool, dairy, meat etc.

  • Internationalman

    The problem is that people subscribe to the notion that the govt has the answer to every problem,  when in reality every measure they try to implement has an inverse outcome. “Jobs machines”… yet another example of flawed thinking, and this from someone purporting to know the answers.

    If you want to correct the youth unemployment problem which has exploded since the abolition of youth rates, then reverse the disastrous decision which caused the explosion in the first place.

    Politicians are a bunch of smoke and mirrors conjurers and charlatans, desperate to show the voters how omnipotent they are and thus reinforcing the diminutive minion status of the citizen; so the politician must be seen to be doing something about whatever the problem of the day is, and inevitably always forgets that you always get what you pay for. Want more research on AGW, just chuck a few million at it, want more youth crime… reward the actions of youth criminals with cool holidays and events, make all the good kids jealous to the point of having them act up in order to receive the punishment of outward-bound or whatever the flavour of the week rehab program  is this week.

    A bold Govt would impose an across the board flat tax rate of 15% on income over 40K per annum, with the first 40k being tax free; with a 4% health fund and increase kiwisaver to 10%, but free up the investment criteria to allow Self directed fund management. All investment income should be tax free. Rewarding savings and investing in real businesses would then be a viable alternative to state sponsored enslavement of the working young to support their elders’ retirement lifestyles.

    Decreasing benefits to being under 66% maximum of the minimum wage (which should also be reduced to under $10 per hour, with a youth rate of $6.50) would create the necessary differential to allow a distinct advantage to employment over a dole handout.

  • AzaleaB

    Our biggest problem is that leadership and politics seem permanently diametrically opposed. In my view, leadership takes courage, vision and an overwhelming belief in a better state. The pursuit of this better state requires long term focus and sacrifice including potentially self-sacrifice. Leadership is about the follower and the desired goals.

    Politics in turn drives self-serving behaviour and short term focus. In politics the optimal solution is frequently cast aside because it is long term and does not gain votes. Politics is all about the politician. It is one thing to know what needs to be done – quite another to have the balls to do it

    ( BTW – is there a female version of the phrase ‘having the balls to do something..? Curious as being of the female persuasion I do not actually have these particular appendages but am considered quite ballsy by friends…)

    I know I am probably stating the obvious here but perhaps the two can be brought closer together with a longer parliamentary term. Or perhaps limiting the time one can spend as PM/ politician to two terms (a  bit like the American model) enabling bolder action in the second term.

  • Euan Rt

    I thought it was quite insightful of Fran to recognise that a large chunk of the problem wascused by the second term Clark govt, offering lollies and unaffordable promises to stay in power for a 3rd term, and that removing them will be costly in votes for the govt that is strong enough to do it.

    • Gazzaw

      And that  very valid point Euan is the crux of our problem. Clark & Cullen’s legacy is a legacy that  has effectively nobbled the economy of this country. Let’s pray that NZ never sees such self-interested corruption again. 

  • JeffW2

    Fran has noted only a part of the problem – she is correct about the lack of leadership. But the other part of the problem is the left wing MSM. Fran’s commentary about the problem is never shown on the front page of the Herald, but is always tucked away in the business pages. 
    I am beginning to think that the only way we can make some real change is to go bankrupt, and have the MSM realise that cuts to welfare are better than no welfare.Perhaps the great effort by Roger Douglas in the 80’s has proven ultimately to be the wrong thing. He saved the country too early in the readjustment process.

  • davewin

    What is a “Jobs Machine”? Just another glib name. Politicians from all sides need to realise that the only jobs worth creating are those in the Private Sector. These  jobs are the result of production of some sort, and the remuneration must fit the profitability of the  business.

    Jobs created  by Governments and “schemes” are never production based, and therefore the funding for them eventually fails with results we see about us every day. Tax Cuts for the wealthy, and for business are the best way to create meaningful work as the money gained will eventually chase goods. The production of those goods will create the work etc. BUT our problem is that at every strep Government will want to interfere and adjust the process. 121 MMP members exacerbates the problem as there are more paracites working to influence any growth in their direction.

    Lastly, buzzwords also stop the process of Enterprise – Green, Energy, Sustainable, Educated Workforce etc.

    A farm Labourer is one job of the type we need. A Planner in the Council is a drone.

  • ConwayCaptain

    Maybe we should bring back schools that were called in the UK Secondary Modern Schools where they trained people for jobs innindustries like woodwork, eleclrical, car mechanics etc etc.

    I went to a school, it was fee paying, and it trained us for a career at sea.  Our instructors all had Masters FG Certs and the Warrant Officers were all out of tye RN and taught us ropework, wir splicing, signals etc.  WE learnt to sail 32′ Naval Cutters and H and S today would have coniptions if they saw what we did. 

    This school has people now world wide andnworking innjobs as diverse as Llloyds Names to people in Nursing homes.  I was involved with one personn putting together a proposla for accommadation ships in ChCh and withjing about 4 days had 3-4 ships lined up.

  • ConwayCaptain

    The Govt has to put in the right ground for people to create jobs.  Ie tax concessionsn or whatever and let them create te jobs whetherv it be manual jobs on farms, planatations or creating a new industry.

    • Bunswalla

      The problem with that CC, which has been shown many times around the world, is that as soon as the subsidies/tax concessions dry up, the companies pack up and go to the next country or state that is going to offer them. They’re very good at promising investment in factories, plant etc as long as the pot is sweet enough for them, but not that good at sticking around when they have to pay their way.

  • davewin

    The point is the Government has to keep as far away from the process as possible. The rest of it ConwayCaptain I agree with completely. To see how it worked, we need to look back to the sixties when there was full employment. How many Ministers were there in Government, and what did they do? The world is more complex in some areas, but this country is totally and completely over governed. Far too many people employed to snoop on others and tell them how to live their lives.

  • Landy

    No Jobs Machine, please.  

    It will only bring more government incompetents claiming they know how to start businesses.  

    They do things like give stacks of money to flashy promoters who damage existing businesses until the money is spent, then go away again.   Like a past subsidy to out-of-nowhere airline newcomer, now going again, Air Asia — what damage did this do to existing airlines? 

    This next bit is for your under-24-year-old son who says there are “no jobs”.

    Follow all instructions carefully. 
    1.   Put aside $50.   Blindfold yourself, go to Bunnings, purchase any gadget off a shelf up to a maximum of $50.   (Example:  $29 pair of hedge-clippers.)  Go home.   Ring up Yellow Pages, get their free line ad, list your new business name, as in  “Jaydon’s (name of gadget you bought) Service” with your home number.

    2.   Print off pages with four letterboxer ads per page (internet cafe, $4 per hour, plus 20c per page.)   Include the name of your service and a phone number.   Cut the pages into four.   Stuff one strip in each letterbox in your neighbourhood, or in the nearest affluent neighbourhood.   You are going to walk or cycle to get there, so it has to be local.

    3.   Answer the phone politely when they ring and say you’ll be happy to come round and do a written quote.   Do the quote.   Do the work.  

    4.   Open a bank account in your business name and put all the money in it.

    5.   To start off right, and maybe end up rich and successful, declare it fully and pay your taxes.   If you are the sort who skulks around cheating, you will never build it in to a big business.