Has the worm turned?

Is the political worm turning at the Herald?

In politics, as in all spheres of life, timing is everything. Take the report into manufacturing released yesterday by the Labour, Greens, New Zealand First and Mana parties. When their inquiry began last October, times were uncommonly tough in the sector. Just last Friday, however, the latest BNZ-Business NZ performance of manufacturing index indicated that it was expanding at its fastest rate since 2003, and at one of the world’s highest rates. Equally, a tumbling exchange rate has eased many of the sector’s woes. In that context, the report’s talk of the killing of manufacturing seemed lame at best.


It smacked of a strategic retreat, a once over lightly, get it out of the way kind of report, that in a weeks time after the recess will be barely mentioned. 

Yet even if current conditions had mimicked those of eight months ago, the report would have been counted a barren exercise. Its three core recommendations are as flawed as they are predictable. The first wants monetary policy to be aimed at achieving a lower and more stable exchange rate, as well as a lowering of structural costs in the economy, such as electricity prices, and a refocusing of capital investment into the productive economy, rather than housing speculation. Only the third part of that triple jump, which implies a capital gains tax, is worthy of consideration. The other two would simply introduce a new set of problems.

Even the capital gains tax is fraught with danger…if taxing our way to productivity and prosperity were real options then taxation would be at 100%.

The report’s recommendation for a lowering of structural costs in the economy refers specifically to electricity prices. This is a clear nod to the Labour-Green proposal for a single buyer to purchase all electricity generation at what it deems a fair price. Presumably, this is seen as the forerunner of a greater emphasis on central planning. Manufacturers would, of course, applaud lower power costs. But what they would also get would be inefficiencies, unintended consequences and, if history is a guide, blackouts.

Ask Russians how central planning worked for them. Or North Koreans.

The Opposition parties’ report is entitled Manufacturing: The New Consensus. This confirms that Labour has abandoned a major-party consensus that had endured for some three decades. That is doubly regrettable in that its new agenda fails to acknowledge the sector’s real challenges. These have far more to do with the emergence of China and other Asian manufacturing bases than shortcomings, largely imagined, in this country. Even then, talk of a crisis is clearly overstated. As is the need for this “new consensus”.

The Labour naysaying rent-a-letter mob will be frantically scribbling as we speak in support of this socialist pipedream. The stench of Russel Norman’s communist background is very evident.

Kiwis 50+ need little reminding of the days of protected shoddy locally made goods, rationed overseas currency for personal use and home loans at 20%.

A vote for David Shearer is a vote for Russel Norman to sit on the treasury benches.


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  • johnbronkhorst

    The thing that will kill our manufacturing quicker than anything. The fact that China is one of the worlds largest buyers of industrial robotics and automation. NZ from my experience, is VERY manual in it’s approach to production. Many need to wake up and start investing in automation before they find, they don’t have a business at all!!!

    • Dave

      it is very manual, yup agreed. It is also expensive manual labour, and too often unproductive labour with giant chip on the shoulder, and largely thanks to the unions. If NZ is to get productive, there firstly needs to be agreement on PRODUCTIVE labour rates, not just being paid for turning up, and then innovative ways to ADD VALUE, a concept void in the unions and labourites.

      NZ can have a manufacturing sector, but not in low value/high bulk items, the shipping is huge, and returns would be negative.

      A positive look at things though, look at Kiwi firms such as Magritech, Xero, Vend, FrameCad and many more. All EXPORT technology, as well FrameCad export their high value key componentry. This is where NZ’s future lies, developing leading edge technologies and licensing the use of those technologies, not in manufacturing small pieces of low metal stamped out from a 200 tonne press in a dark factory. (oh, Tourism, tourism and high value pure food production). A simple philosiphy, imagine if the inventor of the simple match, or ball point pen had ongoing patents, and was getting just one cent for every box of matches, or ball point pen sold……..

      BUT, to do that we would need an educated population, and presto – there is the gap – too many are not sufficiently educated, or educated to think laterally, or capable of changing to the new world economy.

      • Ronnie Chow

        The Gap indeed . With unionized teachers boycotting forward-thinking Government initiatives , we reach a stalemate .
        Like a Pitbull gripping a child , teachers refuse to modernize and get tough . Kids need to be forced to learn . The current soft approach , short school hours , no school on Saturday and namby pamby all around leniency have collectively led their system into producing many useless adolescents

    • OT Richter

      and it just so happens that you peddle…. automation.

      • johnbronkhorst

        NO….not peddling…..put a DC motor on it and control it via PLC.
        Automation means a small country like NZ, if done correctly, can produce as much as larger Nations. Making us all wealthier.

        • Dave

          JB you seem experienced in matters AC, DC and PLC, impressive !!

          And, along with the automation, goes automation engineers, mechanics, laborers, cleaners, etc. Efficiency in manufacturing can lead to more being employed, they might quadruple production through automation and only add 4 job, but its 4 more jobs!!

  • rockape

    These same lefties suggesting lower power prices are the same ones who opposed lower prices and subsidies for RTZ. Two faced again.

  • Plue

    “a refocusing of capital investment into the productive economy” if that actually worked although I don’t remember an exemption for capital gains made in the “productive economy” so how does this work again?
    Presumably the theory is that the income gains in the productive economy are so much higher with lower risk than property ownership (after rents have increased to compensate for a lack of capital gain)… hmm have any of these people ever run a business (or even invested in one).

    As an aside the affordable housing debate that rages is because (for various reasons) there is a lack of supply of housing. If you drive capital out of the housing sector how does this help with that problem exactly?

  • johnbronkhorst

    Considering the facts. It would appear that the Yahooxtra poll today is being hijacked.
    Regarding a manufacturing crisis.

  • tarkwin

    I was surprised to see this get bugger all air time on One news last night, maybe things are changing. The one thing I do agree with is that the government should shop local as much as possible, after all it’s our money they’re spending.

    • unitedtribes

      The funniest bit was Russel Norman fiddling with a cog with a look of absolute or. It was like he had just discovered the wheel

      • tarkwin

        You don’t get to see many intricate parts when you’re basket weaving. I’m actually quit surprised he knows what manufacturing is.

        • Dave

          The Aussie Commie understands it very well Tarkwin, he has read the manual for the printing press, and is looking for a production assistant, storeman, warehouse space and thinking about distribution methods. Co-star Metiria Turei is organizing growing the raw materials in northland, and soon hemp money will be rolling out of their own moneyfuckturing plant, ready to propel the Labour party they co own into power.

          Dave’s dictionary:

          Moneyfuckturing. a term used to describe the chaos of printing the Greens new Hemp currency. The multiuse currency can be used to exchange goods, as a barter, it can be smoked, used for the production of clothing, or if caught short at a green rally or after their green mung bean curry, can be used as bog paper.

          • blokeintakapuna

            word-smith of the day!

          • tarkwin

            Shut me up.

  • Jimmie

    About 9 years ago I worked for a small plastics factory called Kiwitech based out of Bulls as a plastic moulding machine operator.

    They had a payment system where I got paid $14/hr as a base wage but if I produced the various products fast enough of of the moulder I could earn performance pay on top of it.

    I spent my hours sussing out various ways of operating the two moulders simultaneously to make the items as quickly as possible.

    My average pay through that time averaged between $21-24/hr.

    The previous operator who still worked there was a moaning old fart who worked as slow as possible and was always wining that $14 was hardly anything to get paid and due to his laziness he never got paid more than this.

    • blokeintakapuna

      ..and that’s why unions don’t like a true meritocracy / self-employed contractors – there’s no where to hide and the lazy and inept are soon shown up…

  • Agent BallSack

    Russel Norman is a fucking communist cunt.

    • richard.b

      Doo Da

  • MarcWills

    Any one notice the irony in Dr Norman of the Green Party visiting and singing the praises of a company that:

    * Manufactures a product with a HUGE carbon footprint (jet propulsion)
    * Uses materials which rely on LOTS of mining (iron ore and bauxite)
    * Manufactures products which use petroleum products sourced from deep-sea drilling
    * Uses materials which are manufactured using LOTS of coal (high quality steel)

    These (amongst others you can easily imagine) will all be subjected to one of the over 100 listed practices and procedures which are listed to be BANNED by said Green Party if they are ever let near the Government benches.

    I can’t imagine what Hamilton Jet were thinking by giving a platform to their policies.

    • blokeintakapuna

      Comment of the day…

    • Tiberius

      Same with F&P washers (who have moved the plant offshore) – made from steel (mined ore and coal) and plastic (made from oil). Greens want manufacturing, but will not allow raw materials to be sourced!!

  • In Vino Veritas

    “shoddy locally made goods”. Yep, try Jim Anderton’s shopping trollies. The ones that often had none of the wheels heading in the right direction and left long black skid marks across the lino floors (that’s when all four of the wheels actuall touched the ground, often only three would be). The only good thing about them was that they couldnt be pushed miles away from the Supermarket, you’d have had to carry them!

  • cows4me

    They had the three amigos on tv one news, all lined up for the press conference. The topic was their latest waste of time, the report. After the conference was over the press wanted a group photo, old Winnie wasn’t haven’t any of that and legged it. Jees feel the love. A coalition of these three would have the half life of beryllium.

    • tarkwin

      Where was Hone? I assume troughing overseas again?

  • All_on_Red

    Fairfax shares in Oz down to 55 cents. Won’t be long until they have to start selling papers. Good job.

  • “Kiwis 50+ need little reminding of the days of protected shoddy locally made goods, rationed overseas currency for personal use and home loans at 20%.”

    You bastard.