In which I note what is going on locally. I have read one good book: a manual on how to be at a point you can disappear and not care about the stupidity of most corporations. The review is good: the book is better. Get a copy.
Locally, Labour want tax increases: Greens want wealth tax and regulations and increased income tax: National and ACT are arguing let’s imitate Ronald Reagan and cut taxes so the economy gets a good kick. Because we are in the poop. Spending and financial discipline will matter. It is good to listen to the voice of experience.
The real issue in the election campaign should be; who has the best economic recovery plan? Inevitably our views are influenced by our political preferences. Nevertheless, there are economic fundamentals that any party in government has to deal with. Economic recovery is not an exercise in wish fulfillment. There are some difficult choices ahead.
Let’s look at the key numbers as revealed by the PREFU. It will be 2024 before the economy recovers to the pre covid size. Debt will have grown from $57.7 billion to $201.1 billion by 2024. Unemployment will peak at 7.7% next year. The economy will shrink by nearly 4% over the next 18 months, it won’t be just a one quarter hit. All of that is bad enough, but the PREFU had much worse news. On the current track the government will be in deficit until at least 2034, and all that deficit will be borrowed money. However, just because Treasury says this will happen does not mean it will. Governments can make real choices, starting from pretty much straight after the election, though realistically the numbers forecast for June 2021 are already pretty much locked in.
My experience in government covered the GFC and the Christchurch earthquakes. I know well the kind of choices that had to be made. The goal back then was to smooth the impact while providing a pathway out. We had inherited a PREFU that forecast a decade of deficits. We knew we could change that. But it took real discipline to bring spending under control. Even so we still had to borrow about $40 billion to pay for everything. Now that National has released its economic plan, we know the options that the two major parties are offering for government. Although the immediate focus has been on National’s tax cut, that is not actually where the biggest numbers lie. The biggest difference between the two parties is their spending plans over the next four years.
By 2024 Labour will have spent $23.5 billion more than National. In 2024 the debt under Labour will be $201.1 billion compared to $187.4 billion under National. The difference is $13.7 billion, but when National’s tax cuts of $9.8 billion (both personal and business) is added to the difference, it shows the real size of the spending difference of the two parties. Of course, Labour will have all sorts of reasons why they need to spend $6 billion per year more than National, but much of the extra can be accounted for in just two things; contributions to the Super Fund, and Auckland Light Rail.
Neither are necessary at the moment. Labour will compound the debt problem by unnecessarily restrictive rules on the one industry that we are now all dependent on, and that is farming exports. The winter grazing rules, the fertilizer rules and the irrigation rules all add up to a major handbrake on New Zealand’s most important productive industry. Kneecap farming exports by say 10% and expect unemployment to rise, tax revenues shrink and government debt to increase.
Wayne Mapp, No Minister
Don’t vote Green if you want to eat
The Greens are idiotic scum, but they have been part of the Coalition for the last three years, and that means that they are idiotic scum with a taste of power. They want to regulate farmers because of pollution and goals they have made up. From a guest post at the BFD. Not that DoC is the Department of Conservation: the water is polluted over the planned threshold before the farmers get near it.
But here’s the clanger, they intend to impose a Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN) level of 1 mg/litre for all waterways in New Zealand. Currently, water flows out of DoC land at the western side of Mid Canterbury at 3.2 mg/l. To meet a DIN of 1 mg/l, Environment Canterbury’s own report from 2017 found that land use in the neighbouring Selwyn Te Waihora Catchment would have to revert to dryland sheep grazing.
We have budgeted that impact on this farm and it looks like this-
Crop Income, down 92%
Sheep Gross, down 62%
Expenditure, down 70%
Wages, down 91%
EBIT (Earnings before Interest and Taxation), down 68%
Capital Re-investment, down 74%
Net Profit, down 105%
Tax Paid, down 75%
The actual numbers are irrelevant, because the percentage drops will be seen across many or most farm businesses, regardless of size. Of course, that is before any of the other new taxes and levies they wish for detailed above.
This conversation hasn’t even begun to touch on the significant investment in technology and infrastructure we have made in the last 15 years to reduce our environmental impact, all of which would be both unaffordable, and irrelevant because none of it will get us even close to meeting the limits the Greens wish for.
The end result of all this is we would now own a totally unviable, un-bankable business that is not much more than a glorified life style block and has no economic future in food production. The knock on impact is that land values will collapse.
My suggestion to my mate, or anyone else in urban New Zealand reading this is to enjoy and savour the standard of living that you currently enjoy, make diary notes and take photographs so that you can look back on the “good ole days” as we embark on our journey to becoming a Zimbabwe or Venezuela of the South Pacific.
It was not sensible policy announced last week, it was the framework for economic destruction.
Given the catastrophic economic news released in the PREFU this week, I’m not sure we can afford to take a wrecking ball to the agricultural and horticultural sectors right now.
If you live in a seat that the Greens could win — vote for whomever will keep them out. We have MMP, so if you are left wing do not get distracted by the death of Bader Ginsberg: do not vote Green. Labour has some sense. The Greens do not, and in coalition they will ensure that we don’t grow enough to feed ourselves, let alone export agricultural products.
The correct attitude to the Rona
Is to ignore it and live life. I’m annoyed that half my family are now living in fear and won’t travel, because they are considered by the fearful woke as lepers. Rona is rare. Losing time with others is a greater risk.
There’s a dive bar in town that does a good schnitzel, and the old expats sit out front and leisurely destroy their livers. When cases were rising and venues were closing, I noticed those guys still chilling on the boulevard, no masks, no worries; drinking, chatting, and enjoying their freedom while they still could.
At the time I thought, those guys are not being sensible. Their age makes them vulnerable; they should stay home.
Now I’m ashamed to have thought that. They were right, I was wrong. Life is to enjoy, and we’ve all got to die someday. No point cowering from the world.
If my dear reader is elderly or in poor health, there’s no shame in sitting this one out. However, any young, healthy person who is afraid of a virus with a low and falling fatality rate, is a sook. Do you wanna live forever? Are you brave enough to drive a car, drink alcohol (not at the same time), eat a bit of junk food, or travel to a slightly risky country? Those are all probably more dangerous for you than the Cov’. Toughen up, princess.
A note to young women
My daughter is not perfect. But she married a decent man, young, and had three grandkids early. She was told she was being an idiot. But when the global financial crisis hit, he managed to get a secure job (having lost his well paying one) and they have built a life together. I admire their resilience. She has put her effort into her marriage and family: the early degree she got (on a full scholarship) has not helped her as much as getting certifications for tasks after the kids went to school.
You cannot have it all at once. Anyone who tells you that is lying.
Ten, 20, 30 years from now, I so badly want to be there for the constant bleating and complaining from women:
“We wuz LIED TO!! Where’s my Good Man when I need him! People told me I could have my career, my 2.1 designer kids, and my marriage to my Hunky Millionaire Handyman who makes a billion dollars a year but “works” 5 hours a week! WHERE ARE THOSE THINGS!!!! I NEED THEM!! THEY WUZ PROMISED TO ME!!!!”
The rude awakening will be epic.
Because I will just sit back and say:
What the fuck is wrong with you girls? Couldn’t you SEE that women who followed your script were getting divorced, marrying men they weren’t attracted to, and driving themselves into depression and addiction because of it? Couldn’t you SEE that women who followed your script were miserable in their jobs? Couldn’t you SEE that women who weren’t married were grindingly unhappy having to support themselves and then rely on men to make up the difference?
We tried to tell you. We tried to show you. We did all we could, but you wouldn’t listen to us and you wouldn’t pay attention to what was going on all around you.
The funny thing is that the people who will be making those complaints are the same women who are today berating men and calling them morons and liars: