What the hell. It's fun doing blogs and my typing is almost improving, to say nothing about my story telling. I will have an update next week about the Herbalife stuff. I am hanging in there. Have a great weekend everyone and to my readers on the East Coast of the USA--- my thoughts are with you.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
I was going through the Trade Me pages the other day and it suddenly struck me--- How much was lost other than the obvious? The lives and beautiful old buildings, but also some of those wonderful ‘collectables” people had in their homes. I do hope people were able to go and retrieve them; those that won’t broken and lost.
Take our iconic Crown Lynn for example. People are actually saying that they are selling part-sets because they are downsizing or they lost part of the sets. Isn’t that sad. It just adds to the picture that is emerging about the ‘other losses’ from Christchurch.
I hope the people of Canterbury are able to restart their lives with their precious things around them. Some of those will have to be newer precious things.
All the best!
Today’s unemployment figures have shown us that we are not immune to the downturn faced by other countries. In a sense we never will be so we need to focus on a few hard truths. We rely on exporting to other countries, hopefully of our high added-value products. In a sense we are lucky that have products that the rest of the world desires and needs, that is, food. Of course if those economies find it increasingly difficult to pay for those goods, then we are in trouble too.
There was a time when we had a larger manufacturing base. New Zealand was a proponent of ‘protectionism and tariffs.’ There was an upside to this way of doing things--- we had almost full employment. The cost for that was that we looked like a rather grey nation with little consumer choice and certainly higher prices for those items we could buy.
I am not saying that we should go back to that time. I mean, who the hell wants to be in the position of not being able to buy a new car (with little choice of colour, model and make) without having a good trade-in. I well remember those days, when my parents were fairly limited in the choice of mainly English cars.
Since those times, the market has opened up but so has the floodgates for the haemorrhaging of local manufacturing and the jobs that went with it. New Zealanders quickly cottoned on to the new market. The prices of imported goods went down and our perceived need for these new products went up.
I believe that we became more selfish and transitioned into an ‘I want it now’ nation. Unemployment went up and some of our iconic firms went to the wall as the jobs went overseas.
Is there a middle way? Does New Zealand have to be at the forefront of the new global market? Many other countries still have subsidies for some of their industries. Our source of much of the new consumerism, China is certainly not participating on a level playing field so why should we?
Finding a balance that works is going to be fraught with danger, but the exercise is at least worth pursuing, if we want to halt the inexorable leakage of jobs and skill overseas, as well as profits to the former owners of our successful industries.
We often hear of the need to retain high skill workers, but even these industries are under threat. We talk about value-added exports but getting them to the markets that are far away has disadvantages for us. If you add in the ‘green miles’ factor; we are at a disadvantage there too.
So New Zealand faces many challenges which cannot be overcome without a new look at how we do things. If the political will was there to have this discussion rather than being continually side-lined by pathetic points scoring and big egos, then perhaps we would have a chance to find a truly New Zealand solution. We have done it before when we came up with a fair ‘social justice/welfare system, so why not dig deep and do it again; this time for the good and benefit or our workers and industries.
That’s a bit crude you say. So is the obvious flip-flopping the Government is showing when it comes to policy change, especially in the Education field. The ‘yet more changes’ to their Charter Schools, oops, sorry, Partnership Schools, is just one example of their willingness to placate their darling Act party.
Deep down, I suspect the National Party rues the day when it knew it had to have a cup of tea with John Banks, just to achieve the lofty halls of power. They are regularly seeing their other sleeping partner, the Maori Party, disagreeing with them on many issues. Even dear old Peter Dunne has slipped a few at them.
Where does this leave us then for the next two years? I guess we are going to see more examples of ‘marital’ breakdowns in this time as the opposition to their policies strengthens. Don’t look for too many sparks from Labour though. They seem to be locked in some time warp too, not necessarily on policy--- more on parliamentary aptitude. I think Phil was more effective than what we are seeing from the present front bench. Damn, there goes my joining the party down the drain. I shall put that on hold for a while.