Bill English spoke via Skype to an Otago Chamber of Commerce post-budget lunch yesterday.
Most of what he said was fairly routine and unsurprising, describing the financial situation and National’s approach to dealing with it.
The Global Financial Crisis was inflicted on New Zealand (although we were headed towards financial problems of our own in 2008 when that hit). We are still at the mercy of a international events. But ultimately we need to make our own good fortunes.
Zero budget or Stimulus?
Much has been said about the budget being a zero. English pointed out that the Christchurch earthquake was a major stimulus for the South Island (and the whole country which will supply many goods, services and people).
It is a significant cost to Government (us), but these costs were committed to before this budget.
It also involves a large injection of capital from overseas as insurance payouts.
Due to continued quakes the Christchurch recovery has been slow to get going, but it does offer many business opportunities.
Business needs to drive recovery
The emphasis on National’s approach is to create a sound economic framework to enable business to thrive. Government can reduce red tape and cost of business impediments, and it can offer some incentives by structuring tax and encouraging research and development.
But that’s only footwear. The recovery will only get legs when businesses recover confidence and invest in more jobs and more production.
Business generates business. Government can help a bit, but they will never be a fix-all solution. It’s up to us.
New Zealand business will grow and thrive when New Zealand businesses decide that’s what they want to do. That’s us, out here in the cities and provinces.
We shouldn’t sit back expecting to be spoon-fed by government. It’s up to us to design spoons, manufacture spoons, sell spoons, and use spoons in our businesses as tools to generate more business.