Government , National both announce hot air on dealing with Covid-19 effects on the economy

Two economic announcements today, one from the Government, one from the National Party, are dripping with political campaigning.

The Government has announced they will be making announcements this week, and are assuring media they have already done some things to help businesses adversely affected by the Covid-19 virus.

Beehive: Next steps of Govt and business COVID-19 response

This week the Government will roll out the next steps of its plans to support businesses and workers as part of New Zealand’s ongoing response to COVID-19.

These initiatives will be on top of the immediate measures already in place, including support for the tourism and fisheries industries, an increase in business support funding, and tax and income assistance through IRD and MSD.

“Ministers are actively considering a range of options in response to the impact of COVID-19, and Cabinet will discuss these tomorrow,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.

So Robertson has given assurances the Government is doing something, and says that Cabinet will consider doing more tomorrow.  he follows with general political palaver, and then explains what they have been doing.

Last week, the Ministers of Finance and Revenue met with the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, the Tourism Industry Association and Xero to discuss the situation.

Grant Robertson also met with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Reserve Bank Governor to discuss macro-economic impacts as a result of the coronavirus.

“We’re taking the time now to work with industries to plan for how we kick-start activity again as we exit out the other side of COVID-19. What we do know is that this will pass.”

So more talking, but nothing really to announce yet.

Note to editors: The Government is already taking the following actions:

Trying to get editors and media to say how well they have already been doing things.

  • Continuing to work closely with banks to ensure they are being proactive with their clients
  • Improving cashflow for small businesses by signalling action on prompt payment terms and times
  • Inland Revenue is entering into instalment arrangements and waiving penalties on a case by case basis where individuals and businesses have had their income and cashflow affected
  • An extra $4 million invested in the Regional Business Partner Programme to allow for extra advisors and give them more time on the ground supporting businesses
  • Working with Xero to get real-time information about the impacts on business, particularly SMEs.

Not much there considering the virus impact on business activity. We will have to see what they come out with later this week.

Aimed directly at the Government announcement, National have also made an economic policy announcement today, aimed at concerns over the current virus induced slowdown.

Paul Goldsmith: Relief package needed as NZ nears recession

With four banks now forecasting negative growth it’s past time for the Government to announce a relief package to help people stay in their jobs, National’s Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“When Cabinet meets tomorrow, this should be at the top of its agenda. This needs to be a detailed package to support businesses and workers directly affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Political palaver edited out.

“It now seems quite likely New Zealand will go into a recession this year.

It’s not good for a major party to be talking up an economic recession.

“Businesses need clear and urgent action from the Government to help them through this period of uncertainty, not just tinkering around the edges and ad-hoc announcements that lack detail.”

So this announcement doesn’t say anything of importance.

Simon Bridges was just on RNZ saying National were announcing part one (of five) of their economic policy, but it was mostly about a promise to cut red tape, cutting two bits of red tape for every bit they introduce, or something. Bridges mentioned a few things that annoy businesses, but this really sounded like opportunist tinkering around the edges.

RNZ: National wants ‘common-sense test’ on health and safety regulations

National says it would introduce a “health and safety common-sense test” if elected, as part of its plan to slash red-tape burdening small businesses.

The Government is at risk of being seen to as slow to react to the developing economic problems, on to of their reputation for talking more than doing. They have to come up with substantial and urgent plans this week to address things.

It will unveil the “first plank” in its five-point economic growth plan this morning, outlining how it will reduce regulation.

Leader Simon Bridges said the programme was about giving small businesses confidence and creating an economy “where it’s not just burden and cost”.

If elected, National said it would commit to a “bonfire on regulations”, doing away with two regulations for every new one introduced.

It would also scrap 100 regulations within the first six months.

So this doesn’t address the Covid-19 effects at all. Ironically the virus requires increased regulations or restrictions.

National are risking putting more negative pressure on the economy, not a good look for a party that claims to be better at managing the economy. At times when the country (and the world) faces potentially major economic difficulties a responsible party would put the good of the nation ahead of their own election campaign. There will be plenty of time for them to bicker and propose their own ideas that can’t be implemented until later in the year at the earliest.

Both Labour and National have started the week doing little but grandstanding. Struggling businesses deserve better than that.

UPDATE: Jacinda Ardern has just been interviewed on RNZ and was asked if the Government would include National in their talks. Ardern said that National were being kept informed and any suggestions from National on what could be done better would be welcome as it was a global and national problem. Sounds good, but whether there’s any substance to cross-party cooperation on this it is yet to be seen.

I’ll post a link when it becomes available

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  1. The Covid-19 impact on Italy is huge, with a large part of the north of the country including Milan and Venice being put into isolation.

  2. Duker

     /  9th March 2020

    Agree on the palaver aspect
    Heard Ardern saying “extra $4 million invested in the Regional Business Partner Programme to allow for extra advisors”
    Paper shufflers ? Why the reluctance to take real action, its clear wage subsidies will be necessary to cover part time work

  3. duperez

     /  9th March 2020

    Is the Government’s announcement palaver and spiel because it’s the ‘state of play’ stuff?
    What tolerance would there be for them sitting back waiting until substantial decisions had been made after assessing evolving impacts before making an announcement?

    The Opposition’s announcement talking up the negative and sowing distrust, scepticism and fear? That’s what oppositions do isn’t it? Especially in election year.

    • Duker

       /  9th March 2020

      “That’s what oppositions do isn’t it”
      Well, thats the part that gets headlines because of the way the media works on negative stuff, but they do more substantial work as well.
      Unfortunately both sides the media spin people have the final say, so anything really new is postponed till ‘the time is right’.
      Wheres the Mike Moores of today with grand ideas, the parties seem to be falling back to type.
      Labour with working groups and National with recycling previous announcements.

      If I was Shane Jones I would go hard on real assistance for the provinces now, big ideas not necessarily government policy yet, and leave the Indian students story alone.

      • duperez

         /  9th March 2020

        I agree with Shane Jones going hard on real assistance for the provinces as he’s likely only got a couple of months left in the job. How likely are the provincials to vote for him/them, regardless of what they do?

  4. David

     /  9th March 2020

    Cutting the regulations and some of the hugely costly health and safety regs National introduced will save huge amounts of money. Delaying the minimum wage increase would help a lot. Putting in some temporary flexibility in employment law that labour took out would help preserve jobs too.

    • Duker

       /  9th March 2020

      “Putting in some temporary flexibility in employment law ”
      You mean making it easier to sack staff? Im incredulous in the circumstances, protections for workers should be increased.
      How about making it easier for business to get out of leases, both for buildings and plant and vehicles? Why should the labour force be the only ones to have their rights eroded?

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  9th March 2020

        I’m incredulous in the circumstances you think the labour force are the only people to suffer.

        • Duker

           /  9th March 2020

          They definitely suffer the most when they dont have a job. So many businesses use contract labour longer term , almost semi permanent as ‘contractors’ as well so they reduce head count very easily.
          Reducing the minimum wage increase only affects a tiny proportion, as of course most are already above it, and its a form of collective punishment for something not of their making
          The question you should be asking is why leases should be so sacrosanct . Shopping centres may be based on turnover but everyone else has a fixed rate every month and often escalator clauses.

      • David

         /  9th March 2020

        Not sure you have ever run a business Duker but staff are critical and no one wants to lose any of them in what will be a short term issue but having the ability to reduce hours on a rotating basis can stop redundancies. Taking unpaid leave, taking a reduced hourly rate to stay home.
        No one wants to lose staff and like during the aftermath of the quake pretty much all employers worked hard to retain all staff. Your assumption that employes will take the opportuinity to shaft their work forces.

  5. David

     /  9th March 2020

    Taking some advice from Shane Jones on immigration policy would help.

  6. This isn’t a time for petty politicking. Coronavirus has no respect for political affiliations. It’s a threat to all.

    Politicians appear to be more concerned with numbers that might make them look bad in the short-term, then they are with actually taking the most prudent measures to save lives over time.

    But this is something different and the pollies will be judged on their handling of the spread of a virus. And the outcome will be clear no matter what their political spin is, no matter how confident they pretend to be, and no matter how many insults they heave at others.

  7. Corky

     /  9th March 2020

    Panic buying has finally hit my supermarket. Toilet paper and surprisingly, cordial sachets are being wiped out. Instead of stocking the shelves, bulk supplies of toilet paper are just being left in the aisles. That cordial is in high demand should tell you the demographic of my supermarket.

    The gummint should mobilise beneficiaries. Get on the phone to Israel and find out what’s happening with their vaccine. Call a meeting of representatives in the alternative medicines field to see what they can offer.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  9th March 2020

      My usual toilet paper order for ourselves and guest houses was unavailable today. I have a suspicion the last guests may have lifted a few rolls too. The madness is contagious.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  9th March 2020

        I was in The Warehouse today and noticed that they had a fair amount. Not their house brand, but Soft Touch was in good supply; 12 large rolls for $5. I have plenty, so didn’t bother to buy any.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  9th March 2020

          They and Countdown have it, I didn’t bother to look anywhere else online.

  1. Government , National both announce hot air on dealing with Covid-19 effects on the economy — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition
  2. Government , National both announce hot air on dealing with Covid-19 effects on the economy | The Inquiring Mind

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