Work was ok today but pretty quiet (very few emails) but I think that is because the call centre has reopened so people are opting to call up for support because of the immediate gratification it brings vs, email where it may take a few hours before someone responds (assuming the personally has kept their account details up to date).

There was the announcement on Thursday in the budget that the wage subsidy has been extended another 8 weeks  but there are restrictions placed on it. What I am assuming is that although the government wishes to support businesses it doesn’t want a situation where businesses have built up a dependency on the government to prop up a business that is going to fail the moment support is taken away.

Something that is forgotten in all this is the fact that Grant Robertson, the finance minister, never said that the government could stop every business from going under nor did he promise that no one would be made unemployed (nor would is it practical). At the end of the day the purpose of the income support and other measures was to ensure that the fall out was minimised and with the recent stimulus the focus isn’t on throwing money at the wall then hoping something sticks but rather it is a stimulus to transform the economy from its dependence on low paid highly seasonal jobs such as in the tourism industry and instead focusing on making investments into infrastructure, social housing, re-tooling newly laid off people with new skills so develop newer higher paying jobs.

Of course National is screaming like banshees on heat over the debt accumulated while ignoring these two facts of life 1) The cost of doing nothing or austerity will cause more damage in the long run than a well designed stimulus package that’ll pay for itself with increased productivity in the long run 2) The fact that the debt is primarily funded through monetisation of debt – The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is going to buy up $60billion in government bonds   which will mean that $60billion will be money that the government owes itself meaning that in terms of debt repayment (regarding interest) we’re pretty much in the same spot we were before.

In all due respect, if National believe that they have a better plan as to how they the money should be spent then by all means they’re more than welcome to put forward their competing vision of how they wold have addressed it. The problem is that every time National is asked “what would you do” their prescription comes down to three things 1) tax cuts for the rich and businesses (which primarily benefit big business with minimal benefit to smaller ones) 2) deregulation 3) building more roads.

The net result has been country where people work longer hours, businesses aren’t inventing in themselves and we aren’t moving up the income ladder because of our continued reliance on being a low wage economy. Under the Helen Clark Labour government there was the beginning of investment into building up the skill base to a new economy – too bad National took a hatchet to it (although I admit that National did a pretty good job with he fibre roll out when compared to the mess that the NBN in Australia has become).

Side note: One thing to remember is this; there is another $20billion sitting on the sidelines that hasn’t been allocated – lets see what happens as we draw closer to the election in September.