Sunday, October 2, 2011
National Measures Balance With Faulty Scales
Every time National Ministers are questioned about the economy, the environment or transport they talk about balance and yet it is balance that is most lacking in their management.
Gareth Morgan and Sir Paul O'Callaghan were largely in agreement about the current mismanagement of our economy on Q & A this morning and it generally involved a lack of balance. An over emphasis of investment in the nonproductive property sector is yet to be addressed and a simplistic focus on dairying ignores the strength of our manufacturing sector. Sir Paul explained how our diverse manufacturing sector earns us more than dairying and he explained the environmental limitations of a continued growth in the latter. Bill English talked about oil exploration and mining as their key focus to lead the development of our economy, ignoring the trillion dollar renewable energy market and the huge potential we have in knowledge and research.
Our spending on research and development is still exceedingly low compared to other OECD countries and we are losing around a 1/4 of our university graduates to overseas because of the lack of opportunities in New Zealand. Rather than mining lignite we should be mining the huge resource that exists in our talented and capable young people. After all the talk around the "knowledge wave" this government appears to have dropped the ball in this regard and are turning the clock back to knowledge of the past and fossil fuels. When New Zealanders are regarded well internationally for adaptability and innovation it makes sense to provide opportunities in our own country and to harness these skills for the development of our own economy.
There seems to be a huge reluctance from this government to invest in the potential that exists within us and instead there appears to be the bizarre faith that our economic saviours exist outside our country. To sell off our state assets and open our country to international mining companies will not provide any longterm sustainability. Norway did extremely well when exploiting their oil resources because they kept the industry under tight state control and I don't see any attempt to manage our natural resources in the same way.
When 90% of our lowland rivers are polluted, largely through the growth of the dairy industry, $7 is spent on motorway development for every $1 spent on public transport and the wealthiest 1% have the same collective earnings as the bottom 60% - balance is obviously a concept that this National Government really struggles with.
The Green Party is the only party with a comprehensive economic package that addresses the real issues that confront us and provides us with a vision of a stronger and more sustainable economy.