Our Economy Urgently Needs Green Solutions

I believe there are eight things that are key to a resilient economy:
  1. A reliable and efficient energy supply
  2. Efficient, integrated transportation systems
  3. A stable and competitive currency
  4. An abundance of sustainably managed, local resources.
  5. A skilled workforce
  6. A healthy domestic economy
  7. Research and development that provides us with a competitive edge.
  8. A strong and credible international brand
In all eight areas this Government has failed to deliver because of uninformed policy, under-investment and short term, ideological thinking.

Our Power supply should give us an advantage over most nations because we have an abundance of renewable and cheap energy sources. However we have inefficiencies in transmission when our industries are some distance from the power source and there is no real competition in supply. Our power companies are able to fix rates at the highest cost of production and there are no incentives to reduce consumption or increase efficiencies. Power charges have increased well ahead of inflation and are contributing to family poverty. 

We need to introduce the Green solution to reduce power costs, invest more in regional solutions to reduce transmission costs and invest in renewables. 

When our domestic and national economy is dependent transporting goods over long distances we need to develop efficient transport networks that will serve us well into the future. Our rail network is currently carrying more freight than ever before and is still the cheapest and most efficient way of transporting bulk goods. It is also a highly efficient for carrying people and most major cities in the world use rail to get people to and from work. Cycling is also a common transport system in sophisticated European cities. Coastal shipping is another area that is efficient but underdeveloped.Our roads also need to be supported and maintained in a cost effective manner. 

We need to shift our focus from building expensive roads that don't pass cost/benefit analysis and concentrate on long term solutions

Our Manufacturers are struggling to be competitive when our currency continues to be exploited by money traders. We have one of the most minimally managed currencies in the world and our Reserve Bank has limited tools to make useful adjustments. We are now dependent on Australian Banks and are suffering from profiteering through unnecessary bank charges and see billions of banking dividends head over the Tasman. 

We need to become more sophisticated in our currency management by giving the Reserve Bank more tools and support a New Zealand owned bank that can introduce healthy competition and reinvest dividends locally. 
Our most valuable resources should be our most sustainable, when managed properly. In a world that is rapidly feeling the effects of climate change and a reduction of agricultural land we have a distinct advantage. Water, pasture and our natural landscapes will provide an ongoing income if managed prudently. We are open to greater risk if we put all our eggs in the dairy basket and intensify the industry beyond the ability of the land to support it. We will be vulnerable if we expand herds beyond the ability of the land to support them and have to rely on imported fertilizer and feed. Our parks and conservation estate are huge tourist attractions, especially when there are so few unaltered landscapes in the world. Exploiting unsustainable and environmentally damaging resources such as coal and oil are boom and bust industries where jobs are precarious.

We need to protect our water and make sure that any economic development is sustainable over time and does not degrade the natural environment which also attracts income in a conserved state.

Education is provides us with a skilled workforce that has the capacity to add value to raw commodities and provide useful research to help make us become a more efficient and competitive economy. Our narrow education focus on literacy and numeracy and not areas such as science and technology will be detrimental over time. A skilled workforce is an important economic resource and when there are no jobs for our most capable people, then we will lose them overseas. Every year 25% of our graduates leave our shores to find work, this is just a leakage of valuable resources. Education is itself a potential source of income, but we must ensure a high standard exists to continue to attract overseas students.

We need to invest in our youth and education and provide skilled jobs because this will provide the capacity for us to do well in the future.

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) provide the basis of our regional economies and provide around a third of our jobs. Many SMEs will be the success stories of the future and we need to ensure that there aren't unnecessary barriers to new enterprises and there are protections from monopoly bullying. Too many sectors in our small country do not function properly because of poorly controlled monopolies like supermarkets. We need a strong domestic economy that supports local businesses, we need to lift wages so that there are greater discretionary funds for ordinary families to spend. 

We need to ensure Government procurement supports local businesses, where possible, and there is more money being spent in the domestic economy.  

We currently underinvest in research and development and our Universities have lost international ranking places because of this. Our most successful manufacturers, like Fisher and Pykel, have become so through innovation and research but we still invest less in science than most OECD countries. 

We need to invest more into science and research, both blue sky and industry driven if we are to become more efficient and competitive in world markets. 

For a small country to be successful in ever changing and volatile world markets a having recognisable and reliable brand opens doors and establishes consumer support. Our Clean Green and 100% Pure brands actually underpins 75% of our export markets. If we lose brand credibility our markets will shrink and so will our economy. 

We need to ensure our Clean Green image is credible by having tougher protections for our environment and strengthening our biosecurity

This Government is failing to deliver electricity at a reasonable price for private and business consumers!

This Government is not basing transport decisions on sound research and advice and is squandering $12 billion of taxpayers' money on unjustifiable roads!

This Government has sat on its hands while our manufacturers have suffered and continues to bank with Westpac despite having to take legal action to recover tax!

This Government has overseen the degradation of our rivers and encouraged the extraction of our fossil fuels (a polluting and twilight industry) in vulnerable environments!

This Government has failed our education system with attacks on public schools, professionalism, and priorities that focus on data, not children!

This Government has favoured overseas businesses with its procurement and has strangled our domestic economy by not supporting a living wage!

This Government has allowed our brightest young minds to leave our shores and we now struggle to compete with the rest of the world in innovation and design!

This Government has tarnished our clean green brand (our greenwash is even mentioned in the Lonely Planet Guide) and weakened our border security!

This Government is implementing failing systems and damaging industries from overseas and ignoring the successful ones!

This Government is not building economic resilience and we urgently need good green change to set a better course for our future prosperity. 


Billy Mckee said…
Inventions such as this cheap, fast, safe, locally made transport systems would make a huge differnece www.shweeb.co.nz/ could also be used to‎ move freight.

The hemp industry withred tape removed could provide jobs for many people.
bsprout said…
Thanks for link, Billy, so many brilliant ideas and unrealized possibilities....

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