Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Strawmen.

Steven Joyce, our august minister for Economic Development, Science and Innovation, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, spends some time vigorously fighting some strawmen in the herald today. He takes to task those people who say
"we want jobs" but then in the next breath say "but you can't do that ... you can't build that there ... you can't expand that ... you can't explore for that there ... you can't live here ... you can't invest in property here - you just can't do that!".
Damn them and their job killing nay saying which will be the doom of our country! Pity for Joyce that the nay-sayers are ... most of the country. With respect to the mining and exploration at least, maybe not the expansion.They are not nay-sayers. They are people who have decided what sort of country they want to live in and are looking for ways (and guidance from the government) to better their lot without compromising what they value. Jobs and economic improvement are not mutually exclusive with maintaining or even ... gasp! improving our environment.
Contrary to what Joyce is saying, we haven't limited ourselves to a small number of types of industry based on what the nay-sayers have said. We have exploited industries that are in demand from the rest of the world. Dairy being the prime example. Most of the country doesn't want mining on conservation land. There's a large chunk who don't want oil rigs just of the coast. In the act of protesting, the people are valuing certain parts of their lives above money. A government that is foiled on one front, stomps it's foot because people are saying they prefer clean oceans to oil derived money is one lacking vision and leadership. It should be looking for other ways to make jobs and money rather than sulking.
Even more entertaining/depressing, Joyce's opinion that New Zealand needs to "the endless debate about which industry will save us and focus on all industries where New Zealand has a natural advantage". First he opines woefully regarding the fact that we've have few internationally successful industries. Then he gives every appearance of wanting to set up just one more big industry to drag us into the future. We shouldn't be focusing on a few no, we should be supporting numerous ventures that are having a crack at many different industries, some of which may fail, some of which will succeed. Try putting more money and particularly effort into education and technological development. Then again, making long term plans to get yourself a well educated, adept workforce would require to much dealing with the world as it actually is rather than as the government imagines it to be (not just the current government either).
Then again, "a lot of the "can't" behaviour is designed to protect a Kiwi way of life that wouldn't be here if those who say "you can't" had applied their rules 50 or 100 years ago.". I presume this is in reference to those fiendish town planners who want to intensify housing in Auckland and limit the expansion of the city into the countryside. If we'd had some people doing some nay-saying 50 years ago, we might not have this stupid sense of entitlement, thinking that everyone should be able to live in a quarter acre section in the middle of our biggest city. In other words we might have had a well planned city with decent public transport making the roads emptier for our businesses to get around and do stuff on. Cities involve large numbers of people in small amounts of space. It requires planning. Not dreaming.

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