Thursday, May 28, 2020

Clive Bibby: The race to the bottom

As the hysteria that has occupied many media outlets during the lockdown subsides and people who still have a job go back to work, it is worthwhile taking time to get our heads around the various proposals for recovery (if any) that are on offer.

In this country at least, it would appear we will have a choice between two dramatically different plans and our votes at the general election will determine which one gets the green light.

Having said that, it is probably a gross misrepresentation to call the Government's proposals anything approaching a credible "plan" - more like a desperate phone call to The Reserve Bank and Treasury instructing them to "borrow and hope", while placing all our faith in the abilities of Mother Teresa to guide us to the promised land.

While their improbable measures are designed to have an immediate soothing impact on a "shell shocked" populace struggling to deal with the collateral damage resulting from the decision to institute a "total lockdown", it will only last so long before reality sets in. That is when "the shit will really hit the fan!"

Cunningly, the Government (aware of this likely outcome) have at least introduced measures that will give them a 50/50 chance of surviving in charge of the Treasury benches beyond the September vote. A cynic would say that most of the budget measures were designed to ensure reality would not influence the bulk of voter's decisions until after that date. The evidence suggests that is a fair assessment.

The important job and business subsidy schemes run out in October by which time, the ensuing chaos and resentment will be tragedies dealt with by those affected as best they can, on their own. Too late then to change the Government if we have chosen to stay with the empathetic well wishers.

As each day passes, it is becoming more and more obvious that the choice of a "total lockdown" was the wrong one - at least for us here in New Zealand and probably for those overseas countries who chose it as well.

While not debating the validity of the original choice given the advice received almost universally was in favour of the one taken, post outbreak commentary from many leading medical experts suggest it was an avoidable mistake.

Not only are they saying that on the basis of the economic mayhem that is emerging which will go close to bankrupting many of the less affluent nations (future generations of kiwis are being lumbered with astonishing levels of debt that should not be their responsibility) but they are also pointing to measures introduced simply to save lives that have not produced the result that would justify it either.

Although it is somewhat unfair to judge the government's choices in hindsight, it is perfectly reasonable to expect them to show they have a plan to limit the carnage resulting from their decision.

At the time of writing, there appears to be little evidence that they have a clue about what to do next.

Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.


pdm said...

Excellent Clive - especially liked the last sentence - so apt.

Donald MacDonald

Anonymous said...

How nice to read someone who has something constructive to say. Well done.

KP said...

" (future generations of kiwis are being lumbered with astonishing levels of debt that should not be their responsibility) "

Ah, but this argument suggests Govts should not be able to borrow at all, they should trim their functions to the income they can raise.