Friday, July 24, 2020

Clive Bibby: Opportunities abound but we need to take advantage of them

The current argument about the need to reduce our core debt to below 30% of GDP before we lose the ability to manage the process within politically
acceptable guidelines is a good indication on who should be in charge of our  recovery.

It is clear that Labour and their mates have no idea about how it might be  achieved and worse still, actually don't want to know about the monster they have created.

I am amazed at the continued announcements of cash available for just about anything you like to name - much of it of doubtful necessity but supported by the usual special interest groups who recognise a gift horse when they see one.

While accepting the current borrowing will increase our national debt to "insolvency" levels before the decade is out, the Government seems sublimely content to go on spending as if it will be some one else's problem - ie our grandchildren.

It is almost a contemptuous attitude towards future generations.

Although that attitude in itself, will not be enough to spell the end of this inept administration, the accompanying opportunities associated with the pandemic that was responsible for the blowout may well help any future government attempting to bring the economy back into balance.

You don't have to be a brain surgeon to recognise the type of new world order that will emerge from the ashes of Covid 19. And a lot of it should be good news for our economic recovery.

Tourism - which was, before the pandemic almost destroyed the industry- one of our leading foreign exchange earners, has the capacity to feature again as a turbocharged version of its former self. It will do so simply because, for the foreseeable future, tourists from throughout the world will be looking for destinations that are free of the disease.

Although this potential lifesaver will not be without its own risks, we have proven that with efficient border management, they are acceptable.

There is no reason why we shouldn't become the destination of choice for all the hordes of potential visitors from throughout the world who are looking for a change in scenery.

They have the cash - we have the beautiful landscapes, climate and stories to tell. And above all else, we are a safe harbour for those who are sick of being locked up in hell holes that just keep getting worse.

However, the secret to maximising the benefits of this developing scenario will be in making sure the Tourism industry (what's left of it) is supported through this transition period until we have the systems in place to manage the huge increase in visitor numbers.

And it won't be enough to just keep those businesses who are currently barely surviving on life support until times change - we must reallocate much of this wasted expenditure, currently being channelled to unproductive areas, into the construction sector in preparation for the human onslaught.

We need to be building the roads, airports, hotels, even developing new destinations and support sectors that will ensure the tourism experience in this country will be one to remember.

The best advertising dollar in this industry is the one that secures repeat business - whether it be the result of "word of mouth" or written testimonials from those who have "been there and done that" - it's all the same in the end.

Now is the time to focus our recovery on doing what we do best.

The agriculture industry is primed ready to go as the demand for unpolluted food goes through the roof. The Tourism industry should be rescued so that it can be in a position to take its place as the other member of the old team that has served us so well in the past.

But we can't do that while our government wants to restrict activities in our national parks and culturally sensitive destinations, plant pine trees over much of our productive farm land and penalise those who produce the food we sell to the world for misdemeanours that are either unproven or of no consequence.

Bring on the election.

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


Steve said...

Clive, I normally enjoy your articles and agree wholeheartedly with what you bring to the table ... but you’re dreamin’ if you think that New Zealand’s tourism industry has a rosy short to medium term future .... how in God’s name are foreign visitors arriving from COVID-19 ravaged countries going to gain free access to New Zealand ? We’re only COVID-free because we’ve locked ourselves away from the rest of the planet like infants hiding under the bed from the boogeyman. This parallel universe that we enjoy remains off limits to non-NZ earthlings. We’re over four months into this economic suicide and these clowns who masquerade as politicians in Wellington are yet to suggest a plan as to how New Zealand will rejoin the international community.

Anonymous said...

Good question Steve!

I believe we have to think outside the square on this one and create a response that will put us in the box seat once the world gets back to exchanging visitors that can be safely monitored at the borders. We should be able to take advantage of our island status which will enable us to open our borders quicker than most other states although we will need to wait until there is a vaccine capable of limiting the risk. The big opportunities for us will be available over possibly a decade post the pandemic. However, the danger will be if we just withdraw within ourselves and are not prepared for an opening of our borders when it finally comes.

Our ability to manage an economic recovery will depend almost entirely on our two main foreign exchange earners being ready to go when the rest of the world is still wandering around in a stupor. It will be a classic case of the "early bird catching the worm".

We need to be offering something that no one else is geared up to do on such a grand scale. I repeat! It will require kiwi ingenuity on steroids but l reckon we're up for it. Sadly, we are going to have to do it in spite of our current leadership but l'm optimistic that we might be in for change in that area as well. I'm the eternal optimist.

Thanks for your interest and contribution to the discussion - Clive.

pdm said...

Clive your last para nails all hat is wrong under the present regime. Keep up the good work.

Donald MacDonald

Anonymous said...

We don't need more tourists we need bigger spenders. I'd take 100,000 tourists spending $20k each over 1,000,000 spending $2k any day.

Unknown said...

Vic Alborn 01 August 2020: I totally agree with "Anonymous" - we have an opportunity to limit tourism, other than working back-packers, to the high rollers who are prepared to meet the inconvenience/cost of whatever border controls exist in the future and spend up large without the high-numbers stress on the tourist infrastructure. More room for locals too.