Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Ardern (and Bridges) on the State of Nation

Bridges and Ardern pn262
Radio NZ reported  Jacinda Ardern's State of the Nation address to business leaders in Auckland last week.  It was her first major address this year. She spoke of what N Z is doing to protect itself from global economic headwinds, tertiary education to match job needs, structural issues and business confidence.   

In what the media takes as evidence of its "spirit of fairness" Opposition Leader Simon Bridges was given the opportunity to  respond in almost as much space as the PM. 

Bridges' main criticisms of the Address  were: 

"Zero real content, no policies whatsoever, and no sense of plan ... Government was disorganised and hadn't done the hard work despite touting 2019 as "the year of delivery   .... We're stuck in what we had last year - vague talk, intentions, rhetoric - but now we need to see the reality of that and what it really means on the ground."  The PM was blaming slowing growth on the global economy rather than accepting her government's responsibility.. "That is a complete cop-out. There's no doubt that the anti-business approach of this government ... is meaning that our economy was slowing well before we saw the rest of the world do that." 

Notice his attention to substance.

Tracy Watkins in Stuff  provided more detail, reporting the PM as saying: New Zealand was well prepared to face global headwinds, but needed to be realistic. If the global economy slowed, it would affect our own economic growth.
Ardern said the Government's plan included:
 * Doubling down on trade and broadening the trading base to protect exporters and economy
* Reform of skills and trade training to address labour shortages and productivity gaps in the New Zealand economy
* Changes to the tax system
* Addressing NZ's long-term infrastructure challenges
* Transitioning to a sustainable carbon-neutral economy
* Investing in wellbeing
Ardern also signalled a big shake up in the tertiary sector to address skills shortages.

A fuller report or, better still, a link to the actual address would have been welcomed.

-- ACW


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