Andrew Dickens: The country is ready for level one

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 Jun 2020, 12:46PM
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Andrew Dickens: The country is ready for level one

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 Jun 2020, 12:46PM

So if we don’t go to Level 1 at 3 this afternoon, there will be a riot.

There are some who are good little scouts who believe in the crushing the virus like a sledgehammer crushes a butterfly, but I think there is a sizable majority who are feeling the pain and need the country to go back to work.

And if the government has been listening that’s what they’ll say. 

There is no need for a transition period.  We all get Level 1. Business as normal. But no tourists, no student and no overseas trips. Wash your hands. We already know and we’re ready.

All we need to hear is “It’s 3pm, go back to work and let’s fix up this mess.” And then we have to start talking about recovering rather than just surviving.

The interesting thing about National’s policy announcements over the past fortnight is that they were ahead of the curve. They are recovery policies, not survival policies.

The GST holiday on capital expenditure for instance.  One business said to me on air that would not help for a while because they are not looking to buy more kit anytime soon. In fact, they’re more likely to be selling it as the demand has dropped. But when we turn to corner and start growing then that will be welcome. And by growth, that means growth that exceeds the capacity we had before Covid raised it’s ugly head.

The wage incentive of $10,000 for new jobs is also a good recovery policy, but again it would have little impact until firms are growing. At the moment they’re shedding workers not hiring new ones so until a corner is turned that money would stay in the government’s pocket.

There’s little wonder that these policies are being put forward by National because the soonest they could come into play is if National gets the treasury benches back.  They can’t realistically be in place until the end of the year, which doesn’t really help through this winter of economic carnage.

But they’re on the right track and they are aspirational.

Yet, in this time of survival, we need to be careful with where the money gets pumped into. The announcement today by the Warehouse that six stores will close resulting in the loss of 1080 jobs including 130 jobs from their head office

In their statement the company said that shopping habits are changing and the impacts of Covid-19 have accelerated the process of putting planned changes into action.

In other words we have been paying wage subsidies to maintain jobs that were already on the chopping block before the world had even heard of Covid. That's more than a little cheeky from The Warehouse, to be fair.