Mike Hosking: Worker shortages and dumb rules are kneecapping business

Author
Mike Hosking,
Section
Video,
Publish Date
Monday, 19 August 2019, 9:54AM

I ask a simple question: Why is this Government so hell-bent on making doing business in this country so hard?

We could, of course, spend the whole morning discussing the plight of the farmer. Isolated as some sort of demonic operator, pillager of the earth. Instead of the backbone of the economy.

But this specific question is asked as a result of seeing Francie Perry on the news. Her plight is the plight of many like her. She grows strawberries, and like most others who grow stuff, she can't get people to pick the stuff she grows.

And the Government won't let her solve her problem. She employs 1200 people - but needs 140 or so from offshore and bureaucracy is killing her. Excuses and ideology are killing her and her business.

This Government, for reasons best known to themselves, seem to insist that there are large swathes of locals more than willing to work in the field. But there are not, and there haven't been for years.

Not just that, but the very same Government knows this, because they have seen the numbers on their JobSeeker benefit rise to record levels - another 14,000 last year.

These are supposedly work-ready people and yet remarkably unable to find anything to do. The madness of this is enough to make you pull your hair out.

But none of that helps Francie. She has a problem. What's worse is she has a solution - but they won't let her solve her own problem. How hard can it be? Can you find anyone locally? No. Can you bring them in? Yes. Done deal.

Why take a problem and exacerbate it? Why make business harder to do than it already is? Why drive an ideology that simply doesn't work?

Would it be nice to think we could employ locals? Of course it would. But tragically we live in a world where the welfare is clearly at such a level doing nothing is now attractive - and the Francies of this world are paying the price.

So a couple of things could happen. One, she will close her business and everyone is out of work. Or two, she will pick what she can, leave the rest to rot and what's in the market costs more because of lack of supply. How mad, how inept is that?

Simple issues, simple solutions and yet we are determined to make it harder than it needs to be. I'm furious, and I'm not even part of this. I'm just observing this insanity.

The biggest frustration right now is watching this country operate in a half-baked way.

People prevented from excelling, road blocks, dumb rules, mad bureaucracy - a government's real role is to get the hell out of the way and let those who know what they're doing, go for it.

How hard can it be?

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