Mike's Minute: We need a proactive government

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 5 Aug 2020, 11:53AM

Mike's Minute: We need a proactive government

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 5 Aug 2020, 11:53AM

I talked yesterday to a woman who runs a tourism business who received a decent chunk of money out of the tourism side of the government's support programme.

It was $900,000. $500,000 in grant money and $400,000, if needed, in a loan. She was grateful but slightly guilty given others had not been as successful as she has been.

Her business is one of the strategic ones, like the AJ Hackett money that caused a bit of a stir a couple of months ago. You had to bring people to your area, and the area would suffer if you weren't operating.

The question I had for her, and it’s the question I have for a lot of business in abeyance, is what's their plan B? What if, once the money is gone, you need more money?  At what point does your story go from a business in some sort of holding pattern, to a business that is no longer viable?

I ask that because, as things stand this country has no proactive border plan. And we aren't proactive because we don't have a proactive government. We have a government that is stalling, coasting, or reacting with welfare.

It's exacerbated further this week by the W.H.O telling us there may be no silver bullet. Their comments come off the back of Dr Fauci, who said the virus may be with us forever. In other words, a vaccine would be great, and there are several stage three trails. But if that's your plan, if that's the answer, if it all hinges on that, then we are in a pile of trouble. Because what there seemingly is no answer for is, what happens if there is no vaccine, our borders are closed, and we are isolated.

For the woman I talked to, a domestic pivot will never fill the gap in customers from offshore. So is she liquid or not? If there is no vaccine, is she a viable proposition or not? And when do we decide?

It is a stunning abdication of responsibility and duty that this government has no answers. It doesn't even look like they’ve started thinking about answers, solutions, and ideas.

They've already said don’t expect any big policies, their big push this week is to tell you to wash your hands and use an app that doesn’t work. And if worst comes to worst, the trusty old welfare chequebook can be rolled out some more.

That's their lot, that's the government. That's as good as they seem to be. Does that not frighten the life out of you?