The PM’s favourite slogans to rally support of the sheep to her policies are “hard and early” and “the best health outcome is the best economic outcome”. She uses both to congratulate herself on how well she is doing. However both statements are completely meaningless, they are just rallying calls to motivate supporters.
I know what she means by both phrases but I could equally use “hard and early” to justify actions such as early Quarantine of the border entrants (hard) or make faster and better enquiry of Wuhan and close our border earlier (early)
And the health equals economy statement is just misleading. It implies they go hand and hand and does not acknowledge any conflict which needs to be balanced between the two. It is just naive to believe there is no conflict between the two because there just is. Every small decision that effects health has an economic effect, it is unwise to simply ignore it. Much of the dissent in our community arises because the Government refuses to acknowledge let alone balance the economic effect and diverts questions with this inane slogan.
Because the Government has failed to acknowledge the balance between health decisions and economic consequence they have landed us in an economic mess.
But, like marriage, whats done is done so now its till death do us part (or go to Oz). It just remains to be seen whether the death is fast by covid or the slow death of stress and poverty? At least lets make it as best we can from here on.
To do this needs a change by decision makers. Instead of meaningless slogans we need goals like “our policies will give the best balance of Health and Economic outcomes for NZ residents over the next 10 year period”. So far the Government policies have been aimed at a 3 month period and that is shortsighted and wasteful. The wage subsidy meets the short term goal but was a wasted resource detrimental to the long term goal.
And the focus needs to move from employees to business. I acknowledge that one can’t happen without the other and its not helpful to argue over which is most important. Obviously business is more affected by economy and employees more by health but both rely on one another so the correct balance is important.
There are two Government decisions that concern me right now and which show an unbalanced support toward employees to the detriment of business and having no health benefit but negative economic affects:
-The wage subsidy for 12 weeks restricts employers from reducing wages and therefore requires them to contribute about half towards wages. Already some business have gone broke in breach of the wage subsidy requirements. If the Government has put in $10 Billion then collectively employers will have put in about that as well. In most cases employers will have made a substantial loss from wages over the 12 week period and will in addition have losses from rents and other overheads. This means that they have a greater chance of failing in 12 weeks time in which case those employees will be redundant and both the Governments subsidy and the employers contribution will be wasted. The short term delay has wasted a huge amount of money which would otherwise be available for either health benefits or longer term economic gain. Money targeted more specifically towards business that would survive would be less wasteful.
– Opening childcare centres in level 3 shows a focus on enabling an employee to go back to work. Under 5’s cannot be isolated, that is a fact that medical professionals should not bother to argue about. They are taking an increased health risk but what is the economic benefit? A relatively small number of parents can go back to work? Does this matter given the level of unemployment? The health risks of opening liquor shops, butchers and green grocers is far less than the childcare risks and the economic benefits are that these stores will survive and provide supermarket competition into the future. There is no positive Health effect of having these places closed (provided there are supermarket like controls) but there is positive economic effect both for the business itself and for its employees and for the public consumers.
Mental health has quite an economic and health cost for those inflicted. So why inflict the whole population with stupid rules that have no positive health affect but will cause mental health issues having both health and economic costs. Level 3 will be better but it just highlights the current stupidity that asserts that surfing is safe next tuesday but so dangerous on Monday that it must be prohibited by law and police must patrol the beaches and issue fines. It is impossible to find examples of such blatant and pointless infringements of civil liberties amongst comparable democracy. If I’m going to compare it to something I am going to have to resort to a communist regime such as China or Russia or pre war Germany but then I’m going to be accused of sensationalism. On anzac day, we don’t deserve this.
Stupid is as stupid does. If the Government makes stupid rules, its citizens are going to look stupid (and most of them do). Some of us are going to act the Goat.