The 30kph economy

The Epsom News isn’t a publication to rival The Hobson.   It’s just a pamphlet we deliver around the electorate twice a year, with a questionnaire attached.   Since the latest edition was delayed by the lock down, I missed the pleasure of a few feijoas from my favourite trees on my route this time.

We have a team of volunteers who deliver to the 24,000-odd across the electorate.  This time, we endured the irritation of finding a taxpayer-funded rival publication from another party (clue – it was red) in most letterboxes at the same time.  We prefer voluntary effort to state funding.

The feedback from the questionnaires is mostly polite.  The most frequent response to the question “What is the most important local issue?” was a variation on: “Getting the economy back to pre-Jacinda levels and an increase in jobs!”

The economy will naturally dominate over the next few weeks.   The current government emphasises state-funded programmes to generate jobs – whether it’s planting flax-bushes or killing possums.  We see an important role for government investment also, but the basic rules haven’t changed – it’s the quality of the spending that counts.  Is it going towards something that will strengthen the competitiveness of our economy and, especially in the case of infrastructure, will it be delivered.

Or will it be another big promise, like the slow tram down Dominion Road that has been quietly parked up. 

Beyond debt-fuelled government spending, we emphasise the role of the private sector in reviving our economy.  The thousands of businesses, large and small, deciding to invest to rebuild and expand their businesses. 

That requires less tax, not more.  Our proposal for instant writing off of new investments up to $150,000 per asset will turbo charge investment. 

Regulatory restraint is needed now, more than ever.  Two out for every new regulation, and a pause on new imposts, so businesses have a chance to get back on their feet.

More pragmatism is required on foreign investment.  Notwithstanding the recession, the world is awash with capital looking for a good place to invest.  We need to attract some of it.

Another thing winding up respondents to my surveys is the council’s mania for slowing us down at every opportunity.  It appears the 30 kph speed limits in the city infuriate more people than just me.

I still believe in progress.   I can’t understand why, when cars have never been safer we suddenly have to crawl around at 30 kph as we approach the CBD. 

The mentality of Julie-Anne Genter and the Greens has overtaken the country.

People say, oh but you can’t go 50 kph anyway, because of the traffic.  But there are 24 hours in a day.   Sure, roads are congested for 2 or 3 hours.  The rest of the time we can get around – or we could if there weren’t cones everywhere.

The slower speed limits seem to me to be a metaphor for the country at the moment.  Somehow, we should regard going backwards and being less productive as progress.

That’s a fantasy.   Now’s the time to put our foot down, to rebuild our economy and restore our prospects.