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Cunliffe's policies of forced consumption


Yesterday my 10-year-old told me she had a brilliant idea to boost economic growth.

She had learnt at school that much of the money earned in New Zealand comes from the food industry.

So, she figured, if the government just forced people to buy more food, then even more money would be made from food and we would all be richer.

Only joking. My daughter isn’t that stupid.

But apparently David Cunliffe is.

On Wednesday, in a speech to ForestWood 2014, a gathering of the forestry industry, he began by observing that forestry is a big part of the New Zealand economy. He then claimed that he could make it an even greater source of wealth to New Zealanders by forcing us to buy more wood.  He would do this by using taxpayers’ money to build government offices and 100,000 “affordable homes” out of wood. 

Many of the assembled wood growers must have been thrilled. How delightful to hear a politician’s plan to force people to buy your products! But I hope that at least a few of them were disgusted. Mr Cunliffe’s policies are not merely a path to national economic decline. They appeal to immoral and anti-social urges: vote for me and I will prey on others for your benefit. 

Benjamin Franklin said that democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Mr Cunliffe should be ashamed of confirming this cynical view of his job.  

Jamie Whyte is leader of the ACT Party.

Comments and questions

Excellent article.The economic reality of the forestry I once had was to chop it up and sell it as firewood. Far more profitable.

Forestry is one of those products that only has a one year in thirty profit margin for the grower.

Its a pity Jamie cannot get Rodney Hide, Muriel Newman and the like back into ACT. Have a party that leads by brainpower and not politics.

Jamie Whyte needs to go back to school himself - he doesn't have the skills to contribute in a meaningful manner.

Where are his policies - he doean't have any or any clue to create any new policy.

All he does is poke the borax at others

That proves what a flake he is and that ACT under him and Richard Prebble are now definitely doomed.

Why the insistence on having policies? For ACT principles are more important. Policies are for statists who think, against all the evidence, that public servants spending other peoples money do a better job of it than the people whose hard earned money it is.

New Zealand buys New Zealand wood back from overseas after its been processed. Think about that for a moment Jamie.

On the matter of wealth distribution, NZ has 285,000 children living below the poverty line. If you dont want to do anything about that then you are the one who should be ashamed of yourself. Look after your most vulnerbale first buddy.

" 285,000 children living below the poverty line" - Absolute rubbish! What NZ has are some benefit bludging parents spending govt handouts on drugs & alcohol instead of food

We can't forget the pokies as well of course.

For the sake of clarification, what is the maximum size flat-screen TV you can possess and still remain 'below the poverty line'?

David Cunliffe is probably glad his people created Milkgate and Hekiagate(3) to keep attention off this policy announcement. Forestry will be attractive as an investment if there are fair and consistent long term taxation policies and if carbon credits are allowed in the growth phase, and not reclaimed if the forest is felled to build permanent structures such as 4 storey high government buildings- after all, noone is planning to use government buildings for firewood. If Cunliffe is elected there could be more trees planted and in a few decades we will start to see some returns. NZ could become a world leader for finished products such as disposable chopsticks, a welcome change from the corrupt trade in milk products that has, wishful thinking, destroyed the current government.

Jamie Whyte's preaching of economic purity of the free market kind ignores the fact that capitalist economies work far more smoothly when intervention takes place.

What utter nonsense! Look how many things have started with government intervention. Mr Whyte should consider this next time when he leaves the driveway of his utopian fantasy and ventures so bravely forth - on public funded roads.

So because the government provides infrastructure, amongst other things, that means all government intervention is good?

Breathtakingly stupid logic fail there.

The sooner political parties realise that they have to use the media to introduce their polices the better. Jamie rather than critisising David why don't you tell us your policises them we the voters decide who the silly politician is!!

What makes Mr White an expert in the field of forestry. Current policies are closing down whats left of local businesses in this field.

Maybe Mr White thinks we should outsource everything. Well the news of the effects of this are not great, unless you want to be a politician.

But we.have way too many of them already. A referendum to reduce their number back to 60 would get my vote and probably most others.

Ha. Publicly funded roads. As if roads had never been built for thousands of years prior to our wonderful state. Try read some history before uncovering your ignorance.

Wooden buildings? I thought the problem causing the multi billion dollar leaky homes debacle was rotting timber

The issue was poorly built buildings. Not the use if wood

" They appeal to immoral and anti-social urges: vote for me and I will prey on others for your benefit. "
Sounds like National to me..

Sounds like Labour and the Greens to me. Vote for us and we will punish those "rich pricks".

Jamie. Forestry has more to offer than just logs or lumber. They also provide recreation, erosion control, biodiversity. The government should be encouraging forestry not just for the economic benefits but for all the other benefits it brings to NZ.

Have you ever seen a radiata pine forest?

This notion that 'NZ' buys and sells things is a nonsense. Individual people buy and sell things, not countries (DPRK et al nothwithstanding). If someone, or a group of private someones (see corp), sells a tree to someone overseas, and someone here then buys it back again as a chest of draws, that is a matter between them not anyone else.
NZ is not a corporation, it's a geographical area that contains 4 million or so individuals with their own desires, needs,and expertise...the last thing anyone needs are interfering politicians tell them what they need. The only NZ Inc image could perhaps be a new flag that looks like a shop sign, and says: "NZ: Open 24/7" If you missed it, 'Open' says so much.

For those that do not know the current economics of NZ Forestry.
The export of logs brings a return of 5% with little in overheads. To add value you need capital investment costing around 6 to 8%. The value added products will earn just 1% more, not a good economic outcome.