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.