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Economic development minister 'no magician'

Prime minister John Key came to the defence of his economic development minister Steven Joyce today in the face of mounting criticism of slow job growth.

Labour’s new economic development spokesman David Clark says Mr Joyce is going to be a “tough customer” to come up against, but claims Mr Joyce does not appear to have a plan for economic growth.

Mr Key says the situation is not perfect but people have to be realistic about the struggling global economy.

“We’ve got a minister of economic development, not a magician.

“We’re dealing with a global financial crisis, still working through what’s happened with the earthquakes in Canterbury. There’s generally a tough trading position with much of the world and a high exchange rate.”

He says he is impressed with Mr Joyce’s performance as a minister over the last four and a half years, having been catapulted straight into cabinet in 2008.

"And on the back of all of that, we’ve got pretty good results. I’m not saying it’s perfect but we are growing, when most countries aren’t.

“He’s been hugely successful and largely the opposition has been telling us he is the minister of everything and capable of handling everything.

"So if David Clark has got a different view to the rest of the Labour caucus team, fair enough.

"But I’m a person who likes to deal with the evidence and the four and a half years Steven has been a minister he has proven to be an extremely competent one.”

Statistics New Zealand’s latest figures show the unemployment rate fell 0.4% to 6.9% in the December 2012 quarter.  The number of people unemployed decreased by 10,000 people but the employment rate also fell, with 23,000 fewer people employed.

Meanwhile, Mr Key is hoping to tap into a combined $US4 trillion GDP when he visits Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Brazil next week as part of the government’s focus on strengthening bilateral relations.

bcunningham@nbr.co.nz

More by Blair Cunningham

Comments and questions
18

If Joyce is judged on how he helps big business, then he is a success. If he is judged on what he has actually achieved at the coal face then he is a dismal failure. Key has to support him as they are from the same mould, just men in suits, and so far from reality. Whoopee, we have a cycle track and created a few jobs at a high cost.

Big business in NZ? We got rid of those a long time ago!
What a silly person you are. Were you not here when Helen and Michael lead us into recession before the GFC? Were you not on the planet when Christchurch was destroyed by two major earthquakes?
Did you do anything to help those in need or were you like Mr Shearer, claiming glory for giving billions of other people's money away with a fair chunk going in bribes? Just let us know: where were you when this country cried out in need?

Is is easy to criticise. I would rather see David Clark's plan for economic growth.

Cynical comments. Have you actually ever achieved anything or are you just a sideline commentator?

If the electorate was so worried about the importance of employment as a priority for the country, they would never have elected the Clark lead coalition in 1999.
It is going to take at least two generations of education before the NZ electorate understands the folly of 'Voting Free'; and before the Clark/Cullen mismangement is overcome.

John Key is the last person to "deal with the evidence". He's been giving a better performance at dodging it, in too many instances. But he doesn't dodge kisses from gay activists. Good to see he's got his priorities right.

We should remember... nobody voted Steven Joyce into parliament. He never passed the scrutiny of the electorate. He skipped that....

When what should be a democracy has now turned into a political oligarchy, shoulder-tapping useful friends in supposedly high places. We should carrying the coffin of democracy throughout the country, to bring home to NZers what we have lost.

I'm a "suit", as you put it, so I suppose I'll get tarred with your same simplistic and cliche-ridden brush Subbie.

First, there aren't enough "suits" in NZ for it to be worth them just pandering to "big business". So not sure why you think they would be ignorant enough to look after only those from "the same mould".

Second, "they" haven't created any jobs (thankfully). The only jobs they can "create" are in the public sector, and I think one thing you and I will agree on is we don't need more of them.

It's not their job to "create jobs", despite what the opposition half-wits and the generally ignorant MSM would have you believe. They can do what they can do - but at the end of the day it's up to the likes of you and me to drive job creation because we'll do a better job of it than any government.

Let's get real for a moment. When we have 4.5m people here and therefore rely, for our economic existence, on the rest of the world, unfortunately when the rest of the world is in the hole that's where we go, too. We may not like it, but by and large that's the reality.

You could say the govt could do more around the RMA, labour market reform, etc, or throw more money at the problem, but (a) they are (unfortunately) operating in an MMP environment with a significantly ignorant electorate who are easily swayed by MSM and sound bites/cliches from the Left's PR machine (so much of what they might like to do will get them turfed out next year), and (b) they ain't exactly rolling in cash at the moment.

One bright light for you, though, might be after the next election. Chances are the next govt they'll make it even harder for you to get ahead. You'll have to get a resource consent to weed your vege garden (could be snails there, after all). If you're doing OK they'll take a bigger piece of your hard-earned cash, and they'll start caning you with a Capital Gains Tax on top of everything else. Oh, but don't worry, they will "create" lots of jobs and we'll have a load more cardigan wearers telling us how to run our lives and how dreadful it is that some people are more successful than others.

Anyway, must go - I've got jobs to create...

Too true, MD. You can always tell a Labour/union troll... You just can't tell them much.

Would subbie rather have a school teacher or bricklayer doing the job ?
It is the men in suits who generate the wealth and provide the jobs as Mr Joyce as shown in the private sector
NZ is actually doing pretty well given the dreadful economic climate we are weathering

There are many bricklayers and teachers with a much better grip on reality than the suits. Wearing a suit does make you anything special. Key, Joyce and Brownlee are, however, the ultimate suits brigade, but wealth generation for them is handing out plum government jobs to their mates, such as Fletchers and Sky City. The suits in government cannot even conduct a fair tender process, and in the real world this would get them a punch in the nose. Tradespeople, in general, are sick and tired of the suits.

Good to see your level-headed and rational analysis of the contribution that "suits" make to the economy. Have to admit I sometimes wear a suit myself, so I am guessing that even though I am growing a business, hiring additional staff and paying them more as they grow and develop, I nevertheless don't have a grip on reality.

And since it's presumably beyond my comprehension given my lack of grip on reality, I look forward to you putting cliches away and enlightening me as to how to "create" jobs, seeing as you obviously have a good handle on it.

Sky City subbie? I assume you are alluding to the convention centre which no other bidder could afford to fund without the Government as a partner? Forget that little bit of info did you?
Tendering only needs to occur if the Government is going to "procure" something. And its not, is it subbie? It's not procuring anything in fact. Sky City is building a convention centre. End of story.

A sorry trail of cheap jibes that we should certainly hope is not indicative of the way the rest of our fellow NZers feel and behave! Unfortunately, we seem to be failing to understand that we're all in this together. The future success of this fantastic country falls onto all of us to stop pulling the other down, as well as expecting each govt to "save the day". The fact that we've got pollies who can only race each other to the bottom (no matter what side of the House they're from) should not determine how we all behave. "Be careful what one wishes for!"

We had a global crisis prior to the November 2011 election but John Key was blowing off if re-elected National was going to create over 160, 000 jobs. So where are all these jobs as usual a load of bull.

Just a FYI... The GFC is still alive and kicking.

Kicking the likes of the UK, the USA, Europe, PIGS...

To truly appreciate just how awesome we have it here in NZ and what an excellent job Key and National have done, go have a look at some of these countries and then come back for comparison.

So who are the clowns responsible for the novapay debacle and who was the idiot/s that allowed Solid energy to chuck taxpayers money at highly risky investments. Tony Ryall is the SOE minister. I rest my case.

Novopay is a complete dickhead all right - but you get that at the end when the beginning wasn't scoped and better organised - which happened to be Labour. Mallard, I do believe, was responsible for that. I have also heard that the overall percentage of errors in the Novopay system compared to the last system are about on par, if not lower ... but you don't hear the education unions squawking that because that would take all the wind out of their propaganda pieces they've been pushing.

Solid Energy - well, numerous issues there, but it all seemed to have started with Labour once again encouraging more risk taking by these SOEs, combined with average leadership - it was on a hiding to nothing.

...and that is exactly why the MOM model works better than purely government-owned businesses because, by and large, governments make a total mess of it whereas the private sector are a lot more instantly accountable - most times.

Alan, You are way out of touch.....you don't have a case to 'rest'.

Ask the Clark govt about Novo Pay. It was those'idiots' (your term) that signed off the deal.
Solid Energy....have you not heard of the GFC and the global pricing / demand (or lack of) for coal?

You may like to begin reading some financial commentary before making uninformed and ignorant statements.