Stop stealing to make us roar
"In 1938 Britain owned something like 25% of all US businesses – it was British investment that helped the USA to grow and certainly didn't hurt the US at all, even though profits went offshore to the UK. Would be the same if overseas interests invested in NZ."Featured comment
The prime minister is right: it would be great to make New Zealand a magnet for investment.
There’s nothing better: Foreigners buying up New Zealand businesses, freeing up Kiwis’ money for more productive uses, and still getting to benefit from the companies.
It’s perfect. In fact, it’s better than perfect: the foreigners only make money if they do a standout job.
It’s like foreigners undertaking to repair and maintain your house, paying you to live there and only taking rent for the improvements they make and pay for. You can’t get a better deal than that.
Of course, the Left hates foreign investment. It’s deaf to 200 years of economic theory and blind to how the world about them works.
The Left thinks owners run businesses by dictate. They don’t. It’s the customers who boss businesses around.
Business owners must pander to our every need, our every want and our every whim. That’s just to keep their investment. If they don’t, business owners go bust.
The market’s great success is that it makes consumers king and queen. The Left doesn’t like the result but that’s because it is elitist and wants to dictate what the common man and woman eat and drink, how and when they take their entertainment, what work they do and when, and where and how they live.
The Left would also like to take charge of what they think.
The anti-market, anti-investment sentiment within New Zealand is the biggest impediment to more investment and increased opportunity and prosperity. I have no solution to the problem: it just is.
The next impediment is high tax and heavy red tape. The government eats into prospective returns and heightens dramatically the risk of investment. Who can tell how long a resource consent application will take and what the outcome will be?
We also have two further unsavoury developments. The first is the literal extortion that the Resource Management Act enables Maori groups to exploit to ruthless advantage. It’s disgusting and a big investment turnoff.
The switch here is simple enough: Maori groups should have no more say than anyone else over how owners use their own land and resources – and that say should be next to none.
The second development is the government’s ever-increasing willingness to take private property and dictate its use. At least it was controversial when Helen Clark ordered Telecom to allow its competitors to use the copper wire Telecom had bought and paid for.
But now John Key’s government has designated 840 properties in Christchurch for an “Innovation precinct”. There’s been no outcry. In fact, the plan has been declared “bold and innovative”.
Imagine it: “We need innovation!” “How are we ever going to make that happen?” “Not sure.”
“I know, I know! We will make a precinct. And declare it for innovation.” “How you going to do that?” “Not sure. But we could make a start by pinching everyone’s property!”
“Do it in Christchurch. It will look like we’re doing something.” And so it was.
That’s not an auspicious start for an innovation boost. Or for making the country a magnet for investment. And the criticism from the opposition? The Key government is too “hands-off”.
It’s simple to make New Zealand a magnet for investment: Don’t steal! Don’t steal! Don’t steal! That means low flat tax, no red tape, no Treaty squabbles and no “designating” property willy nilly.
Mr Key should sign up for that. Get David Shearer to do the same. And they both could sit back and watch the country roar.
But I guess that’s the problem: what would politics do? Nothing. And that’s not politically sustainable.