At a cost of what Cactus Kate quite reasonably reckons would be several million dollars (”If you calculate the lost productivity and add in the time charges and travel costs of 200 attendees in that room for a day”), the Jobs Summit wrapped up with, as she says, twenty mostly crap ideas that any National Party caucus meeting or regular public sector advisory group would have been able to come up with – and probably reject right off the bat.
Christ almighty, the “big three” of those twenty ideas are a nine-day working fortnight that will reduce production while costing us all more; an investment fund worth hundreds of millions of dollars that will commence its activities by taking those hundreds of millions of dollars out of the same markets for loanable funds that genuine producers would like to be using; and - the piece du bloody resistance - a cycleway the length of New Zealand.
If this really was a roomful of NZ’s best and brightest, then we really and truly are in trouble.
NB: Cactus has a wee profile of the dickhead who floated the cycleway pipedream, a poseur who admits "I've never tramped and never owned a bike since I left school," but “does have extensive experience … in walking round the Viaduct slowly enjoying the view with numerous pretty women.”
And Lou Taylor has an idea for the nationwide cycleway that might just put a $2.02 billion “investment” to the only work it’s every reasonably likely to be useful for – and it could pay for its own construction by selling off for scrap the under-used materials that presently run the length of the country.
UPDATE: The Visible Hand looks at the bad ideas from a mainstream economics perspective and concludes: “I don’t want the government to do any of the things suggested here - I think they will, in the current environment, make matters worse.”
I agree. But as Paul Walker at Anti Dismal said a few weeks ago, this is not about economics. It’s politics.