Jacinda’s reception at the UN this year was not as starlit as it was in 2018. She was a novelty last year. The gloss does seem to be wearing off nowadays for Jacinda, as she pursues pet projects such as trying to control the internet, which nobody other than her, thinks has any realistic chance of succeeding. She has also been put in charge of a climate committee, which would probably be considered as a huge honour if it were not for the fact that the other countries on the committee are… well… either small fry or hypocrites.

You decide.

  • Norway, a massive O&G producer at home and all around the world that is using its ginormous sovereign wealth fund in an effort to buy respectability and claim an environmentally clean image.
  • Iceland, huge country on the global stage that is famous for co-ordinated overhead hand-clapping – brilliant.
  • Costa Rica, world’s best-kept secret as only Costa Ricans know where it is and I defy anyone to tell me the capital city – what a partner to have.
  • Fiji, minuscule democracy with a saleable blueprint on how to run an effective coup and a great 7’s team – how did we get so lucky as to land them?   

What a triumph – no, what a joke this woman is!!

But Matthew Hooton in his weekly article in our favourite newspaper has called for Jacinda to return to earth and deal with some of the problems back home.

Tuesday’s Herald Mood of the Boardroom survey suggests a business community much glummer than recent data justifies.

Even though most indicators are heading in the wrong direction, NZIER’s consensus forecasts are still far from dire. Growth is expected to remain in the 2-3 per cent range for the next three years, unemployment will sit around 4 per cent and wages will rise faster than inflation, which will stay low but above zero.

Hooton takes a very optimistic approach to the economy in the short term. With the business policies of this government and the uncertain global position, it is quite likely that growth will fall away much more rapidly than he seems to think.

Despite this, the Mood of the Boardroom indicates the lowest business confidence since the global financial crisis. This is consistent with ANZ’s August business confidence survey, down another 8 points to negative 52 per cent, with firms’ own expectations also falling into negative territory.

Employment, investment and export intentions are all dismal. Even consumer confidence, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern believes is more important, languishes below its historic average.

Consumer confidence does not always fall immediately, and with interest rates at historic lows, some confidence will be found in the fact that money has never been cheaper. But consumer confidence can turn on a dime.

The prevailing negative mood demands another explanation.

Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr and his Monetary Policy Committee must be among the villains. As the Mood of the Boardroom indicated, August’s surprise 0.50 per cut in the Official Cash Rate (OCR) to a mere 1 per cent was meant to boost the economy but ended up spooking investors.

Interest rates have fallen too low for further cuts to mean anything real. Besides, most people understand that very low interest rates do not indicate a healthy economy. They may be a nice-to-have, but they are not a sign of good times ahead.

Most rowdily, farmers feel under attack on multiple fronts including the proposed Zero Carbon Bill, the planned inclusion of agriculture in the Emissions Trading Scheme and David Parker’s radical water quality reforms.
This rural revolt has plunged agricultural confidence down to a horrifying negative 68 per cent even though farmers are the most positive group about their own activity.

Similarly, the oil, gas and wider minerals industries may be completely wrong that August’s draft Government Resources Strategy and Cabinet paper on the review of the Crown Minerals Act indicates Ardern wants an end to all extractive industries in the very near future.

Is Matthew Hooton being a touch sardonic here, do you think?

The Government’s own recklessness is the chief cause of negative sentiment taking hold in these two major export earners.

Got it in one.

For Ardern, the Mood of the Boardroom suggests the abject failure of KiwiBuild and the sluggishness of infrastructure projects have had a wider effect. Even the Government’s failure to shift the tax burden away from wages and operating profits towards capital gains sent an adverse message about competence.

Ardern should be concerned that junior minister Kris Faafoi, is ranked her Government’s top performer. While Faafoi has done a perfectly adequate job, what does his ranking suggest about the competence of the rest?

We all know the answer to that. They are a bunch of incompetent fools.

This matters. According to another leading polling firm, CT New Zealand, only 9 per cent of New Zealanders are very confident that Ardern’s team could competently manage a major economic downturn if — as seems likely — one is on its way from abroad. Nothing better explains the degree of economic disquiet.

9%. Really? I am surprised that so many think her government is capable of anything.

Once again, Ardern has done a superb job on the world stage this week, charming even Trump. She urgently needs to apply those skills to instil a sense in New Zealand that her Government knows what it is doing domestically.

This is not primarily about her re-election, although it is of course linked. The real problem is that if Ardern can’t get New Zealand business out of the dumps, a dangerous decline in the actual economic outlook looks certain.

A Newspaper

I don’t think she has done a superb job on the world stage this week. I think she was overshadowed by Greta Thunberg, which must hurt Jacinda badly. But it is time for Jacinda to focus on domestic issues. Building houses. Ihumateo. The flailing economy. Homelessness. The Labour sex scandal. There is plenty for her to focus on at home.

But as we all know, Jacinda is the mistress of nothing more than photoshoots. She is incapable of doing anything real. Even at the UN this year, she has been downgraded from person of interest to minor celebrity.

It is true that Jacinda needs to deal with problems at home, but there is little chance of her doing it. She is simply incapable of doing anything real. She has no idea how to solve any of the problems that we are beset with today.


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