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Our former Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, was hired by Otago University to help sort out its finances. Good luck to them. Let's see how he did sorting out NZ's finances. The IMF released its April 2024 World Economic Update yesterday. Our Main Stream Media - Stuff, NZ Herald, and the bankrupting Newshub - won't dare blare the headline:

Labour Turned NZ into one of the World's Worst Performing Economies

Where's the evidence? Well, first, take a look at how the other economies in our Asia-Pacific region of the world are doing. In 2023, whilst Robertson was Finance Minister, NZ had the worst GDP growth rate and worst trade balance by a long way (at -6.9% of GDP). Lucky the folks at the IMF didn't measure GDP per capita, since it fell by more than -2% in 2023 due to record immigration, which makes us the only Asia-Pacific nation to be in a deep contraction and only country to be in a double-dip recession.

Another of the IMF's tables, which focuses on 41 Advanced Countries in the World shows that from 2005 to 2016, before Ardern, Hipkins & Robertson came to power, the average growth rate across those countries was 1.5%. NZ came in way above, at 2%. Our institutions stood up magnificently throughout the Global Finance Crisis era. Meanwhile, in the last quarter of 2017, as Labour were finishing up their time in power, the Advanced Country average was 1.6% whereas NZ was in recession at -0.3% (the 7th worst performing country). If these number are adjusted to account for our rapidly expanding population, we'd come in close to bottom, together with Israel at -3.8% due to its war. Its a shame that the Ardern-Roberston-Hipkins war on Covid turned into a war against our economy.

We're still waiting for a retraction of the statement from Prof. Michael Baker & his coauthor Prof. Tony Blakely, the Commissioner of NZ's Royal Commission into Lessons Learned from Covid, that "One of the perceived barriers to applying a vigorous response, such as elimination, to the pandemic is the belief that this might sacrifice the economy & ultimately result in more hardship & negative health effects. Our preliminary analysis suggests the opposite is true" which they published in British Medical Journal. Boy, did they get that wrong.


The Newshub saga is still rolling on as a developing story with further announcements due. It appears that Stuff may be taking over Newshub's TV3 News - which means a left-wing media monster is in the process of growing tentacles & getting bigger. There have been endless complaints about NZ's biased news media on Blogs like Basset, Brash & Hide, as well as Muriel Newman's Centre for Political Research & radio stations like The Platform. Many of them are viewed by wealthy business folks, who contribute articles like Bob Jones. With the Stuff-Newshub deal that is breaking news, what a missed opportunity for the NZ right. Why didn't any of our fat cats buy Newshub for $1 when they had the chance? Why didn't they take the opportunity to turn it around into NZ's best & most trusted news site, reporting high-quality left, centre & right-wing content, putting others to shame? If that deal has been snatched away from them by Stuff, then stop crying about our woefully biased media. You had the chance to change it and you didn't.

If you follow the advice of some media gurus then the "secret" to making money out of a platform like Newshub is tapping into its hundreds of thousands of users & finding ways of connecting them up. The media bucks these days come from "connecting" ones users, not selling them news "content" - the content is there to attract users who want quality news. Once you've attracted them, the challenge is to make money out of them in other ways. The Herald lost its value when TradeMe took its classifieds away & became a billion dollar business almost overnight. TradeMe connected up the Herald's readership who wanted to buy & sell stuff and the Herald was too slow to respond. Other newspapers overseas like Shibsted in Norway did the opposite - it responded fast as it began to lose the classifieds. Shibsted leveraged its news readership base to the extent that now its core businesses are "online marketplaces with a strong focus on sustainability, media houses promoting trust & transparency, financial services helping to empower people in their daily lives". It bought EBay's Classifieds and is now the largest online market provider in the world.

Its tiring to hear NZ's so-called "business community", many of our most wealthy business owners and high ranking commercial types complain endlessly about the quality of our news services and not doing anything about it. Maybe the problem doesn't lie with blaming our government for everything wrong in NZ - maybe the blame lies more with our current crop of disappointing, un-inspirational business owners who want to fit in and jump on politically correct bandwagons so they don't attract trouble. Where are our Elon Musks? Maybe the Kiwi ones just sell-out for the quiet life at Omaha, Waiheke & Pauanui, content with running their little monopoly and watching the bucks - and waves - roll in. You will pay the price - the country has served you well, but will not serve your children and grandchildren well.

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Robert MacCulloch

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