Comment: Jacinda Ardern called it the Government's "elephant in the room" just before she went on maternity leave. Upon her return, she said would address it directly in a major speech aimed at turning it around.
Business confidence slumped during the autumn and winter to its lowest levels since the Global Financial Crisis, despite what appeared to be solid employment growth, strong house building and plenty of population growth. It was the Government's biggest bad news during Ardern's absence and was leapt on by the Opposition as a sign the Government was failing economically.
Tuesday's speech was supposed to deal with it head-on and convince business leaders that the Government understood the problem, had listened, and was changing its plans to help.
Instead, those business leaders got a pep talk and an explanation of an existing plan, which they already knew. The key problems remain of an infrastructure deficit caused by a population shock, uncertainty over migration settings, the minimum wage surge and the ban on new oil and gas.
Ardern's announcement of a business advisory group and a limit to the number of fair pay agreements did little to address those concerns.
She again rejected calls to loosen the Government's net debt target to rectify . . . . . >