Directors’ Breakfast – Backed by BDO | Hon Paul Goldsmith

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Welcome to
what was the first of our director’s Backed by BDO series for the beginning
of 2020. This was a very interesting one uh we
had Bernard Hickey, Director of Newsroom
and commonly referred to himself as a Journopreneur and Paul Goldsmith the National Party Finance Spokesperson.
Bernard, I’m really going to flick to you because that was just a whole session of
covering lots of things from coronavirus political environment going into the election talking about the impacts on New Zealand and the economy.
So I’m going to kind of hand it up to you to summarize all and what you took out
of it and then onto Paul.
I mean it was great fun to talk about the economy, politics, finance and where
we’re going so much news at the moment and a big
year because we have an election at the end of September and within a few
months Paul you could be the finance minister so these problems problems and opportunities could be in
your hands we talked a lot about COVID-19.
What the government could do or should do. Paul gave a good
summary of the key things that National will propose to the electorate
in September around small business and infrastructure and
taxes and Paul you can give us a quick summary of your pitch and where you see the environment. Look I mean
two issues the short term uh obviously great uncertainty around coronavirus and
the need for your relative timely response in
terms of helping those businesses most directly affected particularly in
tourism, hospitality and forestry. We’re urging the government to get on with
that but we shouldn’t lose sight of the
longer-term challenges for the country which is
relatively slow growth and the need for a clear coherent growth plan and so
you know we’re very focused we started this week on regulatory reduction
we’re also very keen to talk about small business relief
trying to help those small businesses which are the core of our economy
survive and do well and then tax tax issues, infrastructure and a family’s
package and so we’ll be unfolding that next little while and looking for a
robust debate over the next few months are you going to win on your own? Is it
going to be a drag race where it’s National versus Labour and the Greens?
Look I mean I think that’s a likely outcome as National and
Act versus Labour in the Greens and we feel confident we can get our nose ahead.
Really? In an MMP environment we’ve never had a result like that. Well
the only question up in the air is the survival or not of New Zealand first and time will tell but they’re
a party under real pressure at the moment and not covering themselves in
glory one thing that struck me in the
discussion in a lot of questions came around
infrastructure in what National would do and whether it would be keen on
lots of spending on roads or rail and how it would fund it.
Well we’re here in Auckland this morning and I think all Aucklanders
are very focused on the need to continue to invest in infrastructure
they’ve enjoyed the enormous progress made by the Waterview tunnel
which the previous National government delivered, they enjoyed the electric
trains which are also a legacy of the previous government,
but they are also conscious of the enormous complications caused by
building new infrastructure and they want to
see it happening sooner and faster and so I think everybody’s keen to
invest in infrastructure. The real question is making sure that the
investments are good quality and they will make a difference. So, one question
just to finalise from the audience, that I thought really
summarized it was a question to you Why don’t you get together with Grant
Robertson and come up with a 100 billion plan over 10 years either
party would commit to it remember you can borrow for less than
one percent at the moment why not do that to remove some of the
political uncertainty for a lot of businesses who are wondering ‘Is it going
to be road or rail or who do I have to worry about?’
why not do that bipartisan deal There is an an element of that with the formation of the New Zealand
infrastructure commission that the National has supported it’s been
bipartisan support so there is an element of that. You also
have to deal with the reality of the Greens.
Who frankly I think have a highly ideological approach to
transport and so that is the challenge that we have to work for.
We take the simple view that the purpose of transport should be to help
people get around quickly and efficiently. That isn’t
actually the focus of Green’s view of transport, which is
more focused on and actually changing people’s behavior and getting them out
of their cars. But you voted for the carbon xero act too? Yep that’s
right but you’ve got to have a pragmatic approach
to transport that recognizes the fact that most people
in a place that is hilly and dark and raining all the time
actually want to use their cars and so you have to
deliver the the roading infrastructure to enable people to move around
as well as continuing to invest in good quality public transport and so it’s a
bit of both and what we saw two years ago when this
government came in was a complete closing on anything to do with
roads and then doing nothing for two years and then deciding two years later
to start building the roads again and the only outcome of that is we’ve
wasted more than two years while they’ve figured out what they’re
doing. So that was a good summary in five or ten minutes of
an hour of discussion which I really enjoyed, it was great David. I did
enjoy it, again, thank you Paul and John. I kind of think we
might be revisiting a catch-up topic just before the election –
if time permits. Thanks very much

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