To Succeed, We Need to Spend

by Allan Mortensen

New Zealand’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been nothing short of amazing and everyone can feel justifiably proud of their efforts under a stringent lockdown regime.

However, there’s still a battle ahead for us to win the overall war — to fend off a looming recession and restore the economy. When the virus itself is wrestled under control by our collective efforts, we face the challenge of overcoming the economic setback that is inevitable.

During the past weeks in isolation and lockdown ‘bubbles,’ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has lauded the efforts of the nation as an overall New Zealand ‘team’ in facing the Covid-19 scourge. The government, and indeed our local council have provided strong coronavirus leadership, but the answer to the recovery phase as lockdown is expected to reduce in intensity is very much up to us as a community.

It’s a fact that economic confidence is, at its core, based on a self-fulfilling prophecy. During uncertain times like this a natural reaction is to save our money for a rainy day, but if everyone does this a rainy day very soon arrives, created by a cycle of less spending, leading to less work, less wages, less demand, which creates less spending again, and suddenly we have a recession.

The reverse is equally straightforward. Spending locally and supporting local business is a no-brainer really. Sales create demand, which creates jobs, which generates income, which if spent locally, creates a vibrant community. Don’t go out and spend and get into debt, but if you have some disposable income, maybe savings for an overseas trip you could not take, enrich your life and indulge yourself, but spend it now and spend it locally. Maybe it’s time for a new appliance, a wardrobe addition, a new car or that home renovation that you have been thinking about. You will enjoy what the money has provided for you, and your community will be hugely better off as it counters the effects of recession.  

We can’t do anything about what happens in the rest of the world, or probably in New Zealand, but in the Kaipara, we have banded together and kept our communities Covid-19 free. We can now unite and spend whatever money we have available and keep our communities recession-free.

We need to restore and enhance the economic cycle, which has taken a pandemic battering.

Our future is in our own hands, whether the skies over our community are bright and sunny, or dark and cloudy is entirely up to us.