Good News On Asteroid Front Shows Government On Track

A guest post from the Finance Minister

We live in tough economic times, but the New Zealand public can be assured that this government is leaving no stone unturned in dealing with the challenges caused by the global economic downturn.

You will appreciate, I hope, that I can’t speak too much today about the contents of next week’s budget. What I can tell you is that we will be carrying on with our hard work to date, tightening our belts, and taking a responsible and prudent approach towards government spending.

All the main indicators show that our efforts to rein in spending are having the desired effect. Today a report was released providing yet more evidence that our austerity measures are starting to work.

The report by researchers at the University of Southampton has listed the ten countries most at-risk of being struck by an asteroid. New Zealand is not included on that top-ten list, which shows that we are very well placed to ride out the effects of any asteroid-related event.

This is convincing proof that our austerity measures are working.

Since the global recession hit us all in 2008 we have had to be cautious and conservative in how we spend the public’s money, and this report shows that our efforts are bearing fruit.

Even a small asteroid hitting Auckland or Wellington has the potential to be a catastrophic disaster for the nation’s economy, but the report shows that as a result of the measures we have implemented that risk remains low.

We all know how little the previous Labour government did to reduce the risk of asteroid strikes. Labour have tried to argue that the statistics for the period between 1999 and 2008 point to not a single job being lost as a result of asteroid strikes, but those statistics mask the real story.

The fact of the matter is that most space particle strikes are never reported. In most cases the particles either burn up in the atmosphere, or by the time they hit the ground they are little more than dust.

This is why the effects of space debris on jobs and the economy are so often under-reported.

The fact of the matter is that Labour’s statistics are meaningless, because they don’t have a clue what the real danger is.

But this latest report shows that, finally, things are back on track.

This is good news for the general public, but it’s also good news for businesses. I was at a business lunch recently with the Chief Executive of Business New Zealand, Phil O’Reilly, and he told me that the thing businesses hate the most is uncertainty.

An asteroid that wiped out thousands of small businesses would be bad for the economy, so our efforts in reducing that risk will make a big difference to business confidence.

I can confidently predict that, based on this latest data, better times are around the corner, but only if one of the more fiscally imprudent economies such as Greece or Spain, doesn’t get hit by a giant asteroid that leads to life on the entire planet being wiped out in an instant. If that occurs we may have to reassess our current fiscal projections.