New Zealand’s low productivity is a national disaster according to professional company director Kerry McDonald.
Newly elected Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson wasn’t referring to that when he made the following comments, but the reef fish he criticises contribute to the problem:
“I saw the reforms (subsidy removals) that hurt farmers, and then a transformation in the economy where we stopped seeing people leaning on shovels and growing a career through legislation, like planners and consultants. I call them the reef fish. If you analyse it, the reef fish diminished in the 1980s. We are in a revival of them again from the mid-1990s when the RMA (Resource Management Act) gave them a whole lot of ideas.
“I saw these reef fish nibbling at my production and I didn’t like it. Why should we produce more and more and more to keep these reef fish in a job?”
Carrying the analogy further, Nicolson believes the reef fish have grown to become “piranhas and sharks” – contentious perhaps, but that is how he feels.
It is not only planners and consultants, it’s many armies of people in make-work activity which goes hand in hand with the tick-box mentality bedevilling us and sabotaging productivity.
Computers were supposed to reduce paper work, instead they’ve increased it and a lot of the paper is generated by people in jobs which require other people to set aside the productive work they are doing to deal with it.