Computerisation First

Dr Rachel Hodder
Insights Newsletter
30 June, 2017

Important developments often get overlooked during busy news weeks. With the Lions tour, the America’s Cup victory, and a salacious scandal or two, it can be hard to keep up.

With all the excitement going on it would appear the public have overlooked some exciting announcements from the New Zealand First conference last weekend.

Like the Initiative, New Zealand First recognise that local governments often incur costs to provide services and infrastructure from which they receive too little benefit.

In the Initiative’s 2017 manifesto, we recommend that the GST paid on new building developments be returned to the councils where the developments are situated. New Zealand First has a similar idea but applied to tourism – return the GST received by tourist spending to the local governments where the tourists are spending.

A great idea in principle. However, the implementation could be tricky. Unlike tracking new building developments, it is not quite so easy to track the location of tourist spending.

Never to fear, New Zealand First know how they will get around that. In the words of Winston Peters: “the wonderful thing about computerisation – we know exactly where they spend their money”.

It could not be simpler. Why has no one else thought of it? In this high-tech world we live in, we can always rely on computerisation to solve sticky policy issues.

It is a shame they did not go further. Computerisation could be the solution to other tourist issues facing local governments.

Drunk rugby fans making a ruckus? With computerisation we can know exactly when and where tourists are drinking and exactly how much. Police can swoop in to curb the bad behaviour before it even begins.

Freedom campers leaving a wake of mess? With computerisation we can know exactly where they stop for the night and fine them accordingly.

Why stop just at the human visitors? With computerisation, we can also track and exterminate all the foreign predators killing our native birds.

While we are at it, let’s try to solve the housing crisis with computerisation. How exactly that will work we can leave for the tech boffins to figure out.

In all seriousness, we do applaud New Zealand First for tackling localism issues and proposing policy that could help local governments provide services and infrastructure. Perhaps the technical details can be figured out once everyone is less distracted by scandals and sports. 

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