The September 19 election has proved to be an enormous distraction from the laser-like focus which is desperately needed to stop the fledgling economic recovery from Covid-19 going into reverse.
If politicians weren't so focused on their own personal political calculations — and instead, on generating business and economic growth for New Zealand — they would have brought the election forward to next month so the country can get it done and dusted and back to injecting some momentum. As a last resort, they could have kicked it out to 2021 and formed an across-Parliament consensus on that score.
The unvarnished truth is that frustration is building up within the business community.
Bosses of industries in areas such as construction and horticulture are concerned at the difficulty of bringing skilled staff or labour across the border. They look on in awe while America's Cup personnel or foreign film-makers pay their way in, but can't do the same.
As Fletcher Building CEO Ross Taylor puts it, "water-tight borders are critical right now, but so is businesses having the specialist skills and expertise they need in order to drive New Zealand's economic recovery".
Taylor says Fletcher has a small but growing number of people who would normally fit the criteria to come into the country who are waiting while the current process prioritises New Zealanders.
He argues that it is now essential that a compliant but parallel process be put in place for New Zealand businesses, to allow the movement of a limited number of key people via a user-pays service which would not cost taxpayers any money. And that this be added as additional capacity above the present levels so it does not compromise New Zealanders' ability to return home.
Say Taylor: "This has become urgent as delays and inefficiencies are building and if it isn't addressed soon it will simply further burden a weakening economy".
There is a great deal of creativity that could be employed to make this reality. Putting returnees into hotels — as Taylor was in Rotorua when he returned from lockdown in Australia — is part of the answer.
So, too, converting large buildings into isolation facilities, as Taiwan did with stadiums during various pandemics there. Or using electronic bracelets to allow people to self-isolate from home as Hong Kong does — similar to the ankle bracelets used for people sentenced to home detention.
Similarly, in China, if residents and citizens test negative for the virus on arrival, they can be moved from a quarantine hotel and put into isolation in their own home under the watchful eye of CCTV.
Then there are the "shovel ready" infrastructure projects — which the Coalition Government plans to use to create post-Covid jobs — that are not ready at all. The tight-knit infrastructure community is frustrated that these announcements are being delayed to fit election campaign objectives rather than send signals now so companies can plan accordingly.
The May 14 Budget is long gone but the failure to get these project plans rolled out means it is inevitable that anything announced before the election will simply become part of Coalition wrangling if another party disagrees.
These delays could have been avoided.
At Air New Zealand, where the Crown has a slim majority stake, CEO Greg Foran must sit patiently on the sidelines while the Government tarries about the obvious need for a recapitalisation of the airline.
Air NZ enjoys a humongous $900 million Government backed credit line. But as was obvious through the verbal semaphore from airline chiefs in front of a parliamentary select committee this week, that is at best a second order option.
The plain fact is, while the airline appointed advisers some time back, the Government has put the issue on the back burner.
While New Zealand's border remains firmly closed to most overseas visitors, the Government has shied away from making a notable exception to restore faith in NZ's fifth largest export earner. Education New Zealand estimates that last year the sector contributed $4.94 billion to the NZ economy, supporting 45,040 jobs.
The Government's stance is unfathomable to a growing number of students who can't see why they cannot come back into a country with zero community transmission of Covid-19 as long as vigilant border procedures are in place.
It all adds up to a lack of urgency.
Meantime, the public's focus has been swallowed up by National's parliamentary coup and counter-rumble, and the exposure of political peccadilloes within National and Labour.
As the election nears, the political leaders will trot out promises to entice voters. But how many will be bankable in the long run if the economy goes into reverse?