Key Points:

John Key advocates a rolling maul approach to fixing the economy.

Hard then to know how seriously he will take a Jobs Summit that has come up with 21 ideas that look like the rugby equivalent of spinning it wide from inside your own 22.

As a response to the near collapse of the entire global financial system the proposal to build a cycleway from Kaitaia to the Bluff is a doozy. Why not build a monorail as well?

It is easy to be cynical. Far too easy.

The 21 recommendations the summit ended up with yesterday ranged from ridiculous to painfully obvious. They also included the bland, the generic and the meaningless.

How about No 11: A freeze on rule-making by Government agencies and regulators.

Yeeha! No rules! That'll be great for the investment sector. Maybe they can use the rules freeze to find new and complicated ways to structure debt products and sell them to unsuspecting investors.

Other ideas boldly called for good stuff to be done. Redundancy and transition support for people who lose their jobs, matching of supply and demand for training, ensuring Government services reach Maori effectively. Of course.

Some like No 8 - urgently develop and implement new sources of bond funding - look like the financial equivalent of spinning straw into gold.

The best - an equity fund jointly backed by the banks and the Government to bailout debt-plagued business - shows promise if details can be worked through quickly.

But in general yesterday's results looked more like a throw the ball to Jonah and yell:"run Jonah, run" approach to saving the economy than any kind of rolling maul as called for by Key.



By alluding to a rolling maul in the first place Key was presumably suggesting his Government won't resort to flashy high-risk strategies - that it will take a "steady-as-she-goes" approach to moving the country forward through the crisis.

It is a very nice analogy but not without flaws.

Rugby fans would be aware that the ELV rules which were trialled for the first time last season have all but killed off the rolling maul as an attacking strategy.

That's been the problem with this credit crisis too. The rules keep changing.

But Key is a Cantabrian who grew up in the era of Grizz Wylie so was perhaps recalling the golden days of mud-and-guts rugby when mustachioed forward packs marched upfield like Roman legions in tortoise formation.

Any decent winger with a sidestep and turn of pace can exploit an overlap, beat his man and score a flashy looking try in the corner.

But a rolling maul is equal parts elegance and brutality. It is total dominance over the opposition.

A forward pack first proves its superior strength by pushing the opposition backwards. It then shows off its dexterity and efficiency by slipping the ball from player to player.

Each time the ball is grasped by a fresh player they break away to the left or right with the rest of the pack rolling behind in unison to ensure the momentum is maintained.

At its best a rolling maul can blow an opposition pack to pieces, allowing a team to march upfield unchallenged.

If this is what Key is advocating for New Zealanders then good on him.

But we are yet to see anything like that level of ruthless commitment to detail from the Key Government.

The acceptance of 21 recommendations has rendered the summit laughable. Key should admit upfront that there are two or three at best which warrant serious action.

If just one of those comes to fruition he can then call the day a success.