If you missed it, look up Brian Gaynor's piece in the Weekend Herald.

In it he details, under the broader theme of whether the Port of Tauranga is one of the country's most successful investors, the history of the New Zealand waterfront.

And how - until the 1980s when the Lange government came along, realised what a mess it was and did something about it - we were shackled to a union movement that would have, if left unchecked, run us bankrupt.

The reform unlocked efficiencies and work practices that still see us prospering to this day.

And it reminds us as to perhaps why we are seeing the confidence numbers we currently are.

Business and consumer confidence is down, and has been down since the arrival of this new government.

Initially, and perhaps fairly, it was written off to newness and uncertainty.


Labour argued that historically business says one thing and does another, which explains why the economy still seems solid but the mood isn't.

But here's why we can connect a few dots and explain what may be happening.

Firstly, growth forecasts are dropping, some as low as two percent.

Two percent isn't good enough, it's historically low, and is a direct reflection of the mood meeting up with reality. Wallets are away, hiring intentions are down and forecasts are dropping.

More worryingly, this is all against a back drop of the OECD, which sees the global growth forecast on growth at four percent. Or twice what ours is predicted to be.

For the past decade, it's been the opposite: we've been rolling along well over three percent while the world has stalled. And that's where the rock star economy analogy came from.

Mixed in here is what business is really worried about and has yet to unfold, workplace reform and the return of the power of the unions.

Agreements across industries, not workplaces, takes power away from employers and puts it in the hands of the people.


These are the same unions who have us warmed up for industrial action the likes of which we haven't seen for years. Teachers are on the verge, nurses are on the verge.

In the previous two years, for example, industrial action was limited to literally a handful of stoppages involving a few hundred people.

The spectre of strikes and pickets was a thing of the past. But that fear is back. The wage expectations have been stoked, the unions are emboldened, and industrial action - along with major reform - is staring us right in the face.

And that is why the confidence numbers are where they are. That is why the growth forecasts are where they are. That is why the world is getting on with it and we are in trouble.

The hope of course is you look at the 1980s and the successful reforms and you learn from them. You see the gains and the progress and you don't repeat the mistakes that got us to the point that such changes were needed.

And yet here we are, with an increasing amount of foreboding, with evidence that shows that ironically, the same party who served us so well in the 1980s, is about to potentially blow it in 2018.