GUEST BLOG: The Lockdown With Bryan Bruce: Day 13 I/V With BERL economist Dr Ganesh Nana


Today I had the privilege of talking on Skype with Dr Ganesh Nana who is the Research Director of BERL (Business and Economic Research Ltd).

I asked him about what he sees are the major lessons we need to take from this moment in our economic and social history.

How will things be different – economically and socially in post- pandemic New Zealand?

What should we be doing about foreign capital buying ur businesses.

Should we bail out big corporations like Air New Zealand or nationalise them?

TDB Recommends

And more.
It’s 30 minutes long so maybe make yourself a cuppa before you watch – but if you, in lockdown, you are pondering what changes you would like to see in the way we run our economy when this pandemic is over, you might want to listen to what one of our seminal thinkers has to say.

Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.


  1. right on the money . best memorable thing of the coalition in this term ‘i think , has been the introduction of free school lunches. which is symbolic of a nation that is starting to wake up and give a damn.

  2. Yup. Agree. Unfortunately this government hasnt got the courage or the metaphoric set of ‘Balls’ to breakaway from the neoliberal pathway.
    It will have to collapse first to bring about any change to the status quo.

  3. I put this up on The Standard – had no response. Does it fit in a niche of thinking for anyone?
    “We all have elderly relatives and, if we could shut it out of this country, they could live for quite a bit longer not to mention all those in south and west Auckland and Porirua (near Wellington) who have underlying health issues, who will get wiped out.”

    I think that the elderly and others with chronic disease should be considered for sure, but the economy shouldn’t be sacrificed for them. The economy is how we live, how we provide for ourselves. We have to make changes.

    The economy has to change, and micro businesses need to keep going, need funding so they can keep going, we need to shop locally and help the young people running the local businesses keep going. Micro business is the neolib correct response to destroying our previous economy with freemarket imports flooding the country. Imagine the country covered with throwaway imports, clothing, toys, etc stretching out and smothering like the muddy flood water that covered Southland in February.

    Use our imaginations, try to understand, think one thing per family about what could be done to change things for the better for people and the country. Have a website where people could put up positive ideas and how and why they would help and how they would be implemented. This would help the country prepare for change and have a voice in it. Make it easier to get change through Parliament, start a series of experiments, pilots around the country where areas wanted to give something a go that could be good practice for everybody and try it out and keep tabs and report to the Manager.

    Don’t give up, get smarter and less conservative. Technology is enforcing change. People must retaliate and establish how much, how far, and just how we can keep people at the front and top. (This was on Apr.8/20 under greywarshark which I adopted on TS to honour rawshark who was put through the mill for putting up stuff that touched too many nerves.)

    • That quote I put up about Bernard Hickey – I can’t find the original source and haven’t time to go further.
      This is from post
      By: Simon Louisson – Date published: 10:45 am, April 7th, 2020 – 91 comments

      I note there seems a lot of negative thinking from: “leading academic epidemiologist Simon Thornley of Auckland University.”… (It seems that someone always has to be a contrarian.)
      “Thornley, taking his lead from John Ionnidis of Stanford University, one of the world’s leading sceptical epidemiologists, says there are multiple variables and unknowns in all models ….”

      Large business losses are referred to, with the implication that they could have been avoided with a different approach. I doubt that very much, as the rest of the world closes down. We would be caught out going forward in hopes, to be dashed, and with few controls over the virus, having a steep curve of cases that would cause even more grief than the present situation, and just manageable number that we have now. It sounds like a lot of weasel words to me. Remember this when you next hear the name Simon Thornley.

      The following is happening and we have known for some time that our economy is fragile, we have managed to keep running and staying ahead of nemesis but business was often being run on an irrational or irresponsible basis, with government trying to rein in various crooked practices. That some businesses have folded is not new.

      Aotearoa has already witnessed swathes of job-slashing by leading employers such as Air New Zealand, Sky City, Fulton Hogan and Fletcher Building, the country’s largest construction company.
      Already fragile industries, such as media and retailing, will largely be wiped from the economic landscape, Hickey says. Some media businesses, such as magazine group Bauer, publisher of iconic titles such as The Listener and NZ Woman’s Weekly, have already gone belly up.

      Aotearoa post Covid may be barely recognisable. Most cultural institutions like the Royal NZ Ballet, NZ Symphony Orchestra, professional theatre, galleries sporting and pastime clubs were already precariously placed due to the small population base to support them….

      Hickey believes Ardern has taken the only politically palatable approach.

      “We all have elderly relatives and, if we could shut it out of this country, they could live for quite a bit longer not to mention all those in south and west Auckland and Porirua (near Wellington) who have underlying health issues, who will get wiped out.”

      In any case, Aotearoa will have an enforced partial lockdown as the world’s borders are shut.
      He says New Zealand has economic resilience in that it is food producer, near self sufficient in energy, and has a relatively small export sector that mostly comprises food the world desires.

      He harks back to the breakout from the 1930s depression when the Reserve Bank lent the government money to start a massive house-building programme. The bank last month announced a $NZ30 billion quantitative easing programme and he believes that can, and will be, expanded to begin a massive infrastructure build.
      “We can print our way of this.”

  4. The big question is what degree of isolation travel and trade wise do we see as being our future.
    Wuhan has been in stricter lockdown than we have, for about 80 days and now with in depth research from a range of scientific disciplines, is starting to feel their way to loosen the lockdown in a series of steps. Monitoring and testing is planned to continue.
    28 days may give us a glimpse of how resources should be increased as we move into a longer period of lockdown with modifications.
    Economically longterm it would seem to be cheaper to eradicate rather than flatten the curve.
    Local produce and manufacture will take reorganisation but will also be cheaper in the long run and give much more control over our sovereignty, employment and economy.

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