Stratford farmer Dave Hunger had a good idea. Five years ago he turned entrepreneur and started an agriculturally themed children’s “adventure park”. The fees he earned from the hundred or so visitors a day he donated to charity.
This week he shut the park down after a Health and Safety inspector told him it failed to meet the relevant guidelines.
“One or two members of the public came to me and said ‘we think you’re putting yourself in a really vulnerable situation because your gear is uncertified and it’s all home made, it hasn’t been ticked off by an engineer or designed by an architect’,” he said. “So when I stopped and thought about that and realised what would be involved in being prosecuted, it wasn’t an appealing prospect.”
There had never been an accident in the 5 years he has operated. The experts gave Dave a list of more than 70 different improvements needed to get to a legal standard. But what legal standard?
“There are industry standards around flying foxes, with height and what have you, there’s industry standards around rivers and safety, and I’m not sure what industry standard we’re going to use for riding a cow. No one really quite knows how to class this or how to judge it or what standards apply because it’s unusual, it’s a grey area and everyone is scratching their heads saying how do you judge this, what standards does it have to be.”
Kiwis constantly complain about the income gap and the cost of housing. How is it relevant to Dave Hunger shutting down his adventure park? Here’s how-
NZ is bogged down by an inflated regulatory class and the regulations they produce. This dampens entrepreneurship. Its just too hard to do anything except trade houses or be a landlord.
Even that is difficult enough, but its a hell of a lot easier than hiring people, and putting yourself under the jurisdiction of the HRC. Or having to deal with tribal ownership claims and the de-facto separate govt that deals with such matters. Its a lot easier than having to nominate yourself as the person who gets sued and possibly jailed if there is an accident on your farm.
So broadly speaking if you’re not in real estate, if you’re not a member of the highly paid regulatory or govt class, (in the defunct Soviet Union they were termed nomenklatura) if you’re not rich enough to isolate yourself from all of that, then you’re not making any money.
So heavy regulations strangling entrepreneurs stops the creation of jobs. As real estate become the most favourable investment, house prizes rise and rise again. Exacerbated by an inflow of foreign investors.
The closure of Dave Hunger’s Adventure Park has a direct relationship with NZ’s overpriced housing and a lack of well paying jobs outside the housing or government sector.
It used to be the opposite in New Zealand. It had small government and one of the highest living standards in the world, when we made things work from number eight wire. In the distant past now due to post modernist destruction of our traditional culture, that way of life and the people who lived it are long forgotten.