I am guessing that 'the recession' will result in more and more roadworks around Auckland as a way of 'stimulating' the economy. Public works are easy to initiate, there are few metrics for their success or failure (hard to fail with upgrading roads) and it transfers relatively unskilled workers most likely to be 'let go'.
When my partners and I started Idealog magazine a part of the pitch was that New Zealand's economy needs to diversify with a greater emphasis on innovation, creativity and increased emphasis on copyrights and other forms of intellectual property.
From out first issue we were criticised for suggesting that primary production would ever be anything other than the backbone of the the New Zealand economy. That was three years ago. Since then commodity prices have swollen to record highs (so much so that milk solids were being called White Gold). Prices have tanked since and the the global economic downturn doesn't look like ending anytime soon.
Now more than ever investment should be focused on creating genuinely sustainable industries like the creative industries - which consume few resources, can transport across the web and earn residual royalties and payments long after the initial conception and implementation has taken place.
Offering subsidies to creative producers to invest in audio and video recording equipment, editing software, tools for networking and collaboration, creating marketplaces and connections might offer greater long term returns than in capital intensive and heavy-freight solutions.
Of course, when I discuss the creative economy I refer to:
* Art markets
* Designer fashion
* Film and video
* Interactive leisure software
* Performing arts
* Software and computer services
* Television and radio;
...rather than imaginative thinking as a verb.