Gareth Vaughan on an action plan for a more entrepreneurial economy, who is open to who in Aussie, the uselessness of orthodox economics, check in but never leave & more

Gareth Vaughan on an action plan for a more entrepreneurial economy, who is open to who in Aussie, the uselessness of orthodox economics, check in but never leave & more

This Top 5 COVID-19 Alert Level 1 special comes from's Gareth Vaughan.

As always, we welcome your additions in the comments below or via email to And if you're interested in contributing the occasional Top 5 yourself, contact

See all previous Top 5s here.

Pubs have re-opened in England. Cartoon, The Independent.

1) An action plan for a more entrepreneurial economy.

Dan Khan, founder and CEO of entrepreneur network ZeroPoint Ventures, has issued what he calls "an action plan for a more entrepreneurial economy in Aotearoa New Zealand." He argues that COVID-19 has "blasted the economy years into the future," and says the pandemic's silver-lining is "the singular opportunity in our lifetime to diversify and enhance New Zealand's economy in new ways."

One of Khan's ideas is to establish innovation districts in all major cities and centrally connected innovation networks in each region to help create critical mass and improve entrepreneurial density.

Here's a taste of further recommendations.

18. Immerse our most entrepreneurial university students in Silicon Valley and other startup hubs to inspire them to come back, share their learnings, and be entrepreneurs by building stronger in-market networks, insight, and awareness of global trends.

19.Provide in-market immersion loans to early-stage entrepreneurs allowing them to offset the cost of being in-market from future earnings.  Allow any startup access to this programme, particularly at earlier stages than current Government support programmes allow. This provides a way for our entrepreneurs to compete on the world stage sooner, make advantageous connections earlier, and reduce the competitive advantage of others who start in more connected and established tech hubs.

20. Provide remote-working grants to support startups to be set up fully remote from day one and able to do global business. This would help NZ startups attract the best staff from around the world without requiring them to be physically present.

21. Build/support go-to-market programmes for key market destinations outside of New Zealand (or piggy-back off existing programmes like Austrade). These programmes would provide pre-market-entry preparation, and in-market crash-courses for Kiwi entrepreneurs to get up to speed, connected, and culturally fitted into those markets as they scale.

2) Who is open to who in Australia.

We continue talking about a potential ANZAC Bubble on this side of the Tasman, potentially initially only with some Aussie states. Against this backdrop here's a look at where the states are at with each other, courtesy of the Herald Sun. This is of course with a lockdown in place in parts of Melbourne as COVID-19 case numbers there continue to mount.

3) The uselessness of orthodox economics.

Writing in The Guardian Cambridge University economist Jonathan Aldred rails against conventional, or orthodox, economic theories. They have acted like a cage around our thinking, Aldred argues. He suggests resilience should be the priority rather than an obsession with efficiency.

Ultimately the problem with economic orthodoxy lies in how it frames our values and priorities. Decisions must always be about trade-offs – the weighing up of costs against benefits, ideally measured through prices in markets. If we take our ignorance about the future seriously, this cost-benefit calculus should not even get started. Because costs outweighing benefits is the oldest excuse for not taking precautions – and is a recipe for disaster when the benefits, or the costs of inaction, are vastly undervalued.

Cost-benefit thinking also leads us to assume that all values can be expressed in monetary terms. Many politicians and business leaders fixate on statements such as “a 2°C rise in average global temperature will reduce GDP by up to 2%”, as though a fall in GDP measures the true costs of the climate emergency.

4) Improvements in the COVID-19 treatment paradigm to-date, in one chart.

US-based Bernstein analyst Vincent Chen has issued a short research note centred around the chart below.

We're three months into the US epidemic and chatted with some physicians treating Covid-19 about how treatment has improved. Physicians believe their ability to treat Covid-19 has improved significantly, expect this should reduce mortality rates, and note that getting Covid-19 now is likely much better than getting it in the early days of the epidemic (though, they still wouldn't recommend it). We summarize our learnings in a single slide below (we wrote this note largely for the cool chart), and touch on some of the key points here.

Chen says lessons have been learned in the US in how to treat patients with COVID-19, noting physicians now know a lot more about what drugs work, and what not to use, which should drive a meaningful reduction in mortality. Beyond drugs, physicians have learned a lot about which patients to worry about and when, Chen adds.

We're witnessing the rapid evolution of the Covid-19 treatment paradigm. Physicians have made significant strides in improving treatment of Covid-19 patients over the past three months or so, and argue that mortality rates now are likely lower than before. However, there are no silver bullets, and there is still significant room to go before we are able to move past the pandemic.

5) Check in but never leave; Taiwan's fake travel experience.

With its people starved of international travel opportunities thanks to COVID-19, Taiwan is now offering selected people a fake itinerary where they check in at the airport, go through passport control and security and even board an aircraft. But, as demonstrated below, they never actually leave Taiwan.

Canterbury University Professor Anne-Marie Brady is pushing for an Aotearoa-Taiwan bubble. Nice idea. But what impact might such a move have on New Zealand-China trade?

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


More of Dan Khan, less of GR!

And Prof Anne Marie!

Dan Khan, Anne Marie Brady, and Jonathan Aldred!

P.S. is that Simon Bridges in the cartoon?

Dan Khan, founder and CEO of entrepreneur network ZeroPoint Ventures, has issued what he calls "an action plan for a more entrepreneurial economy in Aotearoa New Zealand."
Great idea and it is where we should be aiming instead of talking about opening the boarders bit I just don't see Labour or any other party with any a utility to think outside the square and deliver.

The content in the link is stunning.

Agreed! Awesome foresight.

A shame that Labour would find it impossible to think outside of the square and act on something like this.

Stunningly naïve perhaps - the problem is far bigger than an NZ centric paper full of buzz words
Its a global debt system and a global resource limit wall we have hit

I mean take this

"Part of this pandemic has been the failure of foresight and imagination. ... where are the supersonic aircraft? Where are the millions of delivery drones? Where are the high speed trains, the soaring monorails, the hyperloops, and yes, the flying cars? We need to demand more of our culture, of our society..."

Ah ... you might find there are some Physics issues here
Which translate to unaffordability

The economy is an energy system .. governed by physical laws
No way round that
And the available pie underwrites all debt - which is why wages stubbornly just wont budge

Examples like Online gym instructors / Uber / etc are actually a workaround of the pie getting smaller ...not bigger

Politicians work for themselves, not the general public. This is true time & again & we're no different here. The whole state/political system is full of anti bodies making sure that they're okay. ''Damn the rest of them (that's us) they can suffer.''
Big government rules okay!
Perhaps I should start up an anti-government party?

Off you go - find out if you have public support for your ideas - it might be a humbling experience for you.

Run on sacking anyone that dose not deliver, cleaning out the Gov't inefficiencies with a hatchet, getting rid of BS red tape, reducing dependency on singular markets, diversifying products, 'Green incentives. Once you start the sacking fairly much everything will come into line.

"He suggests resilience should be the priority rather than an obsession with efficiency."

But debt wants efficiency. Not resilience.
Herein lies the problem of deleveraging.

Everybody talking about debt is not absorbing the lessons from MMT, when it comes to Government spending.

Item #1. In my opinion, NZ doesn't have a shortage of good ideas, it has a shortage of business knowledge (and $ of course). So many start-ups and SMEs fall over because their founders don't understand Business 101. And Dan thinks we should focus on STEAM (STEM + Arts) students? What about business students who can actually major in innovation and entrepreneurship? Sure, some people don't need formal training, but formal training can help a lot of people.

Your access to our unique content is free - always has been. But ad revenues are under pressure so we need your direct support.

Become a supporter

Thanks, I'm already a supporter.