Ken screws up – again

Fresh from his star turn of failing to understand cost/benefit ratios, Wellington Chamber of Commerce head Ken Harris has now demonstrated his failure to understand basic inflation calculations.

Our attention was drawn to this particular pearl of wisdom falling from Ken’s mouth when he took issue with the Wellington council raising the parking charges from $4 to $5. Outrage! Here’s Ken doing battle for the hard-pressed retailers in the capital!

Not only are car park vacancy rates too high to warrant such a fee hike but this 25% jump, coming on top of previous increases over the years, more than outstrips the inflation rate. It is difficult to see this proposed increase as anything more than a revenue raising exercise.

Yeah! That’s the champion of free enterprise laying the smack-down on those lilly-livered public servants that want to deny him $4/hour parking for his SUV! The increase “more than outstrips the inflation rate”!

Only it doesn’t – probably because the hard-working Ken didn’t bother checking what inflation amounted to since 2004, when the council last raised the parking charges. Or maybe he’s just a dickhead, it’s sometimes hard to tell with lobbyists. A quick tour around the Reserve Bank’s inflation calculator revealed that there’s been a 23.5% increase in the CPI from the beginning of 2004 to the beginning of 2011, so that $4 fee in 2004 is now the equivalent of $4.94 in 2011 – completely in line with the council’s new parking charges.

In other words, Ken’s utterly wrong, economically illiterate, and incapable of using Google to obtain the answers to basic questions. In other words, he’s perfectly qualified to be the CEO of a business lobby organisation, which aren’t exactly the pinnacles of intellectual achievement.

Luckily there was one person who was making economic sense in this debate – the bloke who works for the Wellington council. The unlikely-named Stavros Michael (presumably related to George) said that “”Businesses that are open during the day in the CBD benefit from paid parking through higher turnover, while those businesses that operate in the evening do not benefit because people hog the limited number of spaces all night.”

It’s a worry when the public servants make more economic sense than the private sector lobbyists.

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