The difficulty with the stimulus package is that it may still be the wrong sort of medicine. What is required is not a pep-up injection following a dose of anaesthetic but a change in diet that will free the economy from the needle. Take the point of view of a prospective home-owner who has learned that the release of land through auctions and tenders is to be suspended until March 31 next year. This, along with measures to make financing of home purchases easier, could persuade him that the market will rally and thus make it safer to enter. But then, he might ask himself, what will happen in March? The Government has not dropped its goal of a rapid expansion in the housing supply. Several of the new measures are aimed at supporting that goal, with more government participation than was envisioned. So if our prospective homeowner decides to go ahead, he may find when March comes around that the Government has determined the economy is recuperating and it is time to flood the market with property again. Is it really worthwhile for him to make a 20-year commitment on the basis of a nine-month pledge of relief? This is not a minor concern. It is one of the reasons the market is so weak. No one knows what is going to come next and in this sort of environment the most obvious course is to do nothing. In 1994, there were measures to limit speculation by banning transfers of uncompleted property. This resulted in a dislocation of developers' cash-flows with the result that they cut back on projects. Flat completions in the private sector then hit a 20-year low last summer. The result served to push speculation into the secondary market where prices hit records. The Government responded by targeting supply with plans for 85,000 homes a year. This unfortunately coincided with the economic downturn and prices collapsed as the threat of a glut became apparent. And now we have measures to push this see-saw in the other direction. But the swings seem to become bigger with every push and pull. It is hardly surprising that it leaves the public bewildered. What is needed is a time-out, a breathing spell which officials could use to talk to developers, public interest groups and property experts about solutions. It is particularly needed because the dollar peg makes it impossible to use standard central bank measures to put liquidity in the system when required. The rules say Hong Kong dollars can only be issued against the receipt of US dollars. If people do not wish to bring in US dollars then we have to suffer. It is one of the prices that has to be paid for the stability which a currency board otherwise brings. To break the rules now would be to put the peg in danger and this is certainly no prescription for the troubles. But it means the Government has to exercise all that much more care and attention in its fiscal policies. It may seem like a time to take action. It is actually a time for some belated public discussions.