Image via Wikipedia MOVING TO AUSSIE:
Australia ahoy: why are we crossing the ditch?
It sounds patronising, but sometimes I feel sorry for New Zealand. We're a curious anomaly. One day the country is rated as one of the best places in the world to live, most peaceful, best quality of life, best cities to visit, best coastline, best leisure sports. For such a small population, we do incredibly well at certain things and appear, from the outside, to be at one with the environment. Yet, at the same time, there's high teen suicide and pregnancy rates, high alcohol consumption, high rates of bullying, domestic violence and child abuse.
If New Zealand is such a fabulous place to live, why are we leaving?
Concern over the number of New Zealanders moving overseas — at stages referred to as the "brain drain" — has been openly apparent since the 1980s, with the easiest place to go "across the ditch".
According to the taskforce set up by the government last year to tackle this problem, incomes in New Zealand haven't been equal to those in Australia since 1974. By 2008, the productivity gap had also increased to the point where Australia's per capita GDP was 35 percent more than that of New Zealand.
Statistics New Zealand has found the median weekly income fell by 1.7 percent from the June 2009 to June 2010 quarter; 4.9 percent more people received income from government transfers; and food prices went up 12 percent from October 2007 to 2009.
But the 2025 Taskforce is coming to the rescue! Their mission: to report on progress and make recommendations on how best to close the income gap with Australia. But the recommendations thus far don't appear to be having much influence. The taskforce's second report projects the gap with Australia will grow to 42 percent by 2025. To combat this, it suggests lowering the tax rate and government spending, selling assets and encouraging foreign investment
Finance Minister Bill English was cautious, saying "History shows that reforms done at breakneck speed tend to be fairly counterproductive." Labour accused the taskforce of providing "ideological claptrap" and a path New Zealanders don't want to go down
Taskforce 2025 says too much time has been wasted on "clever new government initiatives" to increase growth and prosperity in New Zealand. Initiatives, they claim, that focus on supporting potentially high-growth areas of the economy, instead of addressing the disincentives for business investment.
If the options (hypothetically) for increasing New Zealand's outlook were ideological claptrap versus trucking on as we are, I might start reconsidering that path I didn't previously want to go down.
Acknowledgements: MSN Travel