It’s hard to be optimistic about the future of the economy. While Tim Grosser is out there negotiating away our sovereignty, John Key is making plans to try to hawk our low wage workforce to Australians. Fran O’Sullivan is enthusiastic:
The frank admiration for New Zealand’s economic policies – which was on show at the annual Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum meeting – had not really been displayed by Australian power-brokers since this country was in the grip of Rogernomics and Bill Birch’s labour market reforms.
Yes – what a wonderful job those policies did on New Zealand. That was when we began falling catastrophically behind Australia.
The Cabinet has since made a strategic decision to capitalise on the improved Australian business sentiment towards New Zealand by “going hard” for more investment. Companies like Heinz Wattie have already scrapped hundreds of Australian jobs in favour of opening new plants in New Zealand to take advantage of lower wages and restrictive labour laws.
Australia has well organised labor and higher wages. So of course the “business leaders” are screwing their local communities and looking for somewhere we they can make bigger profits. That’s how capitalism works.
This is good news. But typically, Labour still sees it through a “glass half empty” prism as positioning New Zealand like Mexico; a low wage neighbour where Australians can outsource manufacturing jobs in the way United States corporates have outsourced similar jobs to Mexicans.
I’m with Labour on this – being a low wage drudge country is nothing to aspire to or be proud of. Remember when we wanted to close the gap with Australia, instead of going backwards?
I wish Labour would also focus on the fact that it is going to take considerable time and investment to build more high-tech growth companies which will spawn high-paid brainy jobs as well as the brawny ones.
“High-tech growth companies” from Australia are not going to spawn “high-paid brainy jobs” here any more than similar outsourcing has created such jobs in India, the Philippines, or Mexico. Outsourcing creates minimum wage crap jobs – that’s the whole point.
If we want to create “high-paid brainy jobs” in NZ we have to do it for ourselves. It doesn’t always take “investment” – companies like Apple and Google got started in a garage. One of our own local (though little known) international success stories, Tait Communications, is proudly and fiercely local, owned by private trusts, and focused on growth in Canterbury. That’s what we need more of in NZ, not Aussie sweatshops.