I’ve spent the last week touring around the provinces and catching up with old friends and family I haven’t seen for years and part of this has meant traveling to places I haven’t been in over a decade.
Nearly every town big or small that I’ve past through has been bigger and seemed far more wealthy than I remember it and the people I talk to far happier. I guess that’s the result of the economic boom we’ve had for the last decade and, although some of it will be funded from debt, it’s pretty clear that the sick nation of the 80’s and 90’s has been usurped by something much better.
Of course the depth of this change is about to be tested. The last government has left us with a low debt to GDP ratio so we have a better capacity to cope than a lot of other OECD countries but with limited public control of our economy a lot of what is done can only be reaction rather than an active determination of our economic situation. Over the next three years we’ll find out how good that reaction will be.
Update: Colin James has written on a similar theme (but much better than I have) in his final column for the Herald. As much as we have a love hate relationship with the media at the Standard I’ve always appreciated James’ long view of politics and can only say the ending of his column is a loss to New Zealand’s political discourse.