One of National’s strategies is to constantly talk down New Zealand, arguing that other countries have it better, that to catch up we have to sell off our assets, cut our social services, cut wages, and work harder. The line is repeated in the media, most often in comparison with Australia.
The thing is if you read a newspaper from another country you see the same stories: Australia has inflation troubles, American growth is weak, the UK is worried about crime, Canada needs more doctors, etc etc. New Zealand’s problems are nothing exceptional; the grass is not greener on the other side. Moreover, other countries look to New Zealand as an example of how to do things right. Here’s what Canadian business leader Ed Bernacki has to say:
Hoping for freebies like government handouts and tax cuts isn’t the solution. What Canada needs to do is focus on its unique, high-value products, especially those where design or creativity gives an edge.
And New Zealand is an example of how they can do it New Zealand has to be smart about exports. The tiny Pacific country doesn’t have the advantage of a giant market right at its doorstep, as we do. It doesn’t have cheap labour like many Asian countries or vast natural resources. And yet New Zealand is still competing worldwide and it’s doing that with an industrial strategy based on design and innovation.
This is a great little country. We have led the world in so many areas. Our innovative, independent spirit is what makes us unique and an example that others follow. We should be wary of those who want us to give that up.
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