The Dim-Post

July 30, 2009

The man in the high castle

Filed under: economics — danylmc @ 4:39 pm

Brash:

Former National Party leader Don Brash, put in charge of a taskforce to look at ways of closing the economic gap with Australia, says the task is “arguably the biggest challenge New Zealand has faced since the Second World War”.

Like everything Dr Brash says this seems transparently absurd – if we fail to close the economic gap with Australia then New Zealand will remain a very pleasant place to live, just with lower wages and worse savings than our nearest neighbour; if we failed to be on the winning side in WWII our nation would likely have been absorbed into the ‘Greater East-Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere’ and the population been made the slaves of the Japanese Empire. The stakes don’t really seem comparable.

We are the most remote nation in the world, Australia has massive mineral wealth and close proximity to some of the fastest growing economies in history – if the Brash taskforce can come up with a plan to overcome those obstacles then I’m all ears, until then this whole exercise just seems pointless.

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13 Comments »

  1. He might mean since the end of the war not comparing the challenge to the actual war.

    Or….. it would have been better not to use WW2 but more like the biggest challenge NZ has faced since the Falklands War.

    One way forward is to develop industries which earn export dollars. Partnership between government, universities and businesses to develop products Asians want to use. Tight controls on ownership and accountability. Basically what Israel has achieved. Never going to happen.

    Comment by Simon — July 30, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

  2. Nice PKD reference. If the wingnuts were more literate they might call “Godwin” on you though…

    Comment by Bud — July 30, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

  3. How much “mineral wealth” does Singapore have exactly? And are they rich?

    Comment by radar — July 30, 2009 @ 6:58 pm

  4. the whole thing is uninspiring. I’ll hold off judgment till they come up with recommendations but this –

    “Substantial changes will be needed in government spending, in the regulatory framework, in investment, and in tax structures.”

    is so amorphorous.

    I think we have two options – federation or work out how to get some of that wealth over here. All that mineral wealth will tend to make Oz less adventurous. We need to be smarter and export high value goods. I have no idea how we can mahage that.

    One area we could work at is developing more sustainable cheap energy sources. We have the ability to generate a far greater proportion of our engery needs via geothermal than does Oz. With carbon taxes or whatever on the horizon – which Oz may be more exposed to – it could be a double wammy.

    Comment by neil — July 30, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

  5. @radar you might find that singapore is on one of the busiest shipping routes in the world, while also being a major south-east asian air travel hub.

    they also have one of the most autocratic governments in the developed world.

    Comment by Che Tibby — July 30, 2009 @ 8:52 pm

  6. The most effective solution would be to form pact with China bomb Australia back to the stone age and enslave the surviving population to work in the mines. Their wages would fall, our wealth would rocket. It would take a matter of months to close the gap. That’s the problem with this Government they are not ambitious for New Zealand

    Comment by Ian Llewellyn — July 30, 2009 @ 8:55 pm

  7. “they also have one of the most autocratic governments in the developed world.”

    But do they post their mum’s lamb chop recipies on their weblogs when they don’t want to talk about the elephant in the room though Che?

    It’s been while since that one was trotted out to be fair. I wonder if Russel is waiting for Phil to step down before he posts an excellent crock pot curried sausages extravaganza?

    Comment by Dean — July 30, 2009 @ 9:19 pm

  8. Russell just doesn’t seem that interested in politics anymore: he hasn’t posted about Paula Bennett, I don’t think he posted about Richard Worth.

    Comment by danylmc — July 31, 2009 @ 6:07 am

  9. yeah, not sure how this turned from discussing brash to discussing r.brown?

    re singapore. if half the right-wing lunatics wanting “productivity improvements” a la singapore actually had to live under the necessary regime?

    there would be a hell of a lot less whinging and gnashing of teeth in these blogs.

    Comment by Che Tibby — July 31, 2009 @ 6:49 am

  10. “@radar you might find that singapore is on one of the busiest shipping routes in the world, while also being a major south-east asian air travel hub.”

    Their early manufacturing growth was also based on proximity to rich sources of raw materials, including oil, in neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia. Basically, they got in before their neighbours did to build industries based on processing their neoghbours’ raw materials.

    Comment by kahikatea — July 31, 2009 @ 8:53 am

  11. He (Brash) didn’t actually say, “arguably the most important challenge since the war”. To me, talking of the size of a challenge relates to its difficulty, not the impact of its achievement.

    Given our rather sanguine attitude to the preservation and development of our wealth, it seems a pretty big challenge to me.

    Comment by Mark Wright — July 31, 2009 @ 9:52 am

  12. “they also have one of the most autocratic governments in the developed world.”
    They’ve nationalised banks and auto makers and rammed through 1200 page laws that no representative has read. No, wait, that’s the US of A.

    “if half the right-wing lunatics wanting “productivity improvements” a la singapore actually had to live under the necessary regime?”
    Well, most of the RIGHT-WING ones probably WOULD like to live that way. The ban on chewing gum appeals on so many levels apparently.

    “Partnership between government, universities and businesses to develop products Asians want to use.” That’s funny, right?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — July 31, 2009 @ 1:39 pm

  13. Proportionally twice as many Australians as NZer’s are in a trade union. This has tended to keep their wages on par with their cost of living. Bet you twenty bucks Don Brash can’t bring himself to mention the bleedin’ obvious.

    Comment by Graeme Tuckett — August 1, 2009 @ 8:38 pm


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