New Zealand - Drifting further behind - how to reverse the trend

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100 years ago New Zealand was among the very richest countries in the world. A small population took advantage of the land's natural resources, and the opportunities created by new technologies and falling transport costs. These days, we languish well behind most other advanced countries. Our export base still overwhelmingly reflects our natural resource endowments, partly because small remote islands tend not to be place where people build, and operate, global businesses in anything other than natural resources. And yet policy continues to pursue quite rapid population growth. The resulting rapid growth in domestic demand puts persistent pressure on real interest rates and the real exchange rate, undermining the growth in business investment, especially that in tradeables sectors. New Zealand Herald columnist Brian Fallow will look at the prospects for lifting New Zealand's per capita economic output, which is fundamental to any sustainable rise in incomes and living standards, and draws some conclusions about what should be in the Budget on May 26. Michael Reddell spent 30 years in various roles at the Reserve Bank, Treasury, several overseas central banks and on the Board of the International Monetary Fund. These days, he looks after his fast-growing kids and runs the economics blog www.croakingcassandra,com. Brian Fallow is a former economics editor for the New Zealand Herald. A Southlander happily transplanted to Wellington, he has been a journalist since 1984 and has covered the economy and related areas of public policy for the Herald since 1995. Why the economy? Because it is where we all live and because the forces at work in it can really mess up people's lives if we are not careful.
May 20th, 2016 5:30 PM   through   7:30 PM

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