A recent article at the Conversation is titled New Zealand is letting economics rule its environmental policies, which I suppose is meant to shock most Conversation readers. Reading the article it appears to me that NZ mostly appears to have struck a sensible balance between economic development and environmental protection, and that environmental policy is one more area, in addition to labour market policies, where NZ is superior to Australia. Certainly, NZ is doing something right, as HSBC’s Paul Bloxham last year named it a “rock star economy” (see Three things that make NZ better).
The strong NZ economy has meant that NZ has become a much more attractive destination to international migrants and has meant that many Australians are moving to NZ and many expat New Zealanders are returning home. Indeed, as I read in the latest Monocle magazine (September 2016, p. 54) last night:
“For the first time in about a quarter of a century, more Australians are moving to New Zealand than vice versa.”
Statistics NZ data confirm this is indeed the case (see chart below).
So NZ is not just beating us in Rugby; it is beating us in the economic and demographic games, too. For the sake of our national pride, economic reforms have become much more urgent.