So, here we are in good ol’ New Zealand, living in our Pavlova paradise. A paradise where the water runs clear and clean, the economy is hoofing along nicely despite the ongoing menace from earthquakes sporadically testing communities big and small. Unemployment is not a problem. New Zealand is an open welcoming place thriving on the mass immigration from overseas who are richly contributing to the country. Crime is not a problem and our social welfare systems, our health and education systems all look great and the future is brighter than ever.
Or so the National Party spin doctors want us to believe. The reality is more sobering. Aside from a spike in violent offences often fuelled by drugs, New Zealand has a host of worsening social ills that carry economic costs that no one in Government seems willing to acknowledge. If they had, perhaps child poverty would be less of an issue than it currently is; that people living in Auckland would not be getting priced out by the rental crisis and people with disabilities and mental health issues would be getting better treatment than they currently are.
Aside from painting a misleading picture of New Zealand’s overall health to New Zealanders, the spinsters are in effect lying to the wider world. This is particularly the case with the economy, which has several major problems with it (the following stats are from New Zealand First Member of Parliament and spokesperson for Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau):
- The 3.2% economic growth being mentioned in the media, ignores the large influx of immigrants, which is currently at around 60,000+ per year – the equivalent of a Nelson size city arriving every twelve months.
- 140,000 people are unemployed – whilst that is not quite the staggering 247,000 unemployed in 1989, any positivity that can be found in that figure should be tempered by the fact that 90,000 people are not in paid work or training
- New Zealand has horrendous debt – public debt is around N.Z.$100 billion; private debt is nearly double that and little or no effort is being made to pay it off
The economic costs of these problems are significant and one does not necessarily need to be an economist to appreciate the gravity of the problem. The ones above are augmented by problems that have been long known about but not acted on.
New Zealanders have never been terribly good at saving money, but recent Government policies such not providing the $1,000 kick start to Kiwi Saver will have turned off many people just beginning their working career and needing money in the bank for the future, let alone retirement. Kiwi Saver would have N.Z.$20 billion in it today if the Government had not stopped investing in it.
We like to see ourselves as generous, and New Zealanders are, which is great, but we have to learn to look after ourselves as well. This is why the New Zealand First policy of pro-rata is not only a great idea, but very sensible as well. Part of this idea of putting New Zealand first should also extend to requiring tourists to New Zealand to have medical insurance so that our health system is not put under undue stress.
New Zealand seems reluctant, despite people like Lord Ernest Rutherford splitting the atom, to show a path for scientists and their research in 21st Century. This is a concern because the potential for high income job creation out of a sustained research, science and technology programme is substantial.
These issues need to be addressed because they are working together to cost New Zealand unnecessarily. The spin needs to stop because it is misleading and reduces our credibility on the world stage, but also because we start repeating the lies to ourselves and our fellow New Zealanders. And that is not okay.