NZ Backdoor to Australia?

Proposed ANZAC Flag

I see that there has been some grumbling about the numbers that show some recent immigrants to New Zealand are disappearing off to Australia.

I don’t see what the fuss is about, a lot of NZ born New Zealanders are taking off to Australia as well.

It’s really only very recently that people stopped over-selling NZ as an immigration destination, possibly this might have coincided with the tighter management of immigration consultants, but buried on the Immigration Services web site is this very frank assessment of NZ as a potential new home…

A lot of immigrants have previously been given a pretty rosy picture of life here, and given that many of them are economic migrants, business and job opportunities are obviously an important part of what is a major decision. This is the area where we are a bit lacking in dynamism, and the Australians aren’t.

You can hardly blame people who have already uprooted their families once, not to do it again if they think their prospects are better over the ditch, and clearly a lot of ‘native’ New Zealanders feel the same way given the high numbers making a permanent move.

Instead of having a big bleat about it and blaming the immigrants, we need to look at the reasons and how we can make New Zealand an more attractive place not just for recent immigrants but for the thousands of New Zealanders who disappear every month.

We can’t do much about the weather unfortunately, but global warming might fix that long term, but we can do something about the general economy.

We have gone from being ahead of Australia to well behind them. We need to seriously look at our taxes system comparison to Australian rates, and making the country an economic power house in the region, instead of a back water.  Tax is really the one area we can do something about, by taking the same approach as Ireland (and I know we don’t have the subsidies coming the other way) by setting some highly competitive tax rates for business that create high tech, high value service focused jobs for the country.

This isn’t about ceding control or cultural identity to Australia, it’s about looking at our future and how we can put ourselves in a strong position globally. Even if it were to end up as NZ becoming another state of Australia, we would still retain our unique culture just a states in the USA do. It won’t be an entire solution and like everything has it’s disadvantages. As a medium sized but lightly populated country we already have lost control of huge parts of our economy (if we ever really had control) so in fact becoming part of a wider union wouldn’t be nearly as painful as people think.

The other option is to vigorously pursue closer economic ties with Australia starting with the currency. Our legal system and a increasing amount of regulation is done in partnership with Australia.

Maybe it does require a bit of boldness on this issue – tinkering on the edges won’t change anything – a seismic shift in the relationship with our closest neighbour is what’s needed. It’s whether any political party has the guts to kick off the debate on this issue?

It’s one that will become more important as globalisation grows, and one we need to confront, better to be prepared and have debated the issues than have our heads in the sand on it. We’ve been left behind by Australia because of a myopic world view, it’s time that we started to take a look at what’s going on and open a debate on the issue.

  1. A friend of mine just emailed me one of your articles from a while back. I read that one a few more. Really enjoy your blog. Thanks

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