Kiwiblog blogs on this topic, which is dear to my heart, and terribly sad. Some 80,000 people a year are leaving New Zealand permanently / long term. Excluding non-citizens the number is about 60,000. Taking account of those citizens returning home, the net loss is about 35,000, up from 10,000 five years ago.
No country can sustain this level of loss. Without being too melodramatic, we are fast falling out of the first world and are becoming a nation of bureaucrats and environmentalists, along with their hospitality staff and cleaners. It is high time that we took a good hard look at ourselves. Do we want to continue on as before, or change something?
- We have 2000 years of coal in the ground (and that just the stuff we know about), worth perhaps $2000 billion, enough to double our current GDP for 15 years. We are working hard to ban mining.
- We have unexplored and untapped natural gas and oil reserves running into yet more billions of dollars. Environmentalists want it left that way.
- We have isolated cases which indicate our ability to compete with the larger companies around the world in specific markets. We are deeply suspicious of these successes (e.g. Rakon) and drive successful people overseas.
Sadly, we also continue to:
- dumb-down our education system
- look to the government for the solution to all our problems
- suffer from tall poppy syndrome (witness the popularity of the 39% tax rate)
- implement stifling regulation and invest in bureaucracy (the ETS and Working for Families spring to mind)
Is that why people are leaving? What is sad for me is to realise that I simply don't want my children to stay here. It is a short step from that, to realising that we must leave before they enter the NCEA system, or before they are faced with more along the lines of the 'Early Numeracy' madness.
How can we succeed with two hands (coal and gas/oil) tied behind our bags, a leg amputated (dropping education standards) and an eye poked out (tall poppy syndrome). It is getting more and more galling to watch Australia pull further and further ahead.
Is it too late for a solution? Perhaps, but there is always hope.