Good reasons to return

 Kevin Roberts, CEO of Satchi & Satchi  met John Key in Japan recently and was impressed.

 I resisted the temptation to copy his praise, you can follow the link above if you want to read it. But I want to discuss this paragraph:

John Key is also committed to seeing more of New Zealand’s young people realizing their potential in New Zealand. I agree with this but I also feel that it’s necessary for New Zealanders to go overseas to stretch their legs, find their feet, and learn more quickly. My three children have all experienced this positively and successfully. The trick for New Zealand is to offer them a combination of lifestyle and opportunity so they will eventually return.

Creating an environment which enables more young people to realise their potential here would be good not just for them but for the country as a whole. Like Roberts, I don’t think that means we shouldn’t encourage them to travel.

We gain a lot from the young people who go away, work, learn and return.

The problem is not those who go and do that, nor even those who make a positive choice to stay away. The problem is those who make the negative choice not to return, not because of what they can get in other countries but because of what they can’t get here.

The recession which has caused jobs losses overseas has helped to bring more New Zealanders home. But we need to make sure this is still an attractive place to live so that they have good reasons to return when other countries’ economies recover.

That means ensuring the rhetoric about our much vaunted lifestyle matches reality and unless we stop borrowing for luxuries it won’t.

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