Jim Hopkins tells the hard truth:
“Easy options are off. Whichever we choose in the next little while, they’ll come from the hard, harder or hardest range. That’s all there is in stock.
And it’s not just politicians who need to understand this – some do already, they just ain’t saying nowt.
It’s us, ladies and gentlemen. We’re the ones who’ve got to understand how hard it’s going to be. And not only understand it but accept it too. If easy options are off, so are most of the petty complaints that preoccupy us.”
New Zealand went into recession before the rest of the world, the recovery was at best hesitant before the earthquake and it was obvious that there was no money for an election-year spend-up.
The need for reduced spending and increased efficiency is even greater than it was, as is the need to produce more.
Don’t blame the MPs, people. It’s our neglect as much as theirs. They took their NIMBY cue from us. In this most insular of lotus lands, we were the ones who didn’t want any ripples on the pond. Well, forget ripples. Now we’ve got to save the pond.
And you don’t need to pay $880,000,000 to realise that’s just got 100 times harder. There’s a whole city to rebuild. No. There’s actually two cities to rebuild. One tangible, the other intangible, but no less real. New Zealand is a city. We are. In population terms, we’re a city trapped in a country’s body. And the city’s got to put the country to work.
Starting now, we must do more things and new things here. That’s not an option. It’s a necessity.
The commodities we produce are getting record prices but we need to produce more of them and more of different produce the world wants too.
We don’t have enough people here now. We could soon lose even more. The city of New Zealand could get even smaller.
And if you think that’s fine, because we don’t need a crowd, then you’re missing the point. We do need a crowd. No ifs, no buts. All the problems we had have just got worse. A trouble shared, remember … More people aren’t part of the solution. They are the solution.
Immigration, irrigation, excavation; like it or not, and many won’t, they’ve just become necessities. We’ve got to welcome more people, make more milk, mine more stuff. We can do all those things quickly. Or start to, anyway – and more besides, of course – provided we realise how urgent things are.
That isn’t a call for unfettered growth.
It is possible to have economic growth with the population and production increases that requires without threatening our culture and environment.
But it isn’t possible to maintain, let alone achieve much needed improvements to, our standard of living unless and until our economy grows.