. . . Had New Zealand’s economic growth rate been only a percentage point higher since 1970, the country would today have higher per-capita GDP than Australia and be fourth in the OECD instead of languishing below the median.
Further, economic growth is the single best way we can prepare against the range of natural calamities to which New Zealand can be subject. In our report on the merits of economic growth, we found that wealthier countries are better protected against even earthquakes.
Richer places can afford safer buildings. Over the next twenty years, a 1% growth rate would reduce the number of deaths in a substantial Wellington earthquake by about twelve percent. But at a 4% growth rate, the number of fatalities could be cut by over 60%.
As Wellington and Christchurch continue their unwelcome wobbles, let’s not forget the role growth can play in making us all a little safer. Eric Crampton