Best case worst case

18/10/2008

Idealog interviewed David Skilling, chief executive of the NZ Institute on his views on the economy.

You can read it in full here, so I’ll just give a taste with his view of the worst case outlook for New Zealand:

I think the worst case is not terrible, catastrophic, Third World status. Worst case, I think, is probably Fiji with snow: bit of agriculture, a bit of tourism, friendly people, half-decent rugby team. And that’s pretty much New Zealand. So it’s not terrible.

But on current course and speed, there’s going to be a 60 percent income gap between ourselves and Australia in 20 years’ time.

And the best:

I don’t see any reason we couldn’t overtake Australian incomes within the next 20 years or so. Australia only overtook us 30 years ago. If we wanted to invest heavily in our primary and secondary industries, but also in education, R&D, and high speed broadband; if we had a real view about growing firms and attracting firms from overseas; and if we create an environment that’s conducive to the growth of scale firms, then, yeah, I think it’s possible.

It’s really up to us. Many of the trends globally are breaking in our direction. We need to seize the opportunities.


Head & heart

28/08/2008

Idealog asked New Zealand Institute chief executive David Skilling why economic growth is important. He said:

It matters in terms of the quality of health, education and social services that we can afford in this country. Also, importantly, it gives a sense of confidence and momentum.

If you look across history and across countries, periods of sustained economic growth go hand in hand with improvements in welfare, better treatment of immigrants and minorities and more generous attitudes towards social and environmental issues.

And we’re losing 70,000 New Zealanders permanently each year, and we have done for quite some time.

Simple really – it’s not economic growth or social services, it’s both. We need economic growth to pay for social services. 

A stronger economy sustains a better society which in turn helps the economy fuelling a virtuous cycle of head and heart.

The full interview with Skilling is on Idealog TV here.


%d bloggers like this: