The latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures show that we are dropping further and further behind Australia as far as economic growth is concerned.
In the December 2011 quarter the NZ economy grew by just 0.3% – compared with the previous quarter – whereas the Australian economy expanded by 0.4%.
The NZ economy increased by 1.8% in the December quarter – compared with the December 2010 quarter – while Australia grew by 2.3%.

But it is the long-term figures that are the most disturbing.

The Australian economy has outgrown us in 15 of the last 16 quarters and in 21 of the last 25 quarters. Over this six year period the New Zealand economy has grown by just 4.5% while the Australian economy has expanded by 16.6%. 
We talk about catching up with Australia but the truth of the matter is that we are dropping further and further behind our Tasman neighbour.

What do we do other than talk?

What policies do we have in place to stimulate economic growth?

What policies do we have to stop the brain drain across the Tasman?

The Economist has a special report on Cuba this week with a sub heading “Hasta la vista, baby” (Good bye baby, see you later). The heading sums up Cuba, which is characterised by high emigration, particularly amongst the young, and an aging population.
The Economist could soon be describing New Zealand in the same way unless we generate higher economic growth and better career prospects for our younger generation.

Brian Gaynor