Chris Trotter writes in today's DomPost that there really is too much fuss over people leaving NZ. That's what they have always done apparently. Jilted lovers, greedy acquisitionists, adventurers.
The long-term departure tables I could quickly get my hands on (1993 - 2007) show that in the five years from 1993 236,682 people left. In the five years from 2003 this rose to 325,461 or by 37.5 percent. Interestingly a lot more people left during a period of lower unemployment on both sides of the Tasman.
One gets the feeling that Trotter is a bit miffed about the idea that our "best and brightest" are leaving. He is still here after all.
Probably the talent and drive that goes is replaced by the talent and drive that arrives but as I have said before, the disruption to families is significant. There was a time when all of my siblings and me had moved to the UK and had established ourselves there. My parents had all but decided to join us because they wanted to be there as we started having families of our own. In the event it wasn't necessary but I know a number of elderly people who are badly missing being part of their grandchildren's lives. I don't want it to happen to me. And so making NZ a place that people want to stay in or come back to is very important.
But Trotter is right in one respect. It will take more than a cut in personal income tax to make New Zealand economically competitive.
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