But perhaps the biggest absurdity is the proposition that New Zealand can and should catch up with Australia. Apart from the fact that Kiwis and Aussies speak the same language and have a historic affinity for each other, there is just no comparison between the two countries.
Australia, for instance, has five times our population and 32 times our land area, an almost entirely different climate and is immensely richer in mineral resources.
So how is it that in the past NZ ranked higher than Australia in per capita incomes?
According to economist Brain Easton,
New Zealand’s GDP per capita was just ahead of Australia through the 1950/1 to 1966/7 – by around 5 percent. In effect the two economies were growing at the more or less the same per capita rate, the minuscule difference of New Zealand growing .2 percent a year perhaps being due to measurement error.
In 1973 NZ joined the OECD. In 1974 NZ ranked 6th out of 26; Australia ranked 7th. The respective incomes were $6054 and $6020. But by 1984 Australia had pulled ahead by 8 percent;1994, 23 percent and 2004, 34 percent.
As for the idea that a bigger population and land mass confers greater wealth per capita, tell that to the Chinese, the Indians, the Malaysians and Nigerians. Now that idea truly is an absurdity.