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  • rmacculloch

Was the Hipkins-Ardern Government the only one in NZ post-World War II history that ended with productivity lower than at the start of its term?

What did Chris Hipkins do to the economy? What did Jacinda Ardern do to it? What did the new Vice Chancellor of Otago, Grant Robertson, do to wreck NZ Incorporated? Although these past six years technology has moved forward rapidly & there's every reason for productivity to have risen, the output of each person in this country has, on average, fallen - at least that is what the latest NZ Treasury productivity figures are suggesting:

The blue line comes from the Treasury's Productivity Slowdown publication released this past week, which uses updates from the latest Budget Policy Statement 2024. Treasury has been sharply revising down its productivity estimates & forecasts. It looks like between 2017, when the last Labour government came to power, and now, productivity has, if anything, dropped. Even the upward spike in 2022 may just be an artificial boost to do with the country opening up after Covid, which rapidly evaporated.

How did Hipkins, Ardern and Robertson manage to make Kiwis less productive over the six years they were in office? My suspicion is that they changed our culture. They divided the nation. They turned rich against poor, farmers against environmentalists, pro-vaccinators against anti-vaccinators. Neither of these sides ever deserved to be demonized. Yet that is what the past Labour government did. It took away the largely harmonious nature our society, which was one of NZ's great achievements & which had previously lifted us above the troubles of nearly every other nation. We lost our comparative advantage. Ironically, though "kindness" was the mantra of the last government, it turned Kiwis mean. It rewarded people who had not put in the effort and did not have the achievements required to make them deserving of high office and top jobs. In doing so, it took away the reward for truly high-achieving NZ children, which made them feel they had to go overseas to be recognized for their talents, or drop-out.

My explanation for our currently plummeting productivity lies in a culture shift which has undermined out national unity and taken away the incentives to perform. Ardern, Robertson and Hipkins took away our pride in ourselves.


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