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  • Robert MacCulloch

Why on Earth is this not the Speech being given by Kiwi Politicians?

With the coronavirus pandemic threatening the global openness and integration that have allowed Singapore to prosper, President Halimah Yacob said there’s “great urgency” to transform the city-state’s economy: “Much of our economy thrives because we have made ourselves ... an attractive place for trade, investments, talent and ideas".


At the opening of Parliament on Monday, Halimah argued that the country should make efforts to bolster resilience in critical areas such as food, health-care and supply chain management which can become new sources of growth. She also said the island nation needs to strengthen its social-safety net “to give Singaporeans more assurance coping with life’s uncertainties”.


Given the past drivers of GDP growth in NZ have been immigration, international tourism and residential construction fueled by demand from foreign buyers, why aren't Kiwi politicians arguing we now need to "transform" our economy away from the "old" model.


Why aren't our politicians talking about "new sources of growth"? Why aren't they talking about reforms to the health-care and education systems to make them fairer and better? Why aren't our politicians talking about how to engineer a more efficient economy that has suffered for decades from low rates of productivity growth? Why aren't they discussing how to overhaul our social-safety net to help solve its failings in terms of inequality and poverty?


Why is there no urgency in NZ to address these problems in the midst of the one of the greatest health, social and economic crises of the past century? Instead out major parties are stuck in a "conversation" over whether to build this tunnel or that rail track, projects which have completion dates decades into the future.