Labour's Shearer says single Aus/NZ economic market deserves a look; Says NZ needs to innovate; Welcomes Asian investment that helps

Labour's Shearer says single Aus/NZ economic market deserves a look; Says NZ needs to innovate; Welcomes Asian investment that helps
Labour Party leader David Shearer

Labour Party leader David Shearer has told an Australian business forum that a single economic market between New Zealand and Australia deserves further analysis, as the two countries' productivity commissions look for ways to further integrate the two economies.

In a speech to the Australian NZ Leadership Forum, the New Zealand Opposition leader said while the economies shared similarities, there was a growing differential between the two as higher Australian wages enticed educated New Zealanders across the Tasman.

New Zealand was not able to replicate the wealth effect caused by the Australian mining boom, which meant it needed to innovate in differect ways off the back of its clean, green image. Relying on the agriculture sector alone would not see New Zealand catch up with Australian economic dominance.

Shearer said Labour welcomed foreign investment which helped New Zealand to grow. But policy makers here should not underestimate fears New Zealanders had about loss of economic sovereignty and identity. Rules to tighten the rights of foreigners to own New Zealand farmland needed to be more explicit and transparent, he said.

'Let's join forces'

A single economic market between New Zealand and Australisa was an aspiration that deserved further analysis, Shearer told the forum.

"For my part, the future of our on-going economic relationship cannot be separated from New Zealand’s economic future. Our trade relationship with Australia is strong. Australia is our largest trading partner. New Zealand is Australia’s fifth largest," he said.

In the job-rich manufacturing exports, there is a closer symmetry with New Zealand as Australia’s largest market and Australia as New Zealand's. But a growing economic differential was having a real impact on New Zealand.

"In particular, many of our highly educated young people are attracted by higher wages and better economic opportunities in Australia, whether that is in business, science or academia. We have a world class education system in NZ, but exporting our talent is clearly not in our longer term interests and presents a real challenge for how we respond," Shearer said.

Leverage off clean and green

While Australia’s vast mineral wealth was part of its current and future success, New Zealand could not directly replicate that.

"Instead our challenge is to design a future where we harness our talent and innovation the way that other like-sized countries have done," Shearer said.

"Singapore, Denmark, Finland, and Israel do not have the advantages of New Zealand’s land mass, resources and climate, yet they are world leaders in innovations based on their education systems. Our competitive advantage lies in our clean green image – that includes the way our agriculture is produced, marketed and sold to increasingly discerning international consumers," he said.

"But as good as New Zealand is at it, there’s a ceiling on how much butter and beef, meat and milk you can make off New Zealand grass. You hit the limit a long time before you get to be as prosperous as Australia."

New Zealand therefore needed to look for new opportunities.

"We have to leverage off our existing natural advantages. But we also need to seize opportunities that will not only keep our talent onshore, but create a place where talent wants to live," Shearer said.

"I believe that our economic viability is linked directly to our ability to produce new and innovative products and solutions. That type of economy in turn will better generate the jobs that will keep our young and talented people in New Zealand," he said.

'Answer's not ag vs high tech; It's both'

"It’s not a question of either agriculture ‘or’ high-tech. We should be and can be doing both. We are having some real success with the top 200 high-tech companies which generate $6.5 billion, nearly 80% exported and growing at around 4%. But we must do much better at commercialising ideas and ensuring the value stays in New Zealand," Shearer said. 

"In this light, trade with Australia has frequently been important for the growth of many smaller innovative companies. NZ’s small size means new companies have a limited local market in which to test ideas before taking them to export in order to grow and Australia has been an extension of a more familiar environment. We need to preserve and expand those opportunities for New Zealand companies," he said.

'We want foreign investment if it helps

Turning to Asian investment, which has become a contentious issue in New Zealand due to the ongoing Crafar Farms saga, Shearer noted demand from Asia for Kiwi and Australian products sheltered the two economies from the global financial crisis.

Global economic dominance was moving from the west to the east.

"Such a historical and fundamental shift opens new opportunities for those nimble and astute enough to seize them. New Zealand has moved quickly with free trade agreements – in particular with China and we are now negotiating with India. It is, again, an area of bipartisan endeavour. Those agreements have opened doors for New Zealand products and have grown our trade throughout Asia," Shearer said.

"At the same time, issues about land ownership, or general ownership of the economy, immigration, national identity, cultural links and heritage are increasingly coming to the fore," he said.

The purchase of the 16 Crafar farms by Chinese conglomerate Shanghai Pengxin had caused anxiety in New Zealand, which was compounded when the High Court upheld a challenge from a rival group of bidders for the farms who claimed the Overseas Investment Office had not reviewed Pengxin's application correctly.

Is NZ sovereignty being undermined?

The partial sale of four government-owned energy companies, the absence of details around the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade deal and other events raised fears that New Zealand's sovereignty was being undermined, Shearer said.  

"Of course New Zealand needs foreign investment. We welcome investment that helps build our country and develop our economy," he said.

"For me, the overriding principle of that foreign investment is that we have to be sure that it brings real benefit to our country. That is particularly the case around profitable farmland which New Zealanders are sensitive about. There needs to be certainty around investment rules. The rules to tighten the ownership of farmland, for example, need to be explicit and set out the conditions under which foreign investment might succeed.

There also needs to be – to the fullest extent possible – transparency and communication around agreements and their negotiation."

Policy makers should not underestimate the fears some New Zealanders had about loss of identity and sovereignty.

"And in New Zealand where our environment and agricultural land is so essential to us, this will always be the case. The fact that this anxiety coincides with the global financial crisis should not come as a surprise," Shearer said.

An Australian government White Paper looking at how their economy would deal with what is being tipped as the Asian century was a valuable exercise.

"Turning a blind eye to these pressures will cause longer-term headaches. If we don’t discuss these challenges openly and on our own terms, they will be forced on to us," Shearer said.

"If we fail to consider these possibilities they will eventually bubble to the surface in increasingly unpredictable and uncontrollable ways. That is in no one’s best interest. I am convinced that New Zealand must preserve its historic and competitive advantage, at the same time as expanding our opportunities," he said.

New Zealand's economic viability was directly linked to preserving ownership of its assets and natural advantages.

"In fact you could say that the issue around farm land ownership in New Zealand is symptomatic of a broader concern about economic sovereignty," Shearer said.

"New Zealand and Australia are engaging with Asia in slightly different ways. The challenge will be whether the closeness we have experienced under CER can be adapted to serving our increasing engagement with Asia," he said.

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With Shearer a new, better economic culture ?
We definitely need more diversity in our economy, so the market offers decent and well paid jobs for the wider NZpopulation. Education and training for our youngsters is great, but they need jobs – here in NZ.

We don’t know who we are anymore – there is no pride in our economic culture.
As a small, remote nation, branding our economy is vital. With a long term, clever economic strategy, our products and services should be indentified - implemented to be recognised by us and in the world.

New Zealand was not able to replicate the wealth effect caused by the Australian mining boom, which meant it needed to innovate in different ways off the back of its clean, green image. Relying on the agriculture sector alone would not see New Zealand catch up with Australian economic dominance.
We have to leverage off our existing natural advantages. But we also need to seize opportunities that will not only keep our talent onshore, but create a place where talent wants to live," Shearer said.
"I believe that our economic viability is linked directly to our ability to produce new and innovative products and solutions. That type of economy in turn will better generate the jobs that will keep our young and talented people in New Zealand," he said.
In particular, many of our highly educated young people are attracted by higher wages and better economic opportunities in Australia, whether that is in business, science or academia.
Good luck on getting that innovation up and running when you have a backward segment of New Zealand society that refuses to allow it to happen by destroying harmless science experiments as they are flat-earth loving fruity loops who want a fascist ecostate where only their beliefs prevail.  Did anyone else watch Close Up tonight? I see another foreigner at the helm of a ‘green’ (GE Free) ginger group in NZ. Don’t even get me started on the fact that 50% or whatever it is of the Green MPs in Parliament are foreigners. I hope everyone can begin to see who the real public enemy number one is in this country. I applaud all calls for the Greens to be held fully accountable for their actions, which the news media and public have so far failed to do.
So good luck then, David, on getting innovation up and running in NZ. With mates of the type your party likes to hang out with in Parliament, you’re going to need it.

No amount of blameshifting can change reality.
Time you grew up, DavidB.
Some of us have been in the front of the innovation/high-value/low volume-export thing. It is valid, within limits. If it involves non-renewable resources, then it will end - to do so now is to be selfish vis-a-vis future generations, and ignorance (such as you display) is no excuse.
If it involves the sustainable (maintainable over the long haul) use of renewable resources, oddly enough not many folk object.
Your little problem is that economic 'growth' via extraction, ceases as it goes over the top of the Gaussian. Immature rhetoric doesn't change that. So sorry, welcome to the downside.

Agree with with DavidB on this. Went and viewed the close up segment and what I saw was a foreign (green) import telling a genuine fair-dinkum kiwi what he can and cant legitimately do, plus talked right over the top of him.

Will we learn ?
DavidB- a high number of foreigners experienced the destruction/ pollution of environment and society in “their countries” and therefore join “The Greens” trying to make sure it doesn’t happen here.
E.g. - my home country Switzerland was heavily polluted in the 70’s, but is now cleaner then New Zealand in many ways.

All he has said has been said before...all he has done is stir the words round a bit...and what Shearer has not said goes to the heart of Labour and it's failed policies.
"There needs to be certainty around investment rules"...oh like the AIA farce where Clark and Cullen destroyed the value of the that the "certainty" Shearer is on about?
And he has the gall to speak of immigration.....Put your bets down on Shearer opening the door to tens of thousands of his Somalia mates and their extended extensive families....that's what he is on about...boosting Labours rump with rubbish from anywhere.
Notice his total lack of comment about any need to bring to an end the pork slicing vote buying behaviour of suggestion then that Shearer would slash down the size and cost of the State....just a very high probability that under Shearer you can expect to be fleeced fast and the handout Labour policies boosted on the back of greater tax theft and explosive govt borrowing.

Well said Wolly. I think National do have a long term plan, but it is exactly that, long term. They are gradually reducing the size and ineficiencies of govt, but it cannot be done overnight or else there will be rioting in the streets like Greece. As for the other side of the equation, growing our productivity, this again will begin to happen naturally so long as we cut the red ink and get back to surplus. As we achieve that our international ratings will go up and our local industries will attract more foreign investment enabling them to thrive. Unforunately the countries problems will take a generation to make a decent dent in. Wolly is right with his concern that Labour is all talk. There are no real solutions in Shearer's speech, just tired old labour rhetoric. We all know that the only real plan Labour has is to get more beneficiaries registered to vote in order to get them back in power.

Its a case of kettle meet pot IMHO...both are black....both are obsolete unless they cotton on or at least admit growth is finished and start to think and plan accordingly. 
Shearer is wrong, he's singing from an obsoletre hymm sheet, our agriculture will save us.....

Very good Augusta – sounds like a script of a junior NP member.

Would you prefer that Cullen & Clark had won again , in 2008 ?
...... they were bankrupting the nation .
And they were  micro-managing our lives : Squiggly light-bulbs , water restricters in shower heads , folate in  your bread , decrimmalising sex between " consenting " children as young as 13 years of age  ....
... do we really need rubbish policies such as those ?

The evidence so far suggests that National are doing a darn fine job of running up debt.
Almost like they were born to the job. 
Don't see how Labour could have spent faster or harder. Though Cullen did oppose the tax cuts that National have brought in. So perhaps the total Government debt might be just a little less than it is now. 
We will never know what Labour would have done.
What we do know is that National have been borrowing and spending like there is no tomorrow.
And, they are even trying to be comedians by claiming they are aiming for a surplus again in 2014.  hehehehe
Both National & Labour are pretty poor economically. Just a matter of degree really.

No Gummy certainly not - Labour did a terrible job, especially in the last term.
But it is now more important to keep thinking about the future. It makes politically more sense to tell the NP high pressure, hydraulic fracking has the potential of damaging our health and environment, especially with the current increasing seismic activity worldwide, then about the shower head pressure. It is more important to tell the government now not to sell our assets, then it is selling squiggly light – bulbs 4 5 years ago. It is more important to openly debate the mismanagement of our current government, then talking about the past. We need better solutions now.

Wolly says "Put your bets down on Shearer opening the door to tens of thousands of his Somalia mates and their extended extensive families"
Ensuring the next generation voters
A leaked review document reveals 57 per cent of working-age quota refugees are beneficiaries, compared with 12 per cent of the wider population

So I suspect you think Infratil should sell its foreign airport holdings?

All holdings of airports, airplanes.....tourism.....its toast.
Any company that is "unusually" exposed to the price of oil is going to cop it hardest....first...

The " wealth effect " of the Australian mining boom is one important factor ( amongst others ) pushing the Aussie dollar up so high that the manufacturing sector is disappearing .....
....... mining accounts for just under 10 % of the nation's GDP , and less than 2 % of all jobs ( direct or indirect employment ) .......
Stop making excuses , Shearer : NZ is struggling under the yoke of the welfare and large central government policies of NZ Labour 1999-2008 ........ and if you won't address that , just as Jolly Kid & Wild Bill are ignoring it , we'll turn to someone else ...... , not you , Winston ! ......  anyone got Colin of the Conservatives number ?

Just 10% Roger. Have a squizz at this, I've posted it before:
Phil Rennie of CIS with, 'Why is Australia so much richer than New Zealand?'
Some clips, from the full paper:
“Geographic isolation and a small population are important factors in New Zealand’s underperformance compared to the rest of the world, but Australia suffers similar conditions and has overcome them more successfully. Australia has not moved closer to the rest of the world over the last thirty years, and nor has New Zealand moved further away.”
“The resource boom’s impact on Australian growth is often overrated. New Zealand’s commodities have also enjoyed record returns, and its exports make up a greater proportion of GDP than do Australia’s. In any event, natural resources are no guarantee of growth.”
“New Zealand firms have invested less in capital than their Australian counterparts, but not because of a lack of savings or finance. Instead, the major challenge for New Zealand seems to be a lack of profitable investment opportunities.”
[Why is that?]
“Government policy has a major role to play in creating a healthy environment for growth and investment. International surveys show little difference between the two countries in terms of red tape and regulation, but the direction of policy is just as important as the static picture. Ad hoc government interference in areas such as energy, telecommunications, and asset sales has greatly increased investor uncertainty in New Zealand.
Tax is a major area of difference between the two countries. Australia is a much lower taxing country, especially in terms of income tax. This affects incentives to work, save, and invest. [R&D tax credit too, a good one.]
Prosperity does not come by accident. Australia has a stronger political consensus around policies for growth, which contributes to investor confidence. In contrast, New Zealand halted most major reform in 1993, and has increased tax and regulation since 2000.”
Also see:
An interview with Joseph Stiglitz in particular his endorsement of the way Auz handled the GFC where he makes the point that it wasn't simply because of trade to China, it was because they did the right thing - essentially they don't play cricket like the rest of us and in particular 'purist' NZ, they look after themselves with good policy, but I don't see mention of their problems with housing debt, anyway:
KERRY O'BRIEN: I'm not sure how much you know about Australia's stimulus packages in response to the crisis, but to the extent that you do, how did the quality of Australia's stimulus compare with that in the US and elsewhere, in terms of its effectiveness?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: I did actually study quite a bit the Australian package, and my impression was that it was the best - one of the best-designed of all the advanced industrial countries. When the crisis struck, you have to understand no-one was sure how deep, how long it would be. There was that moment of panic. Rightfully so, because the whole financial system was on the verge of collapse. In that context, what you need to act is decisively. If you don't act decisively, you could get the collapse. It's a one-sided risk.

KERRY O'BRIEN: There's been a lot of criticism of waste in the way some of Australia's stimulus money was spent. Is it inevitable if you're going to spend a great deal of government money quickly that there will be some waste and can you ever justify wasting taxpayers' money?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: If you hadn't spent the money, there would have been waste. The waste would have been the fact that the economy would have been weak, there would have been a gap between what the economy could have produced and what it actually produced - that's waste. You would have had high unemployment, you would have had capital assets not fully utilised - that's waste. So your choice was one form of waste verses another form of waste. And so it's a judgment of what is the way to minimise the waste. No perfection here. And what your government did was exactly right. So, Australia had the shortest and shallowest of the downturns of the advanced industrial countries. And, ah, your recovery actually preceded the - in some sense, China. So there was a sense in which you can't just say Australia recovered because of China. Your preventive action, you might say pre-emptive action, prevented the downturn while things got turned around in Asia, and they still have not gotten turned around in Europe and America."

When will we learn? 

Gotta give you a " thumbs up " there , Les ....... pretty much sums up the primary differences between Oz & NZ ......
...... and at the risk of repeating myself , New Zealand earns enough ...... there is no shortage of money being earnt from our productivity , from exports & the like .......
But we ruin our efforts through an excess of wasteful government spending , way way beyond the essential services ...... into the realms of middleclass welfare statism ....... 
........... and then we have the second handbrake upon the nation's wealth & happiness ...... the behaviour of the local councils ....(.... see Phil B , Chris J & Hugh P for some well directed articles on that subject .... )

"Geographic isolation and a small population are important factors in New Zealand’s underperformance compared to the rest of the world,"
Another weak excuse!
New Zealand is a country which can profitably export chilled lamb carcasses to the UK and freshly picked orchids to Tokyo.
If we can do that we can do anything.
The problem, as someone has already pointed out, is crushing over-regulation and a bad attitude toward business

Andrewo - even totally de-regulated, your set-up is in trouble.
And 'attutude to business'?
Spare me. It's the short-term-gain of 'business', that is handing my kids a half-empty glass.
Have you stopped to consider the non-renewable fuel which carted those orchids?  That wasn't sustainable, it was a stupid waste of a very precious resource.

PDK, its a tragedy. I was at an AFFCO meeting a few years back and one of the managers expressed his concern that the %20 of lamb that goes chilled counts for %75 of the return.  And as the costs go up where the hell do we go, Oh I forgot we go to China. :-(  
Its laughable but its not a comedy its a tragedy.
 All thats happening in Europe is an attempt to keep interest rates down, they are losing the battle and when interest rates go up there is a bad hangover coming our way.

Well that someone was wrong, we have barely enough regulation not to allow our country to be turned into a cesspit for the short sighted, short term gain of some, Im all for that.
Second, NZ is regarded as one of the easiest places to set up a business, our good laws and lack of corruption make it relatively easy to get on with it as well.

I'd suggest Steve keen on why OZ seems better....or you could also look at a piece that suggests how well you do is dependent on at 4million v 18million we will never do better or even catch OZ....

"4million v 18million"
(Sorry Steven, just couldn't resist ...)

On why its "simply" population?.....ho hum think it was youtube, damn you caught me on the hop on that.....I should have it somewhere, thought I had emailed the url to keep  it but I have not.   It talked about salaries increased as a cities population increased......and that this held for every city no matter where....

A lot of china isnt good for agriculture...and what parts are, is facing a water problem,  polution and poisioning themselves. Much of the world seems to regard NZ products are OK some ppl will always buy the cheapest sh*t...Others like myself refuse to knowingly by any chinese food or an agricultural product, I buy NZ where possible, OZ if I have to (and USA never, GE crap I dont need)...and thats NZ's strength....our volumes are small and we have a reputation ppl buy into.
So in terms of cheap NZ farms, I dont see our farmers going broke, all else being equal.  The world has a growing food shortage problem...Therefore NZers not being able to sell their produce is too my mind far fetched....I cant see it.
Where things become un-equal is as long as we dont hit a mega depression and ppl are too broke to buy.....which is looking probable....but I think it will be just a short term dip effect....

No shortage of arable land?????

None whatsoever ....
..... but there is a desperate shortage in New Zealand  of Middle-Eastern farmers ..
That is why it is called " arable land " ....... land which is tilled by Arabs !

BEIJING - Although China's success in feeding 22 percent of the world population using the world's less than 10 percent arable land has been hailed as a miracle, concern is growing that the country's shrinking arable land would jeopardize grain security.
The country's summer grain output inched down 0.3 percent from one year earlier to 123 million tonnes in the first half of this year after a prolonged drought in southwestern China. It was the first decline in seven years for China's summer grain output.
To ensure grain security, China set a "red line" to guarantee its arable land never shrinks to less than 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares).
According to statistics from China's Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR), the country is already edging dangerously close to its "red line", with just 1.826 billion mu available as of the end of last year.
China lost 123 million mu of arable land from 1997 to 2009.

Have a look at what they are also doing to their water table.....its dropping and the costs are rising, but also the worry is sea water will get which point its over for China.
"Overall, China’s grain production has fallen from its historical peak of 392 million tons in 1998 to an estimated 358 million tons in 2005. For perspective, this drop of 34 million tons exceeds the annual Canadian wheat harvest. China largely covered the drop-off in production by drawing down its once vast stocks until 2004, at which point it imported 7 million tons of grain.
A World Bank study indicates that China is overpumping three river basins in the north—-the Hai, which flows through Beijing and Tianjin; the Yellow; and the Huai, the next river south of the Yellow. Since it takes 1,000 tons of water to produce one ton of grain, the shortfall in the Hai basin of nearly 40 billion tons of water per year (1 ton equals 1 cubic meter) means that when the aquifer is depleted, the grain harvest will drop by 40 million tons—-enough to [not] feed 120 million Chinese."
and then there is India,
"Tushaar Shah, who heads the International Water Management Institute’s groundwater station in Gujarat, says of India’s water situation: “When the balloon bursts, untold anarchy will be the lot of rural India.”
and philbest et al think we dont have a land problem....

I had a little argument with Clare Curran, last weekend. Said that her socialist attitudes (she thinks we should let folk in who haven't our advantages - what we have is less people per acre and per resource - let them in and we don't have it) were understandable, indeed legitimate, in the '30's, but not now.
Told her that if Shearer, and she, kept spouting 'economic growth' (just with a re-distribution thereof) they were a waste of time, and have to step aside.
She looked a little unpleased.
Tough. Time's running out, and a'wasting.

PDK - what is your view on what population size NZ (and Maybe Australia) should have?
I read the LackOfProductivity commision report on Housing Affordability. And the elephant in the report was the lack of mention of what effect either a decline in population numbers or a stabilization in population numbers would mean for housing affordability / house prices.
The  dogma in the report is that the population will grow. And that  will flow through to the demand side.  What if there was a choice to stablize the population so that inflow equalled outflow? (say, roughly over a rolling 5 year period).  What would happen to affordability then?

Well thats an interesting Q but I dont think population is important to housing as other things are....I suppose the really important answer is that what ever the population the land can sustain via organic agricultural production, Im hoping its in excess of 4.5 million....(assuming lots of kiwis come home and pacific islanders arrive en-mass).
I think the report looks at short term timescales, you are looking further out?  ie why would our population decline? at least "today"?    Now in the next decade (2020+)  I think the birth rate a will drop and the death rate expectancy will drop....68 today?  hello 58......
We will seperate out affordability and prices. I dont see population as the driver for house prices myself in the short term (to 5 years)...the driver will be in the short~medium term credit availability...given we are heading for a credit event aka the Great Depression and we have a property bubble. So I expect house prices will tumble, maybe 75%...but I also expect that we will have high unemployment which means no matter how cheap a house no one buys...
The report is a non-event....its sees nothing of importance due to political blinkers and says nothing that does or will matter.

I seem to remember Tim Flannery suggesting that the maximum sustanable limit fro Australia was about 15 million. The limiting factor was not water but soil fertility. His book "The Future Eaters" was controversial in NZ because he stated that Maori were on the verge of population collapse prior to Europeaon arrival because they had not been sustainably managing their food resources. In the modern world you can always import your food, as long as other countries can produce it.

"produce it", indeed, I read some years ago (2008?) that japan was worried because it only grew 36% of its food, I think it estimated it needed at least 42%....of course when countries like Thailand stop exporting rice it doesnt matter how much $ Japan has and some in Japan at least can see that.

Tim Flannery appears to have overlooked the fact that New Zealand is a country with one of the longest coastlines in the world ....... nearly as long as the USA's coastline ......
...... and that prior to Europeans arriving , the Maori had access to abundant sea food and bird life .........
.... and the Maori had little in the way of communicable diseases , such as colds , flus and syphilis....
But don't let the facts get in the way of a good fictional story , Timmy ......

I have a book in the shelf here that would support the proposition that Maori were not doing so well on the food front, although I suspect this wasn't in all districts. Auckland it seems was largely vacant when Europeans arrived, mainly because it was hightly desireable for growing food but couldn't be defended. Archeology seems to point to Maori being nomadic for the first 300 years or so, but they exhauseted all the easy souces of food and had to ramp up agriculture. 

Tim Winton has been living all his life on the coast in Western Australia.
Things not looking so good on the fish/food front there....  Metaphorically, the frog (Winton) has noticed the temperature is rising

On the population point, - how are we to control this variable, that preferrably doesn't involve the forced use of:
a) crematoria or
b) pdk/steven emerging from bedroom closets at intimate moments.

Pity I had hoped for better from much for being willing to take tough decisions (or was that Phil Goff?). What else do they have? Their primary voter base is the poor, the poor are poor because have a lower intelligence and poorer education than others, they are simply surplus, except as [farm] labour, carrot pullers. Just why does creating high value jobs help the poor directly? it obviously doesnt, I suppose taxation will re-distribute some.....consumerism and tourism did provide considerable jobs for such, but moving forward the latter is dead and the former will be a fraction of its present self....
I dont understand why CC see's letting in ppl who are of no real use will help (helps with votes?) is she taht far behind taht she thinks 1930s policies are of any use?  She needs to get a reality check, did you mention peak oil?
.....Locke was of similar ilk....and good riddence from the green party IMHO....
Wasting, indeed but lets face it no one (in a position to matter) is really saying anything or is even looking. So it going to take as Matt Simmons(?) said 3 of these oil price shock events for Peak oil etc to be 3 years off I suppose, maybe 5.....Shearer will step aside I would think, he doesnt have it.......

"Their primary voter base is the poor, the poor are poor because have a lower intelligence and poorer education than others, they are simply surplus, except as [farm] labour, carrot pullers."
they are also poor because smarter people have taken advantage (eg property investors who concentrate land ownership in afew hands) and by clever manipulation of the polictical system.

Displeased PDK...'she looked alittle displeased'...
Good on you for that, if you're advocating a tighter immigation threshold, then i'm with you there.
You're quite right when you say 'it was legitimate in the 30's but not now'
And  the greater the population growth the greater the restrictions on our freedom.
Stuff you Clare Curran.

Yep. Never had so much cash floating around as when on the Fonterra payroll.  Was quite an eye opener to arrogance and waste. To be fair, I think some there earn their pay and the company is pretty representative of people who don't have 'skin' in their jobs. 

What's wrong with butter and milk.
It's ours.  It's highly productive, It's high tech - if you think about it.
It's not dot com. Not a lot of meetings with women in designer glasses doing powerpoint.
But makes us loads of money.
Tell me again what the problems is.
You've reminded me of this podcast on the technology behind production of potato chips.
Of course most people would rather have an economy producing silicon chips, and assume that there is no technology behind potato chips, of course they would be wrong.

Dead right Wolly.
NZ can't adequately support the population that it has.  That is why so many leave.  Our policy of attracting immigrants is just an attempt to keep our ponzi ecconomy going.  All parties are equally guilty of pursuing this lazy, dead end route to ecconomic growth.

most of new zealanders wealth is tied up in rental housing.
i imagine the aussies would love to have us as partners