In a recent post critical of a CIS article on New Zealand by Phil Rennie , Nicholas Gruen expressed “disappointment” that the author “cherry picked” to “make favoured points in line with the author’s priors”. Today there is an article by Professor James Allan in The Australian that, although generally balanced, shows a similar ideological leaning.
It prompted me to send the following letter to the Editor, which may or may not be published.
Start of letter
James Allan (Clark needs new zeal and a lot of luck 29/2/098) may well be right to claim that New Zealand voters are weary of the Government of Helen Clark. But this cannot be attributed to the economic side of things as Professor Allan claims. Had he looked at the latest OECD Economic Survey of New Zealand, he would have found that, on most standard economic performance indicators such as GDP growth per head of population, labour productivity growth, inflation and unemployment, NZ has been doing as well or better than Australia in the last decade. This is despite the fact that NZ chipped away at some of the pre 1999 labour reforms and slipped a couple of points on the very imperfect barometer of economic freedom published by the Heritage Foundation.
If 40,000 Kiwis are crossing the Tasman each year, it is because Australias resource-blessed, larger economy offers a bigger market, more diverse opportunities and higher pay at current exchange rates not because Helen Clark has failed the economic test.
End of letter