Thursday, 17 March 2005

Gloomocracy III

The Herald published my letter to the editor, which I wrote before the weekend's articles spotlighted in Gloomocracy II. Here's the edited text.

Having just returned from 10 years in Pittsburgh and New York, I find that the Kiwi love of whinging has made people lose touch with reality. One correspondent complains of "constant rain, wind and cold" when in the past two months all but a few days have been gloriously sunny and warm. Other correspondents wail about soaring house prices, perhaps without realising that the large volume of returning expats is a major factor driving those prices.

From my contacts with returnees and many friends still overseas who hope to return, I'm confident that the influx will continue. Meanwhile, for all those who whine that life is much better in Australia, let them move there. Everyone will be much happier.

It reads a bit harsher than I'd intended. Oh well. Other letters expressed similar sentiments. There were also many letters like these:

If New Zealand wants to retain its best and brightest and return to the top of the OECD I suggest that we abandon our draconian student loans system and spend more money on basic infrastructure. If the costs of education (including post-secondary), healthcare and public transport were all decreased one suspects that the "brain-drain" would not be as severe.

Why would a self-respecting productive person regress to a welfare state that squeezes the fruits of his labour to redistribute to the herd? Wasn't that the reason most expats left in the first place?

I think this illustrates how people use NZ-bashing to push their (often contradictory) agendas as solutions without which NEW ZEALAND IS DOOMED.

On a slight tangent, for some reason the Herald chose to highlight this astonishing letter:

We have the highest interest rates in the developed world and this has given us one of the most overvalued currencies in the Western world.

On the other hand our standard of living has fallen from second in the world to the bottom quarter of the OECD countries.

When will our politicians and economists begin to understand cause and effect?

An interesting question from someone who apparently has no grasp of it whatsoever (assuming the Herald didn't edit out a mass of justifying exposition).

The wool boom of the 1950s temporarily launched NZ to the second top position in some international economic table. Ever since, the Gloomocrats have used it as an excuse to set expectations sky-high --- a benchmark against which all subsequent economic achievements are deemed failure.


  1. I'll add my gloom to the pile:
    What does the government think it's doing with NCEA? Have you been following this one closely Robert? I suppose you have. What are your thoughts?
    And really, what is the Herald letters page without sensationalist whinging and propaganda ;-)

  2. Robert O'Callahan17 March 2005 21:55

    I plead ignorance on the NCEA, since I don't know anything first-hand and everyone who writes about it has an axe to grind. However bad it is, I doubt it's DOOM-inducing. Schools matter a lot more than exams.

  3. Thought of running for office Rob? Don't let the media get you down, they're not doing their job, they're only selling papers!

  4. Oh, and the whole house price cafuffle is a (first) world wide phenomena (apart from Germany and Japan). That's much more of a reason that any internal factors. Of course it will all end in tears.