Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Telling The Truth About The Brain Drain

I am 22 years old and next year I will graduate with two degrees, in economics and economic geography. As one of the highly skilled elite who were lucky enough (care of a $35,000 student loan) to get an education under the National Government, going overseas to pay it off is a real possibility. What is a certainty is that I’ll be coming back.

The most infuriating thing about the way this issue has sprung into the public eye (thanks to big business money and a former Young Nat) is that it paints a totally misleading picture of why people leave this country and how people perceive what the new Government is doing.

For the first time in my life at University, there have been no fees protests, or marches about loans and allowances. The reason for this, of course, is that the complaints which drove students onto the streets for a decade have begun to be addressed. In five years, when people come to uni, they’ll probably get an allowance and be paying sharply lower fees than I have had to.

Don’t underestimate the extent to which loans are a key driving force in the loss of talented young people. We face marginal tax rates of 31c per dollar on income over $14k, or 43c in the dollar on income above $38k. Those of us lucky enough to earn over $60k pay 49c in the dollar in tax and student loan repayments. The loans (not the tax rates, which are relatively low in themselves) have made it difficult to afford to stay in New Zealand. People go overseas as the best way to pay them back. Some, sensing that the loans scheme itself is a slap in the face from our selfish parents who chose tax cuts instead of education, depart to avoid them completely.

There are other reasons people go overseas. Many of my cousins have spent time in London, for example. In a city that is one of the world’s financial centres, that has double New Zealand’s entire population, and is a mecca of arts, culture, entertainment and excitement, it is hardly surprising that people can find more opportunities than they can in a sparsely populated set of islands at the end of the world. New Zealand simply doesn’t have the population to support the kinds of opportunities the so-called “Young New Zealanders” say that they want.

When you add on to our 4 million-odd population the devastating results of nine years of economic policy failures, you really get a dire picture of New Zealand’s prospects. There’s a bloody good reason why we’re stuck with an old economy – since the mid-80’s and the failures of Muldoon, we’ve been so paranoid about the idea of Government playing a role in the economy that we’ve been left totally out of the loop. It is a fact that every single country that has begun to make a successful transition to the knowledge society we all want has had substantial Government involvement in that process.

So, where to from here? Can a tiny economy on the edge of the earth (with apologies to Kevin Roberts!) provide the opportunities of the First World core? With the new Government’s policies, we can move in that direction. And New Zealand still has an unbeatable environment. If we can solve our economic problems, and get over our constant, harping negativity, the brain drain will go back to being what it was in the past – a time for real Young New Zealanders to see the world and learn a bit before coming back home. Twits like Richard Poole are simply a distraction on the way.

ENDS

Jordan Carter is an Auckland University student, sometime Scoop columnist, and Labour Party activist (and unlike some Young New Zealanders, isn’t ashamed to say where he’s coming from!).


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news