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Upton On Line - The Brain Drain

On the "Brain Drain" and the "doom and gloom" parade.

We've heard a lot in recent times about the recently reinvigorated activities of
the "Brain Drain". Opposition parties particularly have seen fit to play on
latent insecurities in the New Zealand psyche by pointing to large numbers of
our best and brightest leaving these shores.

Nothing, aside from death and taxes, is more certain than that some bright New
Zealanders (and some not so bright, no doubt) will seek their fortunes overseas.
Why wouldn't they? New Zealanders are well trained and can foot it in the
world's great capitals.

The rate of migration will ebb and flow, as you would expect. When our currency
is low, as it is now, the lure of British pounds or the American dollar is
greater.

After a while, most come back. Some stay on and some excel, and that's no bad
thing.

Let me make two observations:

The first is about keeping our nerve as a country. The "doom and gloom" brigade
in the opposition ranks, sections of the media and amongst the collection of
vicars and academics who seem to pop up everywhere, offer little but negativity.

As it is with an individual, so it is with a country. If you always see the
worst in things, more often than not, you're doomed to mediocrity and gradual
decline. If you accentuate the positive, and believe in yourself, the
opportunities are endless.

The 1990s have been a good decade for New Zealand, and there is no reason why we
shouldn't continue to prosper.

It's alarming that our self-esteem as a nation rests so heavily on the success
or failure of the All Blacks.

Obviously, it's in New Zealand's interest to retain and attract a vibrant
population of skilled people. This leads to my second point, (and it's been
made many times, but it needs restating), nothing will make that more difficult
than Labour and the Alliance's proposed tax hikes and changes to our industrial
laws.

There are some prim people about saying they'd be very happy to pay a little
more tax in order to fund this, that and the other thing. Well there's nothing
stopping them writing a cheque to Work and Income New Zealand if they like.
But, do we want to end up as a country whose only inhabitants are those
committed to self-flagellation through ever higher taxes, while those of a less
puritanical nature have fled?

Because that's the risk we run. Those New Zealanders who are world citizens and
for whom the brighter lights, higher salaries, and (in many cases) lower taxes
overseas beckon, will vote with their feet.

Which might also have something to do with the equivocal state of business
confidence since the middle of the year. Our economic fundamentals are
improving. The world economy is improving. So why would business be in an
uncertain frame of mind?

I'd suggest it has not a little to do with the fact that for the first time in
15 years, a major party is promoting tax hikes and industrial mayhem. No wonder
they're awaiting the outcome of the election to decide whether to invest or
emigrate.


ends

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