READER REPORT:

Can you fix the economy? Bring jobs back to NZ

LAURIE SUTHERLAND
Last updated 14:20 13/12/2012

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New Zealand is on a slippery slope and how we get traction and turn our lot around is a major problem. Politicians and economists all have theories on how to fix it, however, no one really seems to know. We just lurch along, not really taking any real steps to fix it, basically just hoping it will magically all come right and we'll somehow all end up back in Utopia.

Now I don't know how to fix it either, but I reckon I know what caused it so here's my theory:

About 10 or 15 years ago, maybe longer, some bright bugger figured out that if he closed his manufacturing down in New Zealand and just kept his retail or supply operation going, he could double or treble his profits by getting his stock made overseas in countries where the workers only get 50 cents an hour. Even our Telecom shut down call centers and sent the work overseas.

Sadly, this put a good slice of our workforce down the road, but that was just economic reality, or so they said.

Now fast forward and what has been the result? The bright bugger has now been joined by an army of his mates and most factories have gone. Even our major cannery imports tinned fruit from Asia; one of our bigger peanut butter companies imports direct from Asia; one of our largest small goods companies has a major pig farm 5km away, yet imports all its pork from Asia, Australia and even Finland.

But guess what? Their sales are going down and they are struggling to make a profit. Why? Because all the people they sent down the road now have no money, can't afford to spend and the whole plan has basically bitten the smart guy on the bum.

How do we reverse this? How do we get Kiwis back earning a decent wage so we can start spending? How do we give the country traction so we turn around and start climbing out of this big hole we are heading in to? I don't know, but someone with a bit more clout than me better start getting some bright ideas. When I have problems with my email here in New Zealand and end up talking to someone in the Manila we really have a problem.


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