By David Pine
Posted: 28 May 2014
Prime Minister John Key was in confident mood when he addressed a charity breakfast in aid of Mary Potter Hospice at Wellington’s Intercontinental Hotel on Wednesday 28th May. The event was organised by the Rotary Club of Plimmerton.
The Prime Minister noted that the National led Government was riding high in the polls because this reflected that confidence among New Zealanders was at a 7 year high, while confidence among NZ businesses was at a 20 year high. Migration seemed set to turn around from a net increase of people leaving NZ, to a net decrease. “As an example of this, last month only 200 Kiwis left NZ permanently.”
Mr Key contrasted NZ’s financial position with that of Australia. “I wonder if their Government needed to do what they’ve done in their recent budget. We are talking about a $1.2 trillion economy which hasn’t been in recession since 1991. It’s incredible that they’re in trouble.”
Two major dynamics would influence NZ’s future. These were the rapidly growing influence of the internet and the continuing urbanisation of Asia. “If we look at the potential in Asia, a standard 2 litre bottle of milk here in NZ costs about $5.00 at the dairy or, say, $3.50 at the supermarket. That same bottle of milk is retailing in China for about $23.00. Shanghai alone has around 25 million citizens who are relatively well off, and they are increasingly looking to buy products containing protein.
“Demand for New Zealand meat products is going to sky rocket in the future. Take Indonesia as an example - currently they consume about 2 kg of beef per person per year, compared with our consumption here in NZ of about 50 kg per person. The potential for growth is enormous.”
Regarding the internet, the Prime Minister stressed that NZ needed to take full advantage of the vast potential offered by this rapidly evolving technology, which was changing society in many ways. “I’ve met several people recently who are working remotely. One example is an engineer who lives in Hamilton but his clients are all in Australia. Another one is a lawyer who lives in NZ but she is an employee of a law firm in the UK. The internet makes this possible, and everyone wins.”
“We need to make sure that to take full advantage of this revolution, we have the very best infrastructure, such as ultra fast broadband and state of the art transport systems.”
In answer to a question about what he would like his legacy to be, the PM said that he would probably be remembered for a combination of things rather than one big thing. “I think these will include the leadership we’ve shown through the Global Financial Crisis, the way we have supported the Christchurch rebuild, and a growing confidence that New Zealand is evolving into a truly multi-cultural society. We are New Zealanders – be proud and be confident!”
He recalled the words of former Prime Minister Rob Muldoon who once said that he wanted to leave NZ in no worse shape that he’d found it. “As far as I’m concerned, I want to leave NZ in much better shape than I found it!”