Covid 19 coronavirus: Mike Hosking on danger of Kiwis moving to Australia

OPINION:

I sadly don’t need the work of HainesAttract to tell me the brain drain is on.

Their latest study suggests that, with the travel bubble, everyone from nurses to construction workers to professionals in general, will be heading west.

Australia’s gain will be our loss.

The brain drain has always been an issue, of course.

But with our border closed, our economy going backwards, a level of dangerous socialism becoming ever more evident, the temptation of a country run by realists will be ever more tempting.

Sadly, it doesn’t get enough attention, but if you think the Finance Minister writing to Air New Zealand and saying what he did isn’t something to be alarmed about, or his letter to Adrian Orr forcing him to take housing into account isn’t interference in independence, then we need to bang that drum louder.

The tax deductibility on property investors based on no consultation, the extension of the bright line test, having promised not to touch it. The banning of oil exploration, the banning of cattle exports by sea, the repealing of Māori ward referenda based on no consultation.

There is a dangerous growing list of decisions that stifle the country.

And that’s before we get to the sheer comical incompetence we see, tragically almost daily, around the so-called Covid response.

The leaking MIQ, the leaking border, the procrastination around the bubble, the dishonesty around testing procedures and regimes.

The punching down by the Prime Minister against defenceless people, whether they be KFC workers or security guards.

The simple lies around being front of the queue for the vaccine, or the Machiavellian attempts at avoidance around accountability at the select committee last week as headed by Labour MP Liz Craig (who should be ashamed of herself), stalling so National’s Chris Bishop couldn’t get a question off.

For more than a year, what has saved this Government is the belief that closing a border is a trick of astonishing proportions and the fact we are not all dead is a miracle.

The reality is – and it’s now that the evidence is starting to present itself, the simple truth is laid bare – dumb luck and geography are your reasons and little more.

But with the bubble, and the growing stories of the plight of others, comes a new reality for a growing number of us.

Australia is a real temptation.

A friend sent this text over the weekend; he has just started a new job there having moved from NZ.

“Greetings from Oz. Just an update at a headline level.

“You and Katie need to get on a plane across the Tasman, have been in Sydney this week, so damn refreshing being out of NZ. More positive conversations and perspectives.

“I have come across five highly talented Kiwis who moved here for work. And a more positive outlook in the past few months. NZ’s loss, Australia’s gain. I really do worry for NZ …”

He went on to tell me about one of his kids, who is heading offshore to university for similar reasons.

Another friend of ours sent a photo of the new house they’d purchased last week; they are also in Sydney, having moved from NZ in March.

They report the same attitude and refreshing approach from the locals.

Mood is one thing but Australia, economically, is in better shape. While we ban things, Australia is expanding.

Australia grew in the last quarter of last year according to the latest data released, by 3.1 per cent … we went backwards.

Singapore grew as well, they’re opening for vaccinated travellers.

China is growing, America is growing, hell even Britain grew in February and they made a hash of Covid before the vaccine turnaround.

We are treading water at best, slowly sinking at worst. The direction is anyone’s guess, the plan is non-existent.

There is a malaise, because we have a Government that infuriates those of us who want better, who are aspirational, who see what we have been but sadly what we have become.

In a locked-down world, people were stuck. Increasingly they won’t be.

Increasingly they will have choice, increasingly the talented and the gifted as they have always been able to, will compare, they will weigh up opportunities and prospects.

Some of our friends already have. My fear is they’re at the head of what might become a frighteningly large queue.

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