Is it possible to trade South Australia for New Zealand

A long, long time ago, in 1890, the Federation Conference was held in Melbourne.  Politicians from the 6 Australian Colonies and New Zealand got together to discuss creating a Federation, a Common Wealth.

It came to pass that the 6 colonies got together to form Australia, but New Zealand decided to sit it out.

He is a photo from the 1890 conference.  The fellow, standing second from the left, the one with the stand out light suit, was New Zealand’s representative, Captain Russell MP, Colonial Secretary.  The fourth fella standing from the left, with the white bushy beard was Sir Henry Parkes.

217-Aus-Fed-Conference-478x338

Now, thanks to Judith Sloan’s reference in one of her earlier posts, I now regularly read the blog of Dan Mitchell from the Cato Institute.  In his latest post, Mitchell writes about the 40 year economic transformation of New Zealand.

Cats can read it for themselves, but I just wanted to highlight Mitchell quoting Maurice McTigue, a former New Zealand parliamentarian and Minister.  If anyone happens to know the direct email’s of Australia’s Prime Minister and/or Treasurer, perhaps they might forward either this or the Mitchell post.  Perhaps also the Ministers for Health, Education and Industrial Policy (ie Pyne).  This is McTigue talking about New Zealand’s program of shrinking the size of government:

When we started this process with the Department of Transportation, it had 5,600 employees. When we finished, it had 53. When we started with the Forest Service, it had 17,000 employees. When we finished, it had 17. When we applied it to the Ministry of Works, it had 28,000 employees.  I used to be Minister of Works, and ended up being the only employee.

This is McTigue talking about privatisations:

…we sold off telecommunications, airlines, irrigation schemes, computing services, government printing offices, insurance companies, banks, securities, mortgages, railways, bus services, hotels, shipping lines, agricultural advisory services, etc. In the main, when we sold those things off, their productivity went up and the cost of their services went down, translating into major gains for the economy.

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47 Responses to Is it possible to trade South Australia for New Zealand

  1. karabar

    Malcolm preaches innovation and “agile”.
    To borrow Bolt’s term, Australia is fond of SEEMING, whereas NZ is fond of DOING.
    Another example is New Zealand Steel, which makes steel of such top quality that the Japanese buy it!
    Back in the 80’s, “Think Big” meant Glenbrook has 4500 employees and contractors.
    Today it is a few hundred, producing more and better quality products; the result of continuous improvement.

  2. karabar

    As for your suggestion of a trade of a booming country for a n’erdowell State, the Kiwis would never accept it.

  3. Jannie

    Well if we can’t trade them, I would be happy to give them SA for free, and chuck in Tasmania as a bonus.

    But as they say, caveat emptor.

  4. McTigue for Pope. Or PM of Orstralia. Or Secretary General of the UN.
    Nah. The last one is going too far, but it would be innovative to see the damage he could do to it.

  5. Bruce of Newcastle

    Maybe this is why the Kiwi dollar has been slowly and steadily creeping up on the Aussie. Now only 1.04:1. Won’t the Kiwis give us heaps when they pass us!

  6. Robber Baron

    But isn’t bigger government better government?

  7. Grandma

    Yes, and then all those unemployables came to live at Bondi………. Can we export some of ours?

  8. rebel with cause

    Sounds like it should be the other way round – we should be asking to be part of NZ.

  9. memoryvault

    Sounds like it should be the other way round – we should be asking to be part of NZ.

    Here’s a plan. How about we privatise “government” and sub-contract it out go the Kiwis?
    They couldn’t possibly do any worse than our current lot – on both sides of Parliament.

  10. Sigh. Makes me wish Tasmania had gone its own way as well.

    What could have been. About time the rest of you lot tossed us out for performance unbecoming.

  11. incoherent rambler

    Is it possible to trade South Australia?

    Asking for $1 , do I have an opening bid?

    No. The vendor has indicated that they will pay 1 billion to get rid of it.

  12. Fleeced

    Did they really shrink their employee base though, or did they do what NSW does and just switch them to contractors?

  13. Rabz

    You have to hand it to the Kiwis, they’re not as stupid as they look.

  14. Tator

    Oi, stop making out that South Australia actually wants an ALP government. Only 36% voted for the ALP and the TPP was Liberals 53% to ALP 47%. Even the latest Galaxy poll had the same TPP figures. Most of the state wants these muppets gone, passionfingers Weatherill is running the state into the ground in a scorched earth move as he knows that he is gone now that Such is no more and Brock is on thin ice. Turncoat Hamilton-Smith will be history as well.

  15. Hj

    Wait a second. You mean, a smaller government means a more prosperous productive economy? Shock horror, this only happens always. I don’t understand why we never hear any politicians saying these words. People I know would appreciate it. Throw in more freedom and you’d create a groundswell

  16. Hj

    Fleeced if they did swap to contractors, that are privately owned, then efficiencies would be created over time and the government would get the benefits. The idea of creating the same sorts of efficiencies in a government agency is ridiculous

  17. Rayvic

    Can anyone see any of our current MPs, with the possible exception of Christian Porter, thinking as clearly and logically as McTigue — and at the same time ensuring that assets sold do not end up in the hands of the Chinese government?

  18. H B Bear

    Senateless.

    Yep and no dysfunctional, duplicative Federation either. Australia’s basket case Federation actively rewards failure and props up State government mismanagement. The COAG process provides lowest common denominator solutions to problems and prevents any meaningful legislative arbitrage between States.

  19. Ubique

    We should offer to pay the Kiwis to take SA, Tasmania and the ACT off our hands. We’ll buy them back once NZ has got them sorted, something we are utterly incapable of doing ourselves.

  20. Fleeced

    Fleeced if they did swap to contractors, that are privately owned, then efficiencies would be created over time and the government would get the benefits.

    You are naive if you think this is how contracting works in NSW.

    E.g.,
    Programmer on $100k employed by state vs
    Contracted programmer paid $200k+ for exact same job

    They’ve been switching them all over to say how good they are.

    It is literally the worst of both worlds.

  21. Ubique

    Oi, stop making out that South Australia actually wants an ALP government.

    It saddens me to hear crow-eaters endlessly whining about the Labor gerrymander imposed upon them by the South Australian political and bureaucratic establishment. Stop your whinging and do something about it.

    Ten thousand people carrying torches and howling for blood outside the SA electoral commission and the SA parliament might just for a moment take your lords’ and masters’ minds off pink shorts, same-sex marriage and quotas for transgender submariners.

  22. Craig Mc

    E.g.,
    Programmer on $100k employed by state vs
    Contracted programmer paid $200k+ for exact same job

    You mean, contracted programmer paid $70k, but charged out at $200k.

    What is this the 80s? Programmers don’t get rich anymore.

  23. Elle

    What do you look like, Rabz? I’m sure you wouldn’t disappoint.

  24. When we started this process with the Department of Transportation, it had 5,600 employees. When we finished, it had 53. When we started with the Forest Service, it had 17,000 employees. When we finished, it had 17. When we applied it to the Ministry of Works, it had 28,000 employees. I used to be Minister of Works, and ended up being the only employee.
    Some good candidate departments in Canberra such as Transport, Education, health, and industrial relations which all should revert to the states. However, would it not be good if the ATO was reduced to the minister. After all income tax belonged to the states before it was grabed by the Federal Government in World War 11. Note in Switzerland taxing is done by the states.
    I would like to see tax rates reduced to the level it was in the boom years around 1910. SA and Tas would need to look how they managed then.

  25. Chill

    Between them, my cousin and her husband, in NZ have assets of about $11 mil, about $5 mil of it is liquid. Both also still earn good money. They both receive an aged pension as does, I believe, John Key. They are entitled. The older I get, the more attractive NZ is looking.

  26. Chris M

    stop making out that South Australia actually wants an ALP government.

    Sorry to break it to you but the SA Liberals are equally as clueless so it really makes little difference, even Marty H-S knows this. The place is dooooomed….

  27. duncanm

    … and they can buy and use guns without being treated like criminals.

  28. duncanm

    I’m with Ubique — lend (or give) NZ SA and Tas. Get them sorted.

    Tas is easy – Just becomes the West Island. SA may be a little harder.

    Christ — let them run Aus.

  29. eb

    I was going to say the same Chris M.

    Does anyone seriously think that the SA Libs would, say, put all renewables on hold and re-start the coal fired power plants?

    Of course not. See Conquest’s 2nd Law.

  30. Econocrat

    Under the terms of the Constitution, New Zealand remains eligible to join Australia as an “original state,” which would mean 12 Senators and a preservation of its (unwritten) constitution!

  31. Tim Neilson

    H B Bear
    #2153671, posted on September 21, 2016 at 6:38 pm
    Federation has given us Dan Andrews.
    Case closed.

  32. Tom W

    If New Zealand is so great and Australia is so lousy, why is NZ per capita income only around 75% of Australian per capita income?

  33. testpattern

    Swap you pink shorts for your mongrel mob

  34. Rafe Champion

    Dan Mitchell is good value, I will aim to catch up with him when I get to Washington. Now on the road from Houston to Phoenix.

  35. Mark A

    Tom W
    If New Zealand is so great and Australia is so lousy, why is NZ per capita income only around 75% of Australian per capita income?

    Not up to scratch on this but you have to look at the living expenses ver. wages.
    Am currently in Hungary, going on to Russia same as the boomlord, but the per capita income here is, and I only assume, way below ours in OZ but the standard of living is great.

  36. Mark A

    DOOMLORD fer gods sake although “boomlord” sounds nice too

  37. Mother Lode

    But isn’t bigger government better government?

    Of course it is.

    And if it isn’t then we need a government department to make it so.

    A minister, big offices, thousands of staff, meetings, symposia, workshops, mail-outs, advertising, regulations – oh the future looks bright.

  38. Tom W

    Mark A

    The 75% figure is adjusted for the difference in purchasing power. On nominal GDP per capita New Zealand is even lower.

  39. duncanm

    If New Zealand is so great and Australia is so lousy, why is NZ per capita income only around 75% of Australian per capita income?

    they’re still recovering from the 80’s. Give them a bit more time.

    Housing is a fair bit cheaper — and I know where much of our family income goes.

  40. Remember this guy Maurice McTigue was an MP over 20 years ago – left Parl in 1993.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_McTigue

    I think there is a bit of rose tinted glasses here – NZ economy aint that marvellous.

  41. Entropy

    I think NZ and now NSW are not going about it the right way: they still have all those government services, it’s just that the all up cost of a contractor is less than a public servant. And the important thing is it costs a lot to make a public servant redundant, whereas you can just end the contractor’s contract. So you just drop them when the project is finished. This would be fine for things like data enterers, claims processors etc.

    For things like policy development, it is bad. Currently there are people in NSW I know who have 30 plus years of experience being given the heave ho, with all their corporate knowledge to go with them. The plan is to use KPMG or the like whenever the government wants to develop a policy. Sure it will cost less, but what do you get? Some ambitious young numpty in her mid twenties who thinks she knows everything churning out a second year undergraduate policy paper as quickly as possible.

    Thing is, policy follows the circle of life. Policy fashion is all the rage, then a new lot of change managers rock in and need to put their stamp on things. Then they are replaced with another lot who need to put their stamp on things. You need experience and corporate knowledge to remember what kinda worked and what kinda didn’t last time policy X was implemented. Because it will eventually happen. For example I would not be surprised if we even end up with statutory marketing authorities again one day. Even nationalised banks! Because government will be believed ( pand sold as) to be capable of setting prices to protect the supplier against those rapacious foreigners (or Katter becomes PM despite himself) and NCP must die. We need to have people who remember why SMAs sucked, what harm they did and how if it must be done, to set them up to minimise the frequency of mistakes that occurred last time. A contractor from KPMG isn’t going to be able, or even want to do that, and of course won’t know why things happened. Their eye will be focussed on the next contract and will aim to get their as quickly as possible.

  42. James Gibson

    New Zealand abandoned nationalism, and embraced globalism. Did it work? Not really. They’re still one of the poorest developed countries in the world. Far poorer than, for example, the hyper-regulated socialist France (which nobody should emulate).

    I used to be a libertarian. I still agree with free markets. But neo-liberal globalism helps only the rich.

    (BTW: Can whoever approves these coments, I assume Sinc, please put me on the permitted list or something? You hold every one of my comments for approval for many hours, sometimes days, haha.)

  43. Eyrie

    NZ is expensive in housing and living costs. Not great.
    They also love bureaucracy. Where do you think the 50Km/Hr speed limit in metro areas came from?
    Take your car/ boat trailer/box trailer/ caravan for a road worthy every 6 months. Nobody even questions this in NZ. The population is so sheep like that it can be trusted with guns/crossbows/slingshots etc as nobosy would ever dream of offing the bureaucrats.
    As a bastion of freedom, forget it.

  44. Gab

    Trade SA for NZ? Excellent idea! Can we throw in Tasmania too?

  45. But neo-liberal globalism helps only the rich.

    Oh god. Cry me a river and join the communist party.

  46. Eyrie

    I nearly forgot. The weather sucks.

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