Jun 18, 2008

Bringing Our John Keys Home

Australia and New Zealand both suffer from the global talent shortage. Wherever you go around the world you find talented Aussies and Kiwis in important jobs. The problem is worse for New Zealand but it is good to see that the Aussies are doing thinking about how to bring these people back home before retirement. We can't rely on public spiritedness and a desire to make New Zealand a better place, the factors that brought John Key and Craig Foss back home, to work across the whole diaspora. Our view is that economic and wage growth is a key factor here, coupled by lower tax and a change in attitude to tall poppies (why the hell can't New Zealanders think more positively and start celebrating success more???). Look what has happened in Ireland since its economic boom. Many of its most talented were attracted home. Ireland maybe suffered from this problem more than we do.

Fran O'Sullivan reports that this was an issue addressed at the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum

Salt - a KPMG partner based in Melbourne - presented a compelling case to the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum.
New migrants are being attracted. But the people both countries are losing are among the best and brightest.
A number of avenues were suggested by forum participants for reversing the trend:
* Student loan amnesties.
* Taxation incentives.
* Roadshows to major capitals to persuade young Kiwis and Aussies to return.
Salt contends these "tactical responses" will not be enough.

We agree, but they are certainly worth considering.