It's just tragic watching New Zealanders with get-up-and-go who are getting up and going to Australia. These people were New Zealand's backbone -- skilled tradespeople, middle managers, nurses, teachers, young doctors.
With numbers leaving already in their thousands (and the graph at right from Bernard Hickey's site suggests the number is if anything accelerating), a recent poll suggests as many as 1 in 10 adult New Zealanders is "fed up with high interest rates, worried about the housing market, and want better wages," and is thinking about leaving the country to get them.
Kiwis say New Zealand is no longer the safe and happy country they grew up in and many are fed up with being told how to run their lives, and not enough attention going on law and order and controlling crime.
Since these are all problems either manufactured or made worse by government, it's only natural the 'brain drain' has already become an election issue -- and the National Party DVD in which John Key stands in the middle of an empty football stadium to show the numbers that leave annually for Australia strongly suggests his party intends to make the transtasman exodus a major election issue. But as the Herald points out,
National's right to point to the increase in the figures is not unqualified: Key may like to remind himself that when National took office in 1990 it inherited an almost-unheard-of transtasman net migration gain of 1200 which it managed to turn into a loss of almost 25,000 by the time it lost the Treasury benches to Labour at the end of the decade. The worst year ever was to March 2001, arguably as attributable to National as to Labour. And he might like to specify what precisely a National-led Government would do to turn the tide...
And here's something that should really concentrate the minds of those in the National Party who want to use the trans-Tasman exodus as an election issue: since most people emigrate based on long-term expectations (and included in those expectation would be the quite reasonable assumption that National will win the November election), they're not just showing a lack of confidence in what Labour is already doing to the country, they're expressing almost equal lack of confidence in what National will do. They've already factored in their expectations of how little a John Key administration will do to change the country, and they've realised Labour-Lite is as bad for their future as Labour.
In other words, the reason for that empty stadium John Key's using for electioneering is as much him and his party as it is Helen Clark.
Think about that one.