New Zealand has a Woody Allen economy

Though we rail against Government policies it is important to occasionally draw breath and realise how lucky we are! This reminder from Sebastian Edwards’ paper at an NZ Treasury conference on macro imbalances:

The way New Zealanders’ think about the economy reminds me of Woody Allen. In most of his movies, the main character (Woody himself) is depressed and a bit neurotic. He goes to the analyst twice a week and is unhappy about his life. However, as the viewer soon realizes, the whining is not fully justified. After all, Woody has a beautiful girlfriend—indeed, much prettier than a guy like him is likely to get—interesting friends, a nice apartment, and a well-paying job. Moreover, he lives in a charming neighborhood in Manhattan.

As Woody, many New Zealanders worry a lot. They worry about the economy and about the country’s position in the world. They are convinced that things are going downhill, and believe that the future looks rather bleak. And yet, by almost every possible metric New Zealand is a success: it is at the very top of the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking, according to the PISA test it has one of the strongest educational systems in the world, and Transparency International assures us that it is one of the least corrupt countries in the globe.