Crisis or Opportunity?
Edited by Peter Draper, Philip Alves and Razeen Sally
Chapter 4: New Zealand
Ron Sandrey INTRODUCTION The economic reforms in New Zealand from 1984 onwards rapidly became a benchmark for similar reforms in other countries to be judged against. However, coming from a small and somewhat isolated part of the world one must place these in perspective and recognize that many other countries, such as those of the former Soviet Union and China at one extreme, and economies such as those in this book, have also undergone reforms. However, what sets the New Zealand reforms apart from others was the comprehensive nature and speed of the reforms. While this chapter examines the trade policy reforms, these cannot be viewed in isolation from the overall package, a package that covered the full stabilization and liberalization spectrum of reforms in: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● financial markets trade policy agricultural and industry support research and development the labour market taxation and taxation policies monetary policies fiscal policies the welfare state itself corporatization and eventually privatization government departments Many of these policies are inexorably linked (you cannot have a trade policy without an agricultural policy, for example), and even after a period of nearly a quarter of a century it is hard to clinically assess the overall effects of the package, let alone the effects of an individual component of the package. Arguments continue over the sequencing versus comprehensiveness of the reforms and their associated human cost, but the New Zealand of today is a much different place from that of the early 1980s. 93 94 The comprehensive reformers THE BACKGROUND...
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