Our Proposal for Engagement with Aotearoa New Zealand

We’re arriving at a turning point in New Zealand’s economic history.

We have reached the end of an experiment in a low-regulation, light-touch economy. The results from this model speak for themselves. We have seen some economic growth, together with explosive growth in poverty. We have become a global food powerhouse, while our food banks have never been busier. It's time for a new approach. It’s time to think differently about the purpose of the economy and te ōhanga Māori.

New Zealand needs a new economic strategy that reflects our collective goals and aspirations. A strategy that sets out where change needs to occur and outlines the mechanisms necessary to drive that change.

We believe that the best way to understand what is going on in the economy is to listen. Understanding what actions are necessary to deliver essential change will come from conversations with New Zealanders all over the country. We want to work with organisations interested in building a more productive, sustainable, and inclusive future.

The Authors of this report, Craig Renney and Diana Russell, will be joining virtual and in-person meetings around New Zealand until March 2023. We want to engage with voices that are often not heard. We will liaise specifically with Māori and Pasifika communities to make sure that their voices are centred in our report. We will work with the NZCTU Rūnanga to jointly develop the Alternative Economic Strategy, ensuring it includes mātauranga Māori and realises the opportunities for the Māori economy. We will encourage responses at every point of the process.

This is the very beginning of our journey. We know delivering on our economic aspirations will take a long time. We anticipate that the proposals we set out in the final report will be rolled out over several years. This journey, and the proposals that we develop, will be shared on the NZCTU website at buildingabetterfuture.org.nz. It will also be available as a printed report which will be published ahead of the next Budget in 2023.

“We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics.[3] - Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States of America.

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Building a Better Future


[1]  World Bank Group. (2020). Doing Business 2020: Comparing Business Regulation in 190 Economies. Doing Business 2020 (worldbank.org)

[2] For the purpose of this Economic Development Strategy, the term worker or kaimahi encompasses all working people including employees, contractors, unpaid labour, and the self-employed.

[3]   Franklin Delano Roosevelt made this statement at the 2nd Inaugural Address of Franklin D. Roosevelt on Wednesday, January 20, 1937. https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/froos2.asp