I was filled with despair when I read this morning that Haier now own Fisher and Paykel, and reminded of an episode in my all-time favourite TV series – The Wire. Season 2 focusses on the waterfront and the struggles facing Frank Subotka, the treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Stevedores to find work for the union members. Almost all they now do is unload electronic goods, drugs and sex workers, and in frustration he says something to lobbyist Bruce DiBiago that encapsulates the reason the Western economic system is collapsing: “You know what the trouble is, Brucey? We used to make shit in this country, build shit. Now we just put our hand in the next guy’s pocket.”
We used to make shit in NZ; it was good shit and it kept us employed but now we import damn near everything. At the supermarket the other day I noticed that the Sanitarium peanut butter was made in Australia and a packet of frozen spinach was grown and packaged in China. Right now every item of clothing I am wearing and the computer I am using to write this are made in Asia. I had to phone Telecom the other day and ended up talking to someone in Manilla.
Bill English is convinced that there is nothing wrong with foreign ownership of our assets and businesses, but I’m not so sure, and I’m not the only one that fears that we’ll end up tenants in our own country that are employed by foreigners. I’m not an economist and maybe I’m missing something, but I just can’t understand how we can survive economically if we barely manufacture anything while depending on borrowing from overseas or selling state owned assets to stay afloat.
Update 12/11/2012: I found this article in today’s Herald. I know a lot of people who have made a lot of money with residential real estate, and then spent it on cars, overseas holidays, toys etc – almost all imported from overseas. I’m no economist, but that seems really stupid.
- Warning as Haier wins all (nzherald.co.nz)
- Rejecting Haier Not Best Plan For Fisher & Paykel: Deutsche (blogs.wsj.com)
- Keep it Kiwi
- Buy New Zealand Made