Eric Watson: Let's be proud of our passion

The sense of optimism and buoyancy in Auckland is significant. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The sense of optimism and buoyancy in Auckland is significant. Photo / Brett Phibbs

It's good to be home. It's an old cliche, but living overseas makes you realise just how beautiful New Zealand is. Auckland is a very special city in the world, as shown in the latest Mercy Quality of Living survey, rating again at No3.

The Dick Smith NRL Auckland 9s were a resounding success, so much so it's hard to believe it was only a dream 18 months ago.

This is a stellar example of what is actually possible when passionate, committed, visionary people work together.

The Auckland Council, ATEED, NRL and Duco had a major role in making this happen with support from the Warriors' management team and board.

It's 12 months since I was last in Auckland and the difference in optimism and buoyancy in the economy compared to London, Los Angeles, New York and other cities in Europe, is significant. I have been involved in several meetings this week and the decisions being made will result in expansion and moving forward.

This is not the same in Britain and the United States where there is political uncertainty and a feeling of erring on the side of caution.

But you don't have to take my word for how well New Zealand is doing. The figures speak for themselves, as do the economic indicators. We are the global "rock star" economy for 2014, CNBC says, and this small country is predicted to outperform most developed markets.

We may not have beaten the Cowboys when it mattered but our economy is in a stronger position than that of our Aussie mates.

The Government has done an outstanding job reducing our borrowing, opening up trade deals internationally and moving quickly on the Christchurch rebuild.

With continued high performances from the ever-reliable agricultural sector, we haven't seen this type of growth since 2007.

Average house prices in Auckland are above those in Melbourne - a first. Prime Minister John Key has a solid reputation overseas - not only do they know of him, he is highly regarded and respected. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott even suggested his people would be happy to have Key govern Australia instead of him.

Warriors' captain Shaun Johnson. Photo / Greg Bowker
Warriors' captain Shaun Johnson. Photo / Greg Bowker

This is high praise when you're standing on Aussie soil and also fair recognition that Key and his team have tuned this country of ours around. Our Trans-Tasman cuzzies are where we were seven years ago and New Zealand is a guiding light on how making the hard decisions, belt-tightening and better prioritisation eventually pays off.

One international investment company recently called the Kiwi dollar the "hottest" currency of 2014, off the back of the Reserve Bank, describing the major central bank as a standout for its hawkish approach and growing yields.

Kiwis are definitely more optimistic than even 12 months ago.

If you want concrete evidence you simply can't support several major events in one city of a population under two million if people aren't feeling good about life and are happy to spend money on tickets, food and socialising.

So that begs the question ... why would you want to change that?

Why would you want uncertainty of leadership for New Zealand?

Why would you want political instability and the reversal of policies that have effectively brought about growth, jobs and a higher standard of living?

New Zealand is a small country geographically and population-wise, but its economy is being watched by many economists, politicians and business leaders around the world.

Why? It's currently an anomaly.

Let's keep it that way.

- Herald on Sunday

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