Don Brash's 2025 Taskforce made a range of recommendations about how our economy could catch up with Australia.
Its ideas, which included slashing Government spending met with widespread condemnation.
Philip York: Federated Farmers economics and commerce spokesperson is one of a range of New Zealanders approached by nzherald.co.nz to share their thoughts on how we can shorten the gap.
Philip York is Federated Farmers economics and commerce spokesperson:
When it comes to the land, backing the economy's agricultural and horticultural backbone with water storage is a vital plank for Federated Farmers. Water storage offers an economic payback of 8:1 and in Canterbury alone, there's enough water storage potential to expand suitable productive land by upwards of a third.
The value of this is measured in the billons. Pasture renewal is the flipside of that coin. BERL modelling shows that farm scale pasture renewal could increase pastoral agriculture's direct contribution to GDP by $800 million and total GDP by $2.2 billion.
Yet we currently spend only 1.2 per cent of GDP on Research & Development whereas competitors like Denmark invest 3 per cent. We need the best brains here.
Farmers are technology savvy and research provides a means to increase production while reducing negative outputs such as methane and nitrogen. It's also a way to develop new industries leveraging off what we know a lot about.
Pastures, crops, animal species and equipment like robotics don't invent themselves. That's why rural broadband is important to Federated Farmers. It's an enabler to realise and commercialise the inventiveness of farmers in collaboration with scientists.
We are now approaching a global crossroads with capture fisheries. 12,000 years ago livestock was domesticated because hunting couldn't meet the needs of a growing population.
Aquaculture could be worth up to $2.2 billion to the New Zealand economy according to Ernst & Young. Yet that could be conservative. Norway exports $4.5 billion worth of salmon and trout each year and our coastline is 60 per cent that of Norway's.
The European harvest of farmed trout is 203,000 tonnes annually - half of our lamb exports. Yet New Zealand is about the only country on earth to ban trout farming. Fresh and sea water aquaculture could be huge but to prosper it requires amendment to the RMA, Fisheries and Conservation Acts.
Yet there's almost one trillion reasons to add a third bow to our string, each reason is a dollar and that bow is minerals.
New Zealand has the seventh largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the tenth largest coastline of any country. We are actually huge. Canterbury University estimates the mineral wealth inside the EEZ to be worth half a trillion dollars.
This year we gained an additional amount of seafloor equivalent to Libya, meaning we own 5.7 million km2 of seafloor - around three-quarters the size of Australia. On-land mineral reserves are estimated at $140 billion but significant legal, social and technological challenges exist. Yet if we have the will and the technology, it's an economic game breaker.
Naturally, there's more. Government, in real terms, is $30 billion larger today than back in 2000 and fiscal policy is kneecapping monetary policy.
Big reform of the Resource Management Act is needed. For example, compensation to check over eager councils, the ending of DoC's advocacy role and National Environmental Standards to eliminate petty resource consents. This is all about creating aspiration so the Government must get off the fence.