There is broad consensus that, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand should aim to protect its social cohesion and promote our economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being. But how can we achieve these goals? A new Koi Tū report, the seventh of The Future is Now conversation series, assesses this challenge from an economic perspective. It argues for some longer-term adjustments to our economic model, including its diversification, expansion of the ‘weightless’ economy, and reducing the environmental impact of the primary sector.

Key findings:

Although New Zealand's short-term priority must be on the recovery from recession, the subsequent rebalancing and potential for restructuring provides New Zealand with an opportunity to rethink our reliance on these sectors and to explore adjustments to our current economic model. Some goals seem clear:

  • To grow the economy, diversify the economic base, and increase productivity while recognising the expectation of greater resilience, sustainability, and social justice
  • To expand the ‘weightless’ economy
  • To promote technology adoption and reduce the environmental footprint of the primary sector

To make progress towards these goals, New Zealand needs comprehensive policies that address: research and innovation, the role of cities and agglomeration, housing and taxation, and demographic and workforce issues. None are easy issues, and all require open conversation on the way forward.

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