That was then
Twenty-five years ago, royal glamour arrived in Godzone and Rob Muldoon strapped on his war medals. It was the era of Think Big, ‘carless days’ and Muldoon’s freeze on wages and prices. The State was the major player in any enterprise.
The next year, Muldoon was out and the Lange Government was in. The dollar was floated, taxes were slashed, farm subsidies were removed and the economy was freed from central control and red tape.
Helen Clark’s government aimed for the Third Way, a healthy union between public interest and the private sector. It failed (see 'The first 3,000 days'). But her government has dropped the Privy Council in favour of our own Supreme Court, canned the British honours system and instituted a New Zealand replacement, and the PM even wore trousers in the presence of the Queen. Now that’s progress.
The new New Zealand is cooler, more confident and less in thrall of the old country. Let’s figure out how to make that pay.