Then, in late elementary school onwards, New Zealand started making news in Canada for its economic reforms. In 1993, when I was finishing high school, CTV's flagship documentary programme W5 aired a lengthy program on New Zealand's economic reforms and how Canada needed to make similar reforms before being forced to. Roger Douglas's reforms featured prominently if I recall correctly; unfortunately, I can't find any video of it online.
"New Zealand," which drew an audience of 1.6 million, had a huge influence on Canadians. Indeed, politicians used it as justification for slashing social services in the name of debt-reduction. Ralph Klein's Conservative government in Alberta, for example, included transcripts of the program when it sent back rejected grant applications.Ah, good times.
New Zealand's economic reforms often came up in undergrad, either with other students with the Reform Party on Campus, or while doing intern work for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Peter Holle at FCPP highlighted Roger Douglas's reforms; I think a Douglas quote on the need to move quickly in reforms was up on his wall at the time. Frontier had a few pamphlets on the Kiwi reforms; I still have copies.
And so when I interviewed here in 2003, I was more than happy to answer when folks asked why I'd want to move to New Zealand: New Zealand has all the good stuff from Canada but without the worst bits. It's never -40 and the stupidest bits of Canadian policy had here been knocked out by Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson.
So I'm more than a bit pleased that Sir Roger's a fan:
I don't blush easily, but still....
I very much doubt I'd be here at all absent Sir Roger's work, so call it mutual.