Taking on the World
In the worldwide food shortages that developed at the end of the Second World War, tiny New Zealand grew fabulously rich. New Zealand dairy farmer Thomas Lambie recalls: “[We] had the second-highest per-capita income in the world … Farmers had it made.” Fortress New Zealand, as it was dubbed, did well for more than 20 years. However, the country hit the wall early in the 1980s with simultaneous financial crises in public and private sectors. New Zealand had no choice but to dismantle the Fortress and farming was the first industry liberated. Rather than please the government, Lambie said, farmers realized that they needed to please consumers. Within six years, moribund New Zealand was ready to take on the world. “We now live in one of the most open and unregulated economies in the world. Other than a few tariffs … we are completely open at the border for everything.” So it remains to this day.