Let's hop back in bed with Poms

To save the Kiwi economy, think the unthinkable. First, Maori spending their treaty money on IT education instead of rugby clubs and stadiums; second, full-blown economic and political union with Britain.

To save the Kiwi economy, think the unthinkable. First, Maori spending their treaty money on IT education instead of rugby clubs and stadiums; second, full-blown economic and political union with Britain.

Our government, rightly, is concerned about "Closing the Gaps". But its studies show the gap is really one of education and related opportunities. Close the education gap and the wealth, health and other gaps close in time.

Therefore, instead of Tainui throwing money at the Warriors, they educate the tamariki not in law, te reo and tourism, but Java, HTML, C++, etc. IT jobs pay above average wages so what better way to narrow the gaps?

Imagine the impact on regional development. Places like Northland, Rotorua and the East Cape would become rich in IT skills. Some youth would head to the cities or overseas but their remittances home would boost these regions.

IT is also pretty footloose so Whangarei and Whakatane could become new "Silicon Valleys", cheaper than Auckland with a better lifestyle, perfect for either telecommuting or inward investors.

And forget about an Anzac Dollar and rule by Canberra, let's go all the way; jump back into bed with Mother England and access its regained wealth and much larger markets.

In a knowledge age distance is not the tyranny it was. Britain is no longer six weeks away by ship, but just a day's flight. Phone calls are increasingly cheap and virtually free email and the internet makes us ever closer to people who speak our language, share our culture, our ancestors.

Joining Britain would mean not only access to its market of about 60 million, but also Europe - 350 million now and expanding eastwards.

We could be Britain's farm again, perhaps Europe's farm, a role that once made us among the world's richest.

Removing immigration rules would see Kiwis head to London but, paying taxes into the same pot, it matters less.

In turn, many Britons would come here, fuelling rampant economic growth, building houses and infrastructure. A domestic market of five million would gain new industries.

Our lacklustre public services would also be brought up to the higher UK levels - and at the Poms' expense.

They certainly have the money, with a $60 billion budget surplus.

If our farmers need subsidising, there it is. If our industrialists need subsidising, it is there.

Britain has recently financed the rebuilding of Liverpool, the Coalfields and Tyneside, so New Zealand is small beer.

And look at what Europe's billions did for Ireland, coupled with a government committed to low corporate taxes and supporting IT.

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