Paul Callaghan: Wool to Weta – Herald feature

Dr Paul Callaghan, Alan MacDiarmid Professor of Physical Sciences at Victoria University has just launched his book Wool to Weta: Transforming New Zealand’s Culture and Economy.

The book and its ideas were featured in a Business Herald article on Friday (Feb 27). It is available to read here.

An excerpt: “The story of our bedrock, land-based industries is an impressive one. Our science innovation gave us world-class agriculture, so that, by the time I was born, New Zealand had one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. We have become a big international player in agriculture and we are a “superpower” in dairy exports. And of course, our absolute prosperity has increased as we all share the fruits of international science and technology discoveries.

“So why has our per capita income relentlessly slipped behind countries we used to better? Why do we work harder for less than the rest of the developed world?

“To understand that problem we need to go back to some historical indicators. We export commodities, but the long-term trend for commodities – as graphed by The Economist – shows localised peaks when times are good, but the overall trend is relentlessly down.”