Warnings from New Zealand's Birdcage

Australia and New Zealand are drifting apart. The larger nation is buoyant and rich, while the smaller one is in a funk. The gap in average incomes between the countries has widened significantly in recent years to approximately 30%, drawing Kiwis across the Tasman in large numbers. Hanging over several of New Zealand's key industries (think banking), there's a branch-office stigma. Australia's Treasurer Peter Costello is chopping at tax rates with the glee of a burly bloke in a blue singlet. Kiwi workers complain that Costello's counterpart Michael Cullen is being a scrooge on fiscal policy, stacking up Budget surpluses when...

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