The Beehive (left) and Parliament House (right), two of the major sites comprising the New Zealand Parliament Buildings (Credit: Getty)

Rogernomics: New Zealand’s Economic Revolution

New Zealand once had the developed world’s most comprehensive welfare state. But one ambitious statesman decided his country needed reform.

Jacinda Ardern may be an extremely popular social democratic politician, but her policies are hardly revolutionary by New Zealand standards (Credit: Bloomberg)
Michael Joseph Savage, New Zealand’s first Labour Prime Minister, pictured in 1935 (Credit: Wikipedia)
Construction of state houses in 1944. The development shown above is the suburb of Naenae, located just outside the city of Lower Hutt (Credit: Te Ara)
New Zealand sheep. Even today, agriculture remains a prominent form of economic activity in New Zealand, with fruits, dairy products, lamb, and mutton ranking among the country’s largest exports (Credit: Stuff)
Protests against the Springbok tour in 1981. A wave of unrest gripped cities across New Zealand, representing broader national frustrations that initially surfaced during the economic crisis of the early 1970s. Divisive events like these ultimately came to define Robert Muldoon’s tenure as Prime Minister (Credit: Stuff)
Roger Douglas in 1985 (Credit: National Library of New Zealand)

“You may have not been responsible for the mess that New Zealand’s in, but when it’s your job to do something about it, you better get on with the job.”

Roger Douglas, 1984

Douglas delivers a speech as Prime Minister David Lange looks on (Credit: NZ Herald Archive)
Douglas appears on a campaign billboard for ACT New Zealand ahead of the 2008 general election (Credit: New Zealand Election Ads)

“For people who don’t want the government in their lives… [Rogernomics] has been a bonanza. For people who are disabled, limited, resourceless, uneducated, it has been a tragedy.”

David Lange, 1996

Poverty has become a growing concern for many New Zealanders (Credit: Stuff)

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