3 Dec 2004

New Zealand agency labels academic's view simplistic

2:12 pm on 3 December 2004

The call for Pacific governments to embrace growth strategies and encourage capitalist enterprise has been described as simplistic by New Zealand's Council for International Development.

Outspoken Australian academic Helen Hughes says Pacific countries would become prosperous if they encouraged agriculture and tourism.

She says a catalyst for this development would have to be an end to the communal ownership of land.

Professor Hughes says this would free up land to be used as collateral.

She says no economy has ever succeeded where there is communally owned land.

But Rae Julian, the executive director of the Council for International Development, says Professor Hughes is ignoring the law of unintended consequences, because it would mean dismantling the cultures of the Pacific.

"I mean how do you work out who owns what? It is a very, very complex system, because it is not enough to say this family owns this patch, because (for instance) what about this family's stepson?"

It is extremely complex, so you would be dismantling a culture.

Rae Julian.