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is the hour for our leadership to arise
30 October 2011
grow things; they also make positive possibilities happen.
So where are our ones when we need them most?
leaders once. Maybe
we still do but they’re conspicuous by their vocal absence.
Where are those who did amazing things, spoke their
mind freely, and lived with a sense of vision, energy, drive,
purpose and just the right amount of humility?
who helped us grow as a nation and in turn grow in stature in
all parts of the world.
me that people who have opinions, insights, intelligence—and
are proven leaders in their own worlds—aren’t lending
their voice to ways to solve our most pressing problems.
Even so-called lobbyists seem tongue tied.
further than our various dollar notes to get a taste of what
this country was capable of creating.
At the same time, I wonder how they would manage in
Resource Management Act have kept Sir Edmund Hillary off the
political correctness have caused Kate Shepherd to forget
about her stand on suffrage and keep her in ‘her place’?
Apirana Ngata have relied on race based politics to lead his
Health & Safety Act have prevented Lord Rutherford from
entering the laboratory and certainly away from the perils of
like to think not yet the system we’ve allowed to be created
might be too much for even the mighty to bear.
is we’ve become overly reliant on others versus ourselves to
define our direction. Our
over reliance on ‘Government’—as in “Government will
do this, or Government will pay for that”—is an attitude
that has become sorely ingrained.
I for one believe that some decisions being made,
particularly in relation to debt burden, don’t make sense.
Moreover, I’m not afraid to say it but maybe I’m in
In my mind
Government has become way too hands on and too regulated.
Too often politicians demonstrate their
cleverness—and being ‘on the job—by micromanaging things
to death. They
take control and then strangulate enterprise and initiative.
refreshing would it be to hear them say “I’m out of my
depth and I need some help” and then enlist the support of
those with experience and ideas?
Those who confuse debate with dissent aren’t made of
the right stuff.
believe that MMP is a factor in this problem that allows
anyone a voice even if they in fact have no capability,
experience or real insight into problem solving.
Compromise and consensus are honourable things but can
make for very poor policy and decision making.
merely shaking a finger of blame I believe there are some
practical steps to help lead us back to where we are capable
Be very clear about the connection between your vote
and the responsibilities of those elected.
Have a read
of the manifesto that dictates the functionality of how our
Government is supposed to work—the said document being The
Report of the New Zealand Royal Commission on the Electoral
just a taste of some food for thought.
Parliament is, to some degree, a 'mirror of the nation'
which should look, feel, think, and act in a way which
reflects the people as a whole.
Accountability is one of the bedrocks of representative
government, as it provides a check on individuals …
betraying the promises they made during the campaign.
An accountable political system is one where both the
government and the elected members of Parliament are
responsible to their constituents to the highest degree
Is this the
quality of the representation we’re receiving?
If it’s not, what are we all doing about it?
Admit we have a crisis
Zealand Herald Business commentator Brian Gaynor is correct,
we have a problem. And
it’s called debt. Total
Government indebtedness is $72.4 billion--$17,200 for every
New Zealander or nearly $69,000 for a family of four.
Debt that we owe and that the Government doesn’t seem
to be too concerned about forgetting in fact that without us
they wouldn’t exist for this is OUR money they’re playing
is up to its eye balls in debt—in my opinion the word
drowning might be more closer to the mark.
The solution that some give is to look at more taxation
without any notion of how to increase productivity to balance
even more bloodletting. This
is not a time for playing politics but rather looking at what
the models might be where we get the best from the limited
resources we have. Be
they publically or privately held and given as a ‘hand up’
rather than a ‘hand out’.
Cooperation during crisis
similar to ours have faced massive crises not dissimilar to
ours. The more
successful countries in the bunch—particularly Finland and
South Korea—set themselves apart from the rest by investing
early in improving the quality of education and inducing high
investment in research and development. This is exactly what
we should be doing...and if we’re doing it we need to do
would see the establishment of a bipartisan political
consensus for what’s needed to simultaneously solve the
dilemmas of an economic crisis and ensure long-term and
clear policy so those capable to boosting our exporting and
productivity have a clear flight path.
Again, Ireland in the late 1980s, Finland in the early
1990s, and South Korea after the Asian crisis showed that
these agreements are possible and can be supported by
policymakers, businesses, and labour alike.
Back the tried and true
significantly grow exports we need to get into a "go
forward" gear. Total
focus must be on exponential export growth over the current
$43 billion level. We
are building off a good platform as the trend in exports has
been growing strongly since October 2010.
Zealand Reserve Bank notes expansion of incumbent exporters
into new trade relationships account for around 60% of the
total growth in aggregate trade in New Zealand between 1996-98
and 2004-2006. This
contribution far outweighs the 12-16 percent contribution of
new entering exporters yet anything that helps even fledgling
firms will have benefits for aggregate export earnings.
two-pronged approach—creating more “incumbent exporters”
who, once underway, then pick up momentum in developing their
export business into additional marketplaces—is a way
forward. We need
to play to our comparative strengths—where our share of
world trade is high relative to our overall share—and not be
distracted by side shows or faddism.
Processed or unprocessed products sourced from
agriculture, horticulture, fishing or forestry industries
remain our strong suit. A
number of these processed products rely on relatively
sophisticated innovation inputs such as R&D, technology
and marketing skills.
If any sort
of ‘hand brake’ is put on this sector we’re all
losers—long-term and big time.
With two out of three of our jobs being dependent on
trade, and with $4 of every $10 that our economy produces
being generated by exports, its place in the national scheme
of things self evident.
Utilise all we have, but do it responsibly
agriculture generates $20 billion annual revenue.
Our competencies in the high tech arena are improving
with the top 10 exporters alone contributing $3.9 billion.
Now imagine if we added our on-shore and off-shore
mineral riches to this wealth creation mix.
chief executive of the New Zealand Minerals Industry
Association wrote in the National Business Review we’re
second only to Saudi Arabia in terms of natural capital per
estimate is that some of our minerals - gold, other metals and
low-rank coals - are valued at more than $250 billion. That's
around $60,000 for each New Zealand man, woman and child -
without factoring in oil and gas.
recently announced Energy Strategy the Government says that
New Zealand could earn up to $12.7 billion in royalties if
current oil exploration rates were to double.
The 2009 petroleum action plan has set the bar on
lifting the value of petroleum exports to NZ$30 billion by
certainly riches there to be exploited but NOT at the expense
of anything that would harm our reputation and our
are opportunities but there is no room for shortcuts or
Look after, and invest in, our most important asset.
has changed from being a place where people would flock to
give their children a wonderful environment to grow up in to a
country failing its youth.
Where the current appalling statistics on child abuse
and neglect—not to mention youth unemployment, crime and
suicide—keep moving upwards on our national score board.
initiatives—paid for by those most affected by the problems
and with the most to gain from improvements—would be
wonderful to see. For
example, this is where investment from Treaty settlements
could make a real difference by putting money into measurable,
and accountable, grass roots programmes.
We need to
involve talent and resources from both the private and public
and skill development are critical.
One thing we can and should do immediately is
re-establish the youth minimum wage.
This policy could have great effect in taking young
people out of their downward spiral and also giving
prospective employers the motivation to start employing again.
We are in a
precarious position but we also have advantages, riches and
capabilities that many others around the globe do envy.
Now is the hour—not to say goodbye to all of this but
re-instate ourselves as a first rate, first world nation.
Now is also the time for appropriate leadership to come
to the fore.
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