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Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Setting New Zealand Apart

Close-up view of a Port Chalmers wharf and ships loading, 1870s
Photographer: David De Maus Close-up view of a Port Chalmers wharf and ships loading, 1870s National Library of New Zealand on the Commons Photostream. No known copyright restriction.
Setting New Zealand Apart – Business New Zealand recently issued this “Plan for Action” – it deals with five key drivers of the New Zealand economy and has a 50 point productivity plan. It is available from the website as a pdf document:

Since the document is undated it is difficult to know if this Plan came first, or whether the Government’s announcement of the appointment of Dr Don Brash as head of a task force called Task Force 2025 to increase New Zealand’s productivity came first. This plan (Point 1) calls for a New Zealand Productivity Commission ‘to keep on top of new regulation and review existing regulation’. Is it a Rodney Hide inspired document?

Some of the points such as 49 ‘Support green innovation and technology, and support business in complying with global standards’ I can agree with. But others such as Point 32 ‘Shift tertiary investment to qualifications focused on business and economic needs’ cut across my educational philosophy. We already have an education system in which learning of foreign languages is becoming less popular and hence less viable. But what an important skill for an exporter or importer it is!
Not one of the 50 points mentions the word ‘exports’ although points 43, 44 and 46 are related to international trade, points 44 and 46 focusing on what NZTE should be doing. To be fair the section preceding the 50 point Plan entitled International connections does begin with the statement “Trade is vital for New Zealand’s future” p.22.
There is no mention of the tangata whenua or for that matter the Pacific or Pasifika. The title of the Plan is ‘Setting New Zealand Apart’ – we are already set apart because of our cultural heritage and situation. This Plan seems to exist in a cultural vacuum.
I’m sure others involved in international trade will have some views on the Plan and its implementation – it would be great to read them!

The Plan is also available from the New Zealand School of Export collection.

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