Island Life by David Slack

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Island Life: The Prime Minister Has Spoken

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  • RaggedJoe,

    Kiwis abroad have a wealth of experience, networks and time spent in foreign markets - we need to use these "feet on the ground" more.

    and a hear hear back to you. Couldn't agree more.

    I've been to the largest healthcare show in Europe, the NZTE-sponsored stand looked shit-hot compared to the Aussies, the British and the Yanks

    Perhaps Healthcare is more sexy or financial than us poor primary product exporters. But I suspect the sad truth is that the industry is better organised. The primary types tend to get stuck in the trenches fighting commodity wars, which NZ is less well placed to win that in days gone by.

    On a positive note we have grown our fresh organic exports exponentialy in the last 10 years, huge delopment in production, great market returns, no government help at all to speak of. That wave may be cresting but it has been great fun.

    I beleive we all have opportunities every day to influence this issue, whether buy local or recommend a career to the young up and comers, we can all play our part IF we understand the issues.

    City of Sales • Since Sep 2008 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I also used to work in an export orientated owner-operated business, and then moved into the service sector about fifteen years ago. Why? Because despite all the rhetoric about free market reform helping business in New Zealand the reality of the free market NZ style is that it favours private sector monopolies. Fluctuating exchange rates, excessive “user pays” government charges and banks uninterested in helping small businesses with things like cash flow meant we saw the writing on the wall and cashed up.

    I don't see the issues as all that complicated. We've arrived at the situation we are at today through a set of well documented and conscious decisions. In particular, we committed ourselves to a fashionable economic framework that we applied with all the fervour of the newly converted and with all the lack of common sense that comes when ideological reasoning triumphs over observational empiricism.

    We decided to raise the interests of the finance sector to a primacy over those of other sectors of our economy, including the export sector. The subsequent explosion of the service sector around banking and finance together with the speculative bubble are some of the consequences of what happens when you allow an ideology to colonise your bureaucracies.

    The solution is re-assert the importance of the export sector over that of the money men. All those old "heresies" need to be dusted off and applied judiciously and intelligently to help our productive export sector. More critical examination of foreign ownership of New Zealand businesses and land. Exchange rate controls. Targeted assistance. Single desk selling where appropriate. Tariffs and import restrictions to ensure we have a healthy balance of payments and to try and halt the de-industrialisation of New Zealand as a sacrifice to the Gods of Free Trade. A recognition that the government rules in the interests of New Zealand workers, not foreign financiers or out of a sense free trade purity and altruism to the third world. The fact that even left wing liberals with guffaw at some or all of these ideas - still largely the norm in the rest of the world - is an indication of how skewed the debate over how to support our exporters has become, and how far we have to go to rebuild our vital exporting industries

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1794 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    deepred: the US has in essence a 'McMansion Tax' - they tax all capital gains by default as any other income, if you can prove they're long held (3 or more years I think) you get a tax reduction on them.

    However there's an exemption for primary family homes (the one you live in, be prepared to prove it) something like $500k (that's $500k increase in value) that you can claim every 5 years or so.

    They used to instead allow you a single total writedown over your lifetime (ie when the kids have left, you retire and sell the big one)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2123 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    (3 or more years I think)

    It's one year, and the reduction is from 25% to 15% on the 'basis', I think they call it. Don't ask me how I know this. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3653 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    After umpteen years of individualism being pushed by the state, I fail to see why I should now heed calls that my country needs me to mess up my life to earn the country some export dollars that I suddenly owe it.

    Hoist with their own petard.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1640 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    Which looked pretty binary. Who are the hanger-onners, apart from real estate types? What are the tasks that we should be discouraging?

    Kyle, I quizzed myself about this while I was out running. I don't really see the net going wider than I first cast it, which was based on what I see when I look around the extended family: people who flip property (enabled by a borrowing binge) and people working in rent-taking quasi- monopolies such as Vodafone, Telecom, and Microsoft (in which case I refer to the premium being extracted, thus enabling surplus layers of staff, than the service in toto). I may well be missing some, though. My essential point, though, is that the ship is listing from too many passengers on one side. I'm not looking to vilify anyone.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • RaggedJoe,

    All those old "heresies" need to be dusted off and applied judiciously and intelligently to help our productive export sector

    Sorry Tom, can't agree. Backwards to the future doesn't work for me. We need inovation and new ideas which will come from constructive leadership. New initaives not old solutions please.

    City of Sales • Since Sep 2008 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    We need inovation and new ideas which will come from constructive leadership. New initaives not old solutions please.

    This is just a load of buzz words that have become so devalued that they no longer have any meaning. Spouting platitude filled claptrap might cut it on the whiteboard in a marketing presentation, but it doesn't with me.

    Don't flatter yourself on your ability to deliver innovative genius. There is no such thing as a "new" idea. All there is is the intelligent application of common sense.

    But then as Voltaire said, "Common sense is not so common."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1794 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    We need inovation and new ideas which will come from constructive leadership. New initaives not old solutions please.

    Don't depend on leaders to come up with new ideas - motivating people and creative thinking don't always go hand in hand.

    As I've said before to me Key is "that marketing guy I've always worked with" - they come up with new ways to sell existing stuff - they don't tend to think up radically new product ideas - he's there to sell stuff to us, so far he's done quite well at it.

    What a good leader can do is encourage new ideas, and recognise and promote good ones - of course politicians tend to want to 'own' the ideas they promote

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2123 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Holt,

    I agree with Paul. I've don't expect politicians to do anything except politics. At least until they've stopped doing politics. Mike Moore, for example, makes more sense now than he did when he was a politician.

    To be a small exporter is to embrace a different lifestyle to some extent. Who does that for a country? You do it for your own reasons, but the fact that it aligns with a broader set of interests should properly trigger a range of support mechanisms.

    These exist, but in our world, we gotta find those for ourselves. I actually don't mind that to some extent. Someone in this group said it'd be nice if there is a list of tips and pointers... well there are! Maybe not printed in your newspaper.. but they are there... just look harder :-)

    And we gotta get over the NZ Inc mindset. For the most part, I've found the Aussies and Americans etc to be quite helpful and supportive. They generally like us and frequently offer assistance. Perhaps we should be talking about joint deals alongside Amcham and Austrade etc.

    David is right... the problem is our mindset... just get out and do it. Setting up a sales office in Shanghai is not more expensive than setting up a branch in Hamilton. And stop expecting politicians to do anything other than the thing they got into office doing...

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    I look around my extended family and I see people doing work that is of little worth to the economy. I see them making money by flipping real estate, I see them making money by being the expensive just-add-water middle man. I look at them and I think: everyone's family network probably looks like this this. One or two exporters, a host of hangers-on.

    I have been having thoughts like this for quite a while now - so much of what most people do (myself included) for "work" doesn't really add a lot, not just to the economy but to life in general (other than allowing us to "pay the bills" and buy cool thing...).

    Unfortunately I dont't have a solution...but I feel like there's something badly wrong with the fabric of economics.

    Ah well - back to "work"!

    Since Jun 2007 • 124 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Nice post David. Our company earns betwee10 and 20% of revenues from overseas and we have in the last 12 months opened small outposts in Sydney and Reading (I know, I know). Some points...

    NZTE are always "interested" in helping but nothing material ever seems to happen. Despite being in their "high growth range". I suspect it is because we are not sexy. "Just" services. They also don't understand "free", rather like many others.

    How is the Government supporting us? Buggered if I know. They appear to be ensuring that the knowledge industry becomes more and more risky to participate in. Look at S92, look at ACTA, look at patenting software look at the way, as you pointed out, monopolies are allowed to screw us over in many ways. E.g. 2003 NZ was one of *the* leading nations in internet usage and also in how businesses were developing applications. De-peering by Telecom and Telstra followed by crappy crappy broadband policies has stuffed us up completely. I was talking to a Taiwanese diplomat a couple of months ago who couldn't believe how backwards we were technologically and how little is being done to address the situation.

    Meh, thanks for giving me the chance to blow off steam.

    And maybe are farmers should watch a few more of these videos.

    Inaccurate, sure, but that is what folks in their precious markets are thinking and keeping up a denialist stance won't help any.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1615 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    That's my daddy

    Wow - that was my first guess too. Am looking forward to hearing more about what you learned around the kitchen table.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16605 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    Mike Moore, for example, makes more sense

    Words that are seldom spoken, I suspect. ;-)

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Words that are seldom spoken, I suspect. ;-)

    It'll be a 'long, cold night' before they're used again. Boom-tish. ;)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3653 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Moore's most sensible words? Lamb burger.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16605 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Holt,

    "Words that are seldom spoken, I suspect. ;-)"

    "It'll be a 'long, cold night' before they're used again. Boom-tish. ;)"

    Au contrare. I happened to be at an event recently where Moore spoke, and it was one of the better speeches I've heard. (Perhaps he bought it online??) Anyway, he spoke really, really well about NZ's competitiveness abroad... and he managed to invoke, amongst other things... the Magna Carta, the American Constitution, ancient Greek city states and the Scottish reformation. T'was very aspirational. I was impressed, and thus, I mentioned him...

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • RaggedJoe,

    Don't flatter yourself on your ability to deliver innovative genius.

    Actually reults of our company in delivering new business is pretty good. Entrepreneurship is alive and well in our little corner.

    Your cynical view of leadership and it's ability is a little dissapointing. Please don't misundersatnd, I am not looking for salvation in the form of leadership from our politicians.

    However commercial leadership has real potential to drag us out of this recession, what we need is a supportive and sustaining commercial environment, for that we are reliant on our politicians.

    I am not in marketing, and do not use a white board. I am in real world commecrial day to day trading of products. It is a bloody tough grind and we work desperately hard to survive AND to innovate. Fail in this and we sink and dissapear.

    City of Sales • Since Sep 2008 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Someone in this group said it'd be nice if there is a list of tips and pointers... well there are! Maybe not printed in your newspaper.. but they are there... just look harder :-)

    That would have been me - what I was getting at was aimed at returning kiwis - coming back from OE after a decade or two is hard, much harder than you can imagine - you're arrive in a place where you're expected to know how to perform as an adult, but you missed a chunk of your growing up - how do you register you're kids for school? a doctor? etc etc and you have to figure it all out at once

    Bringing your job back with you is hard too and we're all just as unprepared - starting a company for example - I could have walked you through it in California - coming back to NZ I had no idea where/how to start - setting up PAYE, GST, moving money, how do deal with disparate tax regimes etc etc - I spent 1000s of dollars learning this stuff or having people set it up for me, in reality it's probably easy to DIY

    After all we're the best kind of immigrants, ones who bring their work with them and who become instant exporters, every month.

    The problem is that we're largely invisible to the traditional business sector and the government, we don't show up in containers leaving the ports, it just looks like people just keep sending us money. The nice lady in the bank I chat to every month probably knows what i do by now - I worry that anyone else looking at my bank accounts probably thinks I'm a drug dealer - I had to get the accountant to have a word with the IRD about my GST and why I get a refund every 2 months .....

    So what I was suggesting was that if the govt is spending time trying to lure people back from OE - they should be doing things to encourage people to bring their jobs with them and to make it easy to do the bits that are completely non-obvious and opaque from 10,000km

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2123 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Wow - that was my first guess too. Am looking forward to hearing more about what you learned around the kitchen table.

    Wow, yourself, Sacha. I would never have thought you would have known who my Dad was. I look forward to talking to you about him, someday, with some alcohol involved, of course.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Hey, me and David both guessed at about the same time. My father's cousin may have had some yachting overlap. Drinkies, certainly.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16605 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Don't depend on leaders to come up with new ideas - motivating people and creative thinking don't always go hand in hand.

    You only have to look at the Warriors for an example of that. A motivated side that is the least creative in the clubs history and of any side in the comp since the Rabbitohs side of 1999 (I'm talking average points per game).

    Amazing how I can take any topic and flip it to sport.

    BOT, One option people have is going to teach in Korea and sending home tens of thousands of dollars in savings each year. Yep :) Or going to work anywhere overseas and sending the money back to NZ for their eventual arrival.

    Since Nov 2006 • 868 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Drinkies, certainly.

    You're on. Sofie B and her resident Bob the Builder introduced me to a very convivial place last night. Mac's Neighbourhood Bar in Kingsland. Very nice outside by the fire, it was.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell,

    Just to show you what a small world it is, Jackie...I knew one of the people who helped lay out the garden at your father's house, up by the Shelly Beach turnoff.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Did you, John? My mum's been a bit cross at times at what the new owners have done to that garden. Dad made a lovely water garden mostly by himself, and they drained the pond. And before Mum and Dad moved out there, Dad planted a shelter belt of pines, which they ripped down. It's so exposed sitting up on top of that hill. Needs must, I guess. It is a small world, isn't it? Well, a small Auckland, anyway.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

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