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Shovel Award: Manufacturers and Exporters Association of New Zealand

John Gallagher nominates the Manufacturers and Exporters Association of New Zealand for this weeks Shovel Award for proposing that after the 2008 election:

“New Zealand required economic reform rather than work on social or environmental fronts” Refer to PDF 11KB Confidence falls to record low, The Press, Thursday, November 06, 2008.

John Gallagher submits in support of this nomination that the association is framing the way forward in a dangerously self-defeating manner:

Firstly, in today’s ecologically sensitive world markets New Zealand’s production must itself be increasingly clean and green, and be seen to be so. (Refer to PDF 13KB Time to lead, The Press, November 14 2008). Better yet, if our manufacturers and exporters themselves prioritized innovation in clean and green products and methods they could provide more premium competitive products and services, including consultancy services, for the wider world.

Secondly, a short term focus on profit-making at the expense of social well-being and development could establish a damaging pattern that could become hard to reverse. Such a narrowing down of policy development would increasingly undercut the ability of people, families and society in general not only to participate meaningfully, happily and cohesively in society – it would at the same time also undermine the well-being, morale and general good will needed to work together to create an innovative and consequently buoyant economy.

Thirdly, there is a new development that has the capability to change everything for the better, and that is broadband access for all. The new government’s election commitments included ultrafast broadband rollout so “that everyday Kiwis get affordable worldclass broadband services.” Broadband summary (PDF). Whether manufacturers and exporters can do so or not, policymakers at least need to pause to take a close, medium to longer term, view of the possibilities of broadband. They must do this to grasp how, and precisely how, the most can be made of broadband investment rather than the least. Suitably utilized, broadband has the potential to enable many economic, ecological, social and personal needs to be met in tandem with one another in ways that have not been possible before. That is the kind of vision that I hope that this kind of website will help to crystallize and explore.

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