Magazine article New Zealand Management

Very Distant Cousins. (Opinion Leaders)

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Very Distant Cousins. (Opinion Leaders)

Article excerpt

Three economic reports released recently glaringly highlighted the diverging differences in economic attitude, position and performance between Australia and New Zealand. The IMD World Competitiveness Survey--in which the New Zealand Institute of Management participated as IMD's local partner for the first time this year'--and the respective New Zealand and Australian Government budgets all contained stark messages that we should not ignore.

As a nation and an economy we are, in many areas, now being left horribly behind by our trans-Tasman cousins. The gulf between our respective living standards is widening. The implications of the economic trends are serious for business and management in New Zealand. Our young and talented business people won't see much future in working for global corporation branch offices here when more career opportunities, lower taxes and a higher standard of living beckon from Australia. In turn, it becomes more difficult for New Zealand companies to grow into international enterprises that increase economic growth and national wealth when the cream of our "intellectual capital" has skipped town.

IMD World Competitiveness Survey

Australia ranked second in overall competitiveness with a score of 86.5 in the large countries with populations greater than 20 million. New Zealand ranked 14th with a significantly lower score of 72.2 in the small countries grouping. Five years ago we were at very similar levels on international competitiveness benchmarks. Where has Australia improved and where have we weakened?

The IMD survey clearly showed that we are now materially lagging Australia in both 'Business Efficiency' and 'Infrastructure'--two of the major categories IMD benchmarks.

Our 10 weakest criteria in 'Business Efficiency' were quite different to Australia's. Low levels of skilled labour, poor productivity, competent senior managers not available, and senior business managers with low international experience are New Zealand's negative constraints. By contrast, Australia's weakest areas centred more on working hours, unemployment and compensation.

Just as I always suspected! We work harder but somehow manage to produce less and have a lower standard of living than the Aussies.

In the 'Infrastructure' category our lack of forward planning and investment has left us with distinct disadvantages compared with Australia. Our weakest criteria were, however, in restrictive environmental laws and education staff/pupil ratios. Again by contrast, education did not feature as a weakness in Australia's infrastructure measures. …

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