Editorial CER II The politics

When we published our May cover story on the progress made under 20 years of closer economic relationship (CER) with Australia we promised more. The growing closeness of the economic and political relationship between our two countries was, we said, “destined to have profound impact on New Zealand over the next 10 years”. Events, as they have unfolded since, reinforce that view. Not only is our relationship with Australia changing, but our respective relationships with the rest of the world are changing too and they in turn will serve to shape our futures. We promised another chapter in this evolving story this month, and it is has been written by Management’s long-time political columnist and CER watcher, Colin James.
We expected Ian F Grant, the author of our first story, to write CER II but he is currently knee deep in completing book on New Zealand prime ministers. James, dedicated observer of and astute commentator on the politics of the kangawi axis, agreed to pick up the assignment. His revelations and insights enhance our understanding of the pressures and the progress. His first-hand knowledge of the political dimension explains just how things have changed since Labour came to power and how Prime Ministers Helen Clark and John Howard have become an unlikely but important transTasman twosome.
James reports that after sometimes stultifyingly slow first 20 years there is once again movement on CER. The former instrument of free trade is now “an instrument of economic integration”. Officials have been, often reluctantly, forced to tackle the “hard” issues and we are moving inexorably toward “borderless” market. James draws together the strands of the complicating issues that lie ahead and weaves them into helpful political update.
Associate editor Vicki Jayne reports this month on managers’ frequent failure to measure the importance of people to an organisation. She spent time with couple of experts on the subject of measuring ROI – return on individuals. Individual initiatives have major impacts on the bottom line but how to measure those impacts. Jayne’s story on page 34 explains.
And also this month, strategy guru Adrian Slywotzky tells our man in New York, Stuart Crainer, what it takes to grow business in our increasingly tough economic times. The traditional growth model (inventing great products, international growth and acquisition) has run out of steam according to Slywotzky. And management is left with the challenge of recognising and admitting that traditional growth moves have dried up and they need to develop new ways to grow. To find out more, turn to page 38.

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