Editorial: Patriotism is good for business

A friend and prominent business leader was explaining why she believed our bright young talents should be encouraged to stay in New Zealand and use their skills and energies to enhance this country’s performance in every sphere. With our changing demographic – the ageing workforce in particular – we certainly need them. And whilst I would not try to prevent any young person from gaining life experience offshore – my own daughter and my friend’s children are amongst those who are doing just that – we need to do more to encourage and celebrate high achievement within our borders.
Part of that is recognising that our small domestic economy cannot support the high income potential of most other developed nations. But we should also acknowledge and celebrate the lifestyle and relative luxuries that our small population allows. It’s hard to put monetary value on some of the advantages we have that are increasingly rare in world compromised by population, resource and pollution pressures.
In many much larger economies it’s only privileged few who can enjoy many of the things ordinary New Zealanders take for granted; access to beautiful, uncrowded beaches, forests, parks and lakes; high quality fresh food products; tertiary education opportunities… the list is long one.
We need to stop focusing on the lack of opportunities here for ambitious young people and help them to identify and create new ones – we would all benefit from the resulting invigoration of our society and economy.
Those Kiwis who are based offshore can however, be part of the solution.
Sue Watson, global CEO of Kea (Kiwi Expat Association), talks about leveraging the expat network to benefit New Zealand in ‘As I See It’.
Co-founder of Meadow Mushrooms and former politician Philip Burdon says New Zealand needs to focus on its natural resources and forget delusions of high tech and financial services-based future. You can read Reg Birchfield’s interview with him.
And political columnist Colin James addresses issues of biculturalism and the economic impact of societal dislocation in his column.
Following the GFC and subsequent social dislocation occurring worldwide there is some evidence of change in attitude towards the value of life in New Zealand. And work that the New Zealand Vision 2050 project will undertake later this year to shape our vision for sustainable future may support that attitudinal change.
Dan Carter – who is not exactly underpaid – still probably had to say ‘no’ to ridiculous sum to stay here and continue to lead our nation’s sporting icons. He obviously places more value on his New Zealand lifestyle than more wealth than he could ever acquire here.
We need to value what we have – it’s not all about the money.

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