Editor’s Letter CER and more

The relationship between New Zealand and Australia is top of our list of issues identified as destined to have profound impact on this country over the next five to 10 years. For that reason we decided that this year Management magazine would mark the 20th birthday celebrations of the Closer Economic Relations (CER) trade pact that now drives our commercial relationship, and assigned writer Ian F Grant to report first on the history, and then subsequently on the future of our tortuously negotiated trans-Tasman relations. He delivers the first part of his assignment in our cover story this month and looks back on what he calls the 170 years of “up and down” trading relationship that culminated in CER. In October he will take more detailed look at the achievements of CER, comment on how it can still be improved, and how New Zealand and Australian companies are benefiting from, and occasionally frustrated by, CER. He’ll also consider whether CER has stolen New Zealand’s independence and sovereignty by stealth.

Grant is well qualified to undertake this assignment. As we point out at the end of his story, he authored The Other Side of the Ditch, book of cartoons and text that traces the historical, political, economic, sporting, cultural and oftentimes strained relationship that inexorably draws our two countries closer together. So how come the diverse and disparate nations of Europe have successfully set aside their differences to relatively rapidly stitch their economic union together? Why are we so coy about cosying up with Australia? It seems hardly relevant to offer up the excuse of cultural differences when we consider the patchwork of nations that huddle together under the EU quilt. But perhaps the pace of change is quickening. Egos, particularly at the political level, have undoubtedly had lot to do with progress, or the lack of it. Pragmatism seems far more likely to prevail in future. After reading this and our October issue, Management readers will be more enlightened about why we think this is the issue of the decade for New Zealand and New Zealanders – even if it’s less important to our fellow Anzacs.

And talking about the future, contributing writer Hamish More explores the importance of scenario planning in his article entitled Does Your Organisation Rain Dance? “Thinking about the future is something we are conditioned to do, and is intrinsically linked to our wellbeing,” he writes. Unfortunately leaders and managers don’t always think far enough ahead when considering the future of their enterprise. And when they do start thinking about it, they realise that the future is fraught with risks and errors. More offers some suggestions about how to plan for, and handle uncertainty. Look too, for our 15 page Executive Learning Guide this month.

And next month look for the arrival of The Director, “governance in action” publication which will be published twice year (in June and November) with Management magazine and as stand-alone extra. The Director will cover in depth all the issues around the increasingly important leadership world of corporate governance. Published in association with Sheffield Academy of Corporate Governance, The Director extends Management’s coverage of best practice in the boardroom.

Reg Birchfield

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