As I See It

What are New Zealand’s major challenges for 2012?
The big four sustainability challenges stand out for me. 1) Our environment – as nation we need to be heartfelt in facing up to the environmental sustainability challenge. The land is finite in her capacity to sustain yet our focus continues to be on how to extract and produce more. 2) Our society – New Zealand has culture of ambivalence toward income inequality. We hold stewardship responsibility for passing on good quality of life to the next generation. Yet we run the risk of depriving them of this. 3) Our culture– our nation’s progress in honouring the spirit of Tiriti o Waitangi is tainted by ethnocentrism. While the Treaty speaks in the language of intergenerational sustainability we still choose to interpret it from perspective of colonial entitlement. 4) Our economy – at national level we need to walk our own number-8-wire talk. Today we are one of the OECD’s least innovative nations. This needs to change before our forefathers’ legacy for ingenuity and innovation is lost.

How well prepared are Kiwi business leaders to face these challenges?
The innovator and early adopter business leaders are well placed to take on the sustainability challenges. Their attitude of abundance, possibility and tenacity is making real difference in all sectors of society – commercial, government and civil. The counter to this optimism is that we have not yet reached the tipping point for the majority to make the vision of sustainable nation reality.

What more could we do as country to thrive in the current global economic climate?
We need to face up to the reality that what we value today may not be right from global sustainability perspective. I doubt future generations will judge our current predisposition to consumerism, individualism and ethnocentrism as the right values for our time. To thrive in the current global economic climate we must lead the world in being authentically sustainable. M

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