INTOUCH : More trust: more valuer

Do we have too many managers and not enough trust? That was question posed at debate on New Zealand’s economic future hosted by AUT’s Department of Finance recently.
The suggestion came from University of Auckland economics professor Tim Hazledine who presented graph revealing that the ratio of managers to non-clerical employees has been getting steadily higher in New Zealand compared with Australia. Further on the subject of the two countries’ respective productivity levels, he noted that productivity is often exclusively seen in terms of physical output from physical input.
“I think what matters is the value your get for your output – this is revenue productivity. We need to stop looking at adding value in favour of extracting value.”
Citing “hero-farmer” Jon McLean (a Southlander whose grass-fed lamb fetches goodly price in UK supermarkets) as an example, he said New Zealand should be “a purveyor to the world of products that are clean, green and excellent”. The world is already changing course from 20th century “consume more/pay less” model based on economies of scale, learning by doing and opening up the world’s cheap labour supplies.
Cheap resources, including labour, are running out and the new direction needs to involve less concern about economic growth, productivity and inflation and more about sustainability, happiness and “doing what we’re good at and getting more for it”, he said.
NZ Business Roundtable executive director Roger Kerr lauded the Government’s goal to play catch up with the Aussies and said it would require “exceptional sustained economic management”.
The discussion panel, which also included University of South Wales School of Economics professor Kevin Fox addressed 60 academics and economics practitioners from all over the world as part of the 20th New Zealand Econometrics Meeting.

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