Letter to the Editor

World-class article about World-Class Government? Yes definitely world-class article, thank you Doug Matheson (Management, February 2002, Opinion Leaders).
The points Doug Matheson makes are simple logical points, but on many people they are lost to ideology and envy. There are many people in New Zealand who are apparently happy to give up higher standard of living just to ensure business owners don’t earn too much. As Matheson points out, what we are giving up is quality health care and education, and the ability to protect our environment because we are not competitive enough on the world scene. It has always amazed me that the Greens are so anti-business, yet it’s only through business earnings that there will be sufficient funds to preserve our environment against an ever-increasing world population that no one has any workable solution to curb.
I understand in 1993 we were third in world competitiveness behind Singapore and Hong Kong. I am appalled that we have gone from 11th to 21st in the five short years since 1997. If we keep falling at this rate, some now third-world countries will be looking down at us and we definitely won’t be able to afford bananas at the supermarket! This must be wake-up call for Helen Clark’s government.
It’s interesting to look back and ponder where we would be now had David Lange not taken his infamous ‘cup of tea’ that stalled our world-class and world-beating reforms of the 1980s, and had Jim Bolger not pushed Ruth Richardson out (when she left in 1993 we were third in world competitiveness). The two people I hold most accountable for my standard of living being much lower than it could have been were both prime ministers at the time who lost their nerve – sad and tragic for all of us. Both also lost their positions while still in power. lesson here for those who study leadership.
Management magazine and the New Zealand Institute of Management have mission to produce true leaders and so minimise such tragedies – I wonder how much leadership training David and Jim had?
 Malcolm Spark

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