UPfront Business a big yawn?

Apparently the “ideal New Zealand” doesn’t do much business. In fact there’s whole bundle of us who admit to finding economic issues “quite boring”.

That’s according to research carried out for Industry New Zealand, and based on 1500-strong representative group, which set out to discover Kiwi attitudes to business and enterprise.

A mere six percent of respondents rated business or economy as factors worth including on their ideal New Zealand list. Half felt it was more important for New Zealanders to do what was right socially, than what was right economically. Forty-two percent thought economic issues were big yawn.

However, after prompting, fairly substantial 96 percent did concede well-performing economy was essential to the country’s future. And while few identified “growth industries” as likely to ensure healthy economy, prompt saw 91 percent agreeing we should support the four new high potential growth industries – information and communications technology, biotechnology, niche manufacturing and creative industries.

All of which suggests that in terms of impact on the national psyche, business still lags sadly behind sport. Not exactly surprise – but such information is all grist to the mill of those like INZ who are trying to promote business and enterprise culture here.

It’s not that we’re lost cause. More than 90 percent of respondents professed admiration for those who start up their own business. And those seen as being “socially responsible” with it (eg, Stephen Tindall, Dick Hubbard) earned special mention.

But, hey, we just don’t want people to crow about their business nous and bore the socks off us at parties with dissertations on stock market prices rather than rugby scores.

Well, the survey didn’t put it quite that way, but nearly third of respondents didn’t think it appropriate to celebrate business success, and more than third couldn’t name any business folk they admired.

Not surprising given that less than 20 percent read the newspapers’ business pages and mere 10 percent (this includes you, dear reader) dip into specialist business magazines like Management.

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