UPFRONT Kiwi competitiveness lagging

New Zealand is stumbling on global competitiveness rankings – but at least we can, apparently, claim some improvement in the credibility of our managers.
There’s not too much cheer in the New Zealand pages of the recently published IMD (International Institute for Management Development) World Competitiveness Yearbook 2006 which shows we’ve dropped six places in our overall ranking – from 16 to 22 (also see article “A Sorry State” on page 34 of this issue). In comparison, Australia rose three places to sneak into sixth behind the usual luminaries of the United States (1), Hong Kong (2), Singapore (3) and Iceland (4).
However, amongst the criteria highlighted as our 10 greatest improvements – alongside healthy longterm employment – is the credibility of Kiwi managers. We’ve also been doing okay in terms of portfolio investment, total reserves, high-tech exports and mobile phone subscribers (among others).
The competitiveness Achilles heel is around the current account balance, real GDP growth and communications technology. It’s interesting to note that one of the selected challenges for the country is to “speed up the adoption of broadband communications technology” – something the Government recently addressed with the prematurely announced new regulations which will force Telecom to “unbundle” the local loop.
Other challenges for 2006 are: streamlining procedures to encourage skilled immigrants; ensuring security of supply and affordability of energy and water; encouraging workplace productivity and improving management/business capability; and improving business prospects by reducing compliance costs.
IMD’s Yearbook, published annually since 1989, compares the competitiveness of 61 countries and regional economies based on 312 criteria.

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