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Beyond Branding is written by members of The Medinge Group

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January 18, 2006

New Zealand business confidence plunges (I told you so) 

New Zealand’s business confidence has plunged to its lowest in 20 or 35 years, depending on your news source.
   It highlights a few things for me: first, the era was actually better for ; and secondly, mismanagement by this administration has led to this moment.
   The warning signs were there long ago, in the 1990s. And I have said so for the last five years, if not more. The government was easily fooled by the amount of and the success of two men: the late Sir , for guiding the victory, and , film-maker extraordinaire.
    dollars and FDI covered the fact we weren’t producing sufficient graduates in , in new industries, or seeking to improve our —warning signs the last government gave in 1999 with its ‘Bright Future’ programme. Partisanship saw to the programme’s cancellation. So much for patriotism.
   Instead, we continued plugging a clean, green as a country, which is all well and good—but that was merely an evolution of the image of a primary products’ exporter. What of our secondary products, our ?
   In the 1990s, I said that the nation brand should be about innovation and independence, and even isolation—which can be a good thing if you want the purest inspiration. The letter i.
    is the way out—both for the nation and for individual businesses.
   Yet I have seen very little happen. The government tells me there is a ‘New Zealand, new thinking’ campaign, which I had urged the export body to adopt even during my university days. That’s over 10 years ago. But a campaign only works if the internal knows of it first. The internal audience does not: the average in the street hasn’t a clue.
   Neither, it seems, does the government.
   But short memories and in-fighting will, no doubt, ensure that even the opposition remains ignorant to all of this.
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