Broadband key to competitive edge for NZ

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A good article by Liam Dann on why the Key government should push ahead with broadband. He suggests that the initiative could well assist NZ in gaining an edge in becoming a location for the outsourcing of professional services.

I think that this is something NZ should focus on. To a limited extent some do this currently. However, I see significant opportunity in this area for NZ.

Some good ideas and if pursued will assist the move to a valued added, service based economy and will reduce our over dependence on primary produce, plus build increased national wealth.Further, it will provide opportunities for jobs and for business creation.

Potentially in this manner we could at long last see NZ become a knowledge based economy in reality, rather than as a political talking point.

The big question is whether New Zealanders have the appetite to make this happen, or do they lack the edge and desire to achieve.

A couple of relevant extracts from the article follow.

Dann comments:-

New Zealand – as are about to see again – is dangerously reliant on agricultural exports and the import of foreign tourists.

We need a third stream of revenue if the nation is ever to address its $15.5 billion current account deficit and actually develop some wealth.

We could (and should) reduce our spending but as important as cost-cutting is in times like these it is not a long-term path to wealth creation – and it is no fun.

So for these reasons when he sits down to discuss which infrastructure projects to bring forward to stimulate growth, John Key and his team should still have the broadband network at the top of the list

I agree.

Develop the vision and seek to make it happen. Plus as Dann notes infrastructure spending on roads and the like is all very well, but it does not provide jobs for displaced bankers, lawyers, software builders, web designers, creative types and new graduates. If we cannot provide our bright people with work they will go elsewhere. So too with them will go much of our potential for wealth creation as a nation.

That is why I strongly identify  with what Dann wrote later in his article:-

In this country we have a world class pool of workers in professional service industries such as accounting, law, advertising, web design, music, film and television.

We have a workforce that is educated and literate – not just in English but in the pop cultural nuances of the Brits, the Americans and increasingly the Chinese.

As our economy slows it is likely we will have a surplus of these professional, creative people. We are likely to see more of them returning home as economies in Australia and the UK turn down.

Cutting edge internet could allow every New Zealand business to become an exporter.

We should sell the idea of this nation as the place to go for outsourced professional services.

China is the world’s outsourcing capital for manufacturing and India has similar reputation for call centres.

But New Zealand should by-pass low value services and aim for the high end – as we have done in the wine industry.

We should compete only in areas we are either better than the competition or cheaper.

Whether it is financial services, computer animation or the jingle for a toothpaste commercial – wherever a company wants a job done a New Zealand firm should be pitching its services.

For the next few years at least we will be cheaper than most other similar economies – enough time to build a reputation and national brand as we have done in the film industry.


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