Some of New Zealand’s leading business commentators, economic analysts, innovators and entrepreneurs will be key contributors to a NZ Fabian Society seminar, Fresh Ideas for the Productive Economy – The Search for Solutions, to be staged in the Legislative Chamber of Parliament on Wednesday 27 July (a programme is available here).

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The Fabian Society has organised the seminar to provide a forum for discussion of ideas on how we as a nation can improve our productivity and our long-term economic prospects. Metiria Turei MP and Grant Robertson MP are the sponsoring MPs and all political parties have been offered the chance to speak to the topic.

 

Speakers confirmed from outside Parliament include:

Selwyn Pellett, of the Productive Economy Council

June McCabe, of Sustainable Prosperity & member of the Maori Economic Taskforce

Rick Boven, of the New Zealand Institute

Bernard Hickey, of interest.co.nz

Gareth Morgan, of Gareth Morgan Investments

John Walley, of the Manufacturers and Exporters Association

Geoff Bertram, of the Institute of Policy Studies

Rhema Vaithianathan, an economist from Auckland University

The seminar will be facilitated by Finlay MacDonald and is sponsored by Scoop.co.nz.

 

Admission to the seminar is by invitation only. Persons wishing to receive an invitation should log their interest in the panel on the right.

 

"Ten years on, New Zealand's economic performance is still not up to scratch. Much of New Zealand's export performance is still dominated by commodity exports. Fonterra's exports of safe milk powder to China have obviously helped underpin the economy in the post-global financial crisis era. But where are the big raft of high-tech and service companies that should also be spearheading New Zealand's overseas performance and providing young New Zealanders the opportunity to work from here?"

Fran O'Sullivan in the NZ Herald, Wednesday 8 June

 

"New Zealand has to lift the income it earns from deploying its labour and capital, or alternatively just put up with a continued slide in income relative to other countries. Choosing the latter underpins brain drain and we become little more than a retirement village for returning expats, and a low income home for the rest. Choosing the former requires a revolution in our tax, welfare and regulatory policies."

Gareth Morgan in the NZ Herald Tuesday 7 June

 

These two perspectives  summarise the key themes for discussion and debate at the upcoming Fabian seminar in Wellington on 27th July. Presentations from well-known investors, entrepreneurs, academics and comentators will set the scene.

New Zealanders are not lazy or without ideas. New Zealand lags because much of our investment is tied up in housing and farm property, and is not productive enough. We need to improve productivity; and this means more productive investment. Price is important, so is allocation of capital which depends to some extent on policy.

Obstacles we face are skill shortages, tyranny of distance, and a volatile exchange rate. But the opportunities are immense if we focus our combined efforts. It would be really great if all political parties worked together to set out a complementary series of policies and offer a practical range of solutions to secure our economic future.

The latest programme information may be found here.