Guest Post: Is it corruption or a different operating system?

A guest post by Jadis:

While it may come out that Australia have been using illegal tactics against local New Zealand suppliers I suspect something else may be going on.  From my years of experience working with (and against) lobbyists, politicians and corporates on either side of the Tasman, New Zealanders have a slightly different way of operating than our Australian cousins. 

At a very simple level, Australian politicians, lobbyists and corporates seek to ‘win’ by being aggressive and often bullying their opposition into submission.  It could be suggested that Countdown’s people are an example of this.  The interesting thing is they don’t think they are doing anything wrong or unusual because this is the norm in their Australian environment.  Some in the New Zealand commentariat may even think “New Zealanders need to harden up!” It becomes interesting when we look at what the usual New Zealand operating system might be.    

New Zealand politicians, lobbyists and corporates are more likely to use diplomacy and manipulate positions behind the scenes – not obviously right in front of you (or in the media like the Australians so often do).  I’ve enjoyed talking down Australian counterparts explaining to them that being a bully is not how you get a ‘win’ in New Zealand.  Indeed the best wins are the ones where the opposition may not even realise that levers were manoeuvred in various ways – against them. 

Sure, New Zealanders have to put their own ego aside but fordo so for the “greater good” and yes, bottom lines.  It is amazing just how much can be done using fairly polite and diplomatic ways.  It is no surprise that the likes of Rt Hon Helen Clark and Chris Liddell are at the top of their games in the world because… you know what, they aren’t pricks to deal with but still (in some clever way) get their own firm position implemented.  I’d also argue that Rt Hon John Key adopts similar techniques – being very clear of his own position while adopting multi-level approaches to solving the problem.  You don’t get the moniker of ‘Smiling Assassin’ for no reason.

There is a very good reason that New Zealanders are often at the front of deals (for various multinationals) in Asian countries.  We are respectful, we gather information and we look for ways to work together and not necessarily against each other.  Of course, the good operators also know how to crush the opposition using those same techniques.

So, that leads me to the Americans.  Like it or not their way is still via the chequebook and you know what… they are good at it.  They also have size on their side.  Kim Dotcom does not employ clever and calculated German techniques to getting his own way.  He uses the good old fashioned American chequebook.  Of course this only works as long as you have dollars in the bank.  How long can a person promise that people can be paid for helping him?  Or that he has any ability to help them in return? 

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