Was a real privilege to listen to Stephen Jennings deliver the annual Sir Ron Trotter dinner last night. Somehow ended up on the Chairman’s tables so was only three metres away from the podium.
A sad note was that for the first time ever, Sir Ron himself could not attend due to ill health. His family were there in numbers though.
Jennings is a former Treasury economist who before the global recession was worth $6 billion, so he has done well for a Taranaki boy.
Jenni McManus covers some of his thoughts on Stuff:
If New Zealand jettisons MMP and elects leaders who can move beyond placating minority interest groups, it might have a chance of arresting its 50-year decline and competing globally, he says.
Well there will be a vote on MMP in the next couple of years. Ironically the popularity of the Key Government may save MMP. With Winston gone, and a stable popular Government, a lot of people may say why change?
Since 1980, he says, economic power has begun shifting from the so-called rich countries of the West to emerging markets such as the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Angola, Greece, Tanzania, Botswana, Ireland, Bhutan, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Chile, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Lebanon, Trinidad and Tobago, Mozambique, Poland, Guyana and Tunisia.
Jennings spoke a lot about the opportunities we will have from a few hundred million more peple moving into the “middle classes” world wide.
“Today there are 5.5 billion people living in countries with growth rates higher than the average in the G7.”
Yep, they are catching up.
Mr Jennings is no fan of what he calls “missionary economics” the attempt to superimpose the “unadulterated adoption” of institutions and forms of government on countries with different economic, social and historical frameworks.
“The most successful emerging market businesses have evolved in a manner that is highly adapted to their local environment.”
Jennings clarified that the rule of law, property rights, independent judiciary are all very important but you can’t impose a model – it has to evolve.
New Zealanders needed to start talking about why the World Economic Forum ranked New Zealand 51st for burden of government, 67th for the extent and effect of tax, and 90th for hiring and firing practices.
Sadly I don’t see great improvements ahead. Maybe with time.
The country needed political leaders who could lead and manage change. “They need to be able to make policy choices quickly and efficiently,” Mr Jennings says.
“We know what kind of political behaviour our current constitution generates: gradualism, populism and the quasi-corruption arising from disproportionate pandering to tiny minorities.”
Is he talking Winston and Grey Power? 🙂