Thursday, December 3, 2009

John Key, New Zealander

In Tokyo recently when I spoke to the Japan-New Zealand Business Forum meeting I was able to spend some time with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. I was impressed. He’s definitely a new age leader. Practical experience, successful track record in business, excellent at international relationships, passionate and committed to purpose and ideals with the nation at his heart.

John Key is producing a dynamic can-do attitude towards politics and has created favorable impressions wherever he goes.

At his core he is committed to seeing New Zealand’s farmers and exporters producing more and getting better prices for their goods. He is a believer in our tourism industry. (I applaud the appointment of Kevin Bowler as CEO of New Zealand Tourism. I’ve known Kevin for many years now and he will bring transformational up-to-the-minute thinking given his recent Telecom/Yahoo experience). John’s core belief is that New Zealand’s future lies in the hands of Kiwi entrepreneurs selling their ideas to the world so they can expand businesses and provide new and better paying jobs. As many of you know, I’ve been committed to this very same belief for over a decade now. New Zealand must export or die and intellectual capital is what we have to offer. The role of business is to make the world a better place and the way we do this is through creating jobs, choices, growth and self esteem.

John Key is also committed to seeing more of New Zealand’s young people realizing their potential in New Zealand. I agree with this but I also feel that it’s necessary for New Zealanders to go overseas to stretch their legs, find their feet, and learn more quickly. My three children have all experienced this positively and successfully. The trick for New Zealand is to offer them a combination of lifestyle and opportunity so they will eventually return.

I’ve read John’s six part program which I feel can be a manifesto for the modern politician everywhere in today’s world, irrespective of political affiliation.

  1. Ensuring our tax system encourages people to work hard, save, and invest in productive Kiwi businesses.
  2. Focusing the Government’s activity on better, smarter, frontline services, and not bureaucracy.
  3. Providing all New Zealanders with the education and skills they need to perform in productive well-paid jobs.
  4. Building the transport, broadband, and other infrastructure networks that people and businesses need to get their jobs done as efficiently as possible.
  5. Removing the red tape and cumbersome regulation that can prevent businesses from expanding, taking on new workers, and making the most of new ideas.
  6. Supporting New Zealand firms to grow and develop new ideas by connecting them with our researchers and scientists, and helping them reach more global consumers by signing free trade agreements with our trading partners.
Count me in.