We used to make sh*t and build sh*t in this country

I read David Thomson’s blog post today and share his sentiment that we used to make shit and build shit in this country (NZ I’m talking about). David said he was filled with despair when he read that Haier now own Fisher and Paykel. I was too. Another company with the profits going offshore. More of our Intellectual intelligence going offshore to enrich another economy which we will further enrich when we buy their products. Who let this happen?

And in the weekend NZ Herald I read that having the firm bought by Haier was probably the only way the company was going to become more productive!

I take issue with that. What’s the point of being more productive if all the profits are going overseas and we have to buy our F and P whiteware from a Chinese company and continue not to pay our workers at levels that will make them happy?

From where I stand it’s really important to look closely at this issue? I asked who let this happen? And it’s a very serious question.

My son often asks me why we don’t build our own cars here in NZ, built specially for NZ conditions not Asian or European ones? Great question.

And I think we have to take collective responsibility. Because we have let it happen.

Here are some of the ways we have let this happen:

  • we have failed to ensure you can earn great money working in NZ (low wages)
  • we have not funded enough R and D (government or private funds)
  • we have a great education system that lets many of our kids down ( how many now leave without a qualification? how many of our youth are now out of work?)
  • we pay our teachers less than they are worth so they leave the profession
  • we have let our children disappear overseas to earn great money
  • we have not developed the leadership capacity needed to run a great little country
  • we have the tall poppy syndrome and continue to knock our high achievers
  • we have chosen foreign products over NZ made ones
  • we invest in overseas/foreign share markets not our own
  • we put our money in foreign owned banks
  • our thinking is short term not long term
  • we have low financial literacy so people don’t understand why selling off our national assets is a problem for our children which we are creating, and high personal debt
  • kids leave school without understanding key skills such as how not to get into debt
  • we refuse to deal with the poverty issue at a systemic level
  • our levels of inequality are the cause of many so called social problems and our response is to build more goals (owned and run by foreign companies?????)
  • we seem to be willing to sacrifice the future of our children for the next shiny object marketed to us by very clever people who tap into our psyche in ways we don’t understand
  • we fill our screens with rubbish American programmes

Whew, I could go on. But the point is we have done this. Collectively. So, if we have created this situation, we can create a different one. If we decide to. Lets decide to for our children’s sake, and their children’s sakes.

Here are some links to great things that our youth are making happen

(I’m proud to say my sister is the principal of Oramahoe School) Go Annie!

Power Shift NZ-Pacific 2012 – the biggest youth climate summit NZ …
7-9 December 2012, Auckland. Join the biggest youth climate summit New Zealand has ever seen!

http://www.actionstation.org.nz/campaigns .
Check out more about our constitution: Connect with Wendy McGuiness who hosted the Strategy Map session last year as well as EmpowerNZ – whereby 50 youth from across NZ wrote in 48hrs a new constitution for NZ: http://empowernz.co.nz/

Watch this video of the girl who silenced the United nations for 5 minutes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQmz6Rbpnu0&feature=related

I copy here Robert Frosts poem:

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost


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6 responses to “We used to make sh*t and build sh*t in this country”

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  1. Go to Top Al Black

    There are so many things wrong with “We used to make sh*t and build sh*t in this country” that it is hard to know where to start: how about with this?
    “My son often asks me why we don’t build our own cars here in NZ, built specially for NZ conditions not Asian or European ones? Great question.”
    No it isn’t great, or at least you didn’t have a great answer, which is “Because we would be stupid to even try: we don’t have any economic advantages in car design or manufacture, and have serious disadvantages compared to China, Japan or Korea: we don’t have the domestic market to give us the economies of scale that they have. We are also too far from our markets to ship bulky motor vehicles competitively, even if we could make them at a competitive price.”

    The fact that we can make and export whiteware from New Zealand is a great thing, even if the company is now owned by foreigners: who cares? They employ Kiwis which is the main thing, and the former Kiwi owners got to sell the business for more than they would have got if only natives were allowed to buy Kiwi businesses. You should be celebrating their success instead of bewailing it.

  2. Go to Top Frank Zhang

    Now we are in a globalization age. The competition is globalized.

    When more and more kiwis complaint that they are discriminated when living or working in OZ, why don’t they think about whether they discriminate immigrants coming to NZ from other countries? When other countries are sufferring “brain drain”, does NZ make best use of these brain and get benefits from these brain?

    It is quite offen to see or hear that immigrants in NZ cannot get positions matching their qualifications just because they don’t have “NZ experience” or they don’t speak fluent kiwi-English. So we can offen see immigrants having doctor or master degrees becoming taxi drivers or selling at flea markets.

    It is also quite offen to see that foreign experts working in China as managers or other senior positions even if they don’t speak Chinese at all. Of course they don’t have any China experience before they moved to China.

    Now we see China becomes the second biggest economy and is estimated will be number one economy in 5 years. Now we see more and more Chinese companies into NZ or buying NZ firms. Now we see NZ is becoming poorer and poorer comparing with Aussie or even other countries.

    This is competition — globalized competition! Wake up my fellow kiwis!

  3. Go to Top David Thompson

    Hi Bridget, I couldn’t agree more, those are excellent points.

  4. Go to Top Stewart Farr

    Fair call.
    But change requires 1 person. It only takes one person to try something and talk is cheap.
    What is stopping you trying to bring it back?

    If you want followers – you must first try to lead.

  5. Go to Top Margaret Holmes

    The reason f&p got sold to Haier is that most NZ investors put their money with institutional investors rather than building their own portfolio of share investments.

    Institutional investors rarely generate more than average returns, because they make safe investments. Also once a share offer reaches their target they will happily sell. With the Haier offer, once sufficient institutional investors got on board private investors were forced to sell.

    Unfortunately far too many NZers have a very low level of financial literacy, and little interest in improving themselves. We all need to understand why we can’t continue to import stuff, without at least the same level of exports, why the government and councils need to balance their budgets just like families do… And that when we say “the government should pay for that” it means we all pay through our taxes or the exchange rate or interest rates.

    As they tell you on aeroplanes – help yourself first, so you can help others. We each need to take responsibility for sorting our own problems and not wait for others to sort it for us. I realize that there are people for which this is almost an impossible task, but if the rest of us stopped waiting for other people to step up to solve problems we would be way better off.

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    […] quality ….or notNo CommentsArticle by Bridget Marsh A few months ago I blogged about our manufacturing industries going overseas and got lots of feedback on that blog.  I have a number of engineering clients who build quality […]

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