• John Luxton

Minister of Commerce and Industry, Hon John Luxton, today said New Zealand business was to be applauded for its progress to date with managerial and business practices. However, there was still work to do to progress further towards improving the country's international competitiveness and achieving world class status.

The Minister was commenting on the report A Season of Excellence? An Overview of New Zealand Enterprise in the Nineties, published by NZIER and commissioned by the Ministry of Commerce.

The study found that in every aspect of organisation strategy and practice, and in every sector and size of firm, there was evidence of substantial change in managerial and business practice since 1992. It also found there has been a breakout from survival towards a growing expansiveness in market scope, and behaviours that support sustainable competitive advantage.

Mr Luxton today said, This is good news. New Zealand enterprise has made much positive progress in the last few years. Horizons have expanded. There have been more changes than people realise. It is being driven by innovative people with an eye on the needs of both the domestic, and increasingly,overseas customer.And it is driven by strategies that increasingly recognise the value of moving up the value chain, away from being product or commodity traders competing solely on price, to price makers competing on value and service.

Manufacturers have worked hard at doing things even better and all New Zealanders have benefited through increased jobs and growth.

However, the report points out that there is still much work to be done. New Zealand business can not afford a cup of tea, or to be sidetracked. NZ Business needs to clearly recognise its own responsibility to lift its internal capabilities and to do things even better. (see attached suggested areas of improvement by the report ) For example, while there is understandable concern at changes in the value of the dollar, there are things that business can actually do themselves to manage that risk.

The Government for its part needs to continue its own comphrensive industry work program(the Government currently spends some $160 million on enterprise assistance); to introduce competition and cost efficiencies to those parts of the economy which are still needlessly protected; to reduce costs; to continue to provide balanced, sensible and stable Government in a very volatile political environment.

The reality, as we have learnt from the past, is that social objectives can only be effectively met in an economy that can sustain strong growth. This report is a timely reminder that while we have made much progress, there is still work to do, Mr Luxton concluded.