Is the time past to engage with the Government

In today's interconnected world, the dominant trend is the increasing influence of mega-corporations rather than governments and those governments now struggle to shape our actions. Governments, once self-contained entities with their own isolated populations, find themselves unable to influence international trends. Small nations, such as ours, especially those heavily reliant on exports and tourism, face particular vulnerability to these global forces. Disease, conflict, and money all operate beyond borders and outside our Government’s influence.

The challenge for governments with diminished autonomy is how to effectively improve the lives of their citizens. New Zealand's economic prosperity, employment opportunities, and overall societal well-being are directly influenced by foreign factors.

Corporations possess the agility to evolve and adapt to new challenges, a capacity that governments often lack. The entrenched, unyielding nature of a long-standing professional public service, insulated from international influences and  is connected from the citizens they serve, hinders progress. It creates substantial resistance to any government attempting critical policy changes.

So why engage with a seemingly archaic institution, such as government, which can achieve so little? This is the question emerging following New Zealand's recent election, which promises a new government with different policies and objectives. Did the previous government successfully realise its policy and operational goals? The answer is a resounding "not really." So, what will set this new government apart?

Historically, governments with an outward-looking perspective have achieved the best economic and social outcomes for New Zealand. In the contemporary global context, isolating our country from global realities is unrealistic. No one in the world will come to our aid; self-reliance is our only path forward.

A new, outward-looking government presents an opportunity for businesses that contribute significantly to New Zealand's export revenue and engage with global corporations. They can advocate for fresh policy perspectives focusing on broad, strategic global objectives achievable through domestic changes.

One crucial area for any government is to reduce compliance costs by eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy and processes. Nothing stifles innovation and export revenue generation more swiftly than excessive red tape. A pervasive, stifling cloud of bureaucracy is impeding New Zealand's economic and social recovery. Addressing this over-compliance issue is where a new government can make a substantial impact.

Engagement with a new, outward-looking government should focus on broad strategic imperatives that render unnecessary regulations and rules obsolete. Failing to address this crisis of over-compliance would be failing to make the one significant difference that any government is capable of outside of global influences.

Mike Chapman,
Chair New Zealand Ethical Employers Inc