Rob Morrison returned to New Zealand after retiring as the Chairman and Chief Executive of Hong Kong-based brokerage, investment banking and private equity group CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets and this year was appointed Chairman of Kiwibank.
Recently Mr Morrison suggested the potential worth of the global low carbon economy is around six trillion dollars. He also highlighted New Zealand’s dismal economic slide over the past two decades, not to mention the growing gap between New Zealand’s 100% Pure brand and reality.
Mr Morrison said the past is not an accurate guide to a successful future for New Zealand and we can’t rely on doing things the way we have done in the past if we want to ensure New Zealand has a prosperous future.
He described the National-led government’s recently released energy policy prioritising fossil fuel production as “based on the premise that we can have our cake and eat it too.” Instead of drilling offshore for oil, we should explore alternatives, he said.
New Zealand’s slogan is 100% Pure. Not sort of, not maybe. We better make damn sure we are 100% Pure, Morrison said, or our exports could go down the gurgler.
Morrison suggested the shift towards a low carbon economy in places like China is being driven by energy requirements, pollution, environmental degradation and population concerns.
By looking after our environment and pursuing a low carbon economy, we invest in skills, technology and Intellectual Property that will be worth plenty in the global market.
It’s not just Mr Morrison saying this stuff – he has joined an impressive list of his business peers in The Pure Advantage Trust including Chris Liddell (recently Vice Chair of General Motors), Geoff Ross (Founder, 42 Below Ltd), Sir George Fistonich (Founder, Villa Maria Estate), Jeremy Moon (Managing Director, Icebreaker), Joan Withers (Chair, Mighty River Power & Auckland International Airport), Justine Smyth (Deputy Chair, NZ Post), Lloyd Morrison (Executive Chairman, H.R.L. Morrison & Co.), Sir Paul Callaghan (New Zealander of the Year), Phillip Mills (2004 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year), Rob Fyfe (CEO, Air New Zealand) and Sir Stephen Tindall (Founder, The Warehouse).
Phillip Mills believes our leaders need listen to the results of the 3 News Reid Research poll that rated the environment as the number one issue among voters and to become far more aspirational. Mr Mills said “The time for change is now and we call on New Zealand’s politicians to show bold leadership.
He said there are few countries on Earth that have the opportunities and advantages that we do. We need to diversify from our commodity export-based economic strategy.
There is little doubt that our farmers will benefit from increasing global demand for protein, but relying too heavily on this leaves us vulnerable to the threat of lower cost competition and the swings and roundabouts of a global economy likely to become increasingly volatile.
New Zealand’s environmental credentials and economic prosperity can be simultaneously improved through a strategy whereby government commits to R&D, investment incentives and the development of a workforce skilled in the jobs required for low-carbon industry.
Pure Advantage recently commissioned a group of world-leading economists to review New Zealand’s green growth opportunities and make recommendations as to how we can build a greener, wealthier nation. They plan to release the group’s findings early next year.
I am looking forward to seeing how aligned East Coast voter decisions are with the vision and priorities being espoused by this group of leading entrepreneurs and successful exporters.