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NZ risks cold shoulderfrom foreign admirers

New Zealand risks cold shoulderfrom foreign admirers.


New Zealand Fashion icon Peri Drysdale believes the recent debate over Buy New Zealand Made shows New Zealanders are losing sight of the real issues facing this country.

“Where a company manufactures a product is totally a free choice,” she says. “It is a commercial decision based on a balance of factors including the values of the company and its customers.”

“Customer purchasing decisions are based on a mix of conscious and subconscious issues of value. Increasingly included in that mix are concerns about how and where a product is produced (in terms of social and environmental responsibility), along with ‘does the story of this product uplift me and make me feel good?’”

“For example; does a consumer feel better drinking milk produced from a clean green paddock under a clear blue sky, rather than milk grown inside a factory farm feedlot? If the consumer does feel better about the former, how much will they pay for it? And what do they need to know that would make them pay more.”

Peri Drysdale believes New Zealanders need to be thinking more deeply.

“We need to look beyond next year’s gross revenue and bottom line in purely fiscal terms. We need to develop a much more sophisticated understanding of what will drive real economic gain (or loss) in the future.”

“The greatest opportunity New Zealand has ever had was creating brand New Zealand. This initiative added value to all exports, whether they were products, services or intellectual property. That value added was something that is almost priceless in most parts of the world - the 100% pure, clean green, Lord of the Rings inspired dream.

“Two years ago New Zealand was the sexiest country on the planet in international marketing terms. But over the next few weeks New Zealand’s reputation as an aspirational country of origin will take a hammering, particularly in international media.”

The rot has already begun to set in. Rough Guides, the largest circulation travel guide in the Northern Hemisphere, has already attacked our record on the environment. In 2002, they told readers “...the country is in fact one of the most bizarre ecological disasters in the history of man.”

The current Rough Guide to New Zealand carries more criticism and there are rumours of more to follow in soon-to-be-released updates by the well respected Lonely Planet guide.

“I know of one well respected North American Fishing Magazine that will soon tell readers not to bother coming to NZ. The magazine says New Zealand was once a great fishing destination, but increased land intensification and deterioration of fresh water streams and rivers makes it no longer a place worth visiting to fish.”

“The money allocated to Buy New Zealand Made would have far greater positive impact on the economy - and all the social indicators - if it were used to mobilise the nation to understand these major threats to our overall economy.”

“Our aim should be to increase the understanding that our environment is our strongest asset.”

Ends

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