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Slow and unprofessional image hurting NZ business

Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association
PO Box 105-009 Auckland Central

For Immediate Release: March 29

Slow and unprofessional image hurting NZ business

New Zealand business needs to take some responsibility for its poor international image says the new Chairman of Export New Zealand Rob Jeffrey.

A New Zealand Trade and Enterprise survey across Australia, the United States, Japan, China and the United Kingdom has revealed many Kiwi companies were considered “unprofessional in our approach to business” and “slow in response”.

Mr Jeffrey told Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association members in Auckland that New Zealand companies had to increase their capability to meet the expectations of global buyers.

“Buyers and importers today have a number of supply chain options,” he said. “We are in a global market and evaluated against others in the supply chain. They measure your capability. Buyers tighten their specifications, yet often they expect to pay the same price. If they can’t get apples from New Zealand they go to South Africa or China often at a price advantage; kiwifruit is sourced from Chile or Italy against New Zealand’s quality supply lines.”

Mr Jeffrey, who has spent the past 55 years in dairy farming and pork production in the Bay of Plenty and whose firm Jeffco has exported to China since 1960, says a major example of where New Zealand is letting itself down is the meat industry.

“There are 100 meat export licences with three or four major ones,” he said. “We are too fragmented and that’s to the buyers’ advantage. Of course they want to keep it that way. This fragmentation is costly to producers.”

Another example of inefficiency is in logistics, he said. New Zealand exported from 15 seaports and five airports. When compared with Asia such fragmentation was not affordable. Hong Kong was a prime example of an efficient logistics hub that would continue to be a major gateway for southern China.

Government agencies, large and small businesses and the service sector needed to work together to change New Zealand’s poor image revealed in the NZTE report, he said. New Zealand companies need to lift the bar and make sure they keep up with global market trends and expectations.

“We need a shift in our thinking. Our competition is with other global suppliers, not other NZ companies. We need to improve our engagement – socially, culturally, economically and commercially with our global market opportunities.”

Mr Jeffrey says another solution to what he acknowledges is a complex problem, is to shift business thinking from capital gains to productivity. By investing in people and productivity and research and development, the country might retain more of its skill base.


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