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Government's Favourite Professor Recants


Government's Favourite Professor Recants

Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton's reliance on a Harvard professor to defend the selection and creation of "business clusters" has been dealt a blow by that professor's clarification of his views, ACT New Zealand Business Development Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"Jim Anderton and Helen Clark have often relied on Harvard business strategy guru Professor Michael Porter to defend their Government's interventionist and ideological approach to managing the economy. In particular, they use his arguments to defend their heavy-handed selection of winners and doling out of welfare for business.

"Last year Ms Clark ensured that Professor Porter, who she has long-admired, was invited as guest speaker to the Knowledge Wave conference. His was one of just two Knowledge Wave speeches that then-Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton attended.

"For his part, Mr Anderton said in July 2001 that Professor Porter's vision for New Zealand "needs to become a reality".

"This makes Professor Porter's u-turn on business clusters even more embarrassing for the Government. The renowned business strategy guru told the Australian Financial Review last month that, "I am much clearer now about what I really think... where governments can't be involved is trying to steer competition or pick clusters". Yet this is exactly what the Government is doing.

"I call on Mr Anderton to stand by his previous faith in Professor Porter, and walk away from this Government's failed ideological meddling in our country's economy," Miss Coddington said.

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